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Published by: rohanw_1 on Apr 08, 2011
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What is an Assessment/Development Centre?
The term assessment centre does not refer to a physical place, instead it describes an approach. Traditionally an assessment centre consisted of a suite of exercises designed to assess a set of personal characteristics, it was seen as a rather formal process where the individuals being assessed had the results fed back to them in the context of a simple yes/no selection decision. However, recently we have seen a definite shift in thinking away from this traditional view of an assessment centre to one which stresses the developmental aspect of assessment. A consequence of this is that today it is very rare to come across an assessment centre which does not have at least some developmental aspect to it, increasingly assessment centres are stressing a collaborative approach which involves the individual actively participating in the process rather than being a passive recipient of it. In some cases we can even find assessment centres that are so developmental in their approach that most of the assessment work done is carried out by the participants themselves and the major function of the centre is to provide the participants with feedback that is as much developmental as judgmental in nature. Assessment centres typically involve the participants completing a range of exercises which simulate the activities carried out in the target job. Various combinations of these exercises and sometimes other assessment methods like psychometric testing and interviews are used to assess particular competencies in individuals. The theory behind this is that if one wishes to predict future job performance then the best way of doing this is to get the individual to carry out a set of tasks which accurately sample those required in the job and are as similar to them as possible. The particular competencies used will depend upon the target job but one will often find competencies such as relating to people; resistance to stress; planning and organising; motivation; adaptability and flexibility; problem solving; leadership; communication; decision making and initiative. There are numerous possible competencies and the ones which are relevant to a particular job are determined through job analysis. The fact that a set of exercises is used demonstrates one crucial characteristic of an assessment centre - namely that it is behaviour that is being observed and measured. This represents a significant departure from many traditional selection approaches which rely on the observer or selector attempting to infer personal characteristics from behaviour based upon subjective judgement and usually precious little evidence. This approach is rendered unfair and inaccurate by the subjective whims and biases of the selector and in many cases produces a selection decision based on a freewheeling social

What is the difference Between Assessment and Development Centre? Assessment centers usually • have a pass/fail criteria • are geared towards filing a job vacancy • address an immediate organizational need • have fewer assessors and more participants • involve line managers as assessors • have less emphasis placed on self-assessment • focus on what the candidate can do now • are geared to meet the needs of the organization • assign the role of judge to assessors • place emphasis on selection with little or no developmental feedback and follow up • give feedback at a later date • involve the organization having control over the information obtained • have very little pre-centre briefing • tend to be used with external candidates Development centers usually • do not have a pass/fail criteria • are geared towards developing the individual • address a longer term need • have a 1:1 ratio of assessor to participant • do not have line managers as assessors • have a greater emphasis placed on self-assessment • focus on potential • are geared to meet needs of the individual as well as the organisation .-2interaction after which a decision was made as whether the individual's 'face fit' with the organisation.

In-tray exercise In this type of business simulation exercise you are given a heaped intray full of company memos.-3• • • • • • assign the role of facilitator to assessors place emphasis on developmental feedback and follow up with little or no selection function give feedback immediately involve the individual having control over the information obtained have a substantial pre-centre briefing tend to be used with internal candidates The evaluation of the activities of assessment or development centres depends on which indicators need be assessed. each taking terms at being the key employee. This interview could be with someone from the department to which you applying. suddenly alarm goes off. reports and correspondence. These are likely to probe any doubtful areas that may have emerged at a first interview. awkward situation. to exercise your judgement and express . which will be played out. The scenario. for example. Business case study customised so to be relevant to the client company. so it is worth reflecting back and thinking about how to handle them. Assessment or development centres generally include the following: Interviews You are still likely to encounter either one –to one or panel interviews at assessment centres. In this task individuals will be assigned roles. that you are in the office on the phone to a dissatisfied and angry client. telephone and fax messages. which must be tamed with quick thinking. You are expected to take decisions on each item. together with information about the structure of the organisation and your place within it. In this kind of exercise you are given a set of papers relating to a particular situation and asked to make recommendation in a brief report. to thing clearly and logically. Role play Imagine. You are tested on your ability to analyse information. will usually be related to either a typical day on the job or a particularly stressful.

rating of each competency 1-6. The tasks may encourage competitiveness or co-operation. If you can successfully address a room of delegates. Giving presentation Presentation exercise is common as part of the test centres. Groups will be provided with a brief. where 1-limited evidence of competence demonstrated and 6 – mastery of the competence. particularly your logical/analytical reasoning ability. taken under examination conditions. The number of facilitators would be as many as a 1:1 ratio with the participants. Group activities Group exercises are set to test the candidates’ teamwork ability and see who come out as the leaders and who are the followers. organisational and team norms and comparative ratings (optional but very useful once a critical mass of employees have gone through the Centre). your confidence cannot fail to impress. the results of the psychometric tests. which should be practised and is very useful. It is often useful to make very brief notes. Psychometric/aptitude tests These are timed tests. The opportunity to complete with other candidates will help some candidates to perform better. which you can refer to during the talk and you should be provide with sufficient preparation time.-4yourself on paper. which they must complete within a defined time limit. depending on client requirements. The outputs of the Assessment and Development Centres take the form of: notes written by facilitators against the competencies agreed. designed to measure your intellectual capability for thinking and reasoning. The outputs will assess the performance of participant against predetermined criteria that have been identified as being important in the organisation: iterpersonal skills team working skills . The number of participants would vary in size from 8 to 16. Few people enjoy public speaking but it is a discipline.

-5 communication skills – both written and oral leaderships skills time management skills listening skills motivation and enthusiasm data analysis skills decision making skills influencing skills creativity integrity initiative .

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