A performance simulation test is used by organizations as a way of evaluating candidates for a job position. The basic premise of performance simulation test is to observe the candidate perform the actual job in a controlled environment. There are two types of simulation tests known as work sample test and assessment centers.
Work samples are used where the job is monotonous and routine. These jobs are well defined and can be matched with the performance output of the candidate. Work sample technique is used to hire skilled labor such as electricians, welders, machine workers and so on.
Assessment centers however are used to evaluate candidates for a managerial position. Potential candidates are put through a series of jobs and challenges that they could face while being observed a trained psychologist and/or line managers. Candidates are put through various exercises such as interviews, group discussions or business games each involving decision making situations.
An advantage of using simulation testing is that candidates are more engaged in the task and enjoy challenging themselves to solve the challenges put forth. Candidates are put through the actual work and hence if they themselves feel they are not suitable for the position they can back out saving time and money. Furthermore research has also proven that assessment centers have been able to quite accurately predict the managerial potential of the candidate.
One of the drawbacks however is that it is more difficult to administer than a written exam or other objective testing methods. There can be no right or wrong in decision making and hence the judgment is left to the observers’ discretion.