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Online experience vs. robust assessment. And the winner is …

In this first of a series of five posts about the key trends that are shaping the future of online assessment, I’ll be talking about the need for an enhanced candidate experience – not just for those lucky enough to land that plum job but also the positive lasting impression that employers need to make on those who don’t quite make it through.

Historically, traditional ability testing has remained the predominant method for sifting large volumes of candidates. While this approach has gone online, the actual content itself has largely remained unchanged. This has created a long running stand-off between assessment providers focused on selecting the best people and recruitment teams concerned with managing the employer brand and the subsequent fallout from rejected candidates.

So, most companies have continued with traditional assessment, unclear of the alternatives and concerned for the robustness of the assessment process in selecting the right people who fit in with their culture. But their concerns don’t stop here. How do we provide an experience that promotes our brand in a positive light? The business reasons for this have been well documented, as all candidates are potential customers and any negative experience will spread like wildfire on social media. The repetitional damage can take many years to undo.

Transforming the world of assessment

The long and the short of it is that candidates want to be engaged and to receive a welcoming, personalised and intuitive experience. This is particularly relevant for our discerning Millennials, who want to feel a connection with their future employer and share in their values. They also want to learn something about the job and themselves, so the assessment content needs to feel relevant. Constructive feedback is also expected. All these seem quite reasonable demands, but all too often candidates are being pushed through a fairly ‘cold’ process in an uninspiring manner.

We’re at an exciting junction in the online assessment journey, and as specialists in the field, we must embrace the fantastic opportunities of the digital age and make a difference in the world of assessment. The good news is that the face-off is coming to an end, as the old and the new approaches start to converge to provide new forms of attractive and accurate assessment.

Rather than being an often jarring low point for many candidates, providing a refreshing experience simply must be a top strategic priority for business. Of course, one must never lose sight of the scientific basis of assessment and the need for accuracy.

In the next instalment, I’ll be exploring the myriad of new technologies available to test developers to deliver more engaging ways of presenting online assessments. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave your comments below.

Dr. Alan Bourne is the Managing Director and founder of Sova Assessment Ltd.

Changing assessment for good
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