Everything you need to know about Recruitment Chatbots

Technology is so intricately intertwined with human lives these days that it is difficult to imagine one without the other. It won’t be unfair to say that technology dominates our lives in ways one couldn’t have imagined earlier. With new advancements and cutting-edge innovations, technology is beginning to emulate the human mind and behaviour. Alan Turing, who is considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, once said that a computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human. With intuitive chatbots, we can safely say that the time has come. Chatbots are being used in businesses in scenarios that were hitherto unheard of. More specifically, chatbots are helping in the growth of enterprises.

Apart from their various uses in transforming businesses, chatbots have found a special place in recruitment. Hiring, which was till recently, a conservative sector, has evolved in this new age of technology. Earlier the process involved the recruiters to write job descriptions, post on job boards and interview candidates. Applicants, on the other hand, had little say in the entire process and would have to wait endlessly to hear from the recruiter. However, in recent times the power needle has taken a full 180-degree turn and how. Companies are trying hard to woo skilled candidates to build a talented workforce. As per a survey by SHRM, a staggering 83% of HR professionals said they were facing troubles in finding the right candidate. 

In this scenario, when businesses are competing to attract talent, candidates expect a high level of engagement. They expect a seamless hiring process with complete transparency and regular feedback. Recruitment chatbots, coupled with AI, are supporting recruiters in improving the overall hiring scene. Let’s dig deeper to understand what recruitment chatbots are, how they work and the benefits they bring to the table.

What is recruitment chatbot?

A recruitment chatbot is an AI-powered tool that can converse like a human with the candidates. It can be defined more accurately as a conversational agent or a recruiter’s assistant. It is a software application that uses natural language processing and machine learning to understand a conversation and respond appropriately. 

Here are the tasks that it can do on behalf of a recruiter.

  • Greet a candidate on the company’s website and ask if the visitor is looking for any specific information.
  • Ask for personal information from the applicant so that the recruiter can contact at a convenient time.
  • Answer candidate queries and provide general information. The chatbot can be equipped to handle more complex queries about work-life balance, office timings etc.
  • Assist in the recruitment process by asking relevant questions related to experience and interest. This can be used to pre-qualify the candidates.
  • Scheduling the first round of interview.

What are the benefits of recruitment chatbots for an enterprise organisation?

Enterprise organisations have an immense scope of expansion. Needless to say, they cannot grow unless there is a corresponding growth in their workforce. This growth has to be both qualitative and quantitative for the organisation to become a market leader. This puts tremendous pressure on the HR department to recruit and retain a talented workforce. 

However, it is also a fact that HR professionals find it difficult to run HR processes efficiently due to lack of resources. SHRM corroborated this in their survey report of 2016.

A recruiter’s work responsibilities include a host of activities like:

  • Writing attractive and accurate job descriptions.
  • Screening a vast number of applications to pin down the most qualified candidates.
  • Scanning the market to find passive candidates who can perfectly fit into the open positions.
  • Engaging the candidates right from the first point of interaction until they are on-boarded.
  • Completing operational tasks like scheduling interviews, negotiating offers, rolling out offer letters and ensuring a smooth onboarding.

Amidst all this, the recruiter gets little time to give strategic inputs at the workplace. Moreover, candidates expect constant engagement or they may lose interest in the job. As per a study by CareerBuilder, 78% of candidates said they use their hiring experience to gauge how the company will treat them. In this scenario, one can only imagine the immense workload that recruiters get buried under.

Enterprise organisations, that at are the cusp of expansion, can benefit from chatbots in the following ways.

  • Saving time – Since a recruiter is burdened with so many tasks, there may be no time to engage prospective candidates and build relationships. As per Fornstack, 55% of recruiters lose 8 hours in a week to manual and administrative tasks. Chatbots can ease this challenge by taking on several of these tasks. For instance, it can handle candidate queries and schedule interviews. They can also be customised to take preliminary interviews and qualify candidates. This can, in turn, increase the productivity of recruiters.
  • Enhanced candidate experience – As per a survey by Allegis, 58% of candidates are comfortable interacting AI apps during the initial stages of the hiring process. Since the chatbot will be available 24X7, a candidate will always have “somebody” to talk to. This can drastically improve the candidate experience who regularly complain about low levels of communication. 
  • Reduced time to hire – The Allegis survey also found that 66% of candidates were comfortable with a chatbot scheduling their interviews. Considering this benefit, coupled with the previous one, the time to hire can be reduced drastically. 

