Assessment Centres – as a business what do I need to consider?

I’m currently working with one of our amazing clients on designing Assessment Centres for them to use now and in the future.

As I was writing the overview of my recommendations, I thought this could also be useful for others so here are my thoughts for when and if you are considering running your own.

Hopefully you will find it useful…

Audience

Assessment Centres can be used for a number of roles or recruitment campaigns.  Examples include volume positions, graduates, apprentices, placements and possibly entry level opportunities.

Team

An ‘Assessor’ team is required to ensure the candidate journey is effectively managed and all activities are maximised.  Remember to get a mix of Assessors – Operations and Support teams.  This increases perspective and gains buy in across the full business.

Also remember to include anyone or any current cohort who are currently undertaking the role(s).  They are invaluable.  They can really provide the candidates with a true insight into what they could be embarking on in the future.

Venue

Consideration is required as to where to hold the Assessment Centre.  The options (which have positive and negatives to each) are –

  • Onsite – so candidates can see and feel the environment they will be working
  • Offsite – for larger Assessment Centres multiple rooms may be required. A venue such as a football stadium may provide the capacity and also the ‘wow’ factor for candidates.

What does the candidate need?

The candidate needs to be fully briefed on what to expect or they could become overwhelmed with the experience.  Any presentation titles should be provided with at least 7 days notice to allow the candidate to be fully prepared.

Any information on the business ie a Candidate brochure could also be extremely beneficial for the candidate.

Don’t forget to also ask for any documentation you may want to take on the day.  This could include – Right to Work, Proof of Education or Referee details.

What does the Assessor team need?

It’s extremely important that all Assessors are fully briefed and ready to engage with the candidates and the day – therefore consider an ‘Assessor brief/presentation’ an hour or so before the candidates are due to arrive.

Cover the background of the candidates attending, the exercises and scoring, the individual Assessor’s team and room for the day.  This will allow them to know 100% what to expect and the part they play in the process.

Exercises

The benefit of Assessment Centres is that you can compare candidates fairly in a number of different scenarios, against different competencies, by using a number of different exercises and activities.

I would just urge you to keep them relevant…after all asking candidates to go through a ‘survival activity’ may cover prioritisation however, you could do this with something relevant to the product, services and expectations of the role.  The benefit is therefore two fold – you can assess the candidate and the candidate can assess and visualise your business.

Scoring

It is important that all Assessors know who they are scoring and how the scoring system works.

Ensure the candidates are clearly identified with name badges and/or tent cards.  Assessors are then able to know who they are looking out for and are 100% scoring the correct individual.

As far as scoring goes…keep it simple.  A basic 1-5 with 1 being poor and 5 excellent – will allow candidates to all be on the same playing field.  Cover the definition of each in the Assessor brief in the morning to ensure consistency of scoring across the full team.

Outcome

Assessment centres are amazing as they allow you to make a decision on the day.  All candidates have gone through all the activities required (which could have taken days/weeks in the usual interview stage process) so stay together as an Assessor team afterwards, debrief, compare scores and make decisions.

There is nothing better…or more well deserved…than gaining a job offer after being put through your paces at an Assessment Centre.  So let the candidates know (good news or bad) as soon as possible and thank them for their efforts. 

Hopefully, this has given you a comprehensive walk through of how to structure an Assessment Centre. 

Give SEAO Talent Partners a call or email should you require any further information, would like us to design, or indeed run an Assessment Centre on your behalf.

Sam Wall, Founder and Director.

SEAO Talent Partners – we are your in-house recruitment team

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Author

Sam Wall

Sam Wall

Founder and Director