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candidate engagement

How Online Testing Can Be Used Effectively to Engage Candidates

Nam Nguyen

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Psychometric and situational judgment tests don’t just improve screening accuracy — they’re also a game-changer when it comes to candidate engagement.

The two primary aims of an “application process” are somewhat at odds with one another; on the one hand, it needs to be thorough enough to effectively assesses each candidate’s fitness for a given position. On the other, it needs to be intuitive and engaging enough to keep candidates interested and motivated throughout each stage of the hiring journey — and, of course, to ultimately accept an offer if and when it’s made.

In the digital age, this delicate balance has become even more difficult to achieve. Technologies and services like one-touch purchasing, same-day shipping and smart forms now define our consumer experiences, and candidates have come to expect that same level of interactivity, personalisation and simplicity during the application process.

The key question is, how do you conduct effective screening when asking for too much information up front typically results in candidates abandoning the process altogether? Increasingly, recruiters are turning to interactive testing during the early stages of the hiring process in order to:

  • Assess high-volume applicant pools more efficiently and objectively
  • Provide a realistic sense of the expectations associated with a given position
  • Increase candidate engagement by providing an interactive, streamlined assessment experience 

Interactive Testing Works

Recent studies suggest that SJTs are incredibly effective when it comes to predicting future on-the-job performance. This is because they’re able to assess not only specific skills and experience that are relevant to the position, but also a wide range of softer skills and personality traits that align with a company’s culture and core values. As a result, SJTs are incredibly effective at helping recruiters identify well-rounded, right-fit talent.

Moreover, these tests can be administered across a wide variety of media formats, including video, to more effectively convey an employer’s unique cultural values and expectations. This allows candidates to assess whether they feel the company and the position is a good fit for them, and if not, seamlessly exit themselves from the process.

In recent years, many companies have been turning to interactive tests to improve their hiring outcomes. For example, the New York Times published a piece last month on Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to use interactive testing (in the form of mobile games) in order to meet its quota of hiring more than 5,000 new employees — which will include more than 1,000 software and electronics engineers. According to a statement issued by the company, candidates who are successful in completing the puzzles presented by the app will “fast-track their way into employment.” 

Many Birds, One Stone

In addition to improving quality of hire, when delivered in the appropriate way, SJTs — and psychometric tests in general — are a great way to up the level of engagement in the earlier stages of your recruitment process. While the argument that “people love tests” might sound somewhat counterintuitive, the internet suggests that yes, this is in fact the case.

In fact, it would seem that personality testing is experiencing its viral moment. Sites like Buzzfeed, Facebook — really any major media outlet or publication — are literally teeming with quizzes. Granted, these are typically rather lighthearted in nature (I recently discovered my inner Justin Timberlake, courtesy of the “Which 2000s Pop Star Are You?” quiz), but the underlying concept is sound. In fact, Google data shows 135,000 monthly search queries for the phrase “Meyers Briggs,” and 301,000 for “personality test.” As Jordan Shapiro, writing for Forbes, points out, “Apparently, we enjoy being categorized [sic].

Importantly, testing’s efficacy as an engagement tool is dependent entirely on how it’s presented to the candidate. Today’s recruits tend to perceive traditional, off-the-shelf psychometric tests as dull and burdensome — as such, there’s been a shift towards gamified assessments through platforms like Pymetrics and Arctic Shores.

Gamification in Action

The New York Times piece points to a growing number organisations are recognising the value of gamified testing as both a means of aptitude assessment, and enhancing the candidate experience. Back in 2011, Marriott Hotels asked its applicants to manage a virtual hotel, which involved "serving guests, managing a budget and training employees, all to see if they had what it took to run one of the company’s hotels."

Similarly, the UK’s primary signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, issued a public code breaking test to identify potential recruits. Other companies, such as Axa Group and Daimler Trucks, are employing games that test social intelligence and spatial reasoning, while organisations like Deloitte, Xerox and the BBC administer mobile games to test candidates’ learning and communication skills.

The point is, properly designed and administered tests is an opportunity for recruiters to compel a candidate to partake in the application process, assess his or her fitness for the role in question and convey the organisation’s employer value proposition — all in one fell swoop.

In an increasingly competitive, candidate-driven market, it’s the companies that adapt their strategies in accordance with shifting candidate preferences and expectations who will ultimately come out ahead. To that end, interactive testing represents a big step in the right direction — one that every recruiter would be wise to take if they want to remain competitive in the never-ending “war for talent.”


Nam Nguyen

Nam is Launchpad's Customer Success Manager. With 9 years experience in customer facing roles, Nam is the secret to our happy and satisfied customers.