Intelligent chatbot can be developed on Impress platform that can give you several benefits along with the ones mentioned above.

What are the challenges of using recruitment chatbots?

  • Language differences – People may use slangs or short forms while texting. It can become challenging to program a chatbot to understand all these variations. Impress, however, has solutions to cater to such localisation of the language.
  • Lack of emotional quotient – A robotic chatbot may defeat the purpose of using them. To bring in a human context, there has to be a mix of humour and slangs for building a better connect with the candidates. Digging deeper into this issue, Impress has personalised chatbots to deliver an emotional connect.
  • Unknown situations – Although chatbots can learn from their past experiences, they may still encounter unknown situations. They may not know how to respond in such circumstances and may even spoil the candidate experience. However, such occurrences may be far and few.

How are organisations using recruitment chatbots?

Impress has collaborated with esteemed organisations to develop their custom chatbots. Two such cases have been illustrated below. 

  • JIM – DBS along with Impress developed JIM to hire wealth managers more efficiently. Short for Job Intelligence Maestro, JIM has automated a significant portion of the hiring process by reviewing applications and collecting applicants’ responses for pre-screening questions. Besides, JIM can also conduct psychometric profiling assessments for further information. The main objective was to reduce the workload of recruiters so that they can give more strategic contribution and also to fulfil the demand for a vast number of wealth managers. This initiative saw a huge positive response from the candidates where 90% of them were satisfied with its performance. 
  • EVA – Impress worked with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to develop EVA to assess candidates in the early stages of the application process. The colleges receive about 4000 applications every year and it would take around 470 man-hours to go through the individual write-ups. EVA has reduced this time to 2 hours and simplified the screening process 

Apart from other benefits, Impress chatbot can offer further advantages like:

  • Scalability – Since it is based on technology, the chatbot can be empowered to hold several simultaneous conversations. This is an outstanding feature as a human can only talk to one person at a time. 
  • Eliminating human bias – Hiring managers and recruiters can inadvertently bring in an element of unconscious bias in the recruitment process. Such bias can cost hugely by losing some really talented candidates. Chatbots can remove human bias and support in building a diverse and inclusive workforce
  • Real-time response – As per careerarc, 65% of applicants said they rarely or never receive any information about their application. 51% of those who did say the response takes more than a month to come their way. Chatbots can give real-time responses and resolve such alarming situations. 
  • Automating FAQs – Candidates hesitate to ask certain questions to a human face. However, they are more comfortable talking to a bot that they know won’t judge them. Thus chatbots can effectively handle queries about working hours, work-life balance, leadership and culture.
  • Customisable – When it comes to bots, one size does not fit all. For instance, volume hiring is significantly different than niche recruitment. Impress allows you to customise your bots as per your role and organisation.

Impress has improved the hiring process considerably by achieving the following metrics*.

  • 75% reduction in time to qualify for a candidate.
  • 30% reduction in the cost of hire.
  • 30 minutes screening process instead of 7 days.
  • Increases the quality of hire by 2 times.
  • 95% of candidates had a positive recruitment experience.

Recruitment chatbots, with their several advantages, are here to stay. They are fast, intuitive and can certainly support an organisation’s recruitment strategies. We are still at a nascent stage in this technology and with time, chatbots are slated to get only better. 

* These metrics are based on the data collected from internal clients of Impress.

5 Tips for Recruiters to make Interviews more effective.

Organisations depend a great deal on recruiters in attracting and retaining the right talent. They play a pivotal role in bridging the talent gap and propelling the organisation towards success. Out of their several responsibilities, conducting interviews is perhaps the most crucial part of a recruiter’s job. An interview is a short window where the recruiter has to assess if the candidate is the right fit for the job and the organisation. Secondly, it is also the opportunity for the recruiter to promote the employer’s brand in the external world. 

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Interviews are important as they give a glimpse of the organisational culture to the candidates and can influence their decision to join the firm. As per a survey, a staggering 83% of candidates said that they may not go ahead with a job offer after a negative interview experience. A negative experience can, thus not only dissuade a well-qualified candidate but also, land the recruiter back on square one. While a new recruiter certainly has a lot to learn, even a seasoned recruiter can benefit from adopting a fresh take on interviews. Here are a few ways in which a recruiter can prepare and conduct effective interviews.

