[social_share/]Are they places? Are they events? Are they Centres for Assessment? What do they actually do? We’ll answer that question but, allow us to set the stage for you first. You know when you get to that stage in the recruitment process where you’re down to one hundred, or fifty, or even 10 candidates?

They all seem good to you from having screened their CVs or from having assessed them by some other method. But what now? How do you ensure you pick the best one(s) for the job?

An Assessment Centre (AC for short) is a selection of assessment methods that candidates undergo in order for you to assess them and select the best one for the job. That’s certainly a mouthful. Think of an AC as an event where candidates go through a battery of assessments in order to be evaluated against an established set of skills and competencies that are required for successful performance on the job. Actually, that’s more of a mouthful to say, isn’t it?

OK, so what assessment methods would you use? It all depends on what you want to assess and what the actual job entails. Is it important that you simulate the work environment and see how well the candidate makes decisions and deals with obstacles? Is it necessary to test the candidate’s actual interaction with another person? Will that give you the information you need to make your decision? How about putting candidates in a group situation and assessing their communication and teamwork?

By using a variety of methods such as role plays, in tray and e-tray exercises, group discussions, written exercises, presentations, psychometrics, and structured interviews among others, you ensure you “examine” each candidate from a variety of perspectives. Each method will tell you something different or will go into more detail on the candidates’ skills. Multiple viewpoints, that’s what ACs are all about; making sure people are assessed thoroughly.

Now, don’t go imagining ACs taking days or long hours to run. They need not be long arduous processes. They can take anything from three hours up to a full day or two. It all depends on the amount of tasks the candidates have to go through.

Assessing candidates this way offers unrivalled insight into their suitability for the job role. All the results from the various assessments are collected and used for evaluation. ACs offer an in-depth look into candidates’ various skills and competencies, and provide them with an opportunity to excel and show the company what they can really do.

This is what you want after all; fairness and objectivity when assessing people. Don’t let the good ones slip away; you simply can’t afford to.