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Group assessment days (GADs) are great for making multiple hires easily and more efficiently…but not without a lot of prep work.

Successful GADs are meticulously planned and focus on the requirements of the role with tailored exercises typical of the position.  All of this gives top talent the chance to stand out and you the ability to see who will perform best in the role, making for a more effective hiring decision.

To help you prepare for a GAD we spoke with our shortlisting and selection specialist Amber Dique-Bellette.  Amber has drawn on her extensive experience running GADs – 50 to date! – and has provided her top tips for getting the most our of your group assessment day, below.

Design the GAD around the competencies of the role: Successful GADs are designed and tailored to the skills and characteristics required of the vacancy.  Work backwards to first identify the mandatory key competencies and ensure there are activities planned to assess the aptitude of candidates against each one.  Without this, your hiring decision will be compromized as you won’t know if your candidates will perform in every aspect of the role.

Lock in the date, the candidates and the assessors: Candidates and assessors alike will need some notice to reserve the time for the GAD.  Play it safe and book the time and date in the calendar well in advance.  From here, get the invitations out to your candidates and make sure the assessors and hiring managers have it booked in their diaries.

Pay attention to the details: Getting a GAD right is all in the detail.  There are a lot of moving parts from what time food is required, what housekeeping items need to be covered and what documents are needed (and how many) to ironing out potential technical issues and setting the timetable.  To make the day flow, put some effort in before the GAD to create a run sheet.  It’s also important to brief any presenters well in advance of what is required and have a digital copy of their presentation as a backup in case it doesn’t work on the day.  Other details to cover off include booking a space if you don’t have a room to host everyone in, publicising the location to attendees, locking in catering and bringing enough hard copies of any handouts for the day.

Strike a balance with wide-ranging activities: A major advantage of hosting a GAD is the ability to assess competencies like teamwork, emotional intelligence and cultural fit that can’t easily be evaluated during an interview.  If your GAD includes a variety of activities like team-based problem solving, paired scenarios and individual exercises, your candidates will show you through their actions how competent they are in situations relevant to the role instead of just telling you about their skills in an interview.  To do this effectively, it’s important to vary the types of activities, but only include those relevant to the role.  Some activities to consider include group teamwork, role plays, scenario responses, written tasks and presentations.

Score candidates objectively and fairly with a tailored scorecard: Set your GAD up for success by creating a scorecard from which all candidates can be consistently and objectively assessed.  It’s important all assessors are on the same page, so take the time to outline what you are looking for on the day, what to watch out for and how to judge the performances so everyone understands the objective of the day.  An effective scorecard should be broken down by the competencies you are looking to assess in each exercise. It’s a good idea to provide examples of what a ‘poor’ vs ‘outstanding’ result looks like so assessors can score candidates fairly and a consensus can be reached about the successful candidates.

Provide lunch and mingle: Keeping your attendees well fed should be a given – they will likely perform much better if they have enough coffee, water and food to fuel them.  But providing lunch and tea breaks throughout the day also offers another assessment opportunity.  During these times, the atmosphere is more relaxed and defences are down, giving you the chance to get to know them personally and see what sort of cultural fit they will be.  Allowing time for more relaxed conversation also means you can see their communication style.  This is an important factor to consider if the roles up for grabs are ones in which they will be representing your business, like those in sales, retail, hospitality or customer service.

Review the day and provide feedback to all: If you can, carve out time immediately following the GAD to go over the details of the day and of course, the candidates.  Leave it any longer and you run the risk of forgetting key details.  Aside from discussing and evaluating the candidates as a group, you can also identify any problem areas of the day and make a plan to resolve them for next time.

GADs are an invaluable recruitment strategy that can save you time and money when making bulk hires from a vetted pool of candidates.  If you are interested in hosting a GAD and looking for assistance, our specialists can design and run a tailored assessment day for you.

You can learn more about our assessment days by following this link.

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