1. Prepare for the interview

The life of a recruiter is constantly buzzing. Writing attractive job descriptions, engaging passive candidates, scheduling interviews, negotiating the offer and convincing the candidates. These are just a few responsibilities of a recruiter. Despite running such a busy schedule, a recruiter should always enter an interview well-prepared. Here is what goes into the interview preparation.

The life of a recruiter is constantly buzzing. Writing attractive job descriptions, engaging passive candidates, scheduling interviews, negotiating the offer and convincing the candidates. These are just a few responsibilities of a recruiter. Despite running such a busy schedule, a recruiter should always enter an interview well-prepared. Here is what goes into the interview preparation.

  • Clarity about the role on offer – It may help to spend some time with the hiring manager to understand the job responsibilities and expectations. It is a good practice to set a weekly calendar with the hiring manager to make this an ongoing process. This will help you in asking the right questions to ascertain if the candidate is the right fit for the job. Secondly, the recruiter must know the team structure to answer any hierarchy-related questions from the candidate. Lastly, it will help in understanding how the role will contribute towards larger goals of the organisation. Candidates always appreciate such transparency.
  • Study the candidate’s profile – As per a Careerbuilder study, 64% of candidates research about a company when they see a job posting. Since most candidates are walking-in prepared, they would appreciate a similar approach from you. Impress AI can provide deep insights about a candidate through their chatbot conversations and video interviews. For instance, the recruiter can go through the chat transcript to understand the candidate’s motivation to change the current job. Video interviews can give a glimpse of the candidate’s communication skills. These inputs can drastically reduce a recruiter’s efforts.
  • Prepare answers for possible candidate queries – Most common questions could relate to the financial compensation, work-life balance and growth opportunities. 
  • Know the next steps in the interview process – Let the candidate know if there are any online assessments, assignments or further rounds of interviews. This will help the candidate to work out his calendar in the following days.

2. Opt for structured interviews

Let’s be honest. One hour is not enough to gauge how the candidate will perform on the job. It becomes all the more difficult when recruiters and hiring managers step inside the interview room unprepared. There is no greater folly than relying on one’s judgement to assess a candidate. Secondly, several biases can also lead to wrong decisions. Recruiters can eliminate these problem areas from the interview process through structured interviews. This approach will allow you to be more objective and ask the same set of questions to every candidate. To make it more effective, you can note down the responses and evaluate the applicants relatively. Google, known for its hiring success, has been using this technique for years now.

3. Ask open-ended questions

Interview is not the right method to assess candidate on-the-job performance. Instead, the main focus of the recruiter should be to understand the behavioural aspects of the candidates. For instance, the motivation to change the current job, teamwork capabilities and communication skills. The best way to assess such qualities is by asking open-ended questions. Ask for instances to know about past experiences and performance. Often, the recruiters may have to read between the lines and get the answers they are looking for.

4. Be engaged during the interview

The recruiter carries a huge responsibility of being the face of the organisation to industry talent. Thus it is all the more essential for the recruiter to foster a positive interview experience. This cannot be achieved unless the recruiter is present, both physically and mentally, throughout the interview process. First and foremost, the recruiter must turn off the cell phone to give full attention to the candidates. Secondly, the recruiter should practice becoming an active listener. This will help in asking follow-up questions and expressing a genuine interest in the candidate’s application. Most candidates will come prepared for the opening questions. However, it is the follow-up questions that can give more clarity about the candidate’s behaviour patterns. Thirdly, the recruiter should be enthusiastic and display a passion for the job and organisation. This will leave a positive impression on the candidate and enhance the prospect of job offer acceptance.

5. Prepare the offer

If you are gearing up for the last round of interview, it would be a good idea to have a ballpark figure in your mind. Discuss the offer with the hiring manager before the interview so that both are on the same page. To arrive at a reasonable and acceptable offer, ask for all the relevant documents and understand the candidate’s expectations.

These simple tips can make a huge difference in making interviews more effective and garnering positive outcomes. Besides, they will also help the recruiters to gain valuable experience and accelerate their growth.

How can technology help in building a Diverse and Inclusive workforce?

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The last couple of years have seen a singular focus on diversity and inclusion in this highly-volatile business world. And for good reason. A diverse and inclusive workforce can improve profitability and deliver better business results. Besides, it can drive a company’s innovative strategies and give it a competitive advantage.

