Many large organisations are experienced in the use of Assessment Centres for staff recruitment. An Assessment Centre will usually consist of a range of psychometric and job-ability tests combined with interactive exercises such as group discussions, a team meeting, presentation, and problem-solving exercises such as case study analysis and inbox/in-tray exercises.  Assessment Centres are designed to replicate the real life working context, allowing each candidate to demonstrate the extent to which they have the skills and abilities required for successful job performance. They are frequently used to evaluate candidates for senior roles – where a wide range of abilities are required for success in the role, and where recruiting the wrong candidate could damage the organisation.

Assessment Centres are also commonly used where multiple identical roles need to be filled, such as graduate entry schemes. Here, there may be a very large pool of applicants and the testing may be based more on measuring suitability and latent ability to learn the skills required in-post.

As the name suggests, Assessment Centres traditionally take place in a physical location with candidates attending to be tested. Many Assessment Centres now take place online, or in a blended style, with initial testing, perhaps to build a shortlist, online. For more information on online assessment see our article – Why Online Assessment Centres are here to stay.

So, what lessons can be learned by organisations, who perhaps would like a more robust recruitment process, but don’t want the expense and complexity of managing a formal Assessment Centre? For medium to large-sized organisations who are not using Assessment Centres:

  • Online Assessment Centres work at least as well, we think better, than the traditional process. Many exercises can be delivered, and evaluated, online by using video assessments. Online assessment also allows candidates who are unable to make the fixed date of an assessment centre, to be assessed at a mutually-convenient time.
  • As online assessments often don’t need to be observed as they happen, the number of skilled assessors, outside experts or trained HR staff, can be reduced as required. This also can allow more assessors to review the performance of each candidate.

In practice online Assessment Centres collect more reliable data at a lower cost and increase the chance of finding the best candidate(s) for the role.

Smaller organisations, who can’t justify the cost and complexity of a formal Assessment Centre but would benefit from a more robust and scientific recruitment process might consider a simplified process with a smaller number of assessment exercises to measure candidates’ key skills.

Most of these assessment exercises are available online, either as standardized tests/tools, or ones that can be customised to your requirements. This allows any organisation, however small, to get the benefits of realistically-priced online testing, and to collect better information about their candidates.

ORDL has two decades of experience in arranging Assessment Centres for organisations from national governments and large NGOs to commercial organisations. We are convinced of the value of virtual assessment centres and can build and operate these for you. The assessment tool set we use in our own Assessment Centres is now available online for your use.

If you like any information on how to organise online assessment, please get in touch.