How you Assess Candidates is How They Assess you

In today’s hyper-connected, digital-driven business world, user interface(UI) design and customer experience have emerged as major drivers of success. It’s how Apple became a global juggernaut. But there are examples abound where winning has come from providing a differentiated, quality experience. Today many, if not most, large companies employ online assessments as part of their hiring process. And kudos to them for getting their recruitment online to easily assess candidates.

But when you assess candidates online, you need to watch out for long and cumbersome multiple choice questionnaires that are not much different than the printed on paper questionnaires from decades ago. Considering that many taking these tests are young people who’ve cut their teeth on whiz-bang digital experiences, this kind of outdated format is unlikely to impress. Worse, it makes for an uninspired and stodgy candidate experience that may even turn them off to working for your company. And given the heated competition to attract the best of the best, that’s not good.

Despite the fact that candidates are competing for a job with you, you too are in a competition to impress them. That means your hiring process is not just about hiring, it’s also marketing. And all of us, as consumers, have come to expect a certain excellence in the technology experiences we engage in. Is your current assessment process meeting that high bar? You should go through the process yourself. Then ask yourself, does the assessment:

  • Explain what it is and why it’s important?
  • Making logging in and other interactions intuitive and easy?
  • Harness the power of design to attract and engage?
  • Communicate the nature of your company and employer brand?
  • Deliver an experience that differentiates your company?
  • Make it possible to do it fast? (as we all know people have shorter and shorter attention spans)
  • Provide the gratification (now expected) of instant feedback?

If your assessment process is not meeting these challenges, it’s likely that you’re turning off the top quality candidates you hope to attract… and driving them to your competitors. That’s not good.

So here are a few things to consider to turn your assessment process into a true competitive advantage.

User Friendliness

Chances are you’ve clicked away from a website that was confusingly cumbersome. If you don’t want candidates to click away, then you need to make your assessment “user friendly.” Here are the principles you need follow to achieve it.

  • Simpler is better —eliminate friction from complication, and make it so quick and easy to figure out, your grandmother could do it
  • Shorter is sweeter— get the job done in the minimum time because no one has the patience to sit still for long
  • Mobile is mandatory— given that roughly half of all web visits are from mobile devices, your assessment better work on them
  • Be uniquely yourself— create a differentiated experience by conveying a flavour for the job, your company culture and employment brand
  • Fun always wins — try to make the experience so engaging – even entertaining – that the candidate doesn’t feel like they’re taking a test

Predictive Power

When you assess candidates, creating an awesome assessment experience is of little value if the assessment itself is not grounded in the psychology science required to accurately predict performance for a given role. A job analysis study is the necessary first step to identify the competencies associated with success in a given role. Asking managers and studying current superstars can help you narrow the list of competencies. But a validation study need also be mounted to positively prove which scores are most important.

Success Relevancy

Hiring top performers is not and end unto itself. The ultimate aim is to help your company do better. So identify the key success metrics for your business that can be directly related to staff performance. Then start tracking those numbers in relation to assessment procedures and scores. Pull that off, and you’ll elevate HR from a purely supporting role to a key strategic player.

Easy Integration

Like any tool, assessments can only be as good as your company’s ability to use them. So make sure they are easy to use by considering how well they integrate with your applicant tracking system, how easy they are to access and how easy they make it to interpret results.

Digital tools can provide your company with a true competitive advantage when you assess candidates… if you use them well. But if you make the effort to provide a differentiated and engaging assessment experience, you will attract more top talent. And if you make sure develop an assessment that is proven relevant to your business and easy for your people to use, you will be better able to identify and select the top talent you do attract!

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