Two seemingly conflicting trends are shaping recruitment today: candidates expect a more personalised application experience that respects their privacy, while companies are needing to make faster, higher quality HR decisions. Surprisingly, but not paradoxically, the rise of big data analytics and the automatisation of HR process both carry the potential to meet these needs.
Change is inevitable in the world of human resources and the trend towards digitalization means disruption is coming fast and furious. Savvy recruiters must navigate new waves of advancing technology, corporate change and applicant demands to keep up. Since a company is only as good as its employees, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
A recent gathering of top research scientists from global talent consulting firms identified the biggest disruptors in the talent management space over the next five years. These disruptors included digitalization and technology, artificial intelligence, increased competition and volume of candidates.
The push to keep up has swept over Europe. In the UK, 56 percent of talent professionals and hiring managers said new interview tools are the top trend impacting how they hire. Though, according to the 2018 UK Recruitment Trends Report, the majority of them are unsure whether the automation of the recruitment process helps or hurts their business, most professionals – 78% in total – attribute increased efficiency and increased engagement to it.
One of the ongoing trends has been to find new ways to assess candidates before they’re hired. Almost every month, new assessment companies join well-established ones and deliver new spins on determining candidate fit. But companies and candidates alike are starting to develop strong preferences for what they want to achieve from these assessments.
As we head into 2019, here are the current trends, both new and continuing, influencing the use of assessments for selection and development:
- Unraveling the mystery of big data. We now have the ability to gather almost unimaginable amounts of data, but it’s useless if there aren’t clear takeaways from the numbers. Hiring managers want a clear plan of action, not something that requires an advanced degree to interpret. Traditional interviews have all too often failed in providing a clear picture: 63% of HR managers claim they can’t assess candidate soft skills, and 57% say they are worthless in understanding candidate weaknesses. So rather, Expect staffing professionals to start demanding big data solutions that go beyond the buzzword toward actually making sense of people.
- Turning candidates into brand ambassadors. In the age of social media, and online reviews, companies are increasingly aware of the impact the candidate experience can have on their brands. Since assessments should lead to an improved experience for employees, they shouldn’t begin as a headache. A frustrating and confusing assessment process will lead to candidates giving up on the assessment and a negative impression of the employer that required it. Instead, gamification of the application procedure, personalised offers with the help of big data and 24/7 service to the candidates through chatbots provides an experience resembling a service rather than a torture.
- Finding and identifying future leaders. Most organizations hire new employees to address pressing needs. However, short-term staffing fixes are not enough. Growing numbers of companies now hope to plan for the future before a position is even filled, and as a result, they’re seeking out talent they can easily identify as future leaders.
- Building a diverse workforce. Both corporations and employees now want to ensure the hiring process emphasizes diversity and inclusivity to prevent discrimination, reduce conflict and produce a stronger work atmosphere – with a stronger ROI to match. Sometimes unconscious biases can slip into the most careful of traditional employee screening methods, making assessments a tempting method to keep things fair.
However, not all new assessment methods are able to effectively address these emerging needs, and some new technologies aren’t proven or are fundamentally flawed. For example, Amazon, known for innovative big data initiatives, tried to create an AI to spot the best candidates based on resume content. Unfortunately, since a majority of roles considered by the AI were filled by men in the past, the AI learned to reject resumes submitted by women. If the developers of AI algorithms are themselves biased, then bias will dominate their results.
Fortunately, a well-structured assessment can provide HR professionals with accurate, impactful information that blends the latest technological developments with methods that have been tested and proven. Ryan Ross, managing partner at Hogan Assessments gives the following advice on how skilled consultants can take both approaches to deliver on the changing needs of staffing professionals:
- Skilled assessment techniques can tame big data without being overly reductive. For example, results from the Hogan Personality Inventory, the Hogan Development Survey and the Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory can be filtered into reports, based on need, from screening to leadership development, and those individual reports interpret the data into actionable insights for both employees and their employers.
- The best assessments are easy to take, with each question designed to be immediately intuitive. Ideally, the results deliver in-depth information that will help test-takers find ways to leverage their strengths and improve their careers.
- A number of assessment companies offer assessments devoted to future development. Some can measure fit within the company and leadership potential at the same time, without the need for additional testing.
- Though bias problems can creep into older forms of assessment such as IQ tests and newer assessments that rely on unchecked AI learning, careful assessment development can eliminate bias from the hiring process. When assessment companies build their assessments from the ground up, they can ensure unexpected biases don’t creep back in.
Staffing trends continue to evolve, but new problems don’t always need new solutions. Certainly, organisations can benefit from new innovations if they fully understand their abilities to enhance human potential. However, relying on “big data” without looking at the bigger picture is a recipe for failure.