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Teresa Fearis on Improving the Candidate Experience

by Joseph Murphy

I had a chance to speak with Teresa Fearis, Director of Global Alliances at SHL, while attending Taleo World.  We discussed what can be done to improve the candidate experience.

Candidates are asked to provide a great deal of information during the application process.  At a minimum they provide work history.  Firms that utilize objective candidate evaluations methods such as pre-employment tests, assessments or simulations obtain even more information about the candidate.  This generates a pretty lop-sided exchange of information.  Teresa offers a few suggestions for improving the candidate experience based upon higher levels of information sharing.  Click PLAY to hear what she has to say.  Then scroll down to read more on this topic.

Provide candidate the same information the recruiter gets to see.

A candidate provides a resume and the interview will cover the content and work history.  The candidate completes an assessment and it is rarely discussed. Why is this?  Several reasons may come into play on this point.

Psychometric Language - Assessment results may be presented in psychometric terms versus business terms.  Without proper interpretation training, explaining the nature of what was evaluated may pose a challenge.  Candidates may not find this information of value. Single Score Results – Some assessment providers reduce the candidate results to one overall score.  Recruiters may be ill-equipped to accurately describe what the score means and how it was derived beyond the hollow response, “Higher is better.”  Or even worse, recruiters may use terms such as Pass and Fail, which in most cases is a poor or inaccurate way to describe the outcome.  Think of it like this – “Your resume failed.”  Recruiters just don’t use that language, it should not be used with assessments either. Fear – There have been a few cases of candidates challenging the appropriateness of an assessment.  Sometimes, the content of an assessment raises doubts in a candidate’s mind as to the relationship between the test and the job. This is referred to as poor face validity – it just does not look right to the candidate, which may mean it is not the right assessment for the job either.  Well designed assessment reduce fear, and may create fans with positive things to say about the experience. Descriptive versus predictive – Without in-house validation analysis, there is no documented evidence that assessment results actually have a statistical relationship to job performance.  As such, there may marginal confidence in the value of score.  It is difficult to have a meaningful conversation about an evaluation without underlying evidence of its value

To provide candidates with feedback on their results, the assessment report should define the candidates scores on the job-specific competencies evaluated.  Very few assessment providers offer that service.

Contact me for an example of the Candidate Profile Report from the Virtual Job Tryout.  After a brief review, you can decide if this is the type of information you would be comfortable sharing with your candidates.

Allow candidates to post their assessment results on their social media profiles.

In the last 20+ years of providing assessment services to companies I have never heard someone say, “We are just like our competition.”  As a matter of fact, I hear just the opposite, “We are different than our competition.”  So what does that have to do with assessments?  Well if you use the same assessment as your competition, and evaluate the same traits and characteristics as the competition, you by default become more like them.  When your measurement system is calibrated the same, the outcome is similar.

The their book, The Differentiated Workforce, authors Becker, Beatty and Huslid  discuss the practices high performing organization use to distance themselves from the competition.  Harvard’s Michael Porter states competitive advantage comes from the use of business process that are difficult to replicate.  Using an off the shelf assessment with a scoring model based upon mass research and huge norm pools is a ‘Me Too” strategy.

Teresa suggests that a candidate may get value out of posting their assessment results on their social media profile.  For companies who view assessment as a generic or universal evaluation this may hold true.  However, assessment can also be viewed as company and job specific measurement rigor that creates competitive differentiation in a business process called staffing.   When assessment is designed and validated for your job, the results will be of little value to anyone else, unless of course your strategy was to mirror the talent and management practices at another firm.

I think Teresa’s points on what can be done with assessment results have merit – share and make it more public.  The path to that state of business practices will require more work.  However movement in this direction will raise the level of accountability for the use of best practices for pre-employment testing, increase skills in user groups, and drive broader acceptance of objective candidate evaluation.

Click here see what others have said about Improving the Candidate Experience.