Assessment Centre or Management Assessment Centre is one of the selection techniques used in organizations to measure the knowledge, skills & abilities (KSA) of a person. A traditional assessment centre involves six participants and lasts from one to three days. The participants are evaluated by trained assessors by various techniques likesimulations and also sometimes using interviews & tests.
In the simulation technique, the participants are asked to perform realistic tasks in hypothetical situations. Some of the commonly used simulation exercises include:
•Leaderless group discussion
•Individual presentation exercises
When the participants work through these exercises, the assessors evaluate their behaviour & knowledge level. After that, they share their observations and prepare the evaluation report. It is especially done for management level candidateslike plant managers, general managers etc. It is a very good technique to predict future job performance.
In some of the companies the assessment is done through external agency also. Many manufacturing companies use this method where large number of applicants must be processed.Toyota for example assessed 22,000 applicants by this method to staff their 3000 person plant in Kentucky.
The Process was introduced by the German army during World War II. After several high ranking officials of the army failed to deliver as expected, the army appointed psychologist Max Simoneit to conduct leadership tests.
Today this is a common exercise used by armies across the world for personnel selection and is being adopted slowly by industries.
A selection committee is formed of trained psychologists and experienced managers. They observe the candidates closely during the exercises and evaluate them. The evaluation report is used to select the right candidate. It is also used for their future training and development.
For a HR position one may be given a situation where they have to deal with an employee who has just lost his job and wants to take legal actions against the company.
• Helps in selecting the right person for the right post
• Psychological evaluation gives a clear picture of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses
• Expert judgement provides better insights
• Simulations help understand the exact behaviour a candidate might display at any situation
• All employees go through similar exercises so it is a fair process of evaluation and cannot be contested easily
• Process is expensive
• Highly time consuming, can take over a week to complete the whole process
• Evaluators may be biased
• IT is necessary to have trained and experienced evaluators otherwise it is a failed exercise