THOUGHT PIECE the carling team

Wine, Beer & Drink Industry Job Assessment Types

test-scoreOnce you’ve got yourself through the tough process of CV rounds, first interviews and maybe even second and third interviews, you’re more than likely to face an assessment centre as part of the final selection process. Wine, beer and drink industry employers commonly use assessment centres to determine a candidate’s ultimate suitability for the post.

In this article, we’ll give you an outline of what you can typically expect if you’re called to attend an assessment centre. Although activities will differ slightly from company to company, what we’ve given here is a broad understanding of what you are likely to be asked to do.


Role-play is one of the most commonly used exercises in a drinks industry assessment centre. Depending on the position you’ve applied for, you will be presented with a scenario whereby you are asked to play the part of the person in the role you hope to secure. It is important to listen carefully to, or read carefully the instructions you are given. If anything is unclear, the time to ask is before you start the roleplay, not when you’re in full flow.

You’ll normally be given adequate time to prepare and you should use this preparation time wisely. Think particularly about any difficult situations that might arise and how you could best handle them. It may be that you’re asked to deal with a difficult customer or employee or that you need to negotiate a deal. Either way, you need to think carefully about the words you use, your body language and how you will reach the best conclusion that demonstrates your skills and meets your potential employer’s expectations.

One of the most important things to remember with role-play is to stick to the issue in hand and not allow yourself to be side-tracked. Stay polite and positive at all times and seek agreement along the way.

Group exercises

Working as part of a team to solve problems or to make things happen shows people in their real light. No matter whether you’re an innovator who’s trying to play the part of someone who likes to cross the t’s and dot the i’s, your true colours are likely to show through in a group exercise. The way group exercises are organised at assessment centres will differ from company to company but will typically involve a scenario whereby you’re asked to work as a small group of maybe 4 to 6 people to solve a problem or develop an idea.

The role that each person naturally takes will provide insightful information to the assessors about how people are likely to perform in the workplace. While there’s no right or wrong way to behave in group exercises, again politeness, respect and giving everyone a voice is likely to be noticed and appreciated as well as sticking to allocated time schedules and making sure the group doesn’t go off-beam from the core issue.

1-2-1 interview

A one-to-one interview at an assessment centre is your opportunity to be yourself and to put yourself forward exactly as you want to. It’s important that you prepare for this opportunity by identifying clearly and describing succinctly why you’re the best person for the job and giving evidence to back up your claims. It is also clever use of this time to ask any relevant and job specific questions you may have. Even if you don’t have questions, take time to trawl the Internet to find background information that will lead to engaging and intelligent questions.


When you attend a drinks industry assessment centre you should be prepared to be asked to make an impromptu presentation. More and more roles today require sound presentation skills and more and more employers are expecting their candidates to be equipped and comfortable with the notion of putting together a quality presentation under pressure and in a short space of time.

While there is little preparation you can do for the subject matter, you can equip yourself by volunteering at every opportunity to undertake high pressure presentations in your current workplace, or you could join a public speaker’s group whereby you’ll get the chance to regularly perfect your presentation skills. Making quality presentations is like riding a bike, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.

Psychometric or aptitude testing

Companies today typically carry out psychometric or aptitude testing both at recruitment stage and on a regular basis thereafter. The good thing about this type of test is that you only need to do one thing: be honest. No matter how many psychometric or aptitude tests you do, if they’re good ones, the results will come out the same because they’re something that you can’t trick. Be yourself and you won’t go wrong.

Problem solving exercises

Like role-play and group exercises, prospective employers may give you some problem solving exercises to do at an assessment centre. While these are to test your problem solving style, it’s important not to get too focused on the solution, but to concentrate more on demonstrating your natural approach to problem solving. Seeking innovative solutions to problems is something that most employers look out for, but crazy answers tend to leave them cold. So stick to the style you know best and show a systematic and organised approach.

At the end of an assessment centre session, you might be given a site tour. This is a great opportunity to see the organisation in action. Take the chance while going around to ask questions and if invited, to engage with other employees. Most importantly, try to relax and enjoy the experience. Assessment centres aren’t only a test, they’re a chance for the employer to see the real you; so make sure you let the real you shine through.