Assessment Centre (AC) as a selection methodology has been proven very effective above other methods. According to CIPD, AC has a predictive validity index of 0.7 which is the highest compared to other tools like structured interview (0.6), and work sample/ability test (0.5).
While it is important that validity of a selection tool should be a prime factor in choosing what to use for a selection exercise, we cannot rule out other factors such as cost and the practicality of applying the tool.
As much as clients appreciate the value assessment centre brings to the table in candidate selection, when discussing the implementation, they oftentimes ask us how to create efficiencies and bring cost/time savings to the process. This question is due, largely to the fact that assessment centre methodology is costly as it uses more resources than any other selection methodology. Assessment instruments have to be designed or purchased, multiple assessors must be well trained in observing and evaluating behaviour, there needs to be sufficient assessment rooms for the various activities, proper job analysis needs to be carried out and each competence must be measured at least twice, bearing in mind that about 6 to 8 competencies are being assessed.
Assessment centre, no doubt is very effective and costly, and perhaps, that is why most organisations use it at the last stage of their selection process when the number of candidates would have been reduced by other selection methods.
The concern of most recruiters that needs to be addressed is; what can I do to perfectly execute an efficient yet effective assessment centre?
Here are some of the advice we have given to our clients to effectively maximise the benefits the assessment centre brings to any selection process.
1. Consider Automating the Administration
One way to automate the administration process of an assessment centre is by hosting it virtually knowing that an assessment centre is a methodology, not a place. Most organisations would at this stage opt for a face-to-face contact, but much of the administration can still be done remotely, virtually and/or automatically. For instance, you could have participants sit in front of a laptop and log them into a virtual inbox, designed to administer activities at standardised time through fly-in emails. This totally automates the instructions for the rest of the experience. You then only need to prompt assessors and role players (if applicable) to be in the right places at the right times (as specified in those emails).
2. Cut Down on the Move-Around Time
A lot of time is unaccounted for or lost in transit during the administration of several activities in the assessment centre. This is one of the biggest causes of schedule slippage. The virtual approach naturally enhances efficiency, having participants stay in the same place for any one-to-one activity reduces movement time. Going a step further is hosting activities like role plays on conferencing platforms. All you need to do is provide assessors and /or role players and their assigned participant log-in / dial-in details. Bear in mind, from a candidate experience perspective; it is good to strike a balance between face-to-face and virtual interactions.
3. Alleviate the assessors’ workload
Another element of assessment centres easily overlooked is the workload. For the most part, the well-defined procedure would require a written summary of feedback following each activity given by the assessors, but their ability to deliver this quickly and to quality standards can often be inhibited by busy schedules. The schedule should be skillfully mapped out with time between activities to score a candidate’s performance, e.g. as the candidate prepares for the next activity. Besides, scheduling activities too close to one-another is risky, as assessors may not be available for the next exercise if their first was subject to delays.
4. Automate the scoring
Assessment centre scoring is commonly seen as open to bias because of the human element of interpreting observations from the simulations. Also it is the most time-consuming (and potentially expensive) duty of an assessor. However, both issues can be addressed with an online scoring system. Workforce online assessment centre is a good example of an online scoring system. It calculates scores per competency based on how an assessor has rated each specific behavioural criterion: demonstrated, not demonstrated or strongly demonstrated. You can also generate feedback comments automatically based on these ratings, speeding up the process drastically.
There are several other ways you can make your assessment centre more effective, these are just few tips. Get in touch with any of our consultants for complimentary advice on how you can make your assessment centre more effective.
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