development centres

Assessment/Development Centres have gained wide recognition as a systematic and rigorous means of identifying behaviour for the purposes of recruitment, selection, promotion and development within the workplace. Good Assessment/Development Centres provide the following benefits:

  • Highly relevant/observable and comprehensive information
  • Effective decision-making, including workforce planning
  • Added fairness from multiple judgements (versus single judgements)
  • An enhanced image of the organisation from use
  • An effective preview of the role/job level
  • Developmental payoffs to candidates/participants arising from self-insight obtained
  • Developmental payoffs to assessors/observers arising from involvement in the process
  • A legally defensible selection system
  • A method of assessment that predicts work performance

key features of assessment/development centres

Assessment/Development Centres have a number of key features. They are essentially multiple assessment processes, and there are various ways in which a group of candidates/participants takes part in a variety of exercises, observed by a team of trained assessors/observers, who evaluate each candidate/participant against a number of pre-determined, job-related behaviours. Decisions (for assessment or development) are then made by pooling shared data. These aspects are described below.

Multiple candidates/participant

One of the key features of an Assessment/Development Centre is that a number of candidates/participants are brought together for the event (physically or via information technology).

Combination of methods

The focal point of most Assessment/Development Centres is the use of simulations. The principle of their design is to replicate, so far as is possible, the key aspects of situations that an individual would encounter in the job for which they are being considered. To gain a full understanding of a person’s range of capabilities, it is usually the case that one simulation is insufficient to develop anything like a complete picture.

Team of assessors/observers

To break out of the difficulties that are associated with the one-on-one interview, used either as a means of selection or in some aspects of performance measurement, it is important to use a team of assessors/observers. Ideally each assessor/observer should be able to observe each participant in at least one of the various situations in which they are asked to perform, to aid objectivity.

Large group of students at university amphitheater

To gain a full understanding of a person’s range of capabilities, it is usually the case that one simulation is insufficient to develop anything like a complete picture