A major player in Talent Management in the Lyon region, the APOSTROF team opened its doors to us for a day of Assessment Center … The Lyon office floor wakes up around 8:30. Located in the heart of the chic Part Dieu district in the 3th arrondissement, APOSTROF is one of the few experts that practice behavioural assessment through simulation and professional situations.
How does the Assessment Center work at APOSTROF?
On the second floor of the building, bright, designer offices welcome the candidate, a little stressed on this cool morning… Already on deck, part of the team puts the candidate at ease, while the other prepares the different roles to be played. The day begins with a simple exchange with a consultant, the objective being fundamental: it is above all a question of clarifying prejudices about this delicate exercise in order to enable the candidate to be in a serene and constructive state of mind to work.
The candidate has all the cards in hand: at each stage, the consultant explains the instructions, then carries out an initial debriefing to organise feedback on the information that is essential for both parties. Thus, in one day, several exercises and debriefings follow one another naturally, interspersed with convivial coffee breaks and a lunch break.
And surprise, to start with, the candidate doesn’t sit in front of one of the many amazingly fine computer devices that sit on every desk. At each stage, consultants join the team, they participate in the exercises throughout the day, but in their own way. And yes, this is the special feature of the Assessment Centre as practised at APOSTROF: the observation is carried out by the human eye and the situation is not programmed like in an online game.
On the contrary, the Apostrof team of consultants may give the candidate the line, but the exercise is not set in stone and the roles of each person are adapted to the interaction of the candidate’s behaviour and positions. A real playing dynamic is created and the group becomes one. You can almost recognize your own professional experience! The game ends and a final interview is held to debrief the candidate and give feedback to the consultant.
The day was rich in emotions … professional! The behavioural analysis is sometimes so accurate that it makes you smile, the kind of slightly embarrassed smile that you adopt when you talk about yourself and recognize yourself well. The consultant highlights the skills that earn you points as a manager, and also points out behaviours that can have counterproductive side effects.
The feedback at the end of the day is particularly rich, even if fatigue is felt and release is approaching. A day like this counts for two or three! What an incredible experience, delicate indeed but so close to a universal professional reality!
Talent Management at APOSTROF
Launched in 2009 when assessment centres were still not widely used in France, twelve years later APOSTROF has become another reference in the sector in France, with two locations covering all needs: Lyon, the company’s historical headquarters, and Paris, where the demand to map internal skills or to identify talent in large groups as well as in small companies is becoming increasingly dense.
At the beginning, APOSTROF is the result of a rich professional career. After many experiences abroad and in France, Virginie GRAZIANI created the company alone. Specially trained in behavioural analysis, then trained by Axel BOUCHER and by Philippe TURCHET in the techniques of gesture decoding and certified Synergologist, Virginie has taken to heart the development of an individual and human approach to the Assessment Centre.
“The strength of the assessment is the awareness that this approach allows: with situational exercises, we immediately and intensively share a professional experience with the candidate or employee. Thus, the mirror effect is important, the person being assessed participates fully in what is going on during the day. He or she quickly realises which behaviours he or she is adopting and which are not working. This also allows certain employees to have in-depth feedback on their relational, commercial, managerial or other practices, which sometimes the day-to-day life of the company does not allow them to observe or report on.”
About the Assessment Center
Some praise the merits of the Serious game. It is true that the two approaches have a common basis: they both come from the American army. However, what follows differs greatly: the Assessment Centre is an evaluation process, while the Serious Game is a training and (in)training tool, with playful elements and technologies from the video game. Others are familiarising themselves with the MRS (method of recruitment by simulation), which is much less complete but also inspired by the fundamentals of the Assessment Centre.
The Assessment or Development Center are methodologies that use a professional situation. The objective is to carry out a precise diagnosis of the strengths and areas for improvement of a candidate or employee. In the context of recruitment, this stage enables the company to advise on a suitable integration plan for the individual’s personality and skills. Also, having a global vision of talent is essential to prepare a new organisation within a company. In the case of internal mobility, the assessment includes specific recommendations on a development plan.
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