The Assessment Center is an old approach that has evolved a lot because it is at the crossroads of disciplines. Introduced to companies as early as 1948, it is a tried and tested method in the professional world. Although the technique has evolved over time, its basic principle remains the same: to assess an individual’s knowledge and potential through situational exercises that reveal their behaviour. Originally developed by psychiatrists and psychologists for the army, this sophisticated approach has always been linked to psychometry and psychology.?
What is a test?
A test is based on a standard sample and objectives of behaviour or mental processes. Tests are used to formalise observational data. Almost all areas of psychology can be measured by a test.
Tests can take the form of questionnaires to be completed, drawings to be made, exercises and activities to be carried out, interviews and observations.
In the same way that a blood test measures the number of red blood cells, a personality test measures specific aspects of an individual’s personality.
The test is part of the assessment process. Assessment is the set of scientific procedures used to measure an individual’s behaviour and cognitive and relational strategies.
What makes a test objective and reliable?
A test is objective if it combines the following aspects: standardisation, reliability and validity.
Each candidate must perform the test under similar conditions. Thus, each participant will be informed of the instructions in the same way, with an equivalent speech.
At Apostrof, we systematically have each participant rephrase the same instructions to ensure that they are properly understood. Our team of consultants is made up of trained evaluation professionals who are regularly involved in evaluation processes.
As a result, each exercise is conducted by a large number of people to measure the average performance and the range of performance, which we call benchmarking.
The tests seek to model real-life situations. The aim is to approximate them in order to be consistent with the usual skills and behaviours that a participant would have outside the assessment situation.
At Apostrof, all our simulations recreate real-life professional situations, in real conditions, with assessors who are physically present (even by video) and who come from the business world.
The cross observation of multiple experts reinforces the coherence of the approach. The team of assessors is composed in order to find the same diversity that exists in companies: age, profession, gender.
A test must be constructed according to the typology of its profile, or even its function, and must also take into account the context and the challenges of the professional environment. When a test evaluates the dimensions it claims to probe, it is valid.
The Assessment Center, thanks to the use of work situations, is the most reliable tool in terms of predictive validity. It is a great opportunity to assess both knowledge and behavioural skills.
The work simulation creates an environment and a working time shared by all (participant and assessors). Also, the observation and analysis of abilities is based solely on the behaviours implemented.
Diplomas and professional experience are not taken into account. The employee feels fairly judged and therefore more accepting of feedback and recommendations.
The Assessment Centre, an unique test
The various exercises that make up an Assessment Center are designed to measure observable elements. In order to do this, we use a professional situation. It allows us to highlight an individual’s behaviour in activity.
Just as it is possible to see red blood cells with a microscope, the job simulation offers the possibility of observing, almost with a magnifying glass, the way in which a person functions and the impact of his or her behaviour on peers, team members, etc.
The Assessment Center allows us to probe intelligence in action, i.e. the way in which we use our different forms of intelligence according to the work situations we encounter.
It is essential to have expertise in developing professional role plays. Indeed, these are written according to a profile, a context and the challenges of a company. They then come to life with the team of expert evaluators who carry out both the briefing and the debriefings with the participant.
This is a scientific and complex process. Only qualified assessors know how to implement an Assessment Center approach. The risk of misinterpreting behaviours or simplifying the way the individual functions.
In summary, the Assessment Center has the DNA of the psychometric world. The approach therefore fits perfectly into a diagnostic logic, while remaining complementary to other psychometric personality tests, for example. It also fits in perfectly with existing company procedures, as it complements a panel of interviews (recruitment, annual appraisal, professional) and adds the dimension of potential that is so sought after in performance reviews or career committees. The strengths of each HR process are complementary, whether in terms of objective, interview process, outcome or context.
About the Assessment Center
The Assessment or Development Center are methodologies that use a professional situation. The objective is to carry out a precise diagnosis of the strengths and areas for improvement of a candidate or employee. The objective is to carry out a precise diagnosis of the strengths and areas for improvement of a candidate or employee.
In the context of recruitment, this stage enables the company to advise on a suitable integration plan for the individual’s personality and skills. Also, having a global vision of talent is essential to prepare a new organisation within a company. In the case of internal mobility, the assessment includes specific recommendations on a development plan.
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