What does testing for managerial positions look like?

  • Ana Petelinšek, Head of Assessment Department & Future Resilience Project Manager, SELECTIO Grupa
  • 09. July 2024.
  • 4 min read

The search for managers has never been more dynamic, and one of the reasons is the change in competencies assessed in candidates. Candidates applying for C-level positions can no longer only have the skills to manage KPIs, budgets and projects. Still, they must demonstrate a willingness to change and the ability to lead, retain and motivate diverse people and teams.

Key leadership competencies

Today, the most important leadership competencies are those showing a manager's willingness first to lead himself, and then to successfully manage a team, respecting diversity and authenticity. Key competencies can be built on programs such as the Leadership Academy, where through a one-year journey of transformation and awareness of their qualities and strengths, participants define their management style that best benefits them in practice.

Management competencies are divided into three main categories:

1. The skill of self-awareness

2. Ability to focus on the team

3. Ability to focus on the organization

Empathetic leadership and an authentic approach, appreciation of diversity and social competence are key requirements for creating a functional team. Thus, it is not surprising that emotional intelligence and empathy are terms that all HR experts keep repeating to us.

It is important to point out that, in addition to high self-awareness and recognition of their areas for improvement, successful leaders must have a sufficient level of resilience to skillfully manage stress and changes.

How to recognize managers who have leadership competencies?

Psychological tests and additional competency assessments are an important part of any selection process. However, today's leadership positions require a much broader set of skills than in the past, so it is necessary to use several testing methods.

To recognize real leaders, in addition to classic online psychological tests such as personality questionnaires and tests of cognitive abilities, it is important to use assessment tools for evaluating competencies. Furthermore, for competencies to be developed and improved through leadership programs, it is important to recognize the current level of their development.

When we assess the level of competence, it is necessary to include tools aimed at self-assessment, as well as candidate assessment. That is why assessment centres that combine different methods are often used, such as:

In addition to online tools, popular role-play and case study methods are also used to evaluate candidates. Through them, HR consultants carefully create real situations for managers to participate, and they serve as an excellent tool for identifying key competencies first-hand. Although it sounds a bit unusual, many managers point out to us how exactly these activities were valuable experience:

 "The role-play activity was an interesting experience. I think this is very useful for training managers for the different situations they may face."

"The mixed activities and quizzes were an interesting experience and as a participant, I felt that these tools really assessed different aspects of my skills and expertise."

"Although at first, I was afraid of ‘acting’ in a role-play activity, the situation was presented realistically and I was able to clearly express my competencies."

Why use an assessment centre to evaluate leadership competencies?

Assessment is a valuable tool that provides objectivity, predicts success, identifies the development of competencies and serves in further succession planning. Therefore, it has proven to be an effective method for finding managers who understand the role of a leader.

By hiring such managers who know how to lead their teams, we increase employee retention because all parties are satisfied and can contribute to common goals in accordance with their competencies.

We have noticed that advertisements for particular managerial positions often look for the perfect 'flawless' candidate. From the perspective of much-needed self-awareness, this seems unusual – doesn't it? Therefore, in the selection process, we always encourage additional activities to normalize the fact that each of us always has room for improvement, but also that we employ people, not robots.

You can read more about the competencies required for managerial positions in the blog on trends in hiring managers.

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