Jason McDowell | July 2017 | As is the case with any industry in the year 2017, technology has been and continues driving major changes in the field of corporate recruiting. Talent networks such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor have changed the way recruiters and candidates connect; applicant tracking systems are improving the application process for candidates and keeping things organized for recruiters; data analytics and passive candidate sourcing have drastically increased the size of the average recruiter’s talent pool.
So what’s next?
As the Hiring Process Grows Longer, Employers Turn to Assessments
Managers estimate that one in five employees should not have been hired, and vetting candidates is taking up to 50 percent longer than it has in years past, according to research from technology company CEB.
“Delays in hiring, in large part, are occurring because the number of stakeholders – for instance, managers of adjacent teams – participating in any particular hiring decision have been increasing,” says Jeff Facteau, Ph.D., director of product management for CEB. “The coordination between more stakeholders and the need for them to have an opportunity to interact with candidates and participate in the process of making a hiring decision all require time. Ironically, our research has found that the addition of multiple stakeholders in the decision process beyond two or three people in total doesn’t significantly improve the quality of hiring decisions.”
Perhaps this hassle and the lack of returns are why many employers are turning to candidate assessment tools to help them find applicants who are better fits for their companies. Assessment tools can aid many employers in avoiding bad hires while cutting down on the length of the vetting process.
“The starting point when using assessments is to determine the competencies and characteristics that are necessary for success in a particular role,” Facteau says. “So, first and foremost, assessments help drive quality of hire by ensuring that candidates are evaluated on the basis of desired/needed job-related characteristics.”
In addition, the tools can provide a level of insight beyond what an interviewer might be able to achieve on their own.
“Assessments, backed by science, add a level of objectivity to the hiring process that goes beyond ‘gut feeling,’” Facteau says. “They are objectively scored, which reduces the degree to which subjective and potentially flawed information is considered.”
Facteau notes that “progressive companies” are also using machine learning algorithms to identify top candidates. These algorithms review resumes against criteria drawn from the resume features associated with high- and low-performing employees in a company.
“When psychometric and algorithmic assessments are used together, they significantly minimize the biases that are inherent in human decision-making,” Facteau says.
Busting the Myths Around Candidate Assessment
Despite all the ways in which candidate assessments can help employers make better hires, a number of HR pros and recruiters avoid this technology because of the many negative and misleading rumors that circulate about it.
Here are four of those myths – and Facteau’s rebuttals to them:
Myth No. 1: Assessments Only Work for Entry-Level Roles
Facteau says: “Assessments work when organizations determine what competencies drive success, choose assessment tools that validly and reliably measure those characteristics, and consistently administer them to job applicants to inform hiring decisions. When used in this way, assessments can drive quality of hire for any position, regardless of level.”
Myth No. 2: Assessments Scare Off Candidates
Facteau says: “There’s a great deal of anecdotal and objective evidence that candidates are frustrated with the process of applying for jobs. They often are required to invest a great deal of time in applying for jobs, and often must do this through antiquated and unreliable technology.
“CEB’s research reveals that while assessments can add time and effort to the application process, most candidates appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate their suitability and readiness that assessments provide. In fact, assessments can provide candidates with a window into the job and a better understanding of what it requires. For instance, candidate-centric assessments … enable employers to create a positive experience for applicants by providing meaningful information and feedback throughout the process. Candidates are able to make more informed decisions about whether to continue the application process based on their alignment with the role.”
Myth No. 3: Assessments Are One-Sided
Facteau says: “Many organizations’ recruitment processes are one-sided. Candidates often are asked to provide a great deal of information and invest effort while getting little in return. This is especially the case for unsuccessful candidates, who, at most, may receive a terse letter informing them that their application has been rejected.
“A good selection process is a two-way interaction. The best talent management programs use what is discovered through assessments beyond hiring, to provide coaching and development to current employees. Even candidates who are not selected should be given the results of their assessments. They can provide valuable insight [into the candidate’s] work style, which can inform future job-hunting and development.”
Myth No. 4: Technology Is Replacing Assessments
Facteau says: “Progressive companies are using algorithmic assessments in addition to psychometric assessments. Machine learning algorithms identify top candidates by reviewing resumes based on patterns of features associated with high and low performers within a specific company and role.
“Algorithmic assessments can be particularly suited for predicting retention and very specific performance outcomes, while psychometric assessments are helpful for vetting [whether] candidates possess specific, job-related skills and abilities. When psychometric and algorithmic assessments are used together, these science-based tools – together with human interpretation of the results – have been established as a far more reliable way to make recruitment, development, and promotion decisions than human judgement alone.”