This is the reason why all the major financial hubs like London, Singapore, New York, etc. have outperformed other urban cities. They enjoy extraordinary diversity as their population is a mix of different ethnicities and nationalities. Such a diverse mix brings enhanced creativity and economic results to these cities.

Boston Consulting Group surveyed 1700 organizations in 8 countries and found that diversity is picking up fast in the business world. They also found that companies with diverse management teams earned 19% higher revenues as compared to those with homogenous workforces.

Apart from achieving outstanding business results, organizations also view diversity as their way of giving back to society. Salesforce was the first to lead the pack when it appointed its first Chief Equality Officer. The motive was to give unadulterated focus on creating a diverse workforce and removing all kinds of biases. 

What is Diversity?

Workplace diversity refers to the practice of hiring a mixed workforce with employees belonging to different races, nationalities, genders and ages. It also means not discriminating employees based on their sexual orientations and disabilities. 

Diversity also means valuing different perspectives, experiences and knowledge bases. It is these differences that can pave the path for a company’s innovation and growth.

However, hiring a diverse set of employees is only a part of the strategy. The bigger challenge lies in making them feel comfortable and valued in the larger scheme of things. 

What is inclusion?

Inclusion refers to developing an environment of acceptability. It is valuing each person’s opinions and abilities. Inclusion also refers to creating a workplace that is free of any discrimination. The aim should be to encourage the employees to participate and contribute to their full potential.

Diversity and inclusion is a top-to-bottom strategy and must percolate from the top management. In recent times, it has become a key priority for business leaders. As per a study by Mckinsey, diverse companies outperform their industry by a huge differential of 35%.

How can technology help in Diversity and Inclusion?

Technology and AI are leading workplace innovations and more so, in HR. In this data-driven business world, technology has become the backbone for an effective and efficient HR department. Let’s look at how it can enhance the diversity and inclusion initiatives of an organization.

  • Eliminating Recruitment Bias – The biggest challenge of creating a diverse workforce is the bias that comes from the hiring managers. There are good chances that these biases are subconscious and they warm up to applicants who they can relate to. For instance, they could favour a candidate who belongs to their state or share the same political views. Since the interview process is largely subjective, it may be difficult to eliminate such prejudices. Technology-powered hiring tools can help in eradicating this issue. Firstly, these tools can scan a pool of applications and find the most perfect matches for the job. Secondly, video interview software can assess the candidates without any biases. Thirdly, chatbots can give behavioural insights about the candidates. These tools can flag any potential problems in the early stages of the hiring process and also make the entire process more effective.
    Having workplace diversity also gives an added advantage of higher offer acceptance. As per a survey by Glassdoor, this was an important criterion for both active and passive candidates. 
eliminate bias from hiring. impress.ai
  • Better Communication – When it comes to promoting diversity, employees need to know that they are being valued. They need to know their problems are being heard and that their ideas are not being shot down. It is only then that they will participate, come up with creative ideas and give innovative solutions. Technology can help in listening to their problems and understanding their motivations. Besides, digital spaces can help in the exchange of ideas and creating an inclusive environment.
  • Pay Parity – Gender pay disparities have rocked the entire business universe in current times. While some renowned business giants have come out and spoken about their internal pay gaps, the issue is more deeply rooted. To build a diverse workplace, it is crucial that every individual’s efforts are appreciated and rewarded appropriately. Data-driven tools can analyze and monitor the pay scales and flag such inconsistencies. Secondly, there are tools that study market data to understand the right salary ranges. This can help in eliminating pay scale differences between genders and ethnicities. However, technology can only give insights and patterns. Diversity initiatives can survive only when a cultural transformation is brought about.
  • Talent Management – One of the most crucial HR agenda is talent management. Right from figuring out the next line of managers to creating a succession line, these discussions can span over days. The biggest challenge is to not rely on gut feeling or letting internal biases come into the picture. The employees must be duly rewarded for their performance and potential. AI can analyze the data and give data points for crucial decisions.

Diversity and Inclusion is the way forward for organizations if they want to stay ahead and increase their profitability. Technology can play an important role in achieving this leadership agenda. However, the key is to bring a cultural change step-by-step. Although it has to come from the top, the role of middle management must not be neglected. After all, it is they who are involved in all the decisions ranging from hiring to promotions. They can become true change-agents towards building a diverse environment.

