HR in the future: assessing skills through virtual tests

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One of the most difficult aspects of hiring is to determine how well an employee will perform in real world tasks. Some organizations have relied on the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) to determine suitability, a costly process that Canadian researchers hope to make more accessible.
The MMI process usually includes a series of timed scenarios where actors test how a candidate would react in specific job-related situations.
DeGroote School of Business Professor of Information Systems Milena Head and her team are testing whether the process could be made less expensive and time-consuming by moving in online.
“Face to face testing is very effective, but it’s very resource intensive for the company and the applicant,” she told HRM. “The goal is to see if we can take this technique that has proven effective and make it more accessible to different industries and worldwide. Our goal is not to say doing it online is necessarily going to be better, but is it an effective surrogate?”
The researchers will look at three different methods of answering questions to determine which is the most effective. Candidates could answer with multiple choice, free form typing, or voice recognition so they speak their answers.
“If multiple choice is as effective as voice recognition then it’s more accessible,” Head said. “This could work – when we’re interacting with computers we might know it’s not a human being but we still develop what’s known as social presence.”
It could be used as an initial screening where all applicants take part and the top performers are selected for the interview process, which would cut down on some of the selection biases that affect resume selection.
Head suggested the process could help hiring managers determine who would be a good fit, who could cope well in a crisis or high risk situation.
“People can predict interview questions so they can prepare, but when you’re thrown into unexpected situations and crises and you have to think on your feet so you can’t pre-plan your answer that’s when you get the glimpse into what they’re really about,” she said.

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