How many times do we find ourselves wrestling with uncertainty and thus getting stalled in making the decision of who will be the right candidate? Because of this, it has become more and more common to involve potential candidates in an assessment centre.

But what actually are they?

An assessment centre is none other than a series of tests and exercises, carried out individually or in groups. which simulate the working reality of a company.

Through assessment centres, we can examine various aspects such as:

  • Styles of thinking: is the individual able to do a certain job?
  • Behavioural characteristics: how will tasks related to the role be carried out?
  • Professional interests: what kind of work motives the individual the most?
  • Personality characteristics: how will the individual fit into the organisational context?


Why hold an assessment centre?



Any instrument used in assessments is never 100% reliable, therefore, even during interviews, misjudgements can happen (the so-called biases).
These are ‘natural’ errors in human thinking and are judgements (and also prejudices) which are the result of mistaken interpretations of reality. This error of judgement can therefore make situations seem different to how they actually are. The result of this? Either we make a decision which isn’t the best, or we never actually make a decision for fear of getting it wrong!7

Is there a cure for this?
Given that complete certainty is never possible, relying on tests and exercises, in addition to standard interviews, allows us to reduce/eliminate the influence of subjective thinking and the consequent cognitive bias, so as to make the assessment as objective as possible.

There are many different types of assessment which allow you to assess the person as a whole and to examine the traits that make them productive in a working environment. In general, there are essentially three aspects which are looked at: Soft skills, Potential, Job match.


Soft Skill1. Assessing Soft Skills

It is usually difficult to observe, quantify, and measure an individual’s soft skills, however, these are highly relevant to performance. Through assessment centres, we can understand how a person thinks and learns, as well as their style of communication, attitudes, leadership style and what motivates them.

How can we measure them?

  • Personality tests (the Big Five) – An assessment which aims to outline an individual’s personality profile by examining the following aspects: extroversion/introversion, emotional stability, openness to new experiences, etc.
  • Motivational tests (values and motivation)  - An assessment which aims to identify the factors which push people to engage in certain activities and to persist even when faced with difficulties
  • Soft skills tests (EIFO and SMARTY) – Tools which aim to measure an individual’s personal, social, and organisational skills


Gattoleone2. Assessing Potential

People have enormous potential in certain abilities and skills that they are sometimes not even aware of. However, recognising this potential is an important asset for companies in order to achieve increasingly ambitious goals.

How can we measure it?

  • Self-evaluation – Involves the use of a questionnaire in which the participant is assessed on a series of skills and abilities. This self-perception is then linked to the results of other tests in order to understand how aware the participant is of their strengths and areas of improvement.
  • Role plays – Exercises which consist of assigning the participant a role and a scenario to emulate for a limited amount of time. Once finished, they will have to convince others to adopt their vision. Attitudes, behaviour, and reasoning methods will therefore be observed.
  • Behavioral Event Interview - An interview in which the candidate is asked to describe 5/6 situations or experience they had in a previous specific role. The candidate then responds to questions based on these experiences.
  • Self-presentations – The participant is asked to introduce themselves (standing and in front of others), and, through the choice of content – i.e. something they are passionate about unrelated to work – and the choice of words, you can obtain relevant information pertaining to communication skills, time management skills, public speaking, and management of emotions.
  • Free group role plays – A exercise in which the participant is asked to resolve a specific problem through interaction with others. In this exercise, skills of analysing, problem solving and negotiating are explored, as well as flexibility, strategic vision, listening, and handling the unexpected.
  • Hypothetical role plays – The participant will be presented with a series of complex work situations for which they will have to come up with possible strategies to manage them.


job match3. Assessing Job Match

For every company it is essential that the right person occupies the right role; it is only in doing so that a company can have excellent performers who can achieve goals and targets that others can only dream of. These assessments are used to compare the qualities of an individual with the characteristics required of a specific role – how much a person fits this position is then analysed.

How can we measure it?

  • In-basket tests – These are tests that allow you to highlight individual work behaviours in relation to a position in the organisation. The participant is asked to analyse a series of problems which have different priorities and importance, and thus, through this exercise, skills of analysing, decision making, problem solving, recognising priorities, planning, and delegating are examined.
  • Professional interests tests – This is an instrument which measures a wide range of personality traits, with an extremely small number of items. These tests reveal how a person will behave in a wide range of situations, predominantly within the working environment, and examine how they relate to others, their thinking style, and their feelings and emotions.
  • Individual interviews with psychologists – Interviews aimed at analysing a participant’s professional and educational background, their motivation in their current role, their professional expectations, etc.
  • Assigned group role plays – Exercises in which the participant is asked to resolve an issue through interaction with other participants. Skills such as analysing, problem solving, negotiating, as well as flexibility, strategic vision, listening, and handling the unexpected are examined.


What could be some of the difficulties in holding an assessment centre?



These types of assessment require a lot of time to prepare, a lot of time to carry out, and a lot of time to analyse the results.... it goes without saying that also from an economic point of view, they represent an investment! Therefore, before evaluating this as an option, you must ask yourself: Why do I need an assessment centre? What information do I want to get out of it?

If what you want to measure is not clear, ultimately you risk choosing the wrong instrument


Finding the right person to join your team/company is a difficult task that requires a complex recruitment and selection process! If you have to do this remotely, it becomes even more difficult!

Do you need support with your selection process and/or with which kinds of assessment to use?

Contact us