Assessment centres focus more on the likely future performance of a candidate rather than past performance in the current job, by simulating the role and the skills required. Ordinarily an Assessment Centre will review groups of 3 to 6, with trained assessors judging performance and potential against a specific role.
Combining interviews with other exercises, Assessment Centres produce a rounded picture of candidates for jobs. Using a battery of tests to give a broader picture, there is strong empirical evidence to show that they are a more accurate predicator of performance than interviews alone, and in particular than 'unstructured' interviews.
It is important that jobs and candidate specifications are prepared and available to the assessors well in advance of the Assessment Centre, detailing required skills and competencies, as well as any critical personality traits.
The range of tools used in the Assessment Centre are typically:
- the structured interview;
- a presentation (either prepared in advance or assigned on the day);
- an in-tray exercise, often using real documents/problems;
- group exercises, both negotiating and problem-solving;
- psychometric tests, either for numeric/verbal/abstract reasoning, and/or personality tests for motivation/personality;
- written exercises, to test written and analytical skills. This could either take the form of a written report, or the analysis of a supplied written report.
- role playing, with candidates acting out business related situations