Two women sitting across the table from each other

June 20, 2024, by lgyrm8

My experience at an in-person assessment centre

Rania Monasch, geography student

In January I applied for a graduate role at Verian Group, an independent research, evidence, and communications agency. I was lucky enough to be invited to their assessment centre in-person at their Westminster office, and I wanted to reflect on my experience. Although I wasn’t offered the graduate position, I was put on their reserve list and learned and gained a lot from the experience regardless.

The invitation

Initially, I was so surprised at my invite because I hadn’t heard back for two months and assumed I was unsuccessful – just a little reminder to have hope when you’re in the waiting process. The email invite instructed me that I needed to prepare a 10-minute presentation for the day answering a question they provided, and also to expect a data interpretation test and interview.

Preparing for the day

I spent two weeks researching, creating the presentation, and practising my public speaking skills. I wanted to put my best foot forward and build up confidence before the day, so I booked a one-to-one appointment with the Careers and Employability Service. My adviser was super helpful and supportive, giving me tips for the interview part of the day and offered to meet again to do a mock interview. I had a Microsoft Teams meeting over the Easter holidays with the careers adviser and practised some interview questions which made me feel more prepared.

On the day

In April I headed down to London for the assessment centre which began at midday. The day began with meeting other applicants (about 20 people) and then an introduction talk by the staff at the company, explaining their different departments and positions. We then had lunch provided and spoke to current employees, asking them any questions we had. I was feeling quite nervous when I arrived but being able to talk to people first and get comfortable with the environment made me feel more relaxed for the assessment process.

Data interpretation test

The applicants were put into two groups after lunch and I sat the data interpretation test first. This was a one-hour test writing a report using some survey data given. I remained calm for this, writing and analysing the data simultaneously to make sure I finished the report within the timeframe.


I then had a break and was invited to my interview room. I demonstrated my presentation first to two interviewers, ensuring that I didn’t speak too fast and maintained eye contact with them. They followed up the presentation with some questions about what I did to prepare the presentation and asked me what I found interesting about it.


Then, they began the formal interview, asking me three competency-based questions. I answered as confidently as I could with experience from my volunteering and part-time work, but ultimately upon receiving feedback this is where I could have improved. The feedback I received said that the examples I gave were good but some of the examples lacked detail or didn’t quite go far enough to meet the higher scoring criteria.

I could definitely agree with this feedback and upon reflection, I would prepare more for the competency-based questions by fleshing out more depth with scenarios I’ve experienced and my role within it. However, I still feel I answered the questions with confidence for my first graduate interview and it was a very useful experience.

Seek advice

I would not have felt as prepared as I did if I hadn’t had a careers appointment and would definitely recommend seeking advice if and when you’re invited to your first assessment centre and/or interview.

If you have been invited by an employer to attend an assessment centre and need help preparing, visit the assessment centres webpage to find out more or book an appointment with a careers adviser to boost your confidence.

Posted in Applying For JobsInterviews