Standing out at aviation assessment centres

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In the aviation industry, like many other industries, assessment centres are a commonly used selection method.  Once candidates have passed the first hurdles of CV sorting and initial interviews, they’ll commonly be invited to some sort of assessment centre that will enable their potential employer to examine their skills and characteristics more closely, and on their terms. 

What happens at aviation assessment centres?

If you’re invited to an aviation assessment centre day or half day, you can expect to face role-plays, group exercises, one-to-one interviews, problem solving exercises and presentations as well as perhaps some psychometric or aptitude testing.  While none of these things are necessarily set up so that you fail, you do need to be prepared.

How can you prepare for an aviation assessment centre?


The key things to bear in mind to make sure you stand out on the day at role-plays are using your preparation wisely, sticking to the subject and being polite and respectful to the other candidates involved.

Before the assessment centre, it’s worth doing a bit of detective work so you can get your mind into the zone of role-play.  By searching online for aviation role-play scenarios, you’ll be able to develop a methodology for how you’d deal with them if they came up on the day.

Group exercises

If you face a group exercise at an assessment centre, the most important thing is to be yourself and to follow your natural instinct.  It’s a fact of life that people have different characteristics in the workplace and group exercises are often used to expose people in their true light. 

The main things to bear in mind during group exercises are to be polite to the other people involved; stay on subject and stick to the time you’ve been given.  Add to these, taking any chance you get to shine, without being pushy and you should do well.

One-to-one interviews

One-to-one interviews in aviation assessment centres is one area where you can prepare well ahead to make sure you pick up as many brownie points as you can.  When asked questions, make sure you give well prepared, concise answers that, wherever possible are backed by hard facts or evidence. 

This is a great time to show that you really understand the company and their position in the marketplace as well as their position in their sector.  You should also use this opportunity to ask questions and if you don’t have any that spring to mind right now, prepare some ahead of time. 

Problem solving exercises

Problem solving is a skill you can get really good at with a bit of practice.  The secret here is to brainstorm or track down a range of the sorts of problems you might be asked to solve and planning how you’d go about solving them if you were in the assessment centre setting.  On the day itself, the secret is to be calm, systematic and logical as well as keeping an eye on the clock.


In some aviation assessment centres, you’ll be given a presentation topic to prepare ahead of time.  In others; you may be asked to make an impromptu presentation.  Either way, preparation is the key and yes, you can prepare for an impromptu presentation!  What you need to do is create a structure that you’re comfortable using for your presentations and then apply a whole range of subjects to that structure against the clock.  You’ll soon find yourself an impromptu public speaking expert! 

Psychometric or aptitude testing

The good and bad thing about psychometric or aptitude testing is that you can’t cheat and you can’t really prepare.  So the secret with achieving a good result here is simply being calm, efficient and true to yourself.

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