What Is Assessment Centre
Assessment centre has been around for a while. The origin of an assessment centre can be traced back to Germany in 1929, when the German Army selected recruits for World War 1.
Their assessors comprised military officers and psychologists. They tested for competencies such as perseverance and determination, positive will – operative thinking and strategic thinking, mental stability – character, integrity and selflessness.
Assessment centres are used to test for different competencies in candidates to determine whether they are the right fit for the organisation.
An assessment centre gives proper insight into the skills and attributes that candidates possess and whether they can thrive in the organisation.
Difference Between Assessment Centre and Development Centre
The role of an assessment centre is sometimes confused with that of a development Centre. The fundamental distinction that you should be aware of is that while assessment centre is used to test potential candidates, development centre is deployed for current employees in an organisation.
To elaborate, assessment centres test the suitability of candidates for a job. It involves the usage of various assessment tools and methods to test for multiple skills and qualities that candidates require to perform on the job.
A Development centre is used to assess existing employees, and is used for leadership development, succession planning and internal training.
The Different Modes of Deploying Assessment Centre
Assessment centres are usually deployed in three ways. They are:
- Traditional assessment centres
- Virtual assessment development centres
- Blended assessment centres
Traditional Assessment Centres
Traditional assessment centres, also referred to as physical assessment centres, involve the use of physical location to conduct assessment centre exercises.
For the activity, candidates are invited to a particular place, away from their environment. Exercises such as presentation, situational judgement test, analytical test, group exercises, role-play, games, etc., are deployed to test for various competencies in candidates.
When deploying this form of assessment, the things to note include:
- The environment for the exercise determines how well the exercise will go; therefore, you must pay extra attention to it. It must be spacious, conducive and must contain the necessary things needed to conduct the assessment.
- Use experienced assessors who can competently observe the situation and analyse candidate performance.
- Note that you cannot use the traditional assessment centre to test competencies at every job level, especially in some executive hire roles; therefore, you must carefully evaluate the job before deciding whether to use an assessment centre.
- Traditional assessment centre involves logistical operations. If you can’t afford to go through this, you could consider using the virtual assessment centre.
Virtual Assessment Centre
It involves incorporating an online platform to conduct a seamless assessment centre exercise for candidates without any reduction in the quality of the assessment or experience of the candidates.
In addition, this online process eliminates the hassle of logistics, manual effort and increased overhead costs, which are typically associated with conducting extensive in-person assessments.
When deploying this form of assessment, the things to note include:
- A hotline to receive calls from candidates asking for guidelines
- Mapping out competencies suitable for the online medium
- Instruction to candidates and assessors on how to use the virtual platform
- Just because it is an online assessment does not mean you can overload it with more than the required assessment exercises.
This combines both the traditional and physical forms of assessment. Some competencies are tested using the online medium, while the others are tested using the physical tools.
Compared to the traditional assessment centre, it is more scalable, less time-consuming, less expensive, and has limited logistical troubles.
Applications of Assessment Centres
Assessment centre tests and exercises are used for three primary purposes:
- To assess relevant competencies in order to make better talent decisions,
- To diagnose talent development needs, and
- To groom potential employees.
Steps in Applying Assessment Centre
1. Defining the objective, underlining the job levels and choosing a competency framework
Defining the objective of the assessment guarantees that the tasks are completed without difficulty. The purpose of an assessment centre process influences everything from selecting a type from the assessment centre examples to shortlisting assessment and development centre exercises to developing the type of questions.
The next step is to identify the job levels. This is because assessment centre assesses people of different job levels. These could be entry-level, mid-level, or experienced roles.
Some assessment centre tools are more suited to entry-level roles but may not be needed in more advanced positions. As a result, the assessment centre tools deployed must be tailored toward the specific job level.
In addition, there are various competencies that assessment centre assesses. They include teamwork, problem-solving skills, tenacity, leadership, organisational sensitivity, judgement, problem analysis, decisiveness, creativity, persuasive oral communication, interpersonal relations, initiative, customer service, creativity etc.
Furthermore, different roles have different competencies as the priority to succeed on the job. Therefore, you must also decide the competency framework to use. Lastly, you will then map these competencies to the available tools.
2. Development and customisation of tools
The next step is the development and customisation of tools for the assessment. Some of these common tools to be developed include psychometric tests, personality profiler, case study simulator, role-play exercises and presentation exercises.
The assessment subject matter experts then customise the assessment centre tools to fulfil the organisation’s requirements. Finally, after reviewing and validating these tools, the organisation is ready to commence the assessment activities.
3. Administration of assessment centre
This step entails deploying resources, establishing processes, and appointing qualified and experienced assessors.
The logistics and duration of this step are determined by the organisation’s choice of assessment centre. For example, a physical assessment centre is operated differently from a virtual assessment centre.
4. Report generation
At the end of the assessment centre exercise, candidates’ scores are collated to generate a report. These scores are arrived at based on the usage of specially built assessment simulations, observations of behaviours and candidate performances by independent assessors.
The comparison and analysis of these reports will determine which of the candidates will be selected by the organisation.
At Workforce Group, we deploy assessment and development centres to assess candidates from various perspectives. Our assessment and development centre allows objectivity for evaluating a candidate’s current or potential competence to perform in a specific role.