Assessment centers are "a variety of testing techniques designed to allow candidates to demonstrate, under standardized conditions, the skills and abilities that are most essential for success in a given job ".Assessment centers refers to an approach rather than a physical place, and consist of some or all of a variety of exercises like job-related simulations, interviews, in-basket exercises, group discussions, personality tests, management tests and other exercises, aimed at finding the competence of a candidate. The selection of specific techniques would depend on the competencies that require evaluation.The purpose behind establishing assessment centers is to predict the candidate's traits and skills that would determine their future job performance, through their performance in a set of tasks similar to the job under evaluation. Assessment centers facilitate observation and measurement of behavior, quite distinct from many traditional selection approaches where the selector infers personal characteristics based upon subjective judgments and usually precious little evidence except a freewheeling social interaction.
[...] Another major characteristic of assessment centers are the use of multiple assessors, who pool in their individual observations and judgments to provide a collective result and feedback. If there are many exercises, but only one assessor, or if the many assessors do not pool in their data and give separate verdicts, such events do not strictly qualify as assessment centers. Assessment centers v/s Development Centers Traditionally, assessment centers were a formal recruitment method, where the assessed candidates given a simple yes/no selection decision. [...]
[...] The United States also stared using assessment centers during the times of the Second World War. The Office of Strategic Studies used this approach to select spies. This too, met with remarkable success. The spread of assessment centers since then has been rapid. Benchmarking the success attained by the armed services, American Telephone and Telegraph Company started using assessment centers in 1956. They launched their Management Progress Study to identify the individual and organizational characteristics that would likely result in a successful manager. [...]
[...] One-to-one exercises The most common type of one-to-one exercise used in assessment centers are mock counseling sessions, where the participant interacts with another member, usually an assessor. The candidate interacts in various ways and the assessors rate the listening, communication and interpersonal skills, as well as other job-related knowledge and skills of the candidate. The traditional interview is another form of one-to-one session used in assessment centers. Such interviews serve the normal purpose of a traditional interview, which is an exchange of views while at the same time testing the candidates' attitude, communication skills and knowledge. [...]
[...] These methods permits the assessment of a much larger number of candidates per day STEP Feedback Recruitment oriented assessment centers require only a simple “Pass/Fail” feedback or a numerical score, with little follow-up. However, developmental assessment centers require a comprehensive feedback or review instead of a “Pass/Fail” verdict[vii]. Such feedbacks are rich, detailed, behavior oriented and contain forward-looking information. They include dimension level judgments, descriptions of past behaviors and guidelines on how participants could improve their behavior[viii]. Such feedback could be delivered in the form of a counseling session between the participant and the assessor, which would cater to an exchange of views, removal of misgivings and securing commitment from the participants to work towards he action plans and targets devolved from the exercises. [...]
[...] In fact, most of the tests used independently in the traditional recruitment efforts find incorporation in assessment centers depending on the need of the organization. KEY SUCCESS FACTORS Assessment Centers have received tremendous acceptance since the last fifty years because it is a proven tool to determine competence. However, there are certain critical factors that are indispensable for the success of assessment centers. Limitation The first factor for success of an assessment center exercise is limiting the number of candidates. [...]
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