Assessing the Assessors

by David Conroy

Tool Kit

Why is it, that when organisations are looking for assessment consultants for their selection or development initiatives, do so many of them focus on what tools the consultants have?

We had some fitted wardrobes installed recently, so I talked to various providers to decide who best to hire for the job. What I was looking for was a reputable firm with credentials and testimonials, but who crucially understood exactly what we wanted to achieve. They needed to offer us choices and be able to scope out a creative and effective solution that properly met our requirements and objectives. And which was also good value for money.

What I didn’t do was get them to come along with their tool bags and ask them to show me their range of tools and equipment and to show me how they worked. So why is it, that when many organisations are looking for assessment consultants to help them with their selection or development initiatives, do so many of them focus so much on what tools the consultants have?

Indeed many providers do seem to focus mainly on promoting their own particular tools and techniques – which are often restricted by license and copyrighted. They rely heavily on these as the main reason to hire them, and seek to persuade potential customers that their tools are the best and should be used to the exclusion of others.

So what should you look for when choosing an assessor?

The best approach when assessing an assessors is to follow a similar process to the one I followed with my wardrobe fitters. Yes I need them to be capable and expert, and it follows that they need to have access to effective tools and techniques. But the main concern when hiring assessors should be to satisfy yourself they:

  1. Have relevant experience, and an appreciation of an organisation like yours.
  2. Have assessed similar type roles before.
  3. Understand what you really want to assess and evaluate.
  4. Can really help you build and implement a robust programme that delivers exactly what you want.

Any tools and techniques used should then support the design and the desired outcome. In many cases, organisations are often already using certain assessment tools that they are comfortable with. A creative assessment consultant will be able to design into the programme, rather than exclude them in order to substitute their own preferred approaches.

Look beyond the assessor's tool bag and don't be dazzled by technology

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So make sure you’re not dazzled by the technology and look beyond the tool bag. If you do, I am sure you will find the right assessment consultants for you who will ensure that your assessment programmes will be as lovely and as useful as my new wardrobes!

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This article is filed under: Assessment