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What is an assessment

The word Assessment means ‘evaluation’. The way the term is used in The Netherlands relates to the assessment or evaluation that is made about a person’s personal qualities and competences. Usually this is done for purposes of personnel selection. Other terms which are frequently used in that respect are Psychological Evaluation and Assessment Center.


How is an Assessment structured?

Since the mid 1900s psychological evaluation, consisting of personality questionnaires, intelligence tests and interviews, has increasingly become part of the recruitment procedure. At some point the name psychological evaluation was changed into Assessment. Assessment is an abbreviation of Assessment Center. Assessments were originally set up by large companies to help them select the right people, often by using simulation, exercises or role-plays. These role-plays and exercises would sometimes be very extensive. These Assessment Centers were led by psychologists with help from the organisation’s managers. The origins of the Assessment Center remains unclear, these might go back over a hundred years. Currently an Assessment usually consists of a psychological evaluation and two or three simulations.
In larger companies these evaluations are sometimes done by internal departments, but they may also be outsourced to specialised agencies. These evaluation processes are governed by rules and guidelines laid out by the NIP and NVP.

Different assessments

Within HR assessments are done for one of three purposes: Selection, Personnel development, and Career planning. These assessments differ in the way exercises are phrased and the type of report that will be drawn up. Usually the questions behind an assessment are phrased in the following way:

Selection Assessment: to what extent are you a suitable candidate for this specific job?
Development Assessment: how could you develop further in your current position or in future senior positions?
Career Assessment: Where are you in your career and which career path would suit you?

Assessment elements

While the phrasing may differ, the content of the various assessments is usually the same and consists of a combination of:

  • Personality questionnaires
  • Intelligence tests or Aptitude tests
  • Simulations or role-plays
  • In-tray exercises
  • Webcam tests or online role-plays
  • In-depth interviews
  • 360 degree feedback

Specific assessments

Assessments may also be aimed towards specific roles or positions, such as:

  • Management assessment
  • Talent assessment
  • Sales assessment