Assessment center techniques to activate selection processes
For the last few years, an increasing number of companies are choosing assessment center techniques to make sure the candidate they’re going to hire is the most suitable for a certain position. No wonder, since this selection method increases the odds of recruiting the right person up to 70%.

Although its name may lead to confusion, an assessment center is not a particular place. It is a series of tests that go one step beyond interviews, which have somewhat lost their capacity to get to know a candidate in depth merely through surprise questions. Furthermore, researches conducted by major companies such as Google have made clear that this method can lead to wrong recruitment, since candidates search on the Internet for the most common questions asked and learn the answers recruiters are willing to listen.

One of the advantages provided by assessment center techniques is that they ensure more equity among the candidates than an interview, in which, according to diverse studies, the decision to hire a certain person is taken primarily during the first minutes based on first impressions. The combination of different drills allows to overcome that judgement made unconsciously and to make a decision founded on criteria such as leadership skills, ability to work under pressure, team working or reasoning capacity, among others.

In order to know a candidate in depth and recruit the most suitable one for the vacant position, assessment centers resort to several techniques like the ones explained below:

● Role-playing allows to observe the nature of a candidate, even if the situation is not real. This methodology exposes his way of interacting with other people, as well as his attitude and behaviour.

● The reactions of a subject may also be inferred through dry runs. They’re used to recreate a situation that may occur on a daily basis in a company, either among colleagues, customers or suppliers. This activity serves also as a way to evaluate the candidate’s strategic planning skills, analytical capability and team work predisposition. This drill is of great use when trying to identify future leaders. In fact, assessment center techniques are not meant to be used only for recruiting new staff members, but also during internal promotion processes.

● As for presentations, in which the candidate is provided with a topic he must elaborate on, recruiters have the chance to analyze each individual’s organizational, argumentation, oral expression and emotional intelligence skills. One of the topics that can be proposed to the candidate is to prepare an action plan for the first few months on duty, thus allowing to assess if he has a forward-looking approach.

● During the in-basket test, the candidate is provided with a series of documents similar to those he would be dealing with in the vacant position, and he’s asked to deliver a proper response to them within a given timeframe. The intention is to know his decision-making, problem-solving skills and his ability to communicate assertively.

The sum of these techniques will allow the HR department to have a wider perspective of how a candidate would manage in the vacant position, and to choose the person most suitable for the profile being looked for.

Sources:, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Consumer Pshychology and

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