Online Assessments – Why all the Fuss?


A simple google search reveals a myriad of reasons why online assessments have become so popular in recent times. Some examples include:

  1. Volume: The first detriment to a traditional assessment process is the sheer volume of work required, especially during a mass assessment period, such as the traditional graduate recruitment process. Volume hires also often occur on an ongoing process, especially in high turnover environments, such as call centres.
  2. Efficiency and cost: Cost and logistics are also major concerns in a manual assessment process. This is because there is often a need to book multiple assessment venues at the same time, coordinating candidate and assessor diaries, ordering and utilising large volumes of paper based materials, etc.

However, it is unclear how many companies ever validate their online assessment results as a predictor of success within the organisation. In fact, research has shown that the vast majority never go back to do any analysis of job performance.

Thus, at best, it can probably be concluded that most companies use online testing and assessments as a convenient screening tool, to “sift high volumes of applications.”

This means that companies seem to set arbitrary benchmarks or “pass rates” for applicants, without analysing whether the benchmark is an indicator of success in their organisation. Thus there is no evidence that those applicants will be more successful in their organisation than those rejected, so it is purely arbitrary screening.

In my mind, rather than using online assessments as purely a cost saving and efficiency process, organisations would be well advised to take more time in ensuring that they use science and rigour to set appropriate cut-offs, linked to on-the-job performance.

In doing so, the entire online assessment process will be more effective, and will not only contribute to the cost saving of the assessment process itself, but will add more value to the overall company balance sheet, by ensuring that the correct talent is brought into the organisation and is utilised optimally.

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