Talent acquisition processes have undergone a sea change in the last decade, particularly in the past few years. The rise of digital platforms and social media has created a potpourri of opportunities for both candidates and companies, and virtual recruitment has accelerated during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. Jobs are advertised on various platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and companies can indulge in programmatic advertising to target the right talent pool. Candidates see more relevant ads for jobs. They can choose to be active and passive while hunting for opportunities.
While access to a wider talent pool is certainly beneficial, it also means that the selection process is more complex. Hiring is an expensive proposition; mistakes can prove to be costly. Earlier, job and salary expectations were the prime criteria that influenced people to sign up. Today, both candidates and companies are seeking cultural fitment. The dynamic business environment requires that companies hire people who are adaptable, multi-skilled and learn on the job. A report published by the World Economic Forum indicates that 94 per cent of business leaders expect employees to pick up new skills on the job. Problem-solving, critical thinking analysis, resilience and flexibility are skills that employees will need. Companies should now assess candidates along various dimensions.
How talent assessments are done
Hiring is a complex and expensive process; poor hiring decisions can prove costly and impact growth and productivity. Talent assessments help recruiters identify candidates who can be short-listed and interviewed and predict job performance and fitment, thereby reducing the probability of hiring errors. Assessing candidates on various dimensions helps align hiring needs with candidate ability and skills. This, in turn, helps to hire the best-fit candidate. Talent assessments, therefore, play a crucial role in the hiring process as they provide insights into candidate competency and ability.
Depending on the role, organisations may choose to evaluate applicants using the following talent assessments:
Knowledge and skills assessments: Organisations assess candidates based on the technical and functional knowledge required for the job. Assessing candidates on job-relevant skills helps filter candidates based on their technical competency. For instance, coding assessments and coding simulators can be extremely useful when it comes to large-volume hiring for IT companies. Companies conduct hackathons to identify the most suitable candidates and make more informed hiring decisions. With the advent of technology, many of these assessments can be conducted virtually. Job simulators are also useful in assessing and determining on-the-job performance when it comes to handling tough or complex situations.
Aptitude assessments: Aptitude tests are used to assess intelligence, cognitive ability and personality. Cognitive tests include numerical, verbal, logic and critical thinking and data analysis, amongst others.
Personality and behavioural assessments: Personality testing helps to determine candidate motivations and interests. Behavioural testing is used to assess on-the-job behaviour, emotional intelligence and underlying behavioural traits. Candidates may be presented with job-relevant scenarios and asked to present solutions. For example, some of the tests may test for customer-focus skills or leadership abilities. Such testing increases objectivity in recruitment. These tests are used in conjunction with knowledge and aptitude assessments. Communication assessments test the candidates’ verbal abilities, including action, diction, pronunciation and grammar, besides their skills in listening and comprehension.
There are several talent assessment tools, or pre-employment assessments as they are often called, that help with candidate screening. Technology has revolutionised the recruitment process, and recruiters can administer many of these tests online, making it convenient and hassle-free.
How talent assessment tools help
As companies vie to hire top talent, candidate engagement has become vital to the recruitment process. At the same time, talent assessment needs to be holistic and data-driven. The rapid advancement in technology has meant that there is a huge upsurge in sophisticated recruitment tools based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). With AI-driven skills-based assessments, companies can identify candidates based on professional abilities.
Manual screening of candidates is a time-consuming and mind-deadening process. By employing intelligent recruitment tools, recruiters can free up valuable time and focus on important tasks that can be done only by humans: speaking to candidates, planning and scheduling. Using talent assessment tools can lead to a huge jump in recruiter productivity, especially with large-volume hiring such as campus recruitment.
Conducting offline tests on company premises or at a university campus is both costly and time-consuming. Using AI-driven online recruitment tools with remote proctoring lets companies conduct assessments virtually, at a mutually convenient time, while saving money spent on the administration of the test. This lends flexibility to an otherwise stringent and complex process. Recruiters can reach a much wider talent pool at remote locations, thereby expanding their search.
Talent assessment tools ensure consistency in recruitment screening processes. Companies can make data-driven decisions while minimising the possibility of any unconscious bias.
Tips to choose talent assessment tools
Technological innovations have ensured that there is a profusion of talent assessment tools in the market. However, given the importance of talent assessment tools in pre-employment screening, you need to make the right choice. There are several factors that influence this.
Assess your needs: Every organisation has a different set of hiring goals. Recruiters should assess the requirements in the screening process, based on past hiring experience. For instance, if an IT organisation conducts large-volume campus recruitment, coding assessment tools could prove to be extremely beneficial. If you find that cultural fitment is a frequent issue, automated personality and behaviour assessments could help make data-driven decisions. The industry, sector and nature of the hiring brief influence the type of assessment tools to be used. Organisations may need to either invest in a couple of tools or an entire platform to satisfy their needs. Hiring experienced candidates requires a different process than hiring freshers.
Consider the value-add: Once you have identified a few tools based on your needs, evaluate them to see which one provides the best value based on your priorities and requirements. For example, if Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are on the list of the organisation’s hiring goals, talent assessment tools such as personality and behavioural assessments may help remove any unconscious bias and enable data-driven decision making during the screening process.
Align with business and hiring goals: Business goals typically impact hiring goals and consequently, talent acquisition strategies. If the organisation, for instance, has a goal of scaling up by 2X in terms of the number of employees in a span of two years, recruiters need to plan for resources and tools that will help them improve their productivity. In such a case, a complete recruitment toolset may prove to be immensely useful. At the same time, if the business is considering layoffs in the support department, tools can prove to be a huge boon to substitute any repetitive and manual processes.
Integrate with existing systems and processes: Any recruitment tools you use should not only improve recruiter productivity but also provide a consistent candidate experience. The tool should integrate with backend systems such as Application Tracking Systems (ATS) and Human Resources Management System (HRMS) to enable automated reminders, approvals, notifications and messages. Scores obtained during assessment should be taken forward automatically to minimise manual intervention.
Consider the impact on employer brand: Talent assessment tools that provide a seamless candidate experience have a direct influence on the employer brand. Whether selected or not, candidates should have a positive experience at every touchpoint. A good assessment tool should provide a transparent and fair evaluation of every candidate. Here, the process is as important as the assessment itself. So, for instance, a tool that provides AI-based remote proctoring should be foolproof so that there is no opportunity for unfair means. Automatically generated assessments should be based on robust algorithms. Accessing the assessment and taking the test should be an uncomplicated process. Automated notifications regarding the guidelines for the test and the timings will help ensure that every candidate gets an equal opportunity.
Talent assessment tools play an important role in recruitment. With huge benefits in terms of improved recruiter productivity, lowered costs of recruitment and automated, bias-free and objective evaluations, these tools offer many benefits and are tempting to recruiters. There is no one-size-fits-all tool. Choose the right assessment tool or platform that meets specific requirements. HirePro’s virtual hiring platform offers a plethora of tools that let you acquire the best talent with minimal manual intervention. With AI-driven automated coding and functional assessments, remote proctoring tools and university hiring solutions, HirePro enables frictionless virtual hiring.
Talent assessment tools are not a replacement for humans. Rather, they do the grunt work and enable recruiters to function more efficiently. They are an important part of the recruitment toolbox and should complement the overall recruitment strategy.
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