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For you – suitable talent. For them – the right job.

Millennials are known for their difficulties in making decisions in many facets of their lives – such as which career to pursue. A decision is never definite and can be changed quickly to meet immediate desires or interests. As millennials tend to jump from job to job it is unpredictable for an employer how long they will stay with the company (Klös, Rump & Zibrowius, 2016).


Should we start questioning expensive assessment centers?


It is widely known how an assessment center works in personnel selection. Job candidates have successfully completed online tests or a telephone interview before attending a physical assessment center.

Ideally, the job application was submitted via a standardized online formula that only asked for job-relevant information. This not only saves precious applicant’s or recruiter’s time as they concentrate solely on the essentials but also increase the suitability of candidates with a predefined job profile (Kanning & Colpan, 2016).

Psychometric tests are often utilized to measure the candidate’s cognitive, verbal and/or numerical performance. A number of empirical studies suggest that the higher a candidate’s test score, the more likely he or she is to perform well on the job (Kramer, 2009). The risk of buying a pig in a poke is reduced. Due to high costs of assessment centers, a careful pre-selection is recommended to increase the quota of successful assessment center candidates aka potential employees.


The Assessment Center – a strategic asset of employer branding


All this effort is only worthwhile and supporting the selection process if the assessment corresponds precisely the actual job profile. Experts, as well as job candidates, can tell that this is often not the case. In times of demographic change, the „war of talents“ and the choosy generations y and z, who enter the labor market, the candidate experience should have a much higher priority. Many companies acknowledge assessment centers as a unique advantage to present and strengthen their employer branding (Verhoeven, 2016). First of all, it can help to give candidates transparency about the applied exercises and draw a connection to the actual requirements of the position. If they understand the reasons for the assessment and to what extent this is linked to the job, the acceptance towards the assessment center increases and is perceived as a valuable experience.


Assessment Center – a one-way street?


On the other hand, employers should change their views and design assessment centers in such a way that candidates gain insight behind the façade of the company and the potential job.

There is no value in recruiting smart people and luring them with attractive benefits when they work demotivated and half-hearted within a highly routined day-to-day business. As some employers probably wonder what this might be – here is a non-exclusive list of such tasks: Administration of outdated IT systems, following an unmanageable process without freedom and endless formatting of PowerPoint slides which are not even looked at.

Companies with a high fluctuation – even though professional assessments are applied – should rethink whether honest transparency might help to reduce the fluctuation.

Candidates should be given the opportunity to have a look at IT systems or processes required to perform their tasks. Furthermore, it is recommended to connect the candidate with at least one potential teammate and to encourage an honest exchange. This will help the candidate to get a better picture of the corporate/team culture, processes, and tasks before starting the job.

The more transparent you become during the selection process, the more transparent the candidate becomes towards you.


You do not have enough applicants to run an assessment center? There is no budget for an expensive selection process?


This is the reality for most small or medium-sized corporations. The above principles can be applied regardless if an online assessment is skipped and a fancy assessment center in a stunning location is missing.

You have the advantage that in most cases you have lean processes with the ability to give candidates a broader and more realistic impression of the actual job. Use it!

An assessment center does not have to be a complex procedure with impenetrable tests to find a suitable job candidate. It is aimed to discover the approach and attitude of the candidate towards work through various exercises or simulations, such as role plays.

In a small or medium-sized enterprise, you can do this even more effective way than in large corporates.  Simply invite the candidate in for a day and have him/her work on tasks that arise in your daily business.

Dedicated job seekers will be grateful for such opportunities (those you actually want to hire). According to empirical findings, these work samples are one of the most valid selection techniques compared to other commonly used methods (Schuler, 2014).


Please help hesitant Millennials!


Let’s imagine most of the hiring companies apply this selection approach. The hesitant millennials are free, and it is generally accepted to try different professions and different companies before making a solid decision. You’ll give them the chances to experience different options and consider possible alternatives, resulting in more accurate decision-making for both contracting parties.




Kanning, U.P. & Colpan, C. (2016). Alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen: Einsatz von Online-Bewerbungsformularen in deutschen Unternehmen. Human Resources Manager, 6, 76-77.

Klös, H.-P., Rump & Zibrowius M. (2016). Werte, Arbeitseinstellung und unternehmerische Anforderungen. Die neue Generation. Roman Herzog Institut. Accessed 17/03/2018 from www.ibe-ludwigshafen.de/download/…downloads/…/RHI_Diskussion_29_Web.pdf

Kramer, J. (2009). Allgemeine Intelligenz und beruflicher Erfolg in Deutschland – Vertiefende und weiterführende Metaanalysen. Psychologisch Rundschau, 60, 82-98.

Schuler, H. (2014). Psychologische Personalauswahl: Eignungsdiagnostik für Personalentscheidungen und Berufsberatung. Hogrefe Verlag.


I am Henrick, contributor at 1789 — Beyond Revolution, a strategic consultancy with a focus on helping organizations creating new structures and empowering teams. Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Do you want to share your story? Please leave a comment below!





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