Virtual Assessment Center
The assessment center (AC) method is often used in personnel selection to assess job applicants' social competences. Virtual ACs seem to be a logical answer to the constantly increasing globalization and virtualization of workplaces, especially since it is technologically feasible to administer interpersonal AC exercises, such as role-play, via the Internet. Virtual ACs can be expected to gain increasing importance and may change the functionality and purpose of the face-to-face contact in a personnel selection process if most data on an individual's competences can be collected online in a reliable and valid way. Béatrice Hasler evaluates the diagnostic value of online role-play as a pre-selection instrument. The main research questions were concerned with the quality of assessment data obtained with different media and what assessor bias and adverse impact might occur in online and face-to-face assessment. In addition, the assessees' acceptance of and affective reactions to the assessment media were evaluated. The findings give reason to assume that virtual ACs have the potential to reduce costs of an assessment procedure as they are able to identify the most promising candidates and to predict their face-to-face behavior better than chance. Based on theoretical considerations of the consequences of media characteristics for social competence assessment and based on the empirical results, recommendations are derived for human resource professionals and organizational psychology researchers. Presenting a first step towards the validation of virtual ACs using interactive web-based exercises, Béatrice Hasler lays the corner stone for further media comparison studies concerning their diagnostic value.