Assessment centres are places where individuals are evaluated for their job vacancies in order to select the most suitable person for the job. An individual seeking for the job has to go through various phases of assessment test such as group exercises, role play exercises, psychometric personality questionnaire, psychometric ability test, interviews, etc. Today such assessments have become common with the increasing number of candidates for a particular job. Assessment and development centres vary widely in duration, format and content. You may be surprised when you come to know that assessment centres were first used in World War 1 by Germans to shortlist the officers. United States also started with these centres in World War II to select military as well as civilian recruits for spying.
Benefits of Assessment Centre: Below mentioned are some benefits of these centres:
- Reliable Method: The most reliable method for predicting success at work. They help the interviewer to assess the existing as well as predict future job performance.
- Fair Process: It is a fair process to judge the candidate’s ability and performance. It proves that individuals are selected on the basis of merit.
- Beneficial for Candidates: Candidate can find out their strengths and weaknesses which is quite helpful for them as they can improve their efficiency.
- Flexible Tests: Such tests include few activities or so. Tests can be performed on a group of candidates. In these centres candidates are evaluated by experts.
Elements Of Assessment Centres:
- Job Scrutiny: Job analysis should be conducted to determine knowledge, skills, attributes to know about the on- job performance. For the freshers analysis can be conducted through actual or projected tasks or roles that will include new job, position or the job level. Target dimensions can also be determined from the vision, values, procedures, or key objectives of an organization. Competency is the combination of measureable knowledge, skills, personal attributes that contribute to enhance employee performance. It is a behavioral dimension for the purpose of assessment.
- Multiple Assessments: Manifold techniques are used by hiring managers of assessment centres to examine intelligence, personality and skills of a candidate. These techniques include questionnaires, tests, interviews etc. The assessment tools will be pretested to ensure that they provide information which is reliable, precise and suitable.
- Behavioral Classification: The behavior of the participants which has been displayed must be categorized into groups such as aptitude, ability, qualities, skills, knowledge etc. This will be of great help in the development centres for the purpose of assessment.
- Simulations: Various simulation based exercises must be included in assessment centres. Simulation is an exercise or technique designed to study and understand deeply the individual’s behaviour and performance regarding work related case. These exercises include in- basket group discussions, role play, case studies, presentations etc. At least one or more than one simulations should be there and should be designed in such a way that it evokes the behaviour of a person.
- Role Of Supervisors: The role of assessors is significant in observing and assessing participants. Qualities like age, sex, organizational level and functional work area can be considered while selecting a group of assessors. Computer technology can also be used to evaluate candidates’ behaviour. The common ratio of assesses to assessors is two to one. Moreover, the assessors must have received proper training and coaching before they are recruited to evaluate the candidate’s behaviour.
Offline Tools Used By Assessment Centres:
Offline tools administered in assessment centres give a personal touch and the staff can closely analyse the individual behaviour.
- Group Discussions: The skill and ability of a person can be evaluated by a assessor when the participant share his views and opinions with the other participants. It is an exchange of information and sharing of ideas for the selection of ideal candidate.
- One To One Role Play: The knowledge and skills of an individual are judged by the assessor when on the spot topic is given. One can evaluate how a participant responds and behaves with other. Role play exercises are a common part of development centres and needs practice. Usually 15-30 minutes are given for the preparation.
- Interview: It is the most commonly used criteria for employee selection. It refers to one- on- one conversation between an interviewer and interviewee. Confidence level of the participant is judged through this.
- Group Activity: This is a team work. Ability to communicate and interact with other members cab ne judged by the hiring manager by providing with some activity. By assigning candidates team project employer can access their leadership and team work skills. These activities involve projects related to job.
Ideal Process of Assessment Centre: End to end management of practice can be attained by implementing steps such as sensing. In this process a position analysis questionnaire is provided to the organization followed by a group discussion and an interview just to know the skills and behaviour of a candidate. Participants can take tests online or offline according to their requirement. Judgement about the behaviour of candidates is made through assessment simulations. Evaluation is based on multiple inputs. Reports act as an indicator for employee development plans.
Current Situation: In this tech-savvy era assessment centres have started using online tools. Participants can take assessment from the comfort of their homes. These tools are psychometric assessment, cognitive abilities, situational judgement tests, case study simulator, inbox exercise etc. Through such tests person’s decision making skills, problem solving skills and time management skills are analysed.
In the present environment of competition, big and medium sized organizations are adopting the precise and standardized process of virtual assessment. With the help of these virtual assessment centres suitable, candidates are selected by experts for a particular job. So, for accurate judgment of candidate's calibre, these types of tests are necessary.