Assessment and Development Centres

Assessment and Development Centres

Authors: Iain Ballantyne and Nigel Povah

Price: 55

Pages: 220

Publisher: Gower

ISBN: 0 566 08599 2

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This is a comprehensive, informative handbook covering most aspects of running an assessment or development centre. It would serve as a valuable reference guide to anyone running their first centre.

The concept of assessment centres is clearly defined. The book describes the expected costs of running them, how to go about the necessary job analysis prior to design, typical design issues and suggested exercises, planning, logistics and running of the actual event. It also covers how to conduct assessor training, post-centre feedback and validation.

Anyone seeking guidance on development centres – other than in broad brush terms – is likely to be disappointed that there is only one chapter specifically devoted to these, compared to the previous nine chapters covering assessment centres.

People who are experienced in designing and running assessment and development centres would value greater attention to the potential challenges, and some discussion of the types of employee most likely to benefit from attending a centre.

For most organisations, introducing assessment and development centres represents a major cultural shift, which has been largely ignored by the authors. The importance of the centre designers keeping in touch with their senior sponsors is another aspect that is ignored at their peril.
More positively, there are some very useful exercises, observation sheets, assessor schedules and report forms that could save the designer time.

Overall, it is a solid reference guide to assessment centres (but short on development centres) for organisations that are already set to implement them.



  • Useful? Four stars
  • Well-written? Three stars
  • Practical? Three stars
  • Inspirational? Three stars
  • Overall Three starts

Reviewed by Alyson Burn, manager, organisation and people development, GlaxoSmithKline


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