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Pre-employment assessment tools enter the smartphone age

AI and sentiment analysis are meant to make new mobile apps better at matching candidates with your organization. But experts say to tread carefully.

Pre-employment assessment tools predate the personal computer. For a long time, employers have used paper questionnaires like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to judge a candidate's fit for an organization.

This process was ripe for computerization, and after moving to PCs and the internet, pre-employment assessment tools have reached the ultimate in convenience in the form of smartphone apps jazzed up with gamification and AI.

Mobile pre-employment assessment tools are improving the candidate experience and giving employers quicker access to bigger, more diverse talent pools, according to a recent article in Human Resource Executive.

Until "fairly recently," job candidates for consumer products giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) had to drive or even fly to testing centers to use the company's pre-employment assessment tools, wrote Senior Editor Andrew McIlvaine. Now they interact with Aon Consulting's Global Assessment and Talent Engine on their phones.

Some P&G managers resisted using an off-the-shelf tool instead of one developed in-house, fearing that they would lose their differentiation in the talent market. Their solution: explaining to the managers that while parts of the assessment come from a commercial product, the overall assessment and its use in the P&G culture would be unique.

The company has the metrics to prove that the new mobile tool leads to a better candidate experience, which more organizations see as a crucial advantage in their recruitment efforts. P&G introduced a net promoter score to ask candidates how likely they are to speak positively about the company after taking the assessment. Ninety-three percent responded neutral or positive.

Jane.ai, MapRecruit and ThriveMap are some of the other entries in this new generation of pre-employment assessment tools that use AI, sentiment analysis, gamification and simulation to try to judge how well a candidate will get along with others and adapt to change.

Despite the appeal of such technology, experts advised HR leaders to tread cautiously before buying pre-employment assessment tools. Their key advice included the following:

  • Have a technical expert do a deep dive to ensure that the products work as advertised.
  • Look beyond old-school personality assessments for qualities like learning agility, adaptability and comfort working in non-hierarchical settings.
  • Run a pilot before deploying a tool to the entire organization.

This article is part of a content exchange between TechTarget and Human Resource Executive, which produces the HR Technology Conference.

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