Terra Nova training and development

Terra Nova's Services: Assessment Centres


Assessment Centres are widely regarded as the most accurate recruitment and selection process and certainly more effective than the traditional interview. Compatibility between the appointee and the job or organisation is more certain and the consequent fall out from inappropriate recruitment is therefore greatly reduced.

What is perhaps less well understood is the additional benefits that can be gained from the Assessment Centre process. Terra Nova’s approach is to assist clients to take full advantage of these benefits, for example:

  • Organisational Culture - the clarification of competences to be assessed offers opportunities to review and if desired, to influence your organisation’s culture (see I.M.L. Case Study)

  • Personal Development - where the assessment Centre is for internal recruitment, the potential for feedback and development planning is considerable, not just for those appointed but for all candidates (see Motorola Case Study)

  • Assessor Development - involving assessors in competence development and reviewing the process offers powerful Personal Development opportunities.

  • Company Image - provides opportunities for presenting the company as a responsible employer to the wider community.

Terra Nova's Approach:

We have designed and run Assessment Centres for both internal and external recruitment, for manufacturing operators, Team Leaders, Section Managers, H.R.and Finance Directors and Chief Executives. In each of these cases we adopted an experiential approach in which candidate teams worked together on a range of practical or creative tasks, moral dilemmas and discussion groups. The experiential elements were supplemented by interviews, occupational tasks and questionnaires as appropriate.

Ensuring rigour in the assessment process is essential, for example so that more subtle influencing skills are noted, rather than simply a candidate’s dominance. We therefore advocate assessor training which includes a pilot Assessment Centre. This includes an evaluation of the effectiveness of tasks in highlighting the competences to be assessed, and familiarisation with the scoring system to ensure objectivity and equity.

While candidates are initially ranked according to their Occupational and Core competence scores, this is not an absolute measure and candidates are only short listed for further interview after discussion, often concerning their ‘cultural fit’.

In summary Terra Nova’s approach is as follows:

  • Agree the priorities for the Assessment Centre
  • Identify the occupational competencies
  • Identify the desired corporate culture and the core competencies which will encourage it.
  • Agree the assessment process
  • Pilot the Assessment process with the assessor group
  • Review and update the Assessment process
  • Run the Assessment Centre(s)
  • Agree a short list of candidates for further interview
  • Provide feedback to those candidates not short listed
  • Review the Assessment Centre and identify potential improvements

See IML & Motorola case studies