Designing an Assessment Centre for Employee Selection


An Assessment centre is a comprehensive standardised procedure comprising multiple assessment and exercises that that are based on an organisations competencies. Assessment centres can be used for recruitment, appraisal, promotion, employee development planning etc.  The strength of an assessment centre lies in the use of multiple exercises that enables better objectivity in the process. Depending on the intended purpose of an assessment centre, the procedure may also involve multiple assessors.

Assessment Centres for Employee Selection

Assessment Centres can also be used for employee selection, and the same is being done by a number of organisations. While planning such centres the following facts are to be considered.

  • Level of Hires & Volume of Hires
  • Hiring Budget
  • Relevance of Assessment Centres in the Selection Decision

Assessment Centres are expensive – you need to use multiple exercises – which may comprise aptitude tests, competency assessments, psychometrics, personality inventories, and observation by trained psychologists and assessors.  Assessment centre design would depend on the level of hires, and volume of hires and the relevance of these centres in selection process. For example – If you are planning high volume hiring for frontline manpower, and if your budget is limited – you may want to go for an online suite of multiple assessments, with or without a psychologists or assessors intervention.

If you are planning the assessment centres for key management selection, you may need to separately administer the tools and use multiple assessors. Use of multiple assessors would definitely yield more relevant assessment but would be quite expensive.

Advantages of using Assessment Centres

  • Better reliability of assessment considering multiple exercises and multiple assessors.
  • Assessment on organisational competencies for potential.
  • Helps avoid the typical errors of based on individual biases by interviewers.
  • Data obtained during the process can be further used for development planning of hires.

Selection of assessment tools:

Selection of appropriate assessment tools is a key aspect of assessment centre design. Some tools that may be used and the typical competency that they help assess are as below.

Tools Competencies being identified
Case study analysis Analytical skills, Time Management, Ability to Handle Pressure, Business Acumen, Commercial Awareness
Group exercise Assertiveness, Teamwork, Interpersonal effectiveness, Result Orientation
Presentation Assimilation of information, Presentation delivery, Work under Pressure, Communication
Role-play exercise Interpersonal effectiveness, Analytical Ability, Coaching and Mentoring, Decision Making.
In basket Delegation, Planning, Organising, Time management, Judgement, Decision Making
Business Games Strategic Planning, Team Work, Leadership

The selected tools have to be aligned with the organisations competency framework and the related assessment scoring have to be planned well so as they minimise chances of errors due to interviewers biasses.