5 steps to help design a great assessment centre

July 17, 2017 11:27 am Published byAzesta

Hits: 562 With recruitment and selction costing on average £5000 to £50,000 per person, it really does pay to select the right person first time round! And with research showing that the predictive validity of an interview is as low as 0.2 even with great questions, it is clearly not the best way to find your perfect recruit.

A process that provides a true predicition of on-the-job performance and helps gain a real insight into the talents and personality of a potential employee is needed.

Step One

Ensure that your person specification is as accurate as possible and has a great list of the qualities and competencies ideal for the role.

Step Two

Select the mix of tasks required and put together a detailed schedule for the day ensuring that all qualities and competencies are going to be able to be assessed. Also make a table for the end of the day into which all observers scores will be entered along with test marks and plan who is observing who when to enable trinagulation of data and fairness. Activities to possibly include are…

  • Ability tests such as verbal and numerical reasoning or clerical tests depending upon the role and level (these enable clear benchmarking of ability against all candidates and often people who have previously been successful in the role)
  • Personality tests such as an ‘Occupational Personality Profile’ (these can be cross-matched against the job description and person specification)
  • Presentations (these may be focused on aspects of the organisation that participants would like to change)
  • Job sampling (for example in a marketing role, participants might need to set up a series of tweets or make a flyer, in a senior management role they might need to analyse a report and make recommendations, for a training role they might deliver a short session)
  • Role plays (these enable you to ascertain for example just how good candidates are at coaching, running a one-to-one or dealing with a customer complaint and you can use professional roleplayers or other employees)
  • Interviews (these can include quesstions that follow up on the personality testing and results in the different activities undertaken)
  • Group activities (these are great for looking at how candidates work within a team, make decisions, negotiate or lead depending upon what you choose and how you set them up)

Step Three

Hold a briefing for all the assessors, ensuring that they absolutely understand the schedule, where they need to be and when and what exactly you are looking for them to observe and take notes on. Show them examples of useful notes and explain the scoring system you are going to use and the minimum scoring threshold for appoinment.

Step Four

Run the day giving careful thought to having a great overall facilitator who is able to put participants at ease and provide a positive first experience of the company. Not all candidates will be successful, but those that are not need to be left feeling that they wish they had been offered the job and that your organisation helped their learning and self-awareness and likelihood of success in future assessment centres. The facilitator will need to brief tasks carefully, provide feedback and ensure that the experience is positive and fun.

Step Five

Hold a faciliated meeting with all assessors to establish fair scores for all candiates based on their feedback and evidence of the required skills and competence.

At Azesta we have designed and faciliated assessment centres for a variety of roles and these have resulted in some great people being hired. I also recently wrote an article about some of the best team tasks to use in assessment centres which can be found by clicking here.

“Thank you very much for developing and organising, alongside us, a very successful assessment centre. You understood the needs fantastically well and came up with a solution to mee these. We received very positive feedback from the participants and assessors and we look forward to working with you in the future.”


“We’ve always found Azesta incredibly flexible and accomodating to our needs and with their invaluable support with out assessment centres, we have been able to make much better informed recruitment decisions. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.”

David Albone, HR Manager

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