The assessment center
An assessment center is not a company or building, as one might conclude from the name. The assessment center is the entire system of assignments, interviews and reports that are part of an assessment. The concept refers to an overall method rather than a company.
That does not mean that there are no assessment companies that offer all these elements under one roof and complete assessments on behalf of multiple employers. In that situation, the assessment will likely take place in the offices of the assessment company. Larger companies may organise their own assessments and have all the in-house personnel needed for it.
The different components of an assessment are conducted by professionals trained in selecting and evaluating people. For example, an assessment may start with a conversation with a psychologist, or the conversation may be the conclusion. The psychologist will discuss your interests, motivation and strengths and weaknesses with you and will also touch on the desired competences.
One or more conversation simulations are often part of the assessment center method. You may have to talk to an employee whose performance is not up to par and who needs to be corrected and motivated by you; this is often the case in assessments for executive positions. You may also have to talk to a customer or colleague. These conversation simulations are conducted by role players who have been trained in conducting assessments.
Ability test and personality questionnaires
Completing personality questionnaires and ability tests are also part of the assessment center method. These tests are often taken by means of a computer or with pen and paper. You have limited time to complete the tests and they will usually take place in a controlled environment. The tests are reviewed by especially trained psychologists and reviewers. You can practice this type of tests. For example, you can complete a short and free personality test. For the ability tests, you can prepare by for instance taking the free IQ test.
An assessment usually consists of a number of different components. Read more on the components of an assessment.