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Assessment centers constitute a battery of assignments and situational exercises which are competency based and are used extensively in various countries for Recruitment, Potential Appraisal, Promotion, Human Resource Development and Organizational Development. It is a technique which is used for measuring certain dimensions of a persons competency.

The Beginning
It is primarily British Invention and dates back to 1942 when it was used by the Armed Forces during world war II in the form of War Office Selection Board. The objective behind its introduction was to identify the most suitable officers for the war and to and send back to the unsuitable ones to the unit.

Tools used in Assessment Centers

Psychometric Tests Interviews Leaderless Group Discussions In-basket Techniques Management Games / Simulation Exercises Role Plays Presentations

Psychometric Test

Ability Test

Aptitude Test

Personality Test

Ability Test Attempt to measure awareness, knowledge and other such aspects. Aptitude Test Attempt to evaluate verbal and numerical reasoning ability. Personality tests - are those tests which are aimed at studying various dimensions of personality rather than the ability.

An interview is a conversation between two people (the interviewer and the interviewee) where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee. Types of Interviews Background Interviews Critical Incident/Situational Interview Behaviour Enter Interview

Leaderless Group Discussions (LGD)

An LGD consists of a group of four to six participants who are given a problem to solve and are instructed to arrive at a group decision within a specified period of time.

In basket Techniques
It represents day-to-day decision making situation which a manager is likely to face in the written form from various sources. The in basket contains a variety of material in the form of memos, correspondence, telephone messages, notes, requests, etc.

Management games/Simulation Exercise

The interactive nature of the business game provides opportunities to assess dimensions such as strategic planning, team work, team skills, leadership, analytical ability, etc.

Role Plays
It helps gain insights into various processes of human relations and also the persons attitudes and behaviour in a particular role. Dimensions judged through Role Plays: Conflict management Leadership skills Group Problem Solving Team Skills Verbal and non-verbal communication Interpersonal skill Flexibility etc.

Presentations could be on vision, various organizational issues, case studies etc.

Process of Assessment Centre

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Briefing Observation Recording Classification Rating Integration

Assessment Centre Report

It is the most important outcome of the Assessment Centre. The report should contain the following elements : 1. Brief Personal Profile 2. Summary of General Performance & Behaviour 3. Description of Performance by each Competency 4. General Strengths and Weaknesses 5. Developmental Advice and Action Plan 6. Organizational Actions.

Assessment Feedback
Feedback is the process where the participants are made aware of their observed behaviour in controlled circumstances and how they measure up to a set of competencies, which are relevant to the organization. Feedback is in two parts ; The organization receives feedback about the competency of the people therein and the participant receives feedback on his performance in the assessment centre.

Need & Use of Assessment Centers

Selection and Promotion - Supervisors & managers - Self-directed team members - Sales Diagnosis - Training & development needs - Placement Development - Skill enhancement through simulations

Advantages of an Assessment Center

Comprehensive evaluation Valid & better predictor Less adverse impact Training effect for raters Training effect for candidates Multiple uses More information for decision-making Participants like it!

Disadvantages of an Assessment Center

Requires expertise to develop Developmental time can be lengthy Requires high ratio of raters to participants Requires multiple rooms for administration Time consuming Costs more (time and dollars) Involves more people Difficult to administer for large group.