Assessment Centers (Employment Testing)

Assessments centers can be designed to measure many different types of job-related skills and abilities, but are often used to assess interpersonal skills, communication skills, planning and organizing, and analytical skills.  The assessment center typically consists of exercises that reflect job content and types of problems faced on the job.  For example, individuals might be evaluated on their ability to make a sales presentation or on their behavior in a simulated meeting.  In addition to these simulation exercises, assessment centers often include other kinds of tests such as cognitive ability tests, personality inventories, and job knowledge tests.  The assessment center typically uses multiple raters who are trained to observe, classify, and evaluate behaviors.   At the end of the assessment center, the raters meet to make overall judgments about peoples performance in the center.

Advantages of Assessment centers

  1.  Have been demonstrated to produce valid inferences for a number of organizational outcomes (e.g., promotion rates).
  2.  Can reduce business costs by identifying individuals for hiring, promotion or training who possess the needed skills and abilities.
  3.  May be viewed positively by test takers who see the close relationship between the test and the job.
  4.  Can provide useful feedback to test takers regarding needed training and development.
  5.  Focus more heavily on behavior demonstration than simply assessing characteristics.
  6.  Use trained raters.
  7.  Are typically less likely to differ in results by gender and race than other types of tests.

Disadvantages of-of Assessment centers

  1.  Can be costly to create and administer.
  2.  Require more labor (e.g., assessors, role-players, etc.) to administer than most other methods.
  3.  Require more time to administer than most other methods.
  4.  Can be difficult to keep calibrated or standardized across time and locations.

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