How can you change your Full-Cycle Recruitment with Artificial Intelligence

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What would you say if I were to ask you about the main drivers of your organisation? Some of you would say exceptional leadership drives your organisation’s agendas. A few others may say a disruptive strategy is what differentiates you in the market. However, if there is one driver that everyone will agree to, it is talent. Human capital can make a lot of difference in achieving your organisational goals. Perhaps, this is the reason why every company is on a fire-fighting mode to attract the best talent. Artificial intelligence has changed the game of recruitment and has resulted in a faster turnaround. With intuitive and smarter tools entering the market, hiring has become even more competitive. In this scenario, it has become crucial to relook at your full-cycle recruitment and adjust it to the changing environment.

What is Full-Cycle Recruitment?

As the name suggests, it consists of all the stages during the hiring process, right from identifying the talent gap to on-boarding the talent. Also known as 360-degree recruitment cycle, it consists of six stages – evaluating talent gaps, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring and onboarding.

Large organisations have large teams that work together to handle this process. There are different recruiters to handle separate aspects of hiring. For instance, one person could be responsible for sourcing while another could be rolling out the offers. In the case of Small and Medium Enterprises, recruiters handle every step of the hiring process. Also known as full-cycle recruiters, they perform a whole lot of tasks in order to hire the best candidates. A full-cycle recruiter engages with a candidate right from the time a job is posted till the time the candidate joins the company. In short, they are solely responsible to engage the candidates and give them the best hiring experience. Full-cycle recruiters can play an important role in making the candidates productive from day one and also in their retention. 

Candidates start evaluating an organisation right from the time they view the job posting. The way the job description is drafted to the amount of information it gives to a prospective candidate can make a lot of difference. Similarly, every other step in the hiring process can either leave them with a lasting impression or disengage them.

Full-cycle recruiters, thus, have huge responsibilities on them. They have to prepare attractive job descriptions and post them on relevant job sites. They have to engage passive candidates and convince them to come for an interview. In addition to all this, they have to screen and shortlist other candidates, draft offer letters and ensure smooth onboarding. 

Unfortunately, recruiters spend a lot of time on transactional processes like scheduling and screening. They are left with little or no bandwidth for more strategic inputs. They cannot focus on enhancing the candidate experience by having more deeper conversations with them. As per a report from Careerswiki, 68% of hiring managers spend less than 2 minutes looking at a resume. Since recruiters are swamped with operational work, they cannot concentrate on these other aspects.

How AI is changing Full-Cycle Recruitment

AI is bringing a sea change in the hiring process by automating a large part of it. Secondly, data-driven projections and intuitive algorithms are ensuring future-readiness of the organizations. This has improved the hiring efficiency of organisations in two ways. Firstly, all recruiters are becoming full-cycle recruiters and secondly, they have more time to focus on the strategic aspects of their jobs.

Let’s look at how AI is changing every step of the full-cycle recruitment process.

A. Identifying the talent gap 

As per Mckinsey, one-third of senior leaders consider finding the right talent as a major challenge. 

This problem can be solved partly by predicting future needs and pro-actively scouting for talent. Talent gaps occur when existing employees leave your organisation. In other cases, the expansion plans of your company may result in additional requirements.

Then, there are predictive tools that monitor employees’ behaviours to predict their chances of leaving the organisation. These tools can be used to accurately spot the skills and talent gaps that may arise in the future. The idea here is to effectively plan for your future talent needs.

B. Sourcing 

Finding the right talent is a challenging job. For every job opening, the recruiters get a huge number of applications. It is humanly not possible to go through every application and assess them on the required skills. Secondly, there are several passive candidates out there who may be the more fit for the role. It can be quite challenging to engage these candidates who are satisfied with their current jobs. Both these challenges can restrict the talent pool.

AI-enabled sourcing tools allow the recruiters to easily identify the best possible matches in terms of skills and experience. AI makes it simpler to access a wider pool of candidates and recruiters can connect with them on the platforms that they prefer. Besides, AI-powered chatbots can handle candidate queries and result in better engagement rates. impress.ai offers highly-customizable chatbots that can also effectively humanize the conversations.

