Bolster your employer brand
An assessment centre is a great way to give prospective employees a ‘slice of life’ in your business. If the day is held at your offices, even better! Many of our clients incorporate a site tour into their day so that graduates can start to picture themselves in that environment. The day is a good opportunity for you to share everything that’s brilliant about your business. But be honest! Sharing some of the challenges you face is also important, so graduates can be prepared for the difficulties that they may have to overcome.
See candidates ‘in action’
Now it’s time find out if the things you have learnt about your graduates throughout the process so far are reflected in their behaviour on the assessment day. Select or design activities that resemble situations that crop up in your business and see how the team of graduates handle them. You can then observe a) how the graduates may handle similar situations in your business and b) if the qualities shown in their CV are reflected in their performance. Why not set them a task relating to a ‘real-life’ problem that you are experiencing and see how they approach it? You never know, they may provide a perspective that you have not yet considered!
Assess a range of competencies
From role playing and team activities to competency-based interviews and the delivery of presentations, we use a combination of tools throughout the assessment process to provide concrete evidence of the graduates’ skills and behaviours. Team activities will highlight natural leaders who are happy to put themselves forward on the spot and equally, giving presentations will exhibit leadership skills in other ways. Some will be comfortable managing a group; others will put themselves forward to lead a certain aspect of the activity. You then need to consider which qualities you require for the role in question, or, what development plans you can put in place to ensure all competencies are fully developed.
Meet and greet
The more employees that the graduates can interact with on the assessment day, the more you will both gain from it. This doesn’t mean that a large group of your employees need to be away from their desks for the day, it just needs to be well coordinated. Perhaps the MD/CEO could pop in for five minutes and say hello? Could your existing graduates take their lunch with the candidates? Interacting with a range of people in the business will give the candidates the opportunity to ask the questions they want, whilst allowing them to build a vivid picture of life at your company. It also give you the chance to observe how they interact with different people.
Having spent a day in your office space, with you and your employees, the graduates have most definitely made some observations and opinions about the business. So request their feedback! Whilst their feedback is likely to be positive, given they’ll be eager to be employed by you, you can ask some questions to gain constructive feedback: if there was one thing about the office space you would change, what would it be and why? What could we have improved today? Likewise, you can give individual feedback to the candidates throughout the day. Provide them with some ‘real-time actions’ (things they could try to implement in the next exercise), as well as some longer-term development areas for future assessment days.
Do remember that while the assessment centre is supporting your decisions on who to hire, it’s also allowing candidates to decide if your business is right for them. The compatibility of graduates and employers is absolutely crucial to effective graduate recruitment, so treat the day as a cost-effective way to get recruitment right.