Online assessment in recruitment: A hit or a miss?

Being praised for the objectivity, validity, and efficiency in talent pre-screening yet also being accused of tunnel vision and compromised relevance, online assessment is at the center of the discussion on smart recruitment. Shall we use it to identify the right candidates? Is it worth investing in? How to maximize the utility of it? You may have many questions, continue reading to find the answers. 

Online assessments, such as personality questionnaires, ability assessment, proficiency tests (language, skills etc.) are commonly used by organizations in the personnel selection process. As a standardized method made to assess human skills, abilities or personality traits, these assessments are quantitative, with results that can be compared across individuals’ abilities or personality traits.

Why use assessments in recruitment?

Research suggests that for hiring employees without previous experience in the job, the most valid predictor of future performance and learning is general mental ability (GMA), which measures numerical, verbal, and memory ability, among others. Using ability assessments helps to avoid some classic pitfalls such as being distracted by certain characteristics shown by the candidates or hiring people just because they are like you. These methods minimize subjective influences on talent selection at the early stage and enable the building up of a diverse talent pool.  

Benefits of using ability assessments:

  • Accuracy – reducing the risk of hiring the wrong person
  • Increased objectivity simplifies comparison between candidates
  • Time and cost-efficiency – streamline processes and save money
  • Professionalization and employer branding
  • Increase job performance and reduce turn-over, and time to full productivity

How to integrate online assessments into a recruitment process?

Combining different assessment methods increases the validity of predicting job performance. As suggested by expert researchers in the field, integrity tests and structured interviews are two measures that generate higher incremental validity when combined with ability tests during entry-level hiring.

The best practices for an effective recruitment process starting with pre-screening questions that are essential to the role, such as degree, language fluency, and work permit. Then it comes to assessments, which provide objective measures to evaluate candidates’ cognitive abilities. Depends on the number of applications, video interviews and personality questionnaires could be implemented after the ability tests. Judging based on the assessment results, recruiters proceed with qualified candidates to have face-to-face conversations.

Thanks to Karoline Bergem, Senior Consultant at Aon and Dr. Amber Wigmore Alvarez, CIO of Highered for content contribution.