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Recruitment Test   | 6 Min Read

How Is Technology Enabling Practical Evaluation of On-The-Job Skills?

Written By Bhuvi Kathpalia

Table of Content

1. The Future of Recruitment - Ai & Automation in Screening
2. Advanced Recruitment & Predictive Analytics in Psychometric Assessments
3. Gamification of Cognitive Assessments
4. Autograded (Technical) Skill Assessments
   i) Coding Simulator
  ii) Case Study Simulator
 iii) English Evaluator
5. Conclusion
6. How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?

The Future of Recruitment - Ai & Automation in Screening

The future of technology is being strongly influenced, driven, and shaped by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Smallest and largest of business processes are relying on AI for their future growth, owing to its ability to automate workflows, earlier believed to be performed only by humans, such as identifying patterns, processing information, and, to some extent, even decision making.

AI has enabled the recruitment process to take better people decisions through technology backed analytics based on the current and future needs of organizations and capabilities of the candidates.

AI-powered screening assessments have had a huge impact on our hiring process. For one, we no longer have to bring candidates into the office to screen them. This has opened up our hiring pool to candidates from all over the world. 

In the past, it would’ve taken us weeks to screen the number of candidates we looked at for our last big hire. AI is capable of analyzing far more data much faster. We would’ve had to task a person with timing all of the screening assessments, and then to analyze each assessment individually. But, software programs do those things for you!

It’s very helpful to be able to look at a report that outlines how well a candidate performed, how many errors they made, and how long it took them to complete the test, without ever having to look at their exam. Obviously, interviews can never be fully automated, but the automation of screening assessments is making life much easier.”

                                             - Ellen Mullarkey, Vice President - Business
                                                Development, Messina Staffing.

Most organizations have already moved away from traditional recruitment procedures. Assessments are a widely accepted tool for the screening process. But with AI backing assessments, the quality of hires and the overall success rate of the recruitment process are certain to improve. This additional layer of evaluation is stretching to all domains of skill assessment, namely behavioral or psychometric, cognitive, and technical, or acquired.

Advanced Recruitment & Predictive Analytics in Psychometric Assessments

Psychometrics is being used in the recruitment process to empower organizations to assess candidates beyond educational qualifications and traditional skill set requirements. Recruitment, today, is vying to improve the experience of all involved parties and psychometric assessment is an essential component of that strategy.

The predictive value of psychometric tests has had a definitive success concerning an individual’s overall performance and competencies. With a growing number of organizations rooting for a cultural fitment and using psychometric assessments to find the best fit, analytics for recruitment has advanced to empower recruiters to work more efficiently and future-proof businesses by looking for specific skills and behavioral patterns.  

Most organizations are pivoting their hiring strategy to no longer only assess for core skills, but are also considering soft skills and general aptitude to better predict a candidate’s performance and growth in their organizational settings. Now, more than ever, organizations are also looking for indicators that project a candidate’s future fitment and are thus supplementing interviews and skill assessments with advanced personality testing. However, a single assessment tool has a low to moderate success rate, but the success rate of the predictive analysis model increases significantly when multiple assessments are combined. 

Recruitment analytics has broadened recruiters’ horizons, enabling them to examine many more specific parameters succinctly and efficiently.

Advanced Recruitment & Predictive Analytics

The use of sophisticated algorithms, combined with predictive analysis, can lay down all the possible outcomes of particular hiring. With the help of deep learning and advanced algorithms, data analytics can predict a candidate’s performance.

Traditional psychometric assessments that are in the question-answer format have been long used, but with the growing need to assess a potential candidate on multiple levels, psychometric is partnering with technology to analyse speech, written expression, and behaviour. A keen analysis on the candidate’s choice of words in the writing assessment, the tone, and modulation in the speech assessment, the various expressions, and gestures in a video-based behavioural assessment is the next breakthroughs in psychometrics. A comprehensive multi-level behavioural evaluation is, thus, a sum of various aspects of a candidate’s demeanour, keenly observed and analyzed by AI. 

Modern platforms analyze candidates based on these parameters, and identify personality traits by studying physical movement, choice of words, and voice inflection, thereby enhancing the recruitment process and accurately determining the quality of hires in the long run. Based on different data points drawn from these assessments, AI can create a candidate's psychological profile and match it with the organization's competency framework and broad cultural values.

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“Our company implemented AI for various stages of recruitment, right from sourcing to assessments and interviews. The system searches for relevant resumes, automatically calls suitable candidates, talks about the company and vacancy, schedules an interview and lastly evaluates candidates regarding their suitability for the profile of the hired company through analysis of micro-expressions of the face and human emotions. An expert recruiter spends 30 minutes on 1 candidate, the system spends 10 minutes doing the same.”

                                                         - Max,CEO and Founder, SpdLoad.

Gamification of Cognitive Assessments

Gamification uses gaming elements to assess cognitive skills, such as attention, information processing, memory, and pattern recognition, etc. to provide insights into a candidate’s competencies. Finding its initial use in the L&D space, to improve learning and engagement, gamification has recently been extended to the recruitment process.

A growing number of organizations are looking at gamification to continue engaging with the millennial workforce in the recruitment process, given the primacy of the candidate’s experience, and its contribution to the success of the recruitment process.

While a few organizations are experimenting with the gamification of cognitive and psychometric assessments, many have raised concerns around the validity and relevance of gamified assessments, as compared to traditional aptitude tests. In addition to its validity, there are some other concerns with the gamification of assessments.

While gamification may be suitable for a younger workforce, it may be less suited for experienced and seasoned positions.

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That the candidate may not take gamified assessments seriously enough to perform to move to the next level is a similar concern.  

