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Testing the recruitment process

Mon, 04 Jan 2016 | By Sue Weekes

FROM JANUARY 2016'S RECRUITER MAGAZINE

Use technology wisely to improve the candidate assessment experience

Online recruitment systems and online testing have co-existed for many years but are often separate in the recruitment process. Kirstie Kelly, director of strategic partnerships at recruitment technology provider LaunchPad, finds this “curious”. 

“Employers often disconnect the [testing] tools from the agency. But any kind of systematic assessment of someone’s capability and suitability that goes beyond subjectivity has got to be a good thing and removes bias,” she says. “And there is no reason technically why it can’t be built into the online recruitment process.” However, where and how it is integrated into the process needs to be carefully considered though.

FIVE KEY POINTS

1 / Start with self-analysis

Encourage candidates to carry out some form of self-assessment about their fit for the role before they apply. Use the online environment to provide as much information as possible about the role, the organisation, its culture and what it is like to work there. 

“Build a realistic job profile and get them to think about why they are right for the job before transitioning into any test,” says Kelly. “Make candidate experience a two-way street.” 

Meanwhile, Jody Goldsworthy, director of talent solutions at insight and technology company CEB, recommends creating “job-specific simulations” and “a day in the life of” scenarios. “[These] provide engaging, predictive introductions to the company to help applicants determine their fit for the role,” she says.

2 / What and where?

As to where online assessment is built into the recruitment process depends on the position for which you are recruiting and the testing you think most appropriate. Clearly, some form of pre-screening and early assessment makes sense in high volume recruitment so top talent can be fast-tracked to the more “resource-heavy” stages of the process, says Goldsworthy. 

If the assessment method appears too rigorous too early in the online process, it can scare candidates off. LaunchPad’s Kelly urges recruiters not to simply reach for an off-the shelf product every time. “Consider using one of your own high performers as a measure of what good looks like,” she says. Branding the testing stage with the company logo can instil more trust than simply passing the candidate through to a third-party area.

3 / Candidate experience

Consider how the candidate feels throughout the process before, during and after the testing. Kelly states that candidate experience is a necessity “not an aspiration”, but says many recruiters still think it stops at the ‘apply’ button. 

Goldsworthy recommends mapping out the end-to-end candidate experience, capturing what each stage looks like, and the communication method and messages that candidates will receive. 

“Be transparent with candidates about their journey, outline your expectations of them and make a commitment in how you will communicate with them. Provide feedback on their performance whether they secured the role or not to help them learn from the experience,” she says. Also ensure any automated responses from the recruitment software aren’t impersonal.

4 / Be inventive

While there is a host of existing online testing material available, recruiters should explore how technology can enhance their testing and make it more engaging for the candidate. Kelly explains that psychometry can be combined with gamification. 

“It can provide a really compelling experience,” she says. “It can be used to test people’s reactions, critical reasoning or propensity towards risk without them feeling like they have a hammer over them.” She adds that for one of its technology clients, LaunchPad has incorporated candidate strengths with video as a way of making the screening process more dynamic. 

5 / Regularly review

Having integrated testing into the recruitment process, monitor and evaluate its performance. Is it helping you to more effectively and efficiently screen or test candidates? Crucially, what do the candidates think about the experience? 

CEB research found 60% of recruiters are doing nothing to monitor the impact of the hiring experience. “By failing to measure the candidate experience, recruiters are blind to how their employer brand is perceived by candidates,” says Goldsworthy, and employers often focus on the recruiter experience rather than that of the candidate. “Understandably, candidates get frustrated when they don’t understand where they are in the process, what happens next or why they are being asked to complete assessments.”

DEFINED: Recruiters can choose from a range of testing products from off-the-shelf psychometric testing to more tailored situational judgement testing that will explore how a candidate behaves in a specific workplace situation. Data and analytics are increasingly being used to better inform employers about the skills and characteristics required for a top performer and predict how candidates will behave in a role. Gamification, where the mechanics of game design and thinking are applied in non-game environments, is also being built into assessment methods.

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