Amplify | High volumes are coming—Is your assessment process set up to help you?
High volumes are coming—Is your assessment process ready?
by Claudia Nuttgens, Global Head of Assessment & Development Consulting and Annie Hammer, Head of Technology & Operations Consulting—Americas
In the last few weeks and months we have supported clients as they, and we, grappled with the seismic shifts and uncertainties that the pandemic has presented. Assessment processes have come under the spotlight and to the surprise of many, we have collectively transitioned to contact-free digital and virtual assessments with relative ease. This is, in part, because many were already headed down that path, and because our teams and partners have adapted amazingly well; quickly developing, testing, and implementing new assessment solutions.
Now that the initial urgency has died down, our clients tell us they’re preparing for the next challenge—with furloughs ending and layoffs becoming a reality, the market is now saturated with candidates and the anticipated applicants per position is likely to be overwhelming. As we anticipate and prepare for this next challenge, its time to amplify the good work you’ve already done around virtual assessment, and to build on it so that virtual assessment becomes a critical tool in coping with the volumes.
The traditional approach to assessment for volume roles, illustrated on the left below, includes a multi-stage process, with high touch points and reliance on traditional screening tools such as CV, and multiple interviews. The illustration on the right shows the difference and efficiency provided by a digitally enabled, blended solution—which combines multiple methods, such as behavioural, cognitive ability and situational tests in one package. If your process looks more like the diagram on the left you aren’t alone, but now is the right time to ready yourself for change and rethink your approach, exploiting technology to reduce cost, decrease time to hire, reduce the risk of adverse impact, and create a more positive and engaging assessment experience.
Where are you now? 6 Key Questions
In considering whether your assessment process is ready for an increase in volumes there are a number of questions you can ask yourself. The answers to these questions will act as a guide for actions towards a more effective and fair assessment of high volumes of candidates.
- How quickly and early does your current process screen and reduce the funnel?
For high volumes, screening solutions that require reviews of CVs, applications forms, and telephone interviews will quickly become inefficient and unsustainable. Reducing funnels quickly and early in the process is the most cost-effective approach to assessment.
- Does your current approach to assessment predict performance in role and will it predict for future roles?
This is a fundamental question for all assessment roles. If the answer is no, or “I don’t know,” the case for an improved assessment process is clear.
- What is the per candidate cost of your assessment process and what are the implications of this when the volumes increase?
If you are looking to lower the cost, a well-designed digital assessment process can significantly reduce costs.
- How long does it take to take each candidate through an assessment process and what impact does this have on candidate experience? How will this timescale work when you multiply the numbers of candidates?
Blended digital solutions are often far quicker to progress through than traditional ones.
- Are you relying on approaches known to be at high risk of introducing bias (e.g. use of resumes, unstructured interviews)?
As the candidate pool grows, risks of adverse impact may increase and be more visible, so it is vital to make sure your assessment process is fair and have established reporting from your tools.
How easily does your current process and technology adapt to changing volumes?
If you do not already have a digitized process, we have included tips to select the right platform to help you scale and cope with changing volumes.
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Selecting the right platform
Some of our clients are understandably nervous about the new virtual approaches, whether it’s for just one person or for 1000s at a time. They worry about about the loss of the human touch, feel uneasy about automated decision making and scoring, or even fret about their hiring managers’ ability to cope with digital assessment. We appreciate those concerns, however, we firmly believe that the benefits for well-designed and implemented digital assessments far outweigh the risks. To this end, we here are some tips to help anyone—even those with fears—select the right platform and manage the change successfully:
- Design your process before buying assessment products. HR tech providers have attractive sales offerings. Rather than be tempted to buy the latest new thing, work with your TA teams, assessment SMEs and partners to define the future end to end acquisition process. This should include considerations for flexibility, and specific assessment criteria based upon role type.
- Take inventory of the tools in your ecosystem. Consider if your existing platforms can support your processes and desired business outcomes. If they do not, it is time to consider a new partner. In doing so, begin by documenting all of your known requirements. This will include things such as your organisation's security, privacy, and integration requirements. It is also important to capture functional requirements with as many specifics as possible. For example, indicating that multi-language capabilities are necessary is not enough. Specify which languages and for which user types – candidate, hiring manager, and/or recruiter.
- Obtain demos specific to your scenarios. An initial demo of a platform from the provider’s view can be useful to help further document your requirements. After the initial demo though, it is time to outline 3-4 roles or scenarios that are specific to your organization and have the provider show you those specific scenarios in their tool. This will help you validate the tool capabilities more closely to how it will be used in your organization.
- Consider the candidate experience and the delivery mechanism. Make sure it fits your brand, culture, and type of talent you are looking to attract. For example, US West Coast based organizations looking to attract technology talent should consider leveraging a gamified or hackathon style solution with the right content and scoring. Others should choose an interactive situational judgement test, especially if they are seeking candidates who are responsive and polite under pressure. Evaluate not only how long it will take for a candidate to go through the experience, but also consider the number of clicks, user interface, and how the solution differs between desktop and mobile.
- Manage and use the data properly and continuously. Digital solutions create a wealth of data—it is important to set up collection, analysis and reporting processes before you start generating that data. This data management is vital in monitoring for bias and being able to take targeted action to resolve any issues that occur.
- Test and validate with end users. While most technology companies don’t like to hear the word ‘pilot’, in the case of digital assessments, it is important to start small. Verify that the process and exercises work smoothly, ensure that candidates find the assessment easy to interact with and engaging. Digital assessment can be a really valuable shopfront for the organisation but a clunky, disjointed digital solutions is no improvement on, or worse than, an analogue or high touch one.
- Communicate well with everyone. Most people are used to everyday digital interactions and we find that candidates, recruiters and hiring managers typically embrace new methods very quickly. Nevertheless, good communication and preparation is still necessary so that a level playing field is created and that everyone feels comfortable with their role in a digital assessment approach.