Whatever industry you operate in, to stay competitive and successful in the long term and handle future uncertainty it is vital to have the right leaders in place. When appointing new executives you need to explore in-depth whether candidates are equipped to deal with the role’s current and future demands.
Looking at an individual’s track record is not enough to make a sound decision on their suitability for a senior role. To truly understand a candidate’s potential for success, this information needs to be evaluated alongside insight from robust assessments, tailored simulation exercises, and thorough interviews.
Below, the Cubiks experts share some key advice on how you can ensure you deliver high quality executive assessments in your organisation.
1. Set the right tone
Regardless of their level of seniority, most candidates will want assessors to relate to them as like-minded professionals. It’s best to avoid using too much technical language or jargon, even with very senior managers as this is likely to alienate them.
2. Make sure assessors are seen as equals
It is critical that assessors have the experience, confidence and skills needed to be seen as equals by executive candidates. These individuals need to feel that what they say regarding their track record will be correctly understood, interpreted and appreciated by assessors - who need to establish their gravitas at the earliest opportunity. Typically at executive level, two experienced assessors should form a closely integrated team for each assessment.
3. Take a personalised approach
If the participant feels that their assessment is a standard procedure and hasn’t been designed to challenge their specialist knowledge, they are unlikely to engage with the process or the assessor. This means it’s crucial that your assessments are adapted to the individual, rather than being generic.
4. Don’t be blinded by the CV
Sometimes, it’s not just the hiring company that gets blinded by a candidate’s brilliant track record. Assessors can also fall into this trap. You should always include some work simulation elements that require the candidate to demonstrate their expertise, rather than just telling you they have it.
5. Equally, don’t ignore the CV
It’s important not to be biased by a CV, but don’t disregard it either. Skilled assessors should carefully examine a person’s track record and then link this information with the assessment data to make a thoughtful analysis of their suitability.
6. Encourage self-reflection
Research shows that top performers often show high levels of self-awareness. The best assessors will challenge this through incisive questioning. To explore how participants interpret situations and understand the influence they have on people and situations, effective assessors will ask them to reflect on their past achievements and share what they have learned from their experiences.
7. Always provide feedback
Your candidates will have invested time and energy in attending their assessments. Giving them detailed feedback helps ensure they appreciate the value and purpose of the process. The assessor should have an open discussion with each participant, in which they set out what they perceive are the candidate’s strengths, development requirements and their overall suitability for the role.
8. Deliver clear reports
The most impactful reports are clear, concise, and use direct language to express the key points of information. Most importantly, good reports make a clear statement regarding the candidate’s suitability. Ideally, assessors should also call the client to talk through the key highlights of the report and provide them with the opportunity to challenge or clarify any of the information included.