When selecting Canadian volunteers can make a life-saving difference
Reading Time of Article: 5 min
The International Congress on Assessment Centre Methods and Developing Leadership Talent helped us to improve our practices. And more broadly, we added to our knowledge on the uses of assessment outside Europe. To continue our world tour, we are now taking you to Canada to show you two very different examples of the approach.
Assessment to recruit volunteers at Cuso International
Founded in 1961, Cuso International (formerly Canadian University Service Overseas) is an international development organisation whose mission is to reduce poverty and inequality. How does it do this? Thanks to volunteer work by highly qualified profiles and with funding from local partners and generous donors. To select co-operants-volunteers, Cuso International has been using assessment centre for over 10 years. Geralyn KLASSEN, the “assessment advisor” told us what motivated the organisation to use assessment centre: “At Cuso, the recruitment of qualified volunteers is risky. Our co-operants-volunteers are sent abroad for a long mission of up to two years. Taking highly qualified professionals out of their comfort zone can have a huge impact if the selected candidates are ultimately not able to adapt to their new environment.
This is why Cuso International is convinced that they need to use this very powerful method which has already proven its worth. Assessment centre is a technique that enables assessors to simply observe the actual behaviour of candidates compared with that observed during the traditional recruitment interview. It also offers the advantage of triangulation, since there are several assessors involved in the evaluation process.” Combined with interviews and an exercise based on cognitive abilities, Geralyn KLASSEN uses professional simulations in the recruitment process at Cuso International. These role plays reproduce all the complexity of the situations that the co-operants-volunteers may come up against on the ground. So, she does not use exercises such “business cases” or “in basket”. It’s above all the abilities to adapt and the ingenuity of the participants that are assessed.
Who is Geralyn KLASSEN ?
After passing his baccalaureate in business administration from the Wilfrid Laurier University and a master’s degree in Management of not-for-profit organisations, Geralyn KLASSEN found a position at Cuso International combining her experience in human resources and her aspirations to move up in the international development sector. Based in Ottawa, Geralyn KLASSEN has been working for 3 years at the organisation, managing a high volume of assessments every year.
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