C. Screening

Having a larger pool of candidates is only half the problem solved. Recruiters need an effective way to skim through the huge number of applications and find the right candidates. AI-powered tools can also help in singling out the right person-organisation matches. Besides, chatbots can give a deeper understanding of the candidates’ motivation to join the company. Recruiters can look at these chatbot conversations to get a deeper understanding of their personalities.

impress.ai chatbots are intelligent and can be customised as per the recruiter’s requirements. The candidate responses captured on these chatbots can be used to know more about them.

D. Selecting

The traditional process of interviews is no longer the most effective way of finding the right candidates. At times, the hiring manager’s biases may hinder the selection process. Also, there are many under-qualified candidates with charming personalities who may come across as the right fit. Besides, interviewer biases can interfere while selecting the right candidate. impress.ai platform can help in eliminating these biases from the hiring process.

Selecting the right candidates requires an objective tool that can find a person with the right skill-set. Today’s times also demand a procedure to test if the candidate is the right organisational fit.It involves evaluating shortlisted candidates post-screening. AI tools aid the selection process through tests, gamified evaluations and personality questionnaires.

E. Hiring

When it comes to hiring the candidates, recruiters need to have a deeper understanding of their motivators. For instance, some candidates may be looking for better compensation while others may want a fast-track career. Personality questionnaires and chatbots can give a better understanding of this aspect.

F. Onboarding

Smooth onboarding can lead to higher productivity of the candidates. They will feel welcome into the organisation and will be more willing to contribute to their roles. They would like to come to a place that is prepared for them. This includes having a dedicated desk and a system. AI-powered tools can engage the candidates even before they join by giving them an e-tour of processes and organizational frameworks. However, the onus would lie with the recruiter and the hiring manager to bring in the human element in welcoming them with open hands.

These are dynamic times and there is no dearth of exciting opportunities for talented candidates. They will be drawn towards organisations that looks more promising in terms of culture and values. They appreciate if an organisation gives more consideration to their interests. With AI-powered tools, recruiters can engage with them on a much better level and offer what they are looking for.


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All you need to know about Pre-Employment Assessments

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“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”
– Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce

This sentiment resonates with most employers in today’s time. PwC noted in its 2017 CEO survey report that top executives view the unavailability of talent and skills as a major threat to their businesses.

Recruitment is not only a crucial business decision but also an important investment for organisations. Companies spend a substantial amount of effort and money on hiring. As per SHRM, the average cost-per-hire hovers around $ 4400.

Recruitment is a challenging territory as hundreds of candidates may apply on a job. It is a challenge to predict how well a candidate can perform on the job and fit into the organisation’s culture. 

Hiring managers have turned to pre-hiring assessment tools to resolve this dilemma. These tests can give better insights about a candidate’s personality, behaviour and capabilities and help them in making better hiring decisions.

What is a Pre-Employment assessment?

A pre-employment assessment is any tool or method to evaluate a candidate’s skills and competencies. They also help in predicting a desirable level of job performance. These tests are scientifically validated to rule out any inaccuracies in their administration. They help the hiring managers in screening unqualified candidates from their talent pool.

You can click here to read more about the science behind predicting job performance at recruitment.

These assessments are spread across a wide spectrum of tests. Depending upon the requirements of the job, these tools can evaluate job knowledge, skills, personality, emotional intelligence, integrity and cognitive ability of a candidate. 

Evolution of Pre-employment Assessment Tests

For decades, hiring decisions were made on the basis of how well a candidate presented himself during an interview. This impression, along with the gut feeling of the hiring manager, would decide the fate of the candidate.

However, organisations soon felt the need for a more reliable method for streamlining the recruitment process and eliminating biases. The very first instance of using an assessment tool was when the US government developed a personality test in 1919. It was used to assess if soldiers could withstand the trauma of war during the First World War.

Today, 82 percent of companies use some form of pre-employment assessment test during their hiring process (as per Talent Board’s 2016 Candidate Experience Research report).

Pre-assessment tests have witnessed immense transformation in the last couple of decades. For instance, the earlier tests lacked consistency and standardization. Secondly, they were more concentrated towards evaluating hard skills and lacked in judging soft skills. Pre-employment assessments now extend to predicting a candidate’s responses in critical on-the-job situations. Hiring managers can now evaluate a candidate on key competencies instead of relying on educational qualifications, technical skills and in-person interviews. 

Traditionally, these tests had closed-ended questions that would require the candidate to respond on a scale of ‘Strongly Agree’ to ‘Strongly Disagree’. For instance, “Do you have a vivid imagination”? This seemed to be a pertinent question for a job that demands creativity. A set of similar questions that could predict a candidate’s success in a role were bundled together to form a test.

