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The advantages of assessment centres
Assessment centres can be useful for screening multiple candidates, as well as in individual interview cases. They can perform a vital task in eliminating any unsuitable candidates before you go through a lengthy process with them, or they can be used to select the most appropriate from a group of potentials.
One of the advantages of assessment centres is that the tests used provide a detailed insight into the ability, psychology, alignment of values, and motives of candidates. Assessment centres are held either in-house or through an independent company.
These are seven of the test methods utilised by assessment centres:
1. Biographical interview
This is a CV-based interview. Assessors will ask questions about past roles and responsibilities and what skills the candidate has learnt from them. It is also good for identifying key successes and an ideal time to talk about the candidate’s qualifications and hopes for career expectations and progression.
2. Behavioural event interview
Candidates are asked for examples of experiences from previous job roles that show their abilities. It is based on the idea that how they have overcome a problem they had in their previous role will be a good indicator of how they would deal with a problem in a future role. It can highlight a candidate’s analytical skills and aptitude for problem solving.
3. Role play
Role play tests a number of things. The assessor gets a good idea of how confident a candidate is, and how good they are at thinking on their feet. It also shows how effectively a candidate can prioritise and solve problems. Role plays can be conducted in groups or individually, where the assessor would be part of the exercise.
4. Group exercise
In many cases, being able to work in a team is imperative to a job. A group exercise usually involves the assessors setting a target for the group then watching and listening to see how the group achieve their goal. Many qualities can be assessed in this way, for example: listening skills, decision making and the ability to delegate. It also highlights any weaknesses candidates might have such as; not being able to stand up for themselves.
5. Psychometric testing
These tests provide an employer with an insight to the candidate’s personality. There’s no correct answer, they only offer more detail of how the candidate actually thinks rather than what they think the interviewer is looking to hear.
6. Verbal and numerical testing
These tests can be conducted on and offline, either on the assessment day or in advance if the assessor wishes. They provide evidence of a candidate’s verbal and numerical skills while they’re under the pressure of a time limit.
7. Presentation exercise
Candidates can prepare some sort of presentation to show on the day of assessment. Usually based around something relevant to the role, the presentation could take the form of a business plan. This shows two things; how much thought and effort the candidate puts into making the presentation and also how confidently and adeptly they can present ideas to others and how they think on their feet.