How to train observers for Assessment Center in less than 8 hrs?

admin Advisory, Miscellaneous resources 2 Comments

This post is a sequel to my last post on "3 Things to Focus On for a Successful Assessment Center" in which I promised my friend Yunus (who commented on the article) to write another post on training observers in short time.

So, here it is.

Running a successful Assessment Center requires rigorous training of observers. Training observers is the second most important task after cross validation of competency model. Reliability and predictive validity of assessment centre activities are very much influenced by the amount of inter-observer variance which is directly proportional to the number of hours put in observers` training and the quality of the training. Sometimes it happens that we do not get as much time as we would have ideally liked to have for Observers` training. Here are my tried and tested tips to achieve higher inter-observer consistency in less than 8 hrs of training (for approx. 10 competencies).

1. For each activity, create a checklist of behaviours on each competency and share that checklist with observers: 

Here I assume that you are playing only those activities which you have played several times in the past and you know exactly what to expect in most cases. Write down the expected behaviours and map them to competencies. Share this sheet at the end of the training. This is going to facilitate the observers to be consistent in their Evaluation (remember ORCE).

2. Take few competencies as examples and explain them in detail: 

Rather than covering all the competencies in the training, take few (3 to 4) and provide in-depth training on them. Learning on ORCE skills is relatively easy to transfer on other competencies. It will give greater confidence to the observers and create a sense of ‘understanding’ rather than being overwhelmed with too much information on too many competencies.

3. Focus more on creating the ‘experience’ rather than providing ‘knowledge’ : 

People forget easily what they hear and see but what they experience is difficult to forget. Try to create experiential situations to impart the learning. More discussion, less lecture. Encourage observers to ask questions and do not try to provide your expert answer; rather, encourage fellow observers to share what they think and then share your experience.

These three techniques have helped me personally and I hope you will find them useful. I am curious to know your experience and how you deal with this kind of situation.

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Vijai Pandey is Head of Assessments in The Psychometric World. He has worked in India, Europe and in the Middle East in research and advisory capacity in the area of talent measurement and development. Views expressed here are his personal.

Comments 2

  1. Hi Vijai, do you think Assessment Centers are still used in the ortodox way as they were created?? I absolutely agree in the importance of what is been observed and the rigorous need to train observers in inference versus evidence.

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      Author

      As per the latest information I have about the practice of assessment centres, yes, they are still used in the old, classic ways. Though this trend is decreasing and as far as I see, the delivery channels for assessment centres are going to change a lot towards more virtual in near future. The single biggest reason is cost. Having a robust assessment centre by trained professionals in costly. Also, I have not seen much convincing evidences on reliability of assessment centres conducted via virtual means.

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