How assessment centers work

My June article on career advancement, Strategies for answering situational questions, began a discussion on how to excel on promotional examinations that used an assessment center process. Since all my articles build on one another, I recommend you go back and review my June article briefly because it provides a comprehensive analysis of what an assessment center is, the “dimensions” assessors used to grade the various components of the examination process, and how the various “real-life” situational examination components are created.

One of the concerns in running an Assessment Center examination process is how to manage large numbers of candidates. It's expensive and time consuming when compared to traditional testing. Each candidate goes through from four to eight individual or group exercises, with a minimum of two assessors evaluating each (except for the exercise known as the "in-basket," in which there is usually only one). Since assessment centers often use "role players" as part of the exercises, more people are needed. The higher the rank the procedure is testing for (Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief) the lower the number of candidates and the more manageable the testing process becomes.

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