The desire for an in-depth assessment of an executive shortlist
A UK rail company commissioned the OPC to design and deliver an executive assessment centre to help them to recruit for their senior role of Sales and Marketing Director.
The OPC’s executive assessment centres are designed to help in the selection of more senior roles and it often involves candidates being assessed individually rather than in a group setting.
The organisation decided to take this approach as they wanted a more holistic picture of their candidates and guidance around who would be the best suited for this specific job role. They wanted to supplement their own understanding of the suitability of the shortlist of candidates for the role with the data obtained from the executive assessment centre. This was the first time the OPC client had adopted such an approach to their senior level recruitment.
Stage 1: Designing an assessment centre to assess the right competencies
This first stage involved designing the executive assessment centre. The OPC psychologist reviewed several company documents to identify the specific competencies that were important for the Sales and Marketing Director role. The psychologist then selected suitable tests and exercises that would assess the identified competencies which included ability and aptitude tests, preference assessments and personality questionnaires. The selected tests and exercises then formed the basis of the assessment centre.
Stage 2: Delivering the assessment centre with each candidate individually
The next stage involved the psychologist undertaking a half day assessment with each candidate separately. In advance of, and in preparation for, the half day assessment, candidates were asked to complete some of the exercises and questionnaires online. The assessment centre involved first an informal interview with the candidate, followed by the administration of a range of psychometric tools to help identify the candidate’s strengths and development areas in relation to the role.
Stage 3: Providing valuable feedback and helping the client make the best selection decision
Once all the assessment centre data had been collected, then the psychologist fed back the results to the organisation to assist them in making their selection decision. The feedback was provided both verbally and in writing. A written report was prepared for each shortlisted candidate which included strengths and weaknesses and a recommendation as to which candidate would be best suited to the job role. The organisation was pleased with the reports as they helped them to compare the different candidates. They were also able to use this information along with other evidence they had previously gathered about the candidates to make a final decision.
Stage 4: A development document to help the selected candidate to perform the role well
The final stage of the project involved the psychologist preparing a development document for the selected senior executive. This document outlined the development areas identified in the assessment centre. It also provided practical ways the senior executive could address their development needs in the role. This was an extremely useful way to use the data collected during the assessment to aid development in the actual role. The selected senior executive also received verbal feedback from the psychologist on their assessment centre performance outlining their strengths, development areas and ways to work on the identified development areas. In line with best practice, the unsuccessful candidates were also offered verbal feedback on their assessment centre performances.
A successful project with the right executive recruited for the right job
The client was extremely pleased with the project and felt that the assessment centre approach helped them to make the right decision with confidence. Using an assessment centre that was designed bespoke for the Sales and Marketing Director job role meant the client could easily and effectively compare their candidates and so decide who had the potential to be an outstanding performer.