HR departments regularly face the extremely difficult task of finding the best suited employees. Going through the dozens and sometimes hundreds of CVs sent in is a big challenge. And this is just the beginning of work. After the appropriate selection of candidates, there is a time of meetings and talks during which you have to be able to assess whether they are suitable for a given position. This is where Talent Exact comes in handy with an effective package of activities as part of the assessment center service.
Assessment center aims to examine employee competencies. The AC recruitment and selection process tries to replicate the situations and challenges that will arise during the daily work in a given job.
The beginning of the assessment center can be traced back to the military. Supposedly, it dates back to antiquity, when Emperor Hadrian tested the competences of future officers in various ways. A much better documented use of the AC can be found just before the start of World War I, during the selection of German officers. Soldiers were divided into 5-person teams and subjected to various tests, e.g. they were ordered to take the wardrobes up the stairs. This seemingly pointless task, however, had a purpose: it was observed which of the soldiers would naturally assume the leadership role in the group and coordinate the course of the task.
Assessment center techniques are also used at NASA, where candidates for astronauts are subjected to a series of complex tests. The tasks examine not only the appropriate resistance to high-G or physical condition, but no less importantly, coping with stress, functioning in a closed space for a long time, or very important teamwork.
No wonder that more and more companies and corporations became interested in these recruitment techniques and adapted them to their requirements. The assessment center is most popular in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium.
As AC tasks are complex and multi-staged, the assessors should also constitute a diverse group. The team of assessors usually consists of:
All assessors should also undergo initial training in conducting AC. They need to know what to look for when recruiting and try to approach the entire process as objectively as possible – basing their assessment on the actual results of the tasks, not on their first impression.
It often happens that someone with an inconspicuous resume has extensive and required knowledge, and someone else, despite interesting-sounding positions, has not really dealt with any responsibilities or cannot cope with stressful situations.
Assessors must also know the exact requirements that are placed on the candidate in the context of the position itself. It is about knowing what a given position covers and what tasks the employee will be dealing with on a daily basis. It is also helpful to know what the development plan looks like, which will allow you to preliminarily assess whether the candidates will manage on the position not only now, but also in the future.
The main benefits of the assessment center include accurate candidate testing. A well-conducted AC allows you to resign from several months of trial periods. Candidates who have correctly completed the tasks during the exercises will cope with them on a daily basis. This method is the best way to find natural leaders for managerial positions, it also enhances teamwork skills, good preparation for public speaking, and the ability to argue their decisions.
The assessment center technique works best to select future managers, people who make decisions quickly, are resistant to stress, or possess some serious sales talents. In order for the assessors to be able to assess the selected candidates in the best possible way, the tests carried out must be adequately complex.
Through the Harrison Assessments system, assessors have access to fully integrated methods, thanks to which they receive a reliable data on each candidate. The Harrison Assessments tool checks not only knowledge, but also assesses the psychological profile. At the end of each session, insightful reports are prepared. This solution has been appreciated all over the world for over 20 years and it is successfully used by the most recognizable companies in the world, such as Microsoft or Toyota.
At the client’s request, we enrich the session reports with the results of JOB CENTRIC HARRISON ASSESSMENTS SYSTEMS research . They broaden the diagnosis of the potential of people participating in the project, as well as provide excellent material for further work on competency gaps and developmental needs.
The tasks of the assessment center are very different. Most often they cover a group of 4 to 8 people and can last up to 6 hours. What tasks will be used during AC depends on the company’s needs. Among them we distinguish:
The “in basket” method – the participant receives the documents left behind by her/his predecessor and must deal with them within a specified time and based on specific deadlines
Interviews – that is, continuous, structured interviews directed to each of the participants
Presentations – each participant makes a presentation
Observation of behavior by assessors
While both terms are intended to assess employee competencies, they do not mean the same thing. The development center is designed to assess the potential development of an employee. It allows you to examine their strengths and weaknesses. Thanks to this, it gives both the employer and the employee an insight into whether there are any areas that need to be worked on. It also allows you to determine whether the company makes good use of the full potential of the employed people. Assessment center, in turn, is primarily intended to select the right person for a vacant position – it can take place both during internal and external recruitment.