Assessment center

CEB SHL’s Multiple Assessment Portfolio contains a range of well-proven assessment exercises to help assess people’s performance for both selection and development purposes. The exercises are set in a variety of business contexts and at all levels, ranging from administrative to executive. They have been researched, developed and tested by experienced assessment practitioners. Each exercise comes in a pack which contains everything needed to use the exercise, including detailed instructions for participants and guidance on assessment.

The Assessor Rating Form for each exercise are written around criteria taken from our SHL Universal Competency Framework (UCF). The guidelines can be adapted for use with other competency frameworks.

Exercise Types

The exercises reflect the variety of situations that people find themselves in at work, such as working individually (analysing information, dealing with paperwork), one-to-one (interacting with colleagues, subordinates or customers) or in larger groups (working with others in a team). The exercise bank contains the following types of exercise:

  • Analysis – This type of exercise requires participants to analyse a large amount of information (often numerical as well as textual) usually written in the form of a case study about an organisation. The participant has to come up with a series of actions or recommendations, which can be delivered either as a written report or oral presentation.
  • In-tray – As the name suggests this type of exercise is intended to simulate the contents of a typical in-tray. Participants are presented with a variety of items in the form of letters, e-mails, memos, reports etc. Each of the items has differing degrees of urgency and several will be linked. The participant is required to make decisions on what action to take on each of the items. This may involve him/her writing responses, communicating decisions or delegating items. It is an excellent exercise for looking at skills in planning and written communication.
  • Coaching – This simulates a situation where the participant has to meet with another member of staff (played by a role player) in order to achieve a specific objective. The participant is given background information and a period of time to prepare for the meeting. S/he is usually required to give feedback, conduct a performance review or counsel an employee.
  • External Negotiation – The participant meets with a person external to the organisation to discuss and reach agreement on a specific issue. The participant is given background information about the situation that has necessitated the meeting – perhaps a complaint from a customer or requirement to renegotiate a contract. S/he then holds a meeting with the person (played by a role player) and attempts to come to a satisfactory agreement.
  • Internal Negotiation – Similar to the exercise described above except that the participant meets with a colleague in his/her organisation and negotiates an agreement with them. This simulates situations where managers may need to influence colleagues but have no direct authority over them.
  • Fact Find – A short brief is given to the participant together with information about a decision s/he needs to make. To enable him/her to do this, the participant has time to question a resource person (played by a role player) to gather information about the decision that needs to be made. Once the decision is made, the resource person challenges the participant to test the robustness of the decision.
  • Group – Here are two types of group exercise. Each is designed to assess people’s performance in a group or team based setting and involves up to eight people.
  • Unassigned Role – Each person is given an identical role brief and required to work with the others in the group to achieve a common goal. This is sometimes referred to as a co-operative group.
  • Assigned Role – Each person is given a different role brief that only s/he has access to. This is sometimes called a competitive group.

Exercise Levels

Each exercise is assigned a level, but could also be used for one level above or below. For example, if you were looking to assess future potential you might choose to use an exercise at a higher level in order to stretch candidates. 

  • Administrative – Suitable for a wide range of roles including secretarial and clerical staff, call centre staff, frontline customer service roles
  • Graduate – ideal for roles where there is no requirement for significant organisational experience
  • First line manager – primarily for new or junior managers, or managers with little experience of people management
  • Middle manager – for experienced managers, including familiarity with people management
  • Executive – targeted at senior managers with significant experience

Training Courses

In order to access our portfolio of exercises its important that you have been trained, or acquired experience in assessing, design and delivery of assessment or development centres. The following two courses are specifically designed to help you run best practice centres and feel confident in using our Multiple Assessment Portfolio.

  1. Assessor Training, 1 day
  2. Assessment & Development Centre Design, 2 days