I’ve got considerable experience of running centres and attending as a candidate.

I recently attended a process delivered by a Government organisation that was recruiting contract staff to work as ‘assessors’.

This organisation required a detailed application form to be completed in addition to attending an interview and assessment exercise. Those who were successful at this stage then had to attend, at their own expense, a 3 day assessment centre. The ‘lucky’ ones no doubt then had the opportunity to work.

As mentioned, all the above was done at the individuals own expense. If however, you were applying for a full time post (and therefore probably in employment)expenses were paid.

I felt this to be a bad experience for a number of other reasons in addition to those noted already. I believe in the value of assessment and development centres when designed and run well, and where the investment of time and resources of both the organisation and the long-suffering candidate is justified.

In the example given above I believe that a more streamlined process would’ve been equally effective and less onerous for the candidates. Successful candidates, rather than attend a 3 day assessment centre, could have worked initially on ‘probation’ with on-the-job coaching and the possibility of work not being offered if standards were not met.

I would be most interested in hearing of other people’s experiences, good and bad, of either designing and running or attending assessment and development centres.
Malcolm Harper