Saturday, May 3, 2008

Succeeding in the Assessment Center Interview

The Assessment Center interview does not refer to a specific location, but instead to a process of candidate selection. defines an Assessment Center Interview as a variety of testing techniques designed to allow candidates to demonstrate, under standardized conditions, the skills and abilities that are most essential for success in a given job using the following methods:

1. Case Studies -- If a candidate is applying for the job of Marketing Manager, one evaluation component of the Assessment Center could be the creation of a marketing plan for a new product. The solution could require that components include budgeting, promotion, scheduling etc. This type of assessment allows a potential employer to see how candidates analyze data and issues, identify solutions, create project plans and present findings.

2. In-Tray Exercises -- This exercise might have candidates actually role-play in a particular scenario to see how they prioritize tasks, handle interruptions and think on their feet when a crisis situation arises. Recruiters might also be gauging how job seekers manage operational conflicts.

3. Group Exercises -- These Assessment Center exercises give candidates an opportunity to work with a group to complete specified assignments. Job seekers get to demonstrate team work skills and interpersonal interactions in a group environment.

4. Role Plays --These exercises allow candidates to demonstrate communication skills and customer service skills. Scenarios could even be developed to gauge a candidate's listening skills or empathy and the ability to influence others.

5. Job Skills Demonstration -- Job seekers get the chance to actually perform as they would on the job. As an illustration, if you are being hired in a hourly/skilled profession as a seamstress, you may have to sew something. If applying for a position as an electrician, you may have to use a schematic diagram to complete a wiring assignment. Being considered for a Payroll Clerk? You could be asked to reconcile deposit slips or do general ledger entries.

Tips to succeed with the Assessment Center Interview:

1. All the same general rules for interview preparation apply. These include wearing appropriate attire and showing up on time, well rested and prepared to do well.
2. Take the sessions seriously. Your behavior is being monitored so try to behave as you would on the job.
3. Become very familiar with the job description and the expected success behaviors BEFORE the interview.
4. Don't try and "figure out" what they are trying to measure while you are in the interview. Focus on the tasks at hand.
5. If you are given pre-interview materials ahead of time - Read them!
6. Brush up on your industry technical skills before the interview.
7. Read instructions carefully.
8. Do an audit of your materials to make sure you have all you need to proceed successfully.


Anonymous said...

this type of interviewing is new to me. thnx for sharing.

Lauren said...

This sounds like a fun way to find employees. I'd much rather go to an assessment centre and do these activities than just a plain assessment test that a PEO gives, unless the assessment centre is step two. But I feel it would be better for employers to seek candidates this way than to read test results that may mislead them in making their decisions.