When used for selection the purpose of an assessment centres is to provide an overall evaluation of a candidate’s ability to successful in a future assignment. They are most commonly used for higher-level job positions or for assessing managerial capability. Assessment centres evaluate how well applicants or current employees might perform in managerial or higher-level positions.
Validity and Reliability
Research suggests that when assessment centre dimensions and exercises are based on thorough job analysis they can be held to be highly valid. The exercises within the assessment centres need to exactly match the tasks and responsibilities of the target job, but they should be as close as possible to ensure validity. The scoring system, variances in responses and the instructions given to assesses (applicants) influence the reliability of the process. When the instructions are clear and the scoring is done fairly for each assesse, assessment centres are deemed as a reliable method of selection.
- Demonstrated great utility in diverse settings such as education and public safety and also for diverse positions ranging from first-level supervisors to top-level management.
- Candidates are exposed to exercises/activities that form part of the job they are applying for and they are also exposed to situations they may encounter in the job.
- Provides a good indication of the capability of applicants to deal with the tasks, responsibilities and various situations they may encounter if they were to get the job.
- Provides an indication of the maximal performance of a applicant
- If the scoring is done fairly, allows applicants to be compared against one another which may help in the selection decision.
An assessment centre is expensive and they require significant investments of resources, personnel and time.
Although they are stated to be reliable and valid there are other selection methods such as cognitive ability tests which are superior in terms of the reliability and validity, they are also much lower in costs.