Sullivan Business Psychologists

These are some of the most frequently asked questions put to us by executives who are coming for an in-depth individual assessment.

Will I have to do some preparatory work prior to the day?

Yes, we find it helpful for two main reasons. Firstly, there is a limit to what can be covered and accomplished in a day and the work you do in advance provides a useful and deeper basis to our understanding of your make-up than we could otherwise obtain. Furthermore, the material you are asked to complete can then be addressed in the quiet of your home or office. Secondly, we hear from our executives that the material led them into reflecting further upon their personality, their life and work – and that process is felt to be a useful precursor to the day.

Will I get a feedback on the day?

In essence, “No”. That said, the nature of your interaction with the Assessor is such that from time to time provisional judgments will be surfaced and explored. But the Assessor will need, at the end of the day, to go away and pull it all together into an in-depth report – thus, the proper and full feedback session can only take place after the Assessment day.

Will Company management see the report before I do? And, when exactly do I get to see it?

Yes, usually they will see it first. Remember that it is the Company that has commissioned the report and they are paying our fees. It is their privilege to have the report first. Of course there can be exceptions but the normal practice is for you to have a copy of the report when you see the Assessor for the Feedback and Managerial Review session.

When I do get the feedback, from whom will I get it, and where will that take place?

The simple answer is – normally about two or three weeks after the Assessment day, from the Assessor and in your place of work. Now, there are clearly exceptions. One might be for external candidates who may have a notice period to work before joining their new employer and then, since the feedback is followed by a managerial review with their new boss, the feedback is usually deferred until they have joined the Company. But then, if that gap is judged too long, then we bring it forward.

How soon does the Company get the report?

We aim for the written report to be in the hands of the commissioning Company executive within three working days of the Assessment.

What if say something confidential to the Assessor, does that get reported back?

Never! The report contains a lot of things about you, but never specific or personal details. People have to feel free to ‘tell their story’ and, at times, vent their feelings. So things can be said that they would not wish to be passed on. Our reports are confined to judgements about your managerial style and approach.

What if I don’t get the job, will I still get a feedback?

Yes you will – if you wish. The agreement we have with our client Companies is that, for candidates whom they have rejected, they will fund the time it will take the Assessor to give a face-to-face feedback. They take the view that if an executive has given a day of their time to provide this information, then they owe it to that executive to be able to benefit from the feedback.

Can’t I just be sent the report through the Post?

We would rather not do that. Misunderstandings can arise from merely reading the report without any explanation. On occasions we have found there is a risk of the whole process being unhelpful and counter-productive. Good assessments can lead to fundamental reappraisals of oneself and of one’s work approach and that is always best done when the Assessor is on hand to explain exactly what he or she meant by certain statements.

What is the dress code for the day?

Informal. We take the view that there is some hard work to be done on the day and some serious reflection and that people respond best when they feel relaxed.

Where will the Assessment take place?

Our usual – and preferred – practice is for the assessment to take place at our offices in Stamford Street, Waterloo, London. That said, for all kinds of reasons, at times we conduct assessments elsewhere – in hotels usually – but never at the individual executive’s normal place of work.

How long does the Assessment last?

Usually it lasts a full working day – from 9.00am or 9.30 am through to 5.30pm, and sometimes later. Though perhaps hard to imagine, at times the interest engendered in specific issues on the day, leads both the executive and the Assessor to prolong the day somewhat – but we try to end responsibly at 5.30pm.

Is it a tiring experience?

That can vary greatly with the individual. Some find it a relaxed and easy day. Others say that, though they did not feel tired during the day, on the journey home they were conscious of just how tired they did in fact feel. Exploring fundamental issues about one’s working life can prove demanding.

The Assessment Report may be ‘Strictly Private & Confidential’, but who actually does get to see the report?

The report is indeed ‘Strictly Private & Confidential’ and it is intended to be seen only by your senior management, by the people in the Company who are charged with making the decisions regarding your selection, promotion and career development.

Are there ‘two sets of Accounts’, one for the Company and one that has been ‘doctored’ for my consumption?

No, there is only one version of the report. We have heard that expression before but claim, as professional Business Psychologists, not to be guilty of any such malpractice. We do not report anything to our client Company that is not conveyed to the individual executive.

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