Assessment and Development Centres

Published by Gower and Personnel Today Management Resources, by Iain Ballantyne and Nigel Povah

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Assessment and development centres are becoming an essential tool for many organisations in the war for talent, and a key part of recruitment and retention, selection and diversity. This book by two leading experts in the field explains what assessment and development centres are and guides you through the whole process from getting started to validation, including dealing with organisational politics.

– Clear explanations of what assessment and development centres are

– Advice on how to justify the cost and sell the concept to the company

– Guidance on when and how to bring in external expertise

– Authoritative guidance on planning for and designing an assessment centre

  How to validate assessment and development centres  

The Authors

Iain Ballantyne is an independent business psychologist, until recently Principal Consultant with Nigel Povah at Assessment & Development Consultants Ltd. For more than 25 years he has assessed people at work, initially as a Personnel Manager for ‘blue chip’ companies like Grandmet and Unisys and since the mid-1980s as a management consultant.

Nigel Povah is the Managing Director of Assessment & Development Consultants Limited, a practice specialising in assessment methods and developing human potential at work.  He was a training manager at ICL prior to founding Assessment & Development Consultants Ltd in 1988.


1) What is an Assessment Centre?

What is assessment centre technology?; Defining assessment centre technology; The key features; Where did these centres come from?; Tracing the growth of assessment centres; Estimated current usage; Where has the growth come from?; Costs and benefits; Spin-off benefits; Strategic use of assessment centre technology.  

2) Getting Started:

Why an assessment centre?; Implementing an assessment centre; Validity of assessment centres; Justifying the cost: utility analysis; Selling the concept; Using consultants.  

3) Defining the Job Needs:

Job Analysis; Why is the job analysis being conducted?; Structure of a typical job analysis; Who to involve in the job analysis; Common queries about job analysis.  

4) Designing the Assessment Centre Content:

General issues; The criteria-exercise matrix; The exercise effect; Types of exercise; Variations in exercise design; Developing the exercises; Bespoke versus off-the-shelf exercises; Additional assessment methods.

5) Planning for the Assessment Centre:

The variety of people to be brought together; The number of people involved; Scheduling exercises; The master schedule; Room allocation; Equipment needs; Services at the facility; Briefing procedures; Checklists.  

6) Assessor Training:

Choosing assessors; Assessor training – objectives and duration; Assessor training strategies; Assessor training – content; The benefits of assessor training; Roleplayer training.  

7) Running the Assessment Centre:

Starting the event; Administering exercises; Quality control; Closing remarks to participants; Preparing for the assessor discussion; The assessor discussion.  

8) Life After an Assessment Centre:

The assessment centre report; Feedback; Actioning the development plan.  

9) Validating the Assessment Centre:

Qualitative validation; Quantitative research; Reliability; Assessment centre validity.  

10) Development Centres:

Assessment centres versus development centres; Key features of development centres; Growth of development centres; Evolution of development centres; Ongoing challenges for development centres; Validating development centres; The role of 360° feedback in development centres; Future prospects for development centres.  

11) Current Issues and Future Trends:

The use of technology; New ingredients; The construct validity debate; Equal opportunities and diversity; Cultural issues and international centres; What next?; Index.

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