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Graduate Assessments – any ideas?



We're implementing a pilot grad scheme and have the students ready to assess (around 8-10 possibly). I'm looking into setting up an assessment centre to test the following competencies:

- Customer service

- Relationship building

- Communication

- Team work

- Influence

- Planning/proactivity/motivation

- Ability to analyse problems - make decisions/provide innovative solutions.

We operate in an IT and Telecomms industry, the roles are both technical and more office based (e.g. customer service). What sorts of activities/assessments would you recommend or suggest?

Thanks in advance!

3 Responses

  1. Ideally keep it behavioural but include both team and solo work

    For the past three years I have designed and managed the assessment events for a a nationwide chain.  It is more costly but much more effective if you can go for as much behavioural assessment as possible.  As a for instance we used a series of case studies where the group was observed in their deliberations to achieve a solution; they then had to present their solution.  This allowed us to assess their problem solving, team working, face to face communication and informal/ad hoc presentation skills.

    We then had a scenario which we gave to people solo and they had to take a phone call from a customer and handle it; this allwed us to assess their ability to think on their feet, communicate on the phone and their customer service skills.

    We also gave them a brief before the assessment day and they had to come up with a strategy and make a formal presentation.  

    The challenge is making the assessment itself as objective and free from bias as possible, so use a straightforward scoring matrix and identify the behavioural indicators for the assessors well before the event. Where possible use line managers as assessors.

    Done well, this will be a challenging day for the grads, a very rewarding learning experience for a group of assessors and an event that will enhance the reputation of the organisation.

    I hope that helps

    Feel free to get in touch

    Rus Slater


  2. Alternative to an in tray exercise


    Some great suggestions from Rus (as always!).

    I assess on a similar day and, as an alternative to the ubiquitous in-tray exercise we give the applicants around ten situations they may face on a daily basis and ask them to rate them (1-5) as to how important they are to their success in the role (NB not how urgent). They have to provide a paragraph or two on their rationale for the rating.  This demonstrates planning/proactivity/ability to think on your feet/ability to sort the wheat from the chaff and so on.  It is surprising how highly some people rate a situation that should be passed on to someone else to deal with or how something that appears trivial but can have enormous repercussions if not handled sensitively is scored very low.

    All the best


  3. Online Assessment

    I have been reading a lot about online assessments lately. Maybe you can take a cue from there. A wide range of web-based assessments are available to assess and evaluate candidate qualifications, knowledges, skills, abilities, interests, motives, personality traits, and experience. One of my friend operates a technical support call centre in India. When he started the company he wanted quality people on board, but he had no time to interview them individually. He was looking for someone:
    a)Who had good communication skills which is engaging
    b)Good technical know-how
    c)Hands-on IT skills (for his IT team)
    d)Experience of Handling team
    In addition to all that he wanted motivated individuals who can easily work and cope up in a start-up environment. His hiring manager subscribed to an online assessment services. They had something called skills simulators- for assessing coding skills, manager skills, communication skills etc. A live IVR would check the communication skills and basic case studies and real-time situations were given to assess manager skills of the candidates. For IT skills real-time simulation software allowed candidates to write codes on. As an extra measure, he added a layer of psychometric assessments to it, that helped him to identify the candidate who can stay and work with him for longer periods and can handle stress situation (which is rampant in call centres). It has been 2 years and all of his core-employees are still working in the team, although he did not have much luck with lateral hires (he had interviewed them personally). I think name of that company was Mettl, you can Google it.
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