Over 50% of companies now use assessment centres as a selection tool to assist them in selecting a shortlist of candidates. Assessment Centres have proven profitable in recruiting the best talent, and they help you to discover what individuals really can do, as opposed to what they say they can do.
It is important to plan an Assessment Centre as efficiently as possible – if it goes wrong, you have wasted time and money,(especially should Company Directors or Senior Managers attend) created a poor impression of your company to work for, and not properly assessing your candidates may result in the mistake of hiring the wrong candidate for the job.
Know What You Want
Once you have completed a specific job spec and person spec, ask your existing team what they feel are the core competences, attributes and skills required for the position. This list will form the criteria for judging the suitability of each individual who participates in the Assessment Centre.
Dependant on the number of candidates attending, you will need a large open area for group exercises and a private office for presentations or 121 interviews. Where possible, try to hold assessment events on-site. This will give candidates a good opportunity to visit the company and get a feel for the environment. It is also the most cost effective location. The People Pod offer Assessment Centre facilities at great locations for easy access and local amenities.
Using different exercises will enable you to find certain competencies in the candidates. There are several different exercises that can be used, dependant on your company and the roles being recruited. The People Pod have listed 4 of the most successful exercises in uncovering certain competencies:
Some people are great at presentations – others aren’t. Asking your candidates to perform a presentation is a great opportunity to see how they take on information and format their ideas. Prior to the day, each candidate should be sent an assessment pack and part of this document should explain what you expect from a presentation, the time allocated to the session and what topics should be used. The People Pod provide a full brief for candidates on conducting a presentation, which can take the hassle out of your Assessment Centre preparation.
A group exercise is a great way to uncover specific skills and attributes – in particular, the skills you are looking for in the right candidate. You may give the group a task such as discussing the impact of online shopping in retail stores, or deciding upon the 5 key aspects of Customer Service from a given list. This group task is about prioritizing and time management. How the candidates act will uncover leadership, teamwork skills, cooperation, idea generation, problem solving and assertiveness. A great way to see how they will perform in a team environment.
An In Tray exercise will provide an insight to how the candidates would perform in the role they have applied for. You may design a task such as a pile of numerous e-mails that need to be prioritized, or a role play phone call to a customer complaint. This is a great way of determining which candidates are able to perform under stress, and to detect organisational and planning skills.
You will have a rough idea on meeting the candidates, which have certain skills, but the outgoing, confident and chatty one is not always necessarily a born leader. This role play exercise will determine a candidate’s ability to motivate, lead and engage others in working towards a goal. A great leader at Assessment stage could be an investment in a future manager for the business.
On the Day
The day is designed to be a two-way process so it’s important to start by giving the candidates an introduction to the company and what will be happening during the day.
To help make everybody comfortable, ask the candidates to briefly introduce themselves. You may ask one of the panel members to introduce them self, having first prepped them to include a humorous comment about their hobbies or outside interests - that will break the ice and help people get rid of any initial nerves they may have.
Allow enough time, and brief the group on time allocations for each of your exercises to be carried out, so that you can assess each candidate thoroughly.
It’s important to remember that when you recruit, you are promoting your company and your employee brand. Therefore, managing the rejected candidates is just as important as managing the successful ones. You can never tell where they may end up or who they will network with, so it is important to leave a positive experience in their mind. This can be achieved by giving them feedback, either on the day or soon after the event. To take the hassle out of contacting the candidates yourself, The People Pod’s consultants deliver straight and honest feedback for you, remaining positive about the day, and offering suggestions for future improvement. This can make the bitter pill of rejection seem a little sweeter.
On The Day
Many candidates will drop out of the process if there is a delay on timescales. Often it is easier to set up smaller and more frequent events than larger periodic ones. The market is far too transient to expect candidates to wait.
If possible make offers to candidates on the spot or, if not, make sure you are organised enough to make offers quickly.
Sell the opportunity
This is as much about you selling yourselves to a potential employee, as vice versa. Grab their interest, have an employee speak at the beginning about why the company is great to work for, make sure all staff running the event are professional, approachable and are selling a strong message.
Make sure candidates are not left hanging about, keep the pace of the event moving and do everything you can to ensure that candidates enjoy the experience. Whether they are successful or not, they should come away with a strong message about your company.
Have fun – your relationship with the candidates on the day will be remembered, and will create an impression of what you will be like to work with should they be successful. Represent yourself and the company – a fun culture is a great selling tool to any potential recruits!
For further information, or to speak to an Assessment Centre Planner, contact The People Pod
70 per cent of UK organisations test their workforce!
Psychometric profiling can be used to describe a person's general working style, their motivations and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and some of the basic assumptions they make about other people. It can also go far in helping to predict how a person will react or perform in various circumstances.