Organizations today compete fiercely for talent. Firms invest an enormous amount of money, time and other resources to attract the best candidates. Careful talent assessment results in significant productivity increases, cost savings and decreased attrition for effective talent management.
The nature and variety of assessment tools have evolved considerably in recent years as analytics and data have become more important in the business environment. Formal assessments are used to hire new employees, evaluate current employees for different roles, identify employees with high leadership potential, compare talent within an organization against industry or geographical benchmarks, understand talent strengths and gaps, and develop employees’ long-term value.
Advances in technology mean that more tools are accessible online, on-demand, and with immediate reporting and feedback. Technology has also given rise to more available data on individuals and new tools that enable organizations to mine these data for competitive advantage. For example, social media and other data collected via technology are used for predictive analytics, modelling trends, passive assessment of candidates and uncovering insights to enhance business performance.
The use of immersive, personalized assessment experiences is on the rise. In the hiring context, organizations are using these new tools and experiences to provide job previews and sell the organization and its brand. The Evolution of Assessment Technology Unsupervised online testing has become the standard for assessment administration because it is so efficient, decreasing the time needed to fill vacancies and reducing costs.
Initially, online testing prompted two major concerns: test security and candidate integrity. Concerns about security arose because early versions of online assessments were static, meaning that all candidates received the same items, which could be copied and shared easily. If tests are copied and shared, they become invalid and must be replaced, creating unsustainable costs for companies. Computer adaptive testing (CAT) methods are now the norm because CAT allows for dynamic selection of questions from a large set of items based on how each candidate is responding.
To ensure candidate integrity, some organizations ask candidates who have progressed through the hiring process to complete a brief onsite assessment at a convenient point to verify the candidate’s online score. Mobile assessment now provides even more convenience than assessments via desktop computers. A new class of assessments that use mobile-centric design principles has arisen to optimize the user experience. Innovative assessments that go beyond multiple choice and look and feel more like games. The result of these innovations is that assessments are being judged by their design and accessibility as much as by their measurement and predictive qualities. Some assessments, including personality and past-experience assessments, show little difference in scores when completed on mobile devices or PCs.
Future Trends Technology will continue to spark revolutionary changes in assessment methods and practices. For example, the ability to passively target candidates from available information sources could lead to transformational changes in hiring processes. Today, applicants apply for positions based on job postings, but tomorrow organizations may search data for key talent in ways that bypass postings. This is uncharted territory and will require new policies on privacy, legal and ethical considerations. As hiring practices span global markets, human resource professionals will also have to become familiar with additional laws and regulations. Perhaps most important, early adopters of new technology should be aware that without sufficient research behind it, an innovation might undermine rather than help an organization to make effective, defensible hiring decisions. In some countries, litigation and audits of hiring practices will lead to new standards and precedents related to new assessment technology, and organizations must be alert for these changes.
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