Assess and select
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), on average one third of companies use assessment centres as a method to select an employee from their candidate pool.
So what is an assessment centre and how do we get the most from them?
Assessment centres are sometimes known as selection centres and typically consist of a number of exercises designed to assess the full range of skills and personal attributes required for the job. They are usually one of the most reliable methods of assessing candidate employees. Interviews, or any other method, taken alone, may be as low as 15% accurate. However, when scores from a number of different selection exercises are combined, their accuracy can rise to over 60%.
When correctly established and run with a professional approach, most assessment centres are generally accepted as a fair method of selection, providing equal opportunities for all candidates and selection based on merit. Add to this that a typical assessment centre provides much more information about fit, skills, competencies and future potential than virtually any other method of recruitment.
What are the specific benefits?
Typical benefits of assessment centres include the improved accuracy as they allow a broader range of selection methods to be used during the process. They also facilitate an assessment of existing performance as well as helping to predict future job performance.
Several other benefits are available depending on how you stricture your assessment process. These include:
- The opportunity to assess and differentiate between candidates who seem very similar whilst giving candidates a better insight into the role as they are tested on exercises, which are focused on the role they have applied for.
- Help with building your employment proposition and employer brand. A business often impresses candidates who attend assessment centres where the process and assessment genuinely reflect the job and the organisation, even if they are rejected.
- Costs associated with an assessment centre are usually lower compared with the potential cost of many recruitment phases. Given most assessment centres also reduce or mitigate recruitment errors, there is an intrinsic cost reduction by having fewer errors.
And the potential pitfalls?
However, its important to note that as indicated, these benefits are most likely to be realised if correctly put together and implemented. So… what’s the worst that can happen?
If you get it wrong, recruits with high expectations can feel disappointed if the assessment centre has encouraged them to think the job or organisation fits their values when it clearly doesn’t. There is also a risk that if you fail to define what you want to test and how they match up with you competency framework, you will have little or no evidence for the assessment activity itself. In such circumstances it will force you to a default position of having to make the assessment based on anecdotal observations.
Despite such potential pitfalls, the benefits are strong and relatively easy to secure. Spending time planning your centre is key, as is getting help if its new to your organisation.
Want to know more about how we can help you to find the right people through an assessment centre? Click here for a confidential discussion with one of our consultants who can discuss how we can help.