Original Research

Best practice guidelines for the use of the assessment centre method in South Africa (5th edition)

Deon Meiring, Anne Buckett
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1298 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1298 | © 2016 Deon Meiring, Anne Buckett | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 August 2015 | Published: 13 May 2016

About the author(s)

Deon Meiring, Department Human Resource Management, Economic Management Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Anne Buckett, Precision HR, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: Assessment Centres (ACs) have a long and successful track record in South Africa when used for selection and development purposes. The popularity of the approach is mainly attributable to the ACs’ numerous strengths, which include the perceived fairness, practical utility and strong associations with on-the-job performance. To maintain the integrity of the AC, it is important for practitioners and decision makers to apply the method in a consistent and standardised manner.

Research purpose: The purpose of the report is to provide practitioners and decision makers with practical guidelines and concrete procedures when using ACs as part of the organisation’s human resource management strategy. Motivation for the study: The past decade has seen significant advances in the science and practice of ACs. Now in its fifth edition, the revised Guidelines seek to provide important information to practitioners and decision makers on a number of factors when used in conjunction with the AC method, namely, technology, validation, legislation, ethics and culture.

Main findings: The Guidelines provide specific suggestions and recommendations for using technology as part of the manner of delivery. Issues of culture, diversity and representation are also discussed. New features of the Guidelines include more concrete guidance on how to conduct a validation study as well as unpacking several ethical dilemmas that practitioners may encounter. Of critical importance is a position statement on the use of ACs in relation to new legislation (Employment Equity Amendment Act, Section 8, clause d) pertaining to psychometric testing.

Practical/managerial implications: The Guidelines serve as a benchmark of best practice for practitioners and decision makers who intend on, or are currently, using ACs in their organisations.

Contribution/value-add: In the absence of formal standards governing the use of ACs in South Africa, the Guidelines provide an important step towards establishing standardisation in the use of the AC method. The Guidelines provide (1) guidance to industrial and organisational psychologists, organisational consultants, human resource management specialists, generalists and the Department of Labour, and others designing and conducting ACs; (2) information to managers deciding whether to introduce AC methods; (3) instructions to assessors taking part in the AC; (4) guidance on the use of technology and navigating diverse cultural contexts; and (5) a reference for professionals on best practice considerations in the use of the AC method.


Assessment Centres; Ethical Guidelines for Assessment Centres; Employment Equity Amendment Act (Act No. 47 of 2013, Section 8, clause d);


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