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Centre for Professional and Personal Insight (CPPI)

CPPI Overview | CPPI Service offering | Why use assessments? | Which solutions, tools and technologies are available?

CPPI Overview

Human Resources Centre for Professional and Personal Insight (CPPI) coordinates and facilitates initiatives in support of talent management activities at UCT.

The UCT CPPI has been established to support individuals and the institution by enriching their understanding of themselves or their staff with the ultimate aim of increased effectiveness and mutual enrichment.

The services of the centre includes, amongst others:

  • Individual assessment in support of recruitment and selection purposes
  • Individual and/or group assessments in aid of personal or career development
  • Individual and/or group assessments in support of team development
  • Individual assessments complementing coaching and/or mentoring activities

The service offering is informed by legislative and best practice guidelines, feedback from beneficiaries of the service as well as the strategic goals of the university as a whole.

The unit ensures compliance with labour legislation under the guidance of the in-house industrial/organisation psychologists.

For more information on the services offered or to book a meeting with us, please send an email to

CPPI Service offering

The unit's service offering can be summarised as:

  1. Advise re use of assessment solutions
    1. Providing professional advice and guidance on the suitability of assessments to be used in the specific context or situation taking into consideration aspects such as:
      1. What information is relevant to be assessed in the specific circumstances
      2. Assessments available to meet the need
      3. Cost
      4. Legal limitations/restrictions for use of specific assessments
      5. Practical limitations or considerations (i.e. who can administer, location of administration etc.)
  2. Delivery of agreed solution
    1. Sourcing service providers/assessments (if psychometric assessments) OR
    2. Designing assessments (if skills/competency assessments) OR
    3. Designing assessment centres (combination of psychometric and skills/competency assessments)
    4. Conducting the assessments
    5. Preparing feedback reports (to requester and individuals)
  3. Application of results
    1. Providing integrated feedback to the requesting party aligned to the need identified in the initial stage
    2. Providing feedback to the individual that was assessed
  4. Recordkeeping
    1. Creating a database of assessment results including validity periods
    2. Creating a database of skills/competency assessment
    3. Safekeeping of confidential assessment results and strict application of protocols around re-use of assessment feedback

Why use assessments?

Wise employers go to great lengths to match people to the right positions. Since we spend between a quarter and a third of our time at work, it is important that our abilities and interests fit with the requirements of the position. People who are well matched to their positions use their talents more effectively and are happy, effective, fulfilled and motivated.

When thinking about a role, we consider what behaviours and abilities are required for good performance. These are generally described in terms of competencies.

Employers require a valid, reliable and fair method of evaluating current or potential employee's competence in relation to a specific position. Assessments aim to do exactly that.

The application of results can be used in a variety of ways which can be categorised at a high level as for either selection, development, succession or organisational change purposes. It is important to determine the use of the results as early as possible as the design and selection of tools could differ significantly depending on the intended use of the outcomes.

Which solutions, tools and technologies are available?

Assessments exist in many forms and designs. The summary below focuses only on the main or most popular ones currently being applied in the employment context.

  1. Psychometric tests/assessments can be described as an objective and standardised measure of a sample of human functioning. It therefore usually has a norm group, as well as reliability and validity coefficients. They may include personality tests, ability tests, aptitude tests, interest inventories, and any other form of psychological test. They may only be used under the supervision of a registered psychologist.

    Examples of such assessments are:
    • Ability test: Ability tests assess the extent to which an individual is able to carry out various aspects of a position; for example, verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning abilities, clerical checking etc.
    • Personality questionnaires: Personality questionnaires assess behavioural preferences, that is, how a person likes to work. They are not concerned with your abilities but how you see yourself in terms of your personality; for example, the way you relate to others and how you deal with feelings and emotions. There are no rights or wrongs in behavioural style, although some behaviours may be more, or less, appropriate to certain situations.
    • Integrity assessments: Integrity is an evaluation of values, attitudes and work ethic. Integrity is influenced by decisions and therefore can be subject to change. Integrity assessments therefore usually assess matters such as: honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, openness, loyalty, fairness and moral reasoning
    • Cognitive assessments: Cognitive assessments usually focus on an individual's reasoning, problem solving abilities and potential. Some also provide information on an individual's cognitive thinking styles which are likely to predict to what extent a person would be more effective in a specific work environment as opposed to another.
    • Values and motives questionnaires: Such assessments usually assess the motivating forces that potentially determine the amount of energy or effort an individual is likely to expend in particular activities. These usually cover three broad areas: interpersonal, extrinsic and intrinsic. Interpersonal values are those which influence an individual's approach to relationships with others. Extrinsic values and motives are factors which could sustain behaviour in the workplace. Intrinsic values and motives relate to personal beliefs and attitudes which could guide an individual's decisions in respect of everyday problems.
    • Emotional intelligence assessments: These assessments are designed to measure an individual's ability to recognise their own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.
    • Situational judgement tests: Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) assess how a person approaches situations encountered in the workplace. Whilst there is some variation in how they are delivered, they typically present the person with a written description of a scenario and ask him/her to select the appropriate response from a multiple choice list. They are designed to test potential across a number of competencies.
  2. Skills/competency based assessments (also known as simulation exercises)

    These exercises are specifically designed to simulate a particular task or scenario which reflects the demands of the position. It is usually very clear and transparent what kinds of skills are being assessed. Examples include:
    • Individual exercises: These exercises are often based on case studies resembling real work challenges/situations. Individuals may be required to assimilate information, prioritise points, summarise a report or produce recommendations.
    • Presentations: These exercises usually require an individual to prepare and present on a topic related to the specific role/organisation/industry. It presents an opportunity to assess an individual's communication skills and their ability to think on their feet whilst at the same time assessing knowledge or understanding of the specific area of expertise that the presentation is focused on.
    • Role plays: These exercises usually present an individual with some background information after which they are required to act out a meeting or situation which involves another person whom is acting out a specific and pre-scripted role. Interpersonal, communication, conflict handling or management skills are usually assessed in this manner.
    • Group exercises: These exercises are similar to role plays in that an individual is provided with some background information after which they are required to physically facilitate a group meeting. Group members can either be role players appointed to play a specific role or could be co-participants where the group is collectively tasked to perform a specific task. Such assessments are useful to assess an individual's performance within a team.
    • Knowledge-based tests: These assessments are usually time based and are designed with very specific and pre-determined answers (right or wrong). Such assessments are useful to examine an individual's knowledge on a specific topic or subject.
  3. 360 Degree feedback assessments: Also known as multi-rater feedback, is feedback that comes from members of an employee's immediate work circle. Most often, 360-degree feedback will include direct feedback from an employee's subordinates, peers (colleagues), and supervisor(s), as well as a self-evaluation. It can also include, in some cases, feedback from external sources, such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders. Questions are focused around specific areas of competence or behaviour that are identified as important for the specific purpose for which the assessment is being completed.
  4. Team based diagnostic assessments: The focus of these assessments would be the team/group as an entity as opposed to the individual members of the group in isolation. Assessments of this nature are likely to focus on team culture, team values, team identity etc.
  5. Assessment centres: The assessment centre involves a combination of some or all of the above and is designed based on clearly identified valid competencies, or characteristic behaviours associated with success in the position. Generally, an assessment centre involves a number of candidates who will participate in specially designed exercises and simulations, which reflect the demands of the position. The assessment centre can last anything from 2 hours to 2 days. Results are integrated and summarised in relation to the pre-determined competencies it was set out to measure.

Page last updated: 29 March 2017