Gamified cognitive assessments have not yet been proven for their validity and reliability in predicting individual competencies and on-the-job performance, and, as of today, are less valid than traditional aptitude/cognitive assessments. Most organizations, thus, continue to use traditional aptitude tests that ensure accurate hiring decisions.

Autograded Skill Assessments

Necessary skills and practical experiences acquired by individuals, over the course of their career to perform well in their professions, can be classified as technical or acquired skills. With competency as the central theme, businesses are often looking for candidates who are equipped with such skills and ensure to assess candidates on those parameters before taking important hiring decisions. 

Simulators

Used for measuring hands-on skills for a wide array of profiles, auto-graded simulators are tried and tested in the assessment industry and greatly help the recruitment process, filtering out candidates that do not match the prerequisite skill set. Simulators effectively assess the knowledge as well as the skill set of a potential employee, enabling him/her to understand the nature of the work. 

“We use a dynamic AI-powered skill testing platform to screen all of our candidates who apply for the role of a developer at our company. There are pre-made tests for different coding languages and we can see whether someone knows how to do the job before we even consider taking them in for an interview.

It impacted our hiring process in the sense that it is much quicker now. Instead of looking at resumes first, we give the candidates a link to the test and within a single day, we have our top 10% of candidates which we can further screen to invite the very best for the interview. It’s made us much quicker and more efficient, which is very important for a company with no dedicated HR team.”

                                                       - Dmytro Okunyev, Founder, Chanty.

A popular tool among all assessment tools -  the use of simulators for tech as well as non-tech roles - is on the rise. Mentioned below are three skill simulators that have found their place in the recruitment process for screening:

Coding Simulators

Coding simulators help simulate a real coding environment to evaluate a candidate’s true coding potential by assessing his/her unique thinking, creativity, problem-solving and hands-on experience in a coding language. 

Making a candidate write code on a piece of paper is so passe. While multiple-choice questions can help in hiring managers by assessing the depth of the candidate’s knowledge but his/her application and programming skills can only truly be evaluated in an authentic programming environment created by a simulator. Most coding simulators offer you the freedom to choose from a library of pre-built tests or customize your test based on the unique requirements of a business or a role. 

A major time-saver in the overall recruitment process, coding simulators assist recruiters and hiring managers by instantly grading the test on pre-defined parameters, while also assisting the candidate in undertaking the test through auto-complete features. Simulators immediately test for solution correctness, code pattern, and efficiency and support hiring managers in getting an insight into the thought process behind a candidate’s actual execution of the program.

Coding simulators provide candidates immediate feedback based on their score on the correctness of the code, its difficulty level, time, space complexities, and other such key parameters. Based on these, a candidate is given a score which is considered as the benchmark for moving on to the next level.

Most coding simulators are empowered with the ability to detect code plagiarism via an automated system and provide very minute details of the candidate’s coding journey in a comprehensive manner, consisting of his/her preferred coding language, compilation attempts, error details, code complexity, and often a code video, recording each keystroke and compilation to understand his/her thought process.

Coding simulators analyse each candidate’s code and make a recommendation for a particular job role suited to the candidate’s ability.

Case Study Evaluator

The case study/guess estimate evaluator poses real-life cases or problems to candidates and automatically grades the solution based on the approach, assumptions, and approximations used, along with the decision path and the choice of the answers.

Used as a screening tool to hire management graduates, case study evaluators are available in a simulation-based format. The test often has one or more case study question that often mimics real-world issues faced daily by businesses. Candidates need to analyze the situation to the best of their capability and come up with the most apt solution or conclusion in the given case situation. 

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Language Proficiency Evaluator

Language proficiency evaluators of numerous kind have always been in use for the hiring and training of voice agents in the BPO industry, sometimes for other customer-facing roles as well (for example, sales and executive role in the hospitality and medical industry). They can be spread across spoken, listening, written, and comprehension assessments.

Through its ability to assess pronunciation, grammar, listening comprehension, writing style and fluency, however, AI has turned language evaluation into a very sophisticated and elaborate affair. Most of these evaluators adapt a candidate’s nuances like cultural context, geography, and gender. 

In the case of the spoken evaluator, most AI-powered tools analyze a candidate’s speech across 2 key dimensions:

Linguistic

  • Identify exactly what is correct and incorrect in the candidate’s speech
  • Identify errors in the sentence reading and impromptu speech

Para-Linguistic

  • Analyze voice quality and clarity

In addition to CEFR rating, spoken English language evaluators enable recruiters to look at candidates through the eyes of a VNA (voice & accent trainer). These test reports enable recruiters to segregate trainable from non-trainable candidates.

Conclusion

With AI infiltrating the recruitment process and technology-led hiring gaining traction, traditional processes are giving way to a new wave of change, ushering in exciting times. As AI continues to automate various steps of recruitment, human resources can realize their true potential in the business by taking on strategic roles that contribute to the growth of the organisation, through L&D initiatives, succession planning, training needs identification and retention planning, etc.

With technology aiding every business process, human resources, too, have greatly benefited from its intervention. AI-powered skill assessments are helping organizations hire the best talent in an unbiased, cost and time-efficient manner, lending a greater competitive edge to businesses. The Human Resources need to realize that even digital assessments need a human touch. The combination of machine and human intelligence in the recruitment process has great potential in the future.

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Adopting advanced platforms and tools driven by AI, automation, and analytics will prove to be a great asset, in the long run, enabling businesses to stay ahead of their competitors by recruiting better quality candidates through innovative and smarter processes with better performance and retention capabilities. 

How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?

 

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Topics: Recruitment Test

Originally published December 04 2019,updated December 07 2019

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