Evaluation of Assessment Centre Technique

The assessment center techniques have a number of advantages. The flexibility of form and content, the use of variety of techniques standardized ways of interpreting behavior and pooled assessor judgment account for its acceptance as a valuable selection tool for managerial jobs, It is praised for content, validity and wide acceptance in corporate circles. By providing a realistic job preview, the technique helps a candidate make an appropriate career choice. The performance ratings are more objective in nature and could be readily used for promotion and career development decisions. However, the method is expensive to design and administer. Blind acceptance of assessment data without considering other information on candidates (past and current performances) is always inadvisable.

Graphology tests: Graphology involves using a trained evaluator to examine the lines, loops, hooks, strokes, curves and flourishes in a person’s hand writing to assess the person’s personality and emotional make up . The recruiting company may, for example ask applicants to complete application forms and write about why they want a job. These samples may be finally sent to a graphologist for analysis and the results may be put to use while selecting a person. The use of graphology however, is dependent on the training and expertise of the person doing the analysis. In actual practice questions of validity and just plain skepticism have limited its use.

Polygraph (lie-detector) tests: The polygraph (The lie detector consists of a rubber tube around the chest, a cuff round the arm, and sensors attached to the fingers that record the physiological changes in the examinee as the examiner puts questions that call for an answer either yes or no) records physical changes in the body as the test subject answers a series of questions. It records fluctuations in respiration, blood pressure and perspiration on a moving roll of graph paper. The polygraph operator forms a judgment as to whether the subject’s response was truthful or deceptive by examining the biological movements recorded on the paper. Polygraphs despite string resistance by many applicants are increasingly being used by companies which have problems about inventory and security of funds. Government agencies have begun to use the polygraph, though in a limited way after the passage of the Employees’ Polygraph Protection Act in USA in 1988, especially for filing security, police, fire and health positions. Critics, however, question the appropriateness of polygraphs in establishing the truth about an applicant’s behavior. The fact is that polygraph records biological reaction in responses to stress and does not record lying or even the conditions necessarily accompanying lying. Is it possible to prove that the responses recorded by the polygraph occur only because a lie has been told? What about those situations in which a person lies without guilt (a pathological liar) or lies believing the response to be true? The fact of the matter is that polygraphs are neither reliable nor valid. Since they invade the privacy of those tested. Many applicants vehemently oppose the use of polygraph as a selection tool.

Integrity tests: These are designed to measure employee’s honesty to predict those who are more likely to steal from an employer or otherwise act in manner unacceptable to the organization. The applicants who take these tests are expected to answer several yes or no type of questions. Such as:

Typical Integrity Questions;

1) Have you ever told a lie?
2) Do you report to your boss if you know of another employee stealing from the store?
3) Do you carry office stationery back to your home for occasional use?
4) Do you mark attendance for your colleagues also?

Often tests contain questions that repeat themselves in some way and the evaluator then examines the consistency in responses. Companies that have used integrity tests have reported success in tracking employees who indulge in theft. However these tests ultimately suffer from the same weaknesses as polygraph and graphology.

Source: HRM VSP