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An assessment centre is a process where candidates are assessed to determine their suitability for specific types of employment, especially management or military command. The candidates' personality and aptitudes are determined by a variety of techniques including interviews, group exercises, presentations, examinations and psychometric testing.



An early example of assessment is the story of Gideon selecting the most suitable Israelite warriors:[1]

Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. The Lord said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home."

In modern times, the German army introduced assessment techniques for selecting its officers in the 1930s. Psychologist Max Simoneit was appointed to head the army's laboratory and introduced leadership tests. These were terminated in 1941 after too many favoured candidates had failed them.[1]

Assessment centres were created in World War II to select officers and are still commonly used in military recruitment today. Examples include the Admiralty Interview Board of the Royal Navy and the War Office Selection Board of the British Army.[2] After World War 2, The OSS type of assessment center was essentially abandoned in The United States except for some internal use in intelligence gathering operations by the CIA. The British Civil Service Selection Board and Australians identified participants still used it for selection on their military college. Also, south Africans used the technique to identify supervisors in gold mines.

Assessment centers specifically applied for industrial usage can be traced back to the early 1950s and the pioneering work of Robert K Greenleaf and Douglas W. Bray of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T). Douglas W. Bray as a director of human resources at AT&T, directed a study that lasted over 20 years and followed the careers of young business managers as they progressed up the telephone company rankings. This study showed that the assessment center method could successfully predict organizational achievement and was later implemented throughout AT&T and later on adopted by many other companies: IBM, Standard Oil (Ohio) and Sears for example.

In 1975, the first guidelines on the use of assessment centers was created as a statement of the considerations believed to be most important for all users of the assessment center method. The guidelines ensure the integrity of the process, the validity of the data, qualifications of assessors, and the rights of the participants. The guidelines have since been revised several times to reflect current legality issues, global insights, and technological advances in the field. The most current version of the Guidelines and Ethical Considerations for Assessment Center Operations was endorsed by the 38th International Congress on Assessment Methods in Alexandria, Virginia in October 2014. Today, The ACM is used by organizations all over the world in both private and public sectors to better select of employees and identifying their development in different areas. [3]

AT&T created a building for recruitment of staff in the 1950s. This was called The Assessment Centre and was influential on subsequent personnel methods in other businesses.[4]

Other companies use this method to recruit for their graduate programmes by assessing the personality and intellect of potential employees who have recently graduated from university and have nil or limited work history. The big four accountancy firms conduct assessment centre days to recruit their trainees. 68% of employers in the UK and USA now use some form of assessment centre as part of their recruitment/promotion process.[5] In recent years companies have been set up to support assessment centre coaching.[6][7]


Assessment center is not just a building for assessing a job candidate. it is a process of eveluation of behaviour based on multiple evealuation including: job related simulations, interviews and/or psychological test

The ultimated reason for having an assessment centre in any organization is to gather all relievant in formation under a standardized condtions about an individual’s capabilities to perform a given task. Assessment centers are often the method of choice for selecting senior leaders in government and municipal jobs, including police chief and fire captains.

During the process of assessing a candidates series of exercises that are designed to simulated the condition of a given job are given to the candidate to do. This help the assessor to determined if the candidate possesses the necessary skill and behaviour needed for the job.

The assessement center method provides a sort of wide-ranging, multidimensional assessment that has a strong record of both research significance and practical effectiveness to be accepted by participants and decision-makers alike. In esssence, the purpose of assessment centre is to examine the skills and pschological state of an individual in order to detemine his or her performance. [8]


1. They are far more accurate than a standard recruitment process as they allow a broader range of selection methods to be used during the process

2. They enable interviewers to assess existing performance as well as predict future job performance

3. They give the opportunity to assess and differentiate between candidates who seem very similar - in terms of quality - on paper

4. They give the candidates a better insight into the role as they are tested on exercises, which are typical for the role they have applied for

5. They help employers build an employer brand. Candidates who attend assessment centres which genuinely reflect the job and the organisation are often impressed by that company, even if they are rejected

6. The cost of an assessment centre is usually cheaper compared with the potential cost of many recruitment phases and the cost of recruitment errors

7. They complement an organisational diversity agenda and ensure that people are selected on the basis of merit alone.

8. Also, this method is more reliable than any of the others for predicting success at work.

9. Another benefit is that assessment centres enable you to compare candidates with reasonable objectivity.

10. Furthermore,these Centres enable to test verbal and numerical skills of the applicant.

11. At Assessment centres,the ratio of assessors to participants is easier to control [9]

Examples of Assessment centresEdit

The Elite Graduate Assessment Centre They recruit exclusively from top universities* They specify very high academic achievements as a minimum requirement They make no secret of the high-level of remuneration They expect total commitment from successful candidates

The Graduate Assessment Centre The graduate assessment centre is used by many organisations to recruit their annual intake for their graduate/management programme. Most of these organisations will be household names, but they won’t have the ‘wow’ factor of the elite organisations either in terms of the initial remuneration or future prospects.

The Management Assessment Centre Management assessment centre candidates tend to be far more diverse that those attending a graduate assessment centre in terms of age, educational achievements, personal achievements, and work experience.

The Development Cenre You will most likely take part in a development centre as you progress from front-line to managerial roles, or from a general role to a more technical or strategic role, often as part of an organisation’s graduate management programme.

The Elite Graduate Assessment Centre This type of assessment centre is used exclusively by top-flight management consultancies, Fortune 100 companies and the most prestigious Government agencies. Their own marketing will focus on how their people are the best and they will make a virtue out of how difficult it is to get onto their graduate scheme. [10]


  1. ^ a b Tina Lewis Rowe (2013), A Preparation Guide for the Assessment Center Method, Charles C Thomas Publisher, p. 24, ISBN 9780398087524 
  2. ^ Iain Ballantyne, Nigel Povah (2004), "What is an Assessment Centre?", Assessment and development centres, Gower Publishing, ISBN 978-0-566-08599-4 
  3. ^ Deborah E. Rupp, Brian J. Hoffman (2006), "History", History of guidelines (PDF), Education and Praeger Publishers, ISBN 978-0-566-08599-4 
  4. ^ John Sponton, Stewart Wright (2009), "What is an assessment centre?", Managing Assessment Centres, Pocketbooks, ISBN 978-1-906610-05-0 
  5. ^ "Assessment Centre HQ". Assessment Centre HQ. 
  6. ^ Graduate Assessment 
  7. ^ What to expect at your assessment centre: A step-by-step guide 
  8. ^ hrmaster (2000), "Purpose", Purpose of the assessment centres,, ISBN 978-0-566-08599-4 
  9. ^ Getfeedback (2018), "Business benefits of assessment centres", Benefits,, ISBN 978-0-566-08599-4 
  10. ^ Psychometric Success (2017), "Assessment centres", Different Types of Assessment Centre, Psychometric Success, ISBN 978-0-566-08599-4