by David Barrett, Chief Operating Officer of cut-e
The UK and Ireland are attractive destinations for international workers and both markets have seen an influx of people, increasing the size of the workforce. This raises the stakes for employers. More applicants are now applying for every open position. Recruiters are increasingly using assessments to help them make quick talent decisions and to remove unconscious bias from their selection processes.
We’ve just published a new report – the UK and Ireland Assessment Barometer – which is part of a wider benchmarking study examining the use and impact of assessment across 14 countries It shows that 67% of Irish companies now use online assessments to select, onboard and develop all levels of staff. But assessment isn’t standing still. New developments continually occur and anyone working in the talent space needs to know which of these will help them to enhance their effectiveness and make better informed decisions.
Here are ten assessment trends to watch out for:
1. Predictive analytics. The biggest change in the use of assessment is what companies do with the data. Our study highlights that HR, recruitment and talent practitioners are increasingly integrating their assessments with their existing recruitment or information systems to provide data that can be accessed, analysed and interpreted in new ways. Some employers are linking their selection data with on-the-job performance data and building predictive models to help them address future business challenges. Predictive talent analytics enable employers to measure, evaluate and demonstrate the link between their talent initiatives and the performance of the organisation.
2. The candidate experience. Recruitment is becoming more candidate-centric. It is no longer enough to simply ‘assess’ candidates in a way that’s valid, fair and appropriate. Recruiters have to actively engage applicants in the assessment process and leave them with a positive impression of the organisation. This is particularly true in companies that attract a large number of applicants. Candidates are unlikely to meet anyone from their prospective employer until they reach the interview stage. They’ll therefore form their opinions about the organisation based on how they are treated in the selection process. Review your application and assessment process from the candidate’s perspective and ensure that you communicate effectively, provide feedback to candidates and ‘live’ the values of your employer brand.
3. Pre-application assessment. Our study highlights the increased use of pre-application assessment. This involves educating potential applicants on the role and the organisation before they apply, using short self-assessments with feedback about how likely the candidate is to enjoy working in the organisation and what potential career paths the organisation has to offer them. These assessments benefit both employers and jobseekers, as they help organisations find the right people whilst reducing the numbers applying for jobs that aren’t suitable for them.
4. Mobile assessment. Today’s talented candidates are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets not only to search for jobs online but also to submit applications. This has created a new demand for assessments that will work well on mobile devices. Realistic job previews, situational judgement questionnaires, personality questionnaires and ability tests can all be optimised for mobile environments. Caution should be applied with information-heavy assessments, such as complex verbal reasoning, because there may be too much detail to display. These sorts of test could, however, be delivered on tablets. Mobile assessment not only speeds up the selection process, it puts the candidate in control of when and where they participate. In other words, they can interact with you at a time and place that suits them.
5. ‘Packaged’ assessment. HR teams are increasingly combining a range of diagnostic instruments together, to gain a broader picture of a candidate’s capabilities. For example, strengths-based assessments and values questionnaires are used alongside ability tests and personality questionnaires, to help identify people who are motivated and enthusiastic about the requirements of the role, as well as being capable of doing it. Tests themselves are also evolving. For example, creativity tests were once the preserve of face-to-face assessment only, where an assessor could judge, for example, a candidate’s ability to produce different ideas. New tests are now available that ask applicants to manipulate line drawings and objects on-screen to create pictures. Scored automatically and objectively, these tests show that usable and reliable assessments of creativity are now a reality.
6. Time-to-hire returns as a key performance indicator. Our study highlights that employers value the ability to make faster selection decisions fairly and objectively. They recognise that they need to respond quickly and engage with the best applicants before their competitors. Candidates also put pressure on organisations to provide fast feedback at all stages of the assessment process.
7. Video interviewing. Face-to-face interviewing is resource intensive, and organisations want a strong ‘hit rate’ from any time invested there. More companies are now endeavouring to pre-screen candidates with a video interview that asks candidates to record and return answers to standard questions. Video interviewing is not a gimmick. Candidates are increasingly accepting that, as well as benefitting employers, it helps them to differentiate themselves. The footage reveals how the candidate has thought about and answered the questions and can be shared across multiple evaluators to achieve greater objectivity. Whilst not replacing a face-to-face interview, the video interview is a useful addition to the toolbox of the talent professional.
8. Self-assessment to support career planning. Our study highlights the growth of assessment for development. Individuals are increasingly using self-service 360-degree feedback – where the user chooses who is invited to give feedback – to benchmark their own capabilities and to inform the next stages of their development and their career.
9. Gamification. The buzz around gamification continues as recruiters look for new ways to create games and ‘try-outs’ that reveal whether a candidate has the specific skills required in a job. Games can be useful in early stage attraction, alongside aptitude, motivation or other behavioural assessments. The best games are custom built, as no organisation wants to use the same game as a competitor; but, with high design and production costs, games can be an expensive option and their shelf life tends to be short.
10. The need to support potential applicants. Assessment providers usually offer practice tests and support resources to help candidates perform at their best in assessments. This idea of providing support is now extending into new areas. For example, providing career choice tools which help potential applicants to decide which training courses would be most suitable. This drive to provide greater support is partly about enhancing the employer brand but it also reflects a desire to ‘give something back’ to applicants.
By understanding these latest developments, talent professionals can not only make better decisions, they’ll also gain greater value from their assessments.
David Barrett is Chief Operating Officer for international assessment specialist cut-e. Get a free copy of cut-e’s UK and Ireland Assessment Barometer at www.assessment-barometer.com.