The future of assessment is digital

There is more to recruitment than how we attract and sift candidates, but the recent advances in technology and move to a digital approach has focused predominantly on these two areas. Sifting software and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) providers have been two of the main driving forces for innovation in the recruitment and assessment world. In recent years there has been a flood of new providers into the ATS market and that’s why when you mention digital assessment people usually think ATS. Digital assessment usually conjures up the image of candidates engaging in some form of online test, application, game or process to assess their capability from the comfort of their own home. Yet there is so much more to the future of digital assessment.

Technology can help organisations streamline their recruitment processes, but everyone who applies for a job still needs some level of face to face engagement. Going digital doesn’t mean the elimination of meeting candidates all together and technology that tries to take this approach will fail. It can erode candidates trust in the brand and make them question the recruitment process as a whole if there is little to no human engagement or there are tools being used that they perceive as unfair. Amazon’s recent example of trying to develop a CV sifting tool to streamline the recruitment process ended in disaster with a sexist algorithm that discriminated against women.

The best way to build a positive brand image with potential candidates is to use technology throughout the whole recruitment process, but without losing the human element. There has been a huge focus on using technology for attraction and sifting to try and drive down costs and save time but the one area that has been neglected is assessment and interview delivery. We expect candidates to go through reams of online application steps, psychometric tests or game-based applications but when it comes to meeting them face to face everyone is expected to regress to pen and paper. It is not an accurate reflection of the workplace and organisations need to move to a wholly digital recruitment approach.

ATS revolution

ATS providers are leading the technology revolution in recruitment and assessment. It is fantastic that employers are willing to use them to try and drive change and improve the way they find and assess talent. Some of the software available to employers offers a whole host of benefits but neglect to mention potential downsides. What if finding your next job is as easy as clicking a button or playing a few games? What if the candidates you’re interviewing have spent less than 10 minutes of effort to get in front of you?

This focus on ease and speed of application could have a significantly negative impact on the next generation coming in to the workplace. It might give them unrealistic expectations of what it is going to be like to work at your company, especially if was easy for them to get there. Their peers may also be critical of their quality, if a less robust process was used to get them the job. Quicker time to hire is not, and should not be, the only indicator of good candidate experience and making it the most important KPI is not the way forward.

There is also a strong emphasis on how much time and money using sifting technology will save you. Whilst this may be true to some extent, from my personal experience of assessing and recruiting, you need to meet and engage with as many people face to face in order to recruit the best quality talent.

The rise of digital assessment centres

When assessing candidates the fairest approach is to use proven methods where thorough research has taken place. Clients I’ve recently spoken to ask why assessment exercises haven’t evolved or changed from interviews, role plays, written case studies, presentations or group exercises. One of the main reasons is the wealth of research that has been conducted involving these exercises and the fact that providers know they are scientifically backed. Assessment centres are the most effective way to select the best candidates when it comes to assessment delivery but this often comes at a high cost, but as technology progresses and employers move to a digital assessment approach these costs will lower. Assessment centres are also beginning to evolve, using more technology to provide realistic work simulations, which gives candidates a chance to see if they can succeed in the role.

There are two unique benefits from digital assessment centres, assessment data collection and accountability. Hand written notes are stored to comply with regulations, but never utilised to improve the recruitment process going forward. Collecting assessment data digitally is a game changer that will allow organisations to analyse the way they assess, recruit and retain talent.

The second benefit is accountability, which is key. During my experience of recruitment there has never been a strong focus on evaluating the delivery of assessment centres. Without consistent or standardised delivery of an assessment process the quality can diminish which can lead to more serious issues, such as assessor bias. Subconscious, and at times conscious, biases exist in assessment, but by improving the accountability of your process the impact that these biases have on the success of your company can be reduced.

The future of assessment

The future of assessment is incredibly exciting with the first step being to go digital. Whether it is simply interviews or high volume assessment centres, organisations need to use a digital approach to assessment delivery.

There are companies now offering digital assessment centres and as technology advances there will be new, proven ways to assess. Examples of this are using chatbots to engage with and assess candidates, the use of NLP to analyse candidate’s content and facial and voice recognition to help aid in the assessment of candidates.

At Equitas we are helping companies to make better hiring decisions with our interview app. It can be challenging to hire the right people for key roles, ensure a diverse workforce and find the time to deliver a consistent and engaging candidate experience. Our app makes your interviews more accurate, efficient and fair, empowering you to make better hiring decisions.

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