Your Best Group Assessment Day Ever – A Guide for Recruiters

 In AU News

Group Assessment Days (GADs) can be overwhelming for candidates, but they can be just as much a challenge for hiring managers. Observing multiple people at once, across a range of activities for a range of behaviours is no small feat. It takes an organised team of recruiters, hiring managers and supervisors to make sure the day runs smoothly, and most importantly, you make the most of it.

Read on for best-practice tips on how to structure your Group Assessment Day, with insights offered by Employment Office Shortlisting and GAD Specialist, Jenna May. 

Preparation is key

A well-structured GAD is the only way you’ll be able to focus on the activities that will uncover your candidates’ strengths and equally, behaviours that might be a red-flag. A smooth GAD consists of an introduction including an icebreaker and run-down of the day’s schedule, the GAD itself with a break, and a conclusion. 

Round the troops

The more eyes on the candidates the better. Jenna recommends at least four representatives from the organisation. Each will bring a valuable perspective to the day’s events.

“Having a supervisor present – who is currently in the role, is invaluable. They’re able to analyse candidate behaviours in a way that most relates to the position – more than HR or a recruiter can. For example, we recently held a GAD for a parking inspection officer where the candidates were asked to do role play. To the human resource managers observing, one candidate seemed to be lacking confidence – as if he was not ‘holding his ground’ as the role would require. But a supervisor watching viewed this behaviour from the candidate as a positive thing. Having been a parking inspector himself, the supervisor saw this behaviour to fulfil essential customer service skills required for the role,” Jenna says.

Different assessors bounce off each other and can check their interpretation of actions, words and attitudes of candidates, and bring a holistic understanding of everything that occurs throughout the GAD.

Observe with purpose

Too often, hiring managers and supervisors go into a GAD with the vague intention of ‘observing candidates.’ Jenna says that each recruiter must know exactly what they’re looking for.

“There are simply too many people and there is too much going on during the day that general observation is not an efficient or standardised way for recruiters to accurately assess and compare candidates,” she says. The best way to approach the GAD, she says, is to divide and conquer the room.

Ensure the team of assessors understands how each activity works, and most importantly, they know the purpose of each activity. Whether it’s a role play, discussion or game, each task during the day should be as relevant as possible to the role, and designed to measure certain traits.

“Every assessor should carry a clip board with activities listed in the left column, and a set of measurable traits to look for beside the activities. There are three types of attributes to look for: those that are crucial, desired and detrimental to the role,” Jenna says.  

Divide and Conquer

To gather as much quality information as possible, Jenna says it’s best to have a mix of assessors circling the room, as well as assessors stationed with groups. “A recruiter or hiring manager should be stationed at each group, to monitor the same candidates throughout the entire day. Then, up to two hiring managers should pace the room all day to gather information across every candidate,” Jenna says. This way, recruiters stationed at each team are able to gather plenty of information on a few candidates, which they can compare with one another later. The two hiring managers pacing the room will have a birds-eye view of all candidates, can see how teams compare and will be able to pin-point particularly strong or weak candidates amongst the group.  

Be prepared to get involved.

Whether it be acting an angry customer in a role play, or getting involved in a group discussion, active participation will give you get a better insight into the personality and communication skills of candidates. Don’t overdo it though – generally, you should take advantage of the limited time during the GAD to absorb as much as you can about your candidates as an observer. 

Keep your notes organised.

Jenna recommends a 2-page to view clipboard with a list of activities paired with the traits to the rights, with a column for general notes, and a separate page with a list of all candidates to use for general notes throughout the day. It can be helpful to request candidates to provide a headshot of themselves at the application stage, in order to assist your team of assessors to recognise candidates and take accurate notes.

Debrief… ASAP!

At the end of the day, the hiring team needs to meet and compare notes. This should be done as soon as the candidates have left, or, at the latest, first thing the next morning. There are subtle (but potentially critical) behaviours you may have thought nothing of, but you might realise they are important because your team noticed them as well.

Get in touch with the experts

Group Assessment Days are a fantastic way to interview on mass – whether you want to on-board many recruits at once for peak season, or test multiple strong candidates for one competitive position. A team of co-ordinated and engaged assessors who know what they are looking for when it comes to observing candidates is the best way to hire with confidence. Contact our shortlisting and selection specialists to discuss how a Group Assessment Day will help your organisation effectively uncover top talent, with insights that can’t be gained in an interview.

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