TalentCandidate experience vs Rigorous assessment – achieving a balance in hiring

Candidate experience vs Rigorous assessment - achieving a balance in hiring

New technology has broadened the choice of assessments available and given organisations more ways to understand the skills, abilities and behaviours of candidates. However, the challenge of balance remains.

Organisations need to achieve a balance between creating a great candidate experience while maintaining a rigorous process that increases the odds of recruiting the best talent that’s suited to the modern workplace.

In a talent short market where the power often lies in the hands of the candidate, Temi Duro-Emmanuel, Senior Consultant at PSI Talent Management, shares her advice on how to achieve this complex equilibrium.


Organisations are in a race to engage candidates and recruit top talent. But this often comes at the expense of scientific rigour and finding the right people for the right job. While traditional selection methods can provide recruiters with useful information, they often lead to long dense recruitment processes that are off-putting to many candidates and reflect poorly on an organisation’s brand image. And a less robust process might engage more applications, but the resulting hires won’t necessarily be the best suited to the role.

Focus on fair assessment

Interviews and other traditional assessment methods that HR teams have come to rely on are not only expensive and resource-intensive but also subject to unconscious bias. Most organisations don’t have adequate training in place to ensure interviewers are able to ask structured questions and fairly assess the answers. These result in interview processes which are not only inconsistent but also off-putting to candidates, who value fairness and transparency.

However, simply adopting the latest technology may not be the answer to increasing fairness in selection. New game-based assessments that simulate video games or rely on novelty software such as Augmented Reality might create an engaging candidate experience and a fast time to hire, but they don’t always measure job-related attributes as fairly, accurately or consistently as you might think.

Getting a balance here is tricky. By incorporating the tried and tested science of occupational psychology with the right technology, organisations will be better able to fairly test the skills necessary for success in the modern workplace. Contracting psychologists who are trained to focus on attributes relevant to job success, alongside online psychometrics which have been developed to be aesthetically pleasing, fast and engaging, can be a winning formula.

Sometimes it’s okay to take your time

The output of psychometric assessments which measure important attributes such as personality or Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be tailored by psychologists to focus on traits which predict success in your organisation. And Virtual Assessment Centres (VAC) provide robust data about candidates, which tell you how they might perform in role.

Multifaceted ‘day in the life’ scenarios take place over a number of hours and test a candidate’s ability to stand up to the pressures they would undergo on a typical day in post. This includes managing an inbox, conducting interactive meetings, analysing information, and preparing reports and presentations. The experience is immersive, interactive and tests attribute relevant to success in the modern workplace.

Give candidates real-life dilemmas

Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) are another opportunity to find out more about a candidate – effectively, efficiently and in high volume. Multimedia SJTs which utilise video content can help to deliver an engaging experience that not only assesses a candidate, but also gives them a realistic idea of what a job and an organisation will be like if they are successful.

Bespoke SJTs which use actors that represent a variety of cultures, ethnicities and disabilities, can be used to communicate the diversity of an organisation. Your organisational culture can also be reflected in the language used and scenarios depicted, giving candidates clues about the expectations and challenges they might face in post as well as the benefits they can receive.

The elements that contribute to online psychometric tests, VACs or SJTs all provide invaluable data to inform immediate hiring decisions as well as longer-term development plans. Reports based on results from assessments can be provided to managers to explain strengths and risk areas for applicants to roles. Reports can also be automatically generated and provided to candidates to show the criteria they have been measured against and how they have performed on any assessments taken. Candidates who receive feedback after a recruitment process are more satisfied, whether they are successful or not.

Recruit for the future

To gain maximum value from assessment data, the information you have obtained should be used to inform a development plan once a successful candidate is in post. By making new hires immediately aware of their strengths and development needs, you can stop attrition and create an engaged and motivated workforce.

There are multiple recruitment tools that engage candidates and strengthen employer brand. However, every organisation will need to apply different methods to suit their needs. Look at the assessment tools currently out there, carefully consider what you need to achieve, and then align this with the resources you have available. Whether you use VACs, SJTs, psychometric tests or a combination, you’ll be better equipped to make more robust and sophisticated hiring decisions. These will give you a better predictor of performance in post, and your candidates a far greater insight into what you value as an organisation. After all, when there’s a win-win for both parties, power doesn’t play a part

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