What Is an Assessment Center?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An assessment center is a type of organization that can aid in evaluating the talents and abilities of individuals, making it easier to determine if they are qualified to take on a certain role within a company structure. In many nations around the world, this type of approach to human resource management aids companies in identifying qualified candidates to consider for hiring, as well as evaluating current employees for promotions to new positions that must be filled. It is not unusual for military organizations to make use of an assessment center when considering the promotion of an individual to a higher rank, or making assignments that involve leadership of a squadron or other specific military operation.

Depending on the purpose for the evaluation, the testing at the assessment center may take on several different forms. At times, evaluations that focus on the emotional or physical attributes of the individual may be of prime importance, assessing responses to certain types of physical demands or the ability to think clearly and make decisions in stressful situations. The work of the center will also often provide assessment of such important factors as cognitive ability in general, personality traits and how they relate to a certain assignment or position within a work structure, or even the knowledge base of the individual as it relates to skills and information acquired from attending a university, trade school, or cumulative life experience.


The underlying purpose of an assessment center is to accurately discern if a particular individual is suited for a specific purpose within an organization. As part of the overall evaluation, both the traits that are considered weaknesses for the position are identified as well as the strengths that the individual would provide in that specific capacity. By making use of an assessment center, companies can save a great deal of time in screening individuals who are interested in certain company positions, but may or may not possess the background and characteristics needed to be successful in that position.

A slightly different utilization of an assessment center does not involve evaluation of an individual for a specific task or employment position. The work of the center can also focus on helping individuals identify what type of work might be suitable for them, based on factors such as personality, emotional makeup, educational background, and current skill set. Aptitude is also often evaluated as part of the process, a feature that can often help individuals identify career paths that may be of interest, if they are willing to pursue training in those fields.



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