Assessment Centre

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What is an Assessment Centre?

A certain function for identifying the skill and potential for growth, it uses few methods to evaluate employees for human resource & manpower purpose & decisions.

In simple words, Assessment centres are a series of exercises commonly used by employers to test skills not readily assessable from an interview alone.

Assessment Centre
Assessment Centre

Assessment centre is a method used particularly in military or management. For e.g. for selecting officers; SSB assessment centre method is used in Indian Defense Force, designed by DRDO.


Assessment Centre in HRM

The assessment centre in HRM works in a certain way, it pre-determined adopts various techniques of testing to allow the competencies that are the candidates to showcase their ability & skills to achieve sheer success in a given particular job.

Preparation of Assessment Centre

The Assessment centre mainly focuses on performing well at performance related exercises that bring out the actual work situations & activities.

It lets the competencies to prepare for the assessment, makes the competencies familiarize with the essentials & job duties of the job position and reviews the skills of the competencies before the examination to make them improve themselves. 

On Time Assessment Centre

  • Every Station is set with a particular time and the candidates are given the exact amount of time to complete the exercises.

  • A Set of assessment centre experts will assess each particular exercise.

  • The competencies will perform the exercise as soon as they finish the experts will direct them to the next exercise.

The candidate behaviour is observed by the assessment experts who have been trained to perceive individual behaviour in terms of job dimensions. 

After the Assessment Centre Finishes

  • After the assessment centre finishes the assessment centre the assessors i.e., the experts will start assessing the exercises given to them, the experts will assess the performances on each of the exercises being rated.

  • When all the competencies complete their assessments, the expert assessors will put the information together that they’ve gathered. They usually take the form of discussing a candidate at a time.

  • The competencies will be notified about the examination results in 10 days by the Human Resources.

  • Letting the competencies know about their performances doesn’t mean they’ll be offered a position.


    It determines the placement on the eligible list depending on the eligibility criteria the competencies name might be sent to the departments with vacancies & will be called for the interview for the position. 

Use of Assessment Centre

The use of assessment centre is mainly for HR department, because HR Department looks after required and actual skill sets of candidates and then selects them.

Following is the list of HR functions where assessment centre method is effective / applicable:

  • Selection: assessment centre method helps in getting the right people for the right job at the right time.

  • Career path: It helps in deciding the candidate to decide his / her career path or career development. It is because the candidate has got knowledge about the competencies required for a particular job.

  • Identify the potential: It helps the candidate to know his / her potential and strong areas. This helps him/her in performance appraisal.

  • Identification of talent: Assessment centre method clearly indicates the talents available within the organization, which helps in identifying potential people for a particular position.

  • Training and development needs: Assessment centres also facilitate training and development need identification for a candidate.

  • Succession planning: as said above assessment centre method clearly indicates the skill sets or competencies of an individual, it helps in succession planning. This decision of succession planning based on assessment centre results helps in reducing errors or helps in the accuracy of taking the right decision.

  • Development of candidate: Skill enhancement through simulations

Assessment Centre Method

Using the assessment center method, candidates are tested for the qualities required for a certain position. If it is an executive function, candidates will have to show their leadership qualities in the assessment. If it is an organisational function, the assessment will focus more on organisational qualities.

Method of Assessment Centre are:

  1. In Basket Exercise
  2. Competency Based Interview
  3. Case Study
  4. Role Play
  5. Group Discussion
  6. Projective Techniques
Assessment Centre Method
Assessment Centre Method

In Basket Exercise

In basket exercise method in the assessment Centre also known as the in-tray exercise method. It is widely used across the organizations which accurately tests the knowledge, skill behaviour.

Some of the behaviours in the basket method are as follows:

  • Speed and accuracy
  • Analysis of information
  • Planning
  • Prioritization
  • Decision making
  • Management time
  • Evaluation of situations
  • Effective use of time

The motive of in-basket exercise is to know about the employee’s ability that how well one can perform in a particular situation with the job-related task. 

For example: If the management is hiring a content writer. candidate needs to know about the content writing basics, should be able to write an article with proper grammar and in narrative way with his skills. Also should be able to execute the article with the given information.

Competency Based Interview

Competency-based interviews and also called situational interviews or behaviour interviews according to certain structures.

The interviewer has a collection of questions that each concentrates on a particular skill or ability of competency and the answers will be compared with the pre-established criteria.

These competency interviews work on a certain principle that past behaviour is the best route of future performance. The results will be used across all sectors of the organization by all the employers particularly favouring the large graduate recruiters that may come handy for them in the assessment centre.

