Individual Assessment

An individual assessment is an assessment center with only one participant – usually from senior or top management. Even though there are many similarities to the widely used group assessment center, the individual assessment has a number of special features – both in terms of preparation and implementation as well as with regard to the results.

Don't have much time to read? Here is the summary:

An individual assessment (center) is an aptitude-diagnostic procedure that is similar to the (group) assessment center and serves to assess job-relevant skills. The individual assessment center consists of various exercises (tests, simulations/exercises, questionnaires) and almost always an interview.

In contrast to group assessments, there is only one candidate in an individual assessment.

Individual assessments are carried out for various reasons:

  • There is only one applicant or employee whose potential and skills are to be assessed with regard to a target position.

  • The diagnostic procedure should take place with the greatest possible discretion, e.g. because it involves external applicants who should not be known that they have applied and therefore confidentiality must be maintained.

  • You want a well-founded diagnostic assessment from a manager.

  • The diagnostic procedure should be individually adapted to its objective (e.g. a specific vacancy).

Individual assessment centers are therefore usually used for managers and executives, less frequently for specialists or junior managers (where group tests are more commonly used).

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Definition of individual assessment

An individual assessment is a variant of the assessment center in which only one person is assessed. The aim is to determine professional aptitude in connection with employment or professional or personal development. The participant goes through various exercises (questionnaires, tests, simulations, interviews), which are observed and evaluated by one or more assessors (observers).

Difference between individual and group assessment

Which skills are tested in the individual assessment?

In the individual assessment, all competencies that are relevant to the respective task are checked. Since the individual assessment is mostly used for candidates and applicants in management, the criteria that are known from research to be relevant for executives and managers are assessed:

What advantages does an individual assessment offer companies?

  • Discreet: Particularly in the case of high-ranking applicants, it should not become known within the company (and certainly not beyond!) that this person is taking part in an assessment – this is only possible in a diagnostic individual procedure.

  • High validityThe diagnostic quality in individual assessment is significantly higher than in group procedures, as the following simple calculation may illustrate: a typical group assessment lasts 1-2 days and consists of four to eight exercises (group discussions, role play, presentations), each lasting approx. 60-120 minutes. There are usually 6-12 participants in an AC. Assuming an average AC (10 participants, 6 exercises of 90 minutes each), the observers have a total of 540 minutes of observation time. If each participant is equally active, that’s less than an hour per participant (540 min. divided by 10 participants) in which you can observe and assess their behavior.
    A typical individual assessment lasts one day (6-10 hours) and the candidate is active for at least half of the time. So, conservatively estimated, you have spent four times as much time with the candidate and have a correspondingly more sound basis for the assessment.

  • IndividualIn contrast to the group assessment center, where there is little room for individual attention to the participants, this is possible in the individual assessment – e.g. with regard to breaks, extension of the preparation time for exercises, intensive follow-up questions in the interview.

  • Agile: While there is always a fixed procedure for group assessments, individual assessments can be adapted to the situation. Here is an example: If a candidate mentions in the interview that they find it difficult to convey criticism in an appropriate form, you can add a role play to the agenda in order to supplement this self-description with a behavioral observation.

  • Development-oriented: Selection procedures always focus on the question of suitability and fit; accordingly, the feedback from selection assessment centers is strongly oriented towards the decision (“yes” or “no” to hiring or promotion) and its justification. Because of the more individualized approach described above, an individual AC (even as part of a selection process!) offers the opportunity not only to give the candidate feedback on the AC, but also to advise him or her in the form of a development discussion. An individual assessment center is therefore not only a selection process, but also adevelopment process (development center).

How does an individual assessment support personnel selection?

As individual assessments are more time-consuming than group assessments, they are mainly used for management positions and less frequently for specialists or junior staff.

If the costs of a possible wrong decision are high, individual assessments provide a little more security in assessing and hedging the risks when filling a position.

As there are often only a small number of applicants for positions, the individual assessment is often not just about selection, but about getting to know a person’s strengths and areas for development. The benefit is therefore not only to prevent completely wrong appointments, but also to provide targeted support to a manager who is suitable for the new role with certain restrictions (“onboarding“).

Individual assessment tasks: What can you expect?

How do I behave during the individual assessment?

The great advantage of an individual assessment is the personalized approach. You should use this to show yourself as you are to the observers or assessors . Here are some specific tips:

  • Show your strengths! No false modesty, report openly on the things that have gone well for you and that you are proud of.

  • Do not overdo it! Observers expect candidates to present themselves positively in the individual assessment. At the same time, they also want to see that you as a manager are self-reflective and self-critical; that’s why you report just as openly about things that didn’t go well.

  • Don’t spend too much time dealing with the supposed expectations of observers! Forget all the tips you hear or read in advance and approach the tasks as you would in your everyday working life.

  • See the individual assessment not only as a personnel selection, but as a two-way selection process. An assessment is also an opportunity for the applicant to check whether the future company matches their own skills and needs.

  • If role plays are part of the individual assessment center, try to behave as naturally as possible and not play a role.

Tips for individual assessment preparation

Go through your own CV and think about the highs and lows of each stage, what has shaped you and what you have learned from each stage.

If you are asked to complete tests and questionnaires in preparation for the assessment center, take your time to work through them. Don’t be nervous, because the results of the tests and questionnaires are usually not as important for the overall result as most people think.

Find out about the company; as an external applicant, you should obtain detailed information about the (potential) future employer. A good source are annual reports or a search on the Internet.

Individual assessment

Individual assessment for managers and executives on professional aptitude and personal development.


The individual assessment is a method of management diagnostics that is much more individual than classic group assessment centers. It therefore allows more attention to be paid to the individuality of the candidate, their values and personality as well as the specific challenges of the (future) position. It is an important tool for selection and development – especially for senior and top management.