In a digitized world have your talent assessment strategies fallen behind?

When it comes to assessing new hires, digital tools can improve the candidate experience and ensure that you have great people in your organization. Sandra Hartog, partner and the head of the assessment practice at BTS, explores the benefits.

12Dec

If your company is one of the 75% using talent assessments for selecting both internal and external candidates, according to Talent Board, then you understand how valuable the process is. You also know that the user experience as part of the assessment process is a major factor in its success. But are your assessments keeping pace with your candidates' expectations? Or are they painfully slow and clunky? Are they designed for the candidate's best experience? And more importantly, are they closely shaped around your company's needs and delivering the results you expect?

Outdated talent selection assessments may be hindering your ability to hire and promote the best and brightest candidates on the market. Candidates have come to expect tests and tools that make sense, that are computerized and online and that provide mobile accessibility. A difficult, nonsensical and inaccessible process casts your company in an unflattering light.

For example, are you using only a single assessment tool at every level? Or are you customizing the process to the candidate and desired capabilities? Using the same tool for everyone is a problem because it disregards the requirements of different jobs, levels, and participant pools across the organization.

Lengthy talent assessments are another outdated practice. These are inefficient and expensive and can cause candidate fatigue. Protracted online assessments often time out and may lose the candidate's progress altogether, frustrating and deterring your potential hires. Additionally, candidates can get easily bored and shut the assessment down before they're finished.

It's also time to jettison subjective ratings that are based on ill-defined models and use dated techniques. Instead, you need to tie these ratings to performance metrics and business outcomes. Using modern analytics can be more efficient, generate new insights, and be better tied to your key performance indicators.

And that is just your external assessments. Your internal assessments need to make sense and create an experience that is branded for the organizational culture in both look and language. They also need to provide readily available outcomes for the employee and the talent team. Creating a digital experience that compliments your technology style goes a long way toward motivation and engagement.

Fortunately, an explosion of digital technology in the HR space means that there are many ways to modernize talent assessments. Taking advantage of these will help your company become more efficient while making candidates excited to be part of your process.

What do candidates want?

What companies need now is to focus in on the candidate experience using a mobile approach that is engaging, highly intuitive and usable, that is short and that resonates with the organization's brand.

Before adopting any new technologies, ensure that the additions make the assessment easier for participants. It is easy to assume candidates want a lot of bells and whistles. They don't. They want something short, engaging and very easy to navigate.

In addition to the candidate's experience, you want your assessments to reflect your organization's brand. This gives potential employees a window into the experience of working at your company. Branded graphics, video introductions from the CEO or chief human resources officer and other additions can go a long way toward creating a customized and brand-specific experience. Realistic scenarios of life in the organization are a very powerful tool for helping both internal and external job applicants determine whether the job is a good fit for them while HR determines whether the applicant is a good fit for the job.

Virtual assessment centers, in particular, provide a robust opportunity in an interactive format for both parties to evaluate fit. Using a flexible technology platform and video conferencing, these become high-touch live experiences that get right to the essence of a candidate and allow a contrast of the candidate against the company role success profile in real time. This form of assessment is highly scalable, cost-effective and proven to ensure great hires who will perform well and stick around.


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In the years to come, solutions like virtual reality (VR) and AI will further enhance the assessment process. LinkedIn's 2018 Global Recruiting Trends report found that 28% of hiring managers felt VR skills assessments were one of the most useful recruiting innovations. VR can also be used for micro-learning on the job, while AI can make recommendations based on body language and emotions.

And to better help you, you need newer, more robust data management systems. These systems can use integrated applicant tracking, making HR systems data-accessible on a mobile device. Using the right technology, you can also screen candidates before they get too far in the process. For internal participants, a good assessment can be linked to your KPIs, sending out frequent pulse surveys for more immediate feedback.

Update your assessments

While many digital options are available, not all of them will fit with your organization and its needs. Before adopting any new solutions, budget for modern talent assessment programs so that you don't run into any financial issues down the line. Keeping the following in mind as you innovate your assessment processes.

Center the candidate. Ensure that your digital experience is linked with your participant's expectations. Your first priority should be the candidate experience, so make your assessments short, engaging, and mobile-first. Brand them so that candidates can feel excited about the company and the potential of working for you. A good assessment will help candidates genuinely understand the company or department they're interested in joining.

Beyond the assessment platform, candidates appreciate feedback that they can learn from, regardless of whether they get the job. It gives them an opportunity to work on the areas in which they need improvement — a significant value-add for them.

Run pilot testing. Don't make a large-scale change until trying it out. Test the things you are trying to change before implementing them at a large scale. Such testing will indicate when something is not working or whether you're not getting the quality you need.

Measure and analyze. Review the back-end to ensure you are getting the results you want. Check the outcomes of anything you have added to your assessment process. Is your new tech-based assessment helping you find, hire, onboard and engage the right people?

These measurements should work in tandem with your pilot testing. Trying things out in small increments is preferable to pushing everything out at once.

Validity, reliability and monitoring for adverse impact are both the cost of admission and one of the arbiters of the long-term benefit for talent assessments. It is the participant experience, however, that will determine your ultimate success.

What companies need now is to focus in on the candidate experience so that it is engaging, highly intuitive, and usable. In today's digital world, paper-and-pencil assessments or dull, long, seemingly unrelated or unbranded assessments no longer make sense.

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