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The value of assessment centres in your recruitment strategy

By liamarus, 25 March, 2014

by Lia Marus

 Last week, the HR Pulse team attended the 34th Annual Assessment Centre Study Group (ACSG) Conference at the Protea Hotel in Stellenbosch. Some of the top professionals in the assessment centre field participated in this event and provided insights into the assessment centre landscape. According to the ACSG committee, assessment centres have proven to provide rich layers of information for managerial decision-making. After having attended the conference, I've realised that one of these layers of information is a business' recruitment strategy.

What is an assessment centre?

An assessment centre is one of the techniques that is used to assess candidates' or your employees'' suitability for a particular job.

According to Petrus Nel, a number of aspects have to be present in an assessment process for it to be an 'assessment centre'. These are, among others:

1. Make sure you have a detailed job analysis for the person you're assessing

If you're having a candidate assessed – or if you're having one of your current employees assessed for a promotion – give your assessor a detailed job analysis of the job that the candidate would be fulfilling if he gets the job or promotion. This is so that the assessor can see if the particular candidate has the traits he would need to fulfil that particular job role.

2. Ensure your assessor uses multiple assessment centre techniques

This is so that you can give the person being assessed a chance to display their skills in a number of different ways to ensure that the best possible picture of their skills set can be given. Petrus indicates that you can use techniques such as tests, interviews, questionnaires and simulations to accomplish this.

3. Document your findings in an assessment centre matrix

To ensure you don't miss out on assessing any of the competencies you need to in a candidate, document all the competencies in an assessment matrix against the assessment centre techniques used.

Use assessment centres in your leadership recruitment strategy

Few would argue that the quality of organisational leaders is fundamental to organisational effectiveness. A variety of tools have been used to help organisations identify potential leaders. Given the interpersonal nature of the leadership role, and the shift to colleagues relying more on each other, many of these tools focus on assessing interpersonal characteristics.

Nathan Carter and Brian Hoffman from the University of Georgia in the United States say that assessment centres are one of the tools that organisations should use in their recruitment strategy to give organisations an idea of prospective leaders interpersonal skills and style.

"The problem," say Nathan and Brian, "Is that employers promote employees to managers without considering if they have the right interpersonal skills. So to ensure that the people you promote succeed in leadership positions, in your recruitment strategy first consider if the employee you've ear-marked for promotion has the required combination of soft and hard skills, as well as a keen analytical ability and the ability to get along with people before you put them into leadership positions."

This article first appeared on HR Pulse.

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