Assessment Center: A Valid Method for Evaluating Employees’ Potential and Abilities

The development process of any company directly depends on its employees — their professional skills, personal characteristics, and motivation. But how can you determine whether a job candidate possesses the necessary qualities?

This is where an assessment center comes to the aid of managers. From this article, you will learn what assessment is, what methodologies it can include, and why it is better than traditional evaluation methods.

What is the essence of an assessment center?

An assessment center is not a physical place in the conventional sense, so there is no need to imagine it as something similar to a mall. It is a regulated complex of unique diagnostic methods that allow for an objective assessment of a person’s abilities, attributes, and suitability for a position.

Typically, the participants are evaluated by experts with the relevant qualifications, rather than company managers. This helps to avoid bias and personal judgments, ensuring the reliability of the results.

Currently, the assessment center is the most modern, accurate, and fair method among all possible options. According to research by the British Psychological Society (BPS), the reliability of assessment results is approximately 65-70%. In comparison, behavioral interviews have a reliability rate of about 48-61%, situational modeling methods have 54%, and traditional interviews have as low as 5-19%.

This means that during a regular conversation, it can be quite difficult to obtain comprehensive information about a person. Even if an employee possesses the necessary hard skills, their personal qualities may not align with further development in such a position. In a work environment, this can lead to conflicts and even undesirable terminations.

An assessment center provides the opportunity to fully reveal a person’s potential and test their performance in conditions that are close to real-life situations.

This method is beneficial for both the hiring company and the participant themselves. Managers can accurately determine whether an employee is suitable for a position, while the individual being tested can identify their strengths and areas for development. It is important to note that assessment can be used not only to evaluate existing employees for career advancement or skills enhancement but also for hiring new personnel into the company.

Types of Assessment

Assessment centers are typically used after the initial selection of participants, which is carried out by managers. This helps to save resources and reduce testing time. An assessment center can be conducted in different formats, depending on the company’s objectives:

  1. Express Assessment. The simplest and quickest form of assessment, usually lasting from 2 to 6 hours. It is commonly used for hiring new employees or building a talent pool.
  1. Classic Assessment: This format of assessment typically lasts 1-2 days and involves various methodologies. It is suitable for creating a pool of experienced professionals, refreshing the management team, and developing a growth plan for key positions.
  1. Psycho-physiological Assessment: Considered the most accurate method of all, participants undergo assessment while wearing special bracelets that measure psycho-physiological parameters. It helps determine specific situations that cause stress, fear, etc. This approach is recommended for testing candidates for managerial positions or positions with consistently high levels of stress.
  1. Online Assessment: As the name suggests, all exercises and tests are completed remotely by participants. The duration of such assessment is typically 3-5 hours. This method is versatile as it is suitable for both hiring new employees and assessing the skills of candidates for managerial positions.

In addition, assessment centers can also vary in terms of the number of participants:

  • Small (3-5 people);
  • Medium (8-12 people);
  • Large (20-30 people).

In some cases, mass assessment of candidates (30+ people) or individual testing is possible.

Main Methodologies and Techniques

An assessment center encompasses a range of diagnostic methods, each aimed at uncovering the candidate’s potential and personal qualities. All these methods are important because the final report is based on the results of each stage. The specific set of methodologies may vary depending on the objectives and format of the assessment. However, there are key techniques that are present in almost any assessment:

  • Series of tests and questionnaires;
  • Simulation exercises;
  • Mock scenarios;
  • Solving real-life cases;
  • Interviews;
  • Role-playing;
  • Group discussions.

This variety of tasks allows observers to accurately assess employees’ levels of competence, organizational and cognitive abilities, as well as gather factual data.

Who to Entrust with Conducting the Assessment?

The main requirement for an assessment center is to have qualified specialists. If the company has such employees, the assessment can be conducted by the HR department. However, as practice shows, it is much easier and more beneficial to engage external consultants. This approach offers several advantages:

  1. Resource savings: The company does not have to spend money on training and continuous professional development for its own experts.
  1. Independence of results: Specialists from external companies always provide objective and unbiased assessments. The conducted tests should not be based on personal relationships or family ties.
  1. Fast assessment: Due to their accumulated experience, external consultants can complete the final reports and conclusions more quickly.

When choosing specialists to conduct an assessment center, give preference to reputable companies that have been in the market for several years. They must have real work experience, successful case studies, and resources.

Our company is one of those that meets all the criteria described above. We have been organizing and conducting assessment centers for over 5 years. Our clients include leading Ukrainian and international corporations.

We conduct a one-day event where employees engage in various exercises both in groups and individually, including a series of tests, trial scenarios, and case solving. After this practice, each participant receives a detailed assessment highlighting their strengths and areas for development.

Furthermore, we take into account the situation and conduct the event not only offline but also in online and hybrid formats.

Do you have any doubts or questions? We offer a free 15-minute online consultation where you can get all the answers you need.

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