There are many options available for companies who are looking to bolster their hiring processes. One option is to implement an “assessment center”. Though assessment centers are developed based on the measuring the unique knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for successful job performance in a particular organization, they typically have some common traits. Most assessment centers are conducted in-person. They often require candidates to go through several different exercises, usually including an interview or a role play scenario. They often require some sort of data integration to combine information gathered in each step of the assessment center. While assessment centers can provide valuable information about candidates, there are some challenges associated with implementing an assessment center.
Advantages of Assessment Centers
Robust Measurement – A good assessment center typically uses a variety of exercises to collect data about each candidate. For example, one may utilize a role play exercise, a personality test, a specific skill test, and an interview. Gathering data via various types of exercises can provide a more accurate picture of a candidate’s true competence in the areas being measured.
Face Validity – Assessment centers can be designed to closely reflect what the candidate may encounter in the job. For example, if the target position requires candidates to routinely provide performance feedback to subordinates, the assessment center may include a role play activity where the candidate is required to give feedback to an assessor who plays the role of a subordinate.
Positive Candidate Reactions – Candidates tend to react favorably to assessment centers. They often feel like they had ample opportunities to show the value that they could add to the organization. Candidates also tend to appreciate the organization’s commitment to finding the best person for the job. Note that not every single candidate feels this way and it does depend on the particular assessment center.
Challenges of Assessment Centers
Resources and Time Needed – Assessment centers can be more costly to implement and administer. Administrative hours will be dedicated to scheduling the assessment centers, communicating what the candidate’s day will look like, and confirming that the assessors will be available as needed.
Volume Restrictions – Assessment centers are more challenging when there is a large volume of candidates who need to be assessed. Due to the time commitment (both from the candidate and from the assessors) it is important to consider how many candidates you can assess in a single session.
Assessment centers can provide accurate and reliable information about potential candidates. However, this may not be a viable option for organizations that don’t have the time and resources to send candidates through the entire assessment center process. Take the time to determine if an assessment center is right for your organization. Oftentimes, you will be able to find an in-depth pre-employment assessment that combines the benefits of an in-person assessment center with the convenience of an online personality test.