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Assessment Centre for a board recruitment campaign

Get it wrong and it can cost your organisation up to three times the role’s annual salary; get it right, and the results can be transformative. That is why, when interviewing for business-critical senior and executive roles, progressive organisations run assessment centres to ensure they get it right first time, every time.

Context

In 2021, the Scottish Government announced the creation of a new non-departmental public body (NDPB) to assess and make decisions on applications for redress from survivors of abuse in the Scottish children’s residential care system. Seymour John was chosen to run the campaign to establish its board.

The sensitive nature of the new organisation’s remit meant its new CEO would need to possess a very particular skillset, have the strength to act independently from the Scottish Government, and model the key values of respect, dignity, and compassion.

We were initially invited to design and deliver an assessment centre to support the selection of the CEO. However, after a successful appointment, the brief expanded to support the recruitment of her three direct reports – Head of People, Head of Operations and Head of Finance & Resources.

Approach

Working closely with the government’s HR team, and our in-house specialist public sector consultants – who had been selected to run the board recruitment campaign – we designed an assessment centre that not only focused on the requirements of the role, but also the leadership competencies, style, values, and cultural fit required.

The time-pressured nature of the campaign and location of the five shortlisted candidates meant it was delivered virtually, on the same day. The first session was a combined case study written and presentation exercise:

  • Each was given a role-specific case study and supporting documentation and asked to produce a board paper, identifying the key issues and proposed resolution plan
  • They then prepared and presented their high-level plan, followed by a Q&A with ‘the board’ – each candidate being observed throughout by an Assessor

The second session involved six short leadership scenarios to which the candidates were asked to respond verbally within a short, set timeframe – again, delivered by an Assessor with a notetaker present.

Overview:

  • All materials, including those for the Assessor for the Assessment Centre were bespoke
  • We managed the end-to-end process – from invitations, dealing with queries, briefing all candidates and supporting them on the day – to ensure it was equitable for all
  • We conducted online Thomas International psychometric testing to give insight into personality and emotional as well as general intelligence
  • Detailed feedback on each candidate was submitted to support the final interviews and selection process

Outcome

The CEO, Joanna McCreadie, was successfully appointed. Impressed with the process and delivery team, she asked that we work with her to create assessment centres to support the recruitment of her three direct reports – Head of People, Head of Operations, and Head of Finance & Resources.

These centres were run in the same way, adapting the case study and scenarios to reflect each role. In addition to the psychometric testing and assessment centre reporting, we held feedback calls with the CEO in advance of the final interviews. All three roles were appointed successfully.

With the board in place and subsequent assessment panel members appointed, Redress Scotland has begun its difficult and sensitive work. Overarching the entire project has been the desire to place survivors at the heart of the redress process.

Whether it is ensuring the right appointment, identifying potential for leadership succession, or assessing individual and team performance, assessment & profiling gives you the insight you need to make informed decisions at every stage of the employee lifecycle.

To read more about the benefits of assessment and profiling, click here

Victoria Beadle

Victoria Beadle

A director of our strategic HR consultancy, Vic is a CIPD qualified HR leader who is passionate about organisations creating cultures that empower people to be successful. She is an advocate for employee engagement that gives people a voice.

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