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Assessment Centres and “me”! Re-organising the “self”

Giovannoni, Lauretta (2012) Assessment Centres and “me”! Re-organising the “self”. Roehampton University.

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Abstract

Assessment Centres are regarded as an integral part of the selection process, in recruiting and promoting within organisations. This selection process is orchestrated by trained Assessors, to ensure the “right person for the job” is recruited. Successful candidates are those who can demonstrate particular competencies and experience in line with the role. This research explores the experience of participating in Assessment Centres from a different vantage point, emphasising talk as an active tool in managing and constructing the experience. Discourse Analysis was used to gain insight into how the Assessment Centre experience was managed, drawing upon a corpus of transcripts gathered from semi-structured interviews of Assessors and candidates who had just completed Assessment Centres. The research shows how Assessors use discourse to construct a “membership category” of being in “Assessor Mode”, and how candidates organise themselves in talk in relation to the assessments by “ordering the past”. A further consideration looks at how the assessment environment is coordinated to enable the Assessor to gain access to the “true nature” of the candidate during exercises. This brings to light what occurs in the space of Assessment Centres beyond exercises and psychometric tests, conceptualising the experience as a moment-by-moment interaction where the ‘self’ is continually re-organised.

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