Why Assessment Centres Don’t Work In The Construction Industry Recruitment

Assessment centres are often billed as an alternative way to offer companies the ability to, assess validate and recruit the best talent in their sector.

Maybe, maybe not. And certainly not in the current environment within the construction industry if you are an organisation that really does want to attract the best talent into your company.


There is a skills shortage across the whole of construction.

A consistent theme over the last few years has been the challenging skills shortage in the UK. A recent report stated that 1 in 4 sub-contractors is turning down work due to them struggling to recruit skilled staff.

According to the latest data, the construction industry – which accounts for around 7 per cent of GDP – has been particularly hard hit by the shortfall of skilled workers, especially in London.

  • The UK needs to train 75,000 engineers a year until 2020- currently
  • Construction is particularly hard hit with some companies turning down work
  • There is a national shortage of skilled workers



As a consequence good people are hard to find. Imagine the scenario? We as a construction recruiter acting on your behalf find a ‘must interview’ candidate. She or he ticks all the boxes and is open to a conversation about moving companies. All good so far.

We then inform them that all they have to do is attend an assessment centre where they will be expected to go through the following scenario

You may have a good idea already what an assessment centre is, but it is worth spelling out just what they typically comprise of just to avoid any confusion:

  • Interviews ( multiple)
  • Presentations
  • Group exercises
  • Tests
  • Data analysis and projections



Then maybe one of those painful group lunches.

Will that great candidate want to do this?

Their answer will be a definite no and rightly so. Why should they have to jump through the assessment centre hoop?  They don’t need to because with the skills and experience they have as a specialist in this market we could potentially find them a handful of jobs to choose from.


They are already in work

The most important fact is that these ‘sought after’ candidates will already be in secure roles, often in well known organisations. We all know that construction, surprisingly is a small world. Who would want to turn up for an assessment centre and let the world know they are open to offers? The answer is; nobody.

In construction, the work is team based. Does this really need to be assessed?

Some people aren’t competitive, and it can be overwhelming to some to be competing openly with other people. With the traditional interview led recruitment process, you aren’t aware who your competitors are, and can just focus on yourself. Construction can be a competitive industry.


What about graduates?



This is probably one of the few areas where an assessment centre might have validity. If a construction organisation wants to develop a talent pipeline or bring on board  staff who have the potential to go much further they will need some ‘markers’ that can identify potential leaders of the future. There is evidence to say this is one area that an assessment centre can demonstrate a level of success. Our advice? Leave it there and let us use our networks to find the best talent for you.

Best regards,