Q1.  Define what an assessment centre is.

An assessment centre is an extensive evaluation technique organisations employ to identify and select suitable candidates for various job positions (Lievens & Patterson, 2011). This method generally incorporates group and individual tasks, tests, and exercises to evaluate candidates' competencies, skills, and behaviours pertinent to the specific job responsibilities (Thornton & Rupp, 2006).

Assessment centres facilitate a comprehensive and multifaceted examination of candidates, enabling employers to better comprehend their aptness for the role and their potential to contribute to the organisation's success (Gatewood et al., 2016). By integrating diverse assessment methods, assessment centres present a solid and dependable approach to selecting top candidates, minimising the probability of biased choices and enhancing overall recruitment results (Hausknecht et al., 2004).

References _____________________________________

  • Gatewood, R.D., Felid, H.S., & Barrick, M.R. (2016). Assessment centres. In Human Resource Selection (8th ed., pp 588-602). Cengage Learning.
  • Hausknecht, J.P., Day, D.V., & Thomas, S.C. (2004). Applicant reactions to selection procedures: An updated model and meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 57(3), 639-683. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2004.00003.x
  • Lievens, F., & Patterson, F. (2011). The validity and incremental validity of knowledge tests, low-fidelity simulations, and high-fidelity simulations for predicting job performance in advanced-level high-stakes selection. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(5), 927-940. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023496
  • Thornton, G.C., & Rupp, D.E. (2006). Assessment Centres in Human Resource Management: Strategies for Prediction, Diagnosis, and Development (pp. 1-17). Routledge.

Q2.  In recent assessment centre articles, which technique has been used to unconfound variance in assessment centre ratings?

In recent literature on assessment centres, the "Dimensional Ratings" or "Behaviourally-Anchored Rating Scales" (BARS) approach has emerged as a technique to minimise variance in assessment centre ratings (Lievens & Thornton, 2005). This method evaluates distinct performance dimensions, such as leadership, communication, and problem-solving, by employing well-defined behavioural anchors as benchmarks for appraising candidates (Latham & Wexley, 1977). The Dimensional Ratings or BARS technique encompasses the following phases:-

First, it involves identifying crucial performance dimensions that pertain to the job or position being evaluated (Lievens, 2001). This allows for a targeted assessment of relevant skills and abilities.

Second, it requires the development of behavioural anchors for each dimension. These anchors consist of specific, observable behaviour examples that signify varying performance levels (Latham & Wexley, 1977). They assist assessors in objectively gauging candidates' performance across each dimension.

Third, the technique calls for assessor training to ensure accurate and consistent application of the BARS system (Woehr, 1994). This may include providing guidelines, practice exercises, and feedback to clarify assessors' understanding of the dimensions and behavioural anchors.

Lastly, during the implementation and evaluation phase, assessors utilise the BARS system to rate candidates through the assessment centre process (Lievens et al., 2006). Subsequently, these ratings are analysed to determine whether the variance in assessment centre ratings has been diminished.

References _____________________________________

  • Latham, G.P., & Wexley, K.N. (1977). Behavioural observation scales for performance appraisal purposes. Personnel Psychology, 30(2), 255-268. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1977.tb02092.x
  • Lievens, F. (2001). Assessor training strategies and their effects on accuracy, interrater reliability, and discriminant validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(2), 255-264. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.86.2.255
  • Lievens, F., Chasteen, C.S., Day, E.A., & Christiansen, N.D. (2006). Large-scale investigation of the role of trait activation theory for understanding assessment centre convergent and discriminant validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(2), 247-258. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.91.2.247
  • Lievens, F., & Thornton, G.C. (2005). Assessment centres: Recent developments in practice and research. In A. Evers, N. Anderson, & O. Voskuijl (Eds.), The Blackwell Handbook of Personnel Selection (pp. 243-264). Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Woehr, D.J. (1994). Understanding frame-of-reference training: The impact of training on the recall of performance information. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(4), 525-534. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.79.4.525
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