Counting the days until you can open the doors to those trusty assessment centres again (without the use of your elbows)?
If you’re nodding away at this point, we get it. When everything’s uncertain, you’d expect to be pining for the status quo. Crying out for a slice of normality in your hiring process.
But, as we sit now in our makeshift offices, what better time to ponder assessment’s next frontier? Should “normal” – regardless of how comfortable it might’ve once been – really be what we’re striving for?
Your candidates might think not. Although assessment centres worked for you in the past, it’s questionable whether they’ve always been great experiences for those on the other side of the table. Digital-first strategies adopted now, even out of necessity, can open up a host of new possibilities for your next hiring programmes.
So, it’s important to look back at assessment-centres without those rose-tinted spectacles. With that in mind, we’ve identified four aspects of the typical assessment centre that lead to poor candidate experiences, and so should be left in the past. Crucially, all of them are alleviated by online assessments.
This first one’s obvious. A travelling grad attending a pre-hire assessment centre after assessment centre can expect to pay £250 for the pleasure. We’ve heard the old adage – spending money to make money – but we’re not sure that’s applicable here.
It’s clear, therefore, that migrating as much of your sifting practices online as possible will save candidates time, money and effort. This is especially so as mobile access grows globally. Introducing remote assessments will inevitably lead to a better state of mind, thereby unlocking candidates’ best performance during assessments.
There’s no getting around it. While you’re judging your candidates at assessment centres, you can be sure they’re judging you. North American research indicates that nearly half of those forced to battle through a poorly-run programme will take their “alliance, product purchases and relationship somewhere else”.
So assessment centres have the potential to damage your brand and bottom line. But an online assessment tool can achieve just the opposite! By showing receptiveness to solutions that set candidates at ease and can be completed remotely, you can position as an innovative and forward-thinking company. This mitigates risk, while also boosting loyalty to your brand.
Stress & drain
In-person assessment days are often needlessly tiring and stressful. Not only do your candidates have to get there, but, once you’ve arrived, you’re faced with a gauntlet of presentations, group tasks, interviews, etc etc etc. Concentration-sapping tasks your candidates would ace at the start of the day become unusually difficult by the end.
This means that, by 3 or 4 ‘o clock, your assessment centre ceases to give you accurate data on candidates’ capabilities.
This is inefficient. Why not strive to learn more about candidates in less time, through online assessments? Algorithms pick up on human behaviour far better than the eye, especially when you’re having to watch numerous candidates simultaneously! This means better evidence to make the right hires for you, without inflicting a stressful process on candidates.
You’ll know all about unconscious bias (though we’ve got it covered here if not!). Face-to-face assessment practices can be a hotbed for hiring bias, as those running the day instinctively gravitate toward those most similar to themselves.
This is biological, and isn’t anyone’s fault. But it’s your responsibility to overcome this where possible, and online solutions are one viable option. Task-based assessments – preferably without any question-answer format – can negate adverse impact and get to the heart of candidate behaviours. This means that your decision-making can be evidence-based, unclouded by any preconceptions you had when you walked through the door.
A new frontier
We know some of you may remain unconvinced. You might prefer the tried-and-tested over the technological.
All we can say to that is this: history’s littered with watershed moments, where everything was the same until it wasn’t. We’re now facing disruption the likes of which we’ve never seen, whether it’s our work, our social lives or children’s education. Now’s the time to be looking beyond what’s happened, to what’s happening next. You can be sure that, if you’re not, your competitors will be.
Now, as we find ourselves in a continued state of lockdown, it’s time to absorb all that online assessments have to offer. You might just find that, in hindsight, the status quo loses some of its glow.