However, the trend soon shifted to optimized hiring where candidates were required to answer non-obvious questions. For example, “Do you understand why the moon changes its shape”? This question is not directly related to what a candidate will be required to do on the job. However, it can predict if a candidate is curious by nature.

Assessments with Artificial Intelligence – Revolutionizing the way in pre-employment assessments

AI has disrupted the current scenario of pre-employment assessments. Linkedin found Artificial Intelligence” as a top trend that will shape recruitments in future.

In the current business environment, every organisation has a different definition of success. Consequently, success variables are also different. For instance, Xerox found that compassion was a key trait for customer service executives. They customised their pre-assessments tests accordingly to test compassion.

Algorithms and machine-learning are powerful ways to evaluate such complex competencies. AI has enabled more accuracy in predicting whether a candidate is fit for the job. It also helps in removing the human error of judgement while ensuring faster and bias-free hiring decisions. Besides, AI allows the assessments to reach the candidates and enhances their experience. AI-Powered interview chatbots can now reach the candidates through their smartphones. 

AI has paved the way for solving the toughest challenges faced by recruiters.

Types of pre-assessment tests

Pre-assessment tests are spread across a wide spectrum. These tests vary in their complexity depending upon the skill or capability that is to be tested.

Skill Assessment Tests – These tests are useful for evaluating the candidate’s proficiency in a specific skill. For instance, a job may require a good speed of typing or exceptional command over a language. Recruiters can use these tests to predict the on-the-job performance of the candidates. However, some of these skills can be learned with practice over some time. These tests have a limitation in assessing the learning abilities of the candidates.

Job Knowledge Tests – These tests are useful if a job requires a high level of technical expertise in a field. For instance, accounting or a coding job may need a candidate to possess a high level of proficiency in their respective fields. These tests are custom-designed to evaluate the current knowledge of candidates. However, they cannot evaluate how well a candidate can apply their knowledge on the job. Secondly, they cannot measure the learning ability of an individual. 

Integrity Tests – Honesty, dependability and work ethic are desirable traits in candidates. Organisations may want to evaluate candidates on these traits to avoid ‘high-risk’ employees. If designed carefully, these test can also indicate excellence in job performance. The only glitch in using them is that it is easy to give desirable answers and fake the result. Some popular integrity tests are the Reid Report, Stanton Survey and Phase III Profile.

Cognitive Ability Tests – These tests are useful in evaluating a candidate’s thinking abilities. They can be used to assess numerical, verbal and logical reasoning skills. They are good indicators of predicting a candidate’s behaviour in unexpected situations. However, candidates can perform better at these tests with practice.

Personality tests – Certain jobs may require a candidate to exhibit intense levels of a particular trait. For instance, extraversion or openness to a new experience. These tests are useful in predicting the tendency of a candidate to behave desirably. Along with predicting job performance, they also help in determining if a candidate is culturally fit for the organisation. However, candidates may give acceptable answers and misrepresent themselves. Some examples of personality tests are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, HEXACO and DISC. 

Emotional Intelligence Test – This test indicates an individual’s ability to build and maintain relationships. A person scoring high on EI has a deeper understanding of his own as well as others’ emotions. Some well-known EI tests are EQ-i and EQ 360. 

Competency Assessment Test – A competency indicates to the combined knowledge, skills and behaviors required for doing a job efficiently. Competency assessments are specially designed to evaluate behavioral and functional competencies as per the job. Behavioral competencies are the soft skills like leadership skills, stress management and interpersonal skills. Functional competencies refer to the technical expertise required in the job.

What is the best way to use pre-assessment tests?

Pre-assessments can help in sifting incompetent candidates from your hiring funnel. However, they cannot give a clear picture when used alone. The best hiring decisions are made when several aspects of a candidate like his behaviour, skills and knowledge are tested. Thus, a combination of these tests is better in predicting the job performance of a candidate. 

Pre-employment assessment is an effective way to screen qualified candidates. Since these are scientifically validated, these tests work well at predicting on-the-job performance. With AI at play, these tests can be customized to suit an organization’s competency matrix. Furthermore, they can give a positive experience to the candidates and help in reducing the employee turnover.

Click here for a detailed report on effective talent assessments from SHRM.org