Comparing to the normal interviews, competency-based interviews are more informal. Generally in the normal interviews, the interviews would be asking about the random questions which will have a normal end but in competency-based interviews, it’s more systematic and more intriguing.

Some of the key elements of competency-based interviews:

  • Communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Decisiveness
  • Independence
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving
  • Resilience
  • Organization
  • Teamwork

Case Study

A case study in the assessment centre method is projected by giving case studies to the competencies, that is giving them reports, situations to deal with and come up with accurate results. Documents would also be given to analyze them and to come up with proper decision-making skills based on the information given. 

This can be done as individual exercise and also can be given in the groups that would let the assessors know about the teamwork ability of the competencies. 

After going through the case studies and form a conclusion, the competencies have to present a brief report or presentation. 

The assessor/expert of the interview would check the skill of the presentation and problem-solving method of the case study As much as a solution that the competency has arrived at. In the fact case studies are usually framed to not have an accurate answer or one “correct answer”.

As long as the competency justifies the logic of the case study the assessor wouldn’t mind interrogating, there for the competency would score marks basis on the ability to justify the answer.

A skill that you need to work on a case study exercise:

  • Analytical and statistical and logical analysis of problems
  • Formulating to a decision and committing to a decision
  • Profound oral communication skills For discussing the recommendations.
  • Commercial insight of a problem
  • Entrepreneurial inside of a problem
  • Interpreting a lot of data in various formats from various sources

Role Play

Role-play exercise used in assessment Centre works in such a way that the employers would keenly observe the competencies by giving them role-play to see how would they cope up with the work situation.

The employers of the organization would observe certain skills in the competencies are as follows:

  • Work under pressure
  • Assertiveness
  • Achieving goals
  • Customer focus
  • Interpersonal effectiveness

Role-play exercises bring out professional actors to create a scenario of work situations as follows:

  1. A disgruntled colleague
  2. A failing supplier
  3. A dissatisfied shareholder
  4. An angry customer

The employers will give a lot of challenges through the role plays To the competencies and then observe, How would the competency react and negotiate certain problems. And how would the competency conclude with the given scenario role-play?

Group Discussion

Group discussion in an assessment Centre is executed With a small group of competencies. To know about the abilities and skills of the competencies and also to see how the competencies work In a team given. 

The main motive of group discussion are as follows:

  • To see the leadership skills in the competency
  • To see the confidence
  • To check the strength of the character
  • To see how the competency would consider other opinions
  • Logical arguments
  • Strong communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Commercial awareness

Projective Techniques

The projective technique under assessment centre method is a series of relatively Project issues, concerns organization.

There are various kinds of projective techniques and assessment centres. Different organizations choose different types of projective techniques to project competencies and their issues and concerns.

Business Games

It can also be effective for self assessment. The candidate might select from a checklist of different response option or chose different approaches and take different paths through simulation.

The simulation could branch through different stimulus presentation. This type of self assessment would help differentiate an employer as unique and sophisticated in their approach to candidate.


Advantages of Assessment Centres

  • It is a fair and accurate way of selecting a candidate.

  • It not only helps in selecting the right candidate for the position but also enhances the knowledge of the participants and boosts their thinking procedure and also improves their efficiency at work.

  • It gives an opportunity for individuals who are talented and couldn’t exhibit their talent because their job never demanded it.

  • They enable interviewers to assess existing performance as well as predict future job performance.

  • It gives the candidates a better insight into the role they have applied for as the tests are similar to the role.

Disadvantages of Assessment Centres

  • AC is very costly and time-consuming. The assessment centre will take at least three days for each assessor one day for training, at least one day for assessing, and one more for making a decision.

  • ACs requires highly skilled observers as the observers may bring in their own perceptions and biases while evaluating.

  • Those who receive poor assessment might become de-motivated and might lose confidence in their abilities.

  • A personal characteristics examined via assessment centre exercises cannot be measured accurately even over a period of three or four days.

Developing competency models

How do you develop a competency model? Developing a competency model in the assessment centre method is a process that consists of various steps.

Step in developing competency models

  • Firstly understanding the purpose: that why the competency model needs to be developed.

  • Determining the approach and project team: one should know about the approach and need to have proper knowledge about the project in developing the competency model.

  • To gather the competency data: to analyze in making and developing the competency model.

  • To rebuild the framework: to identify the name and structure of the competency model.

  • Lastly, implement the developed competency model: That is giving the competencies a suitable job position.

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