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How online assessment helps in university recruitment

No one likes to wait. Not the invigilators handing out tests at venues. Not the ones staring at the clock waiting to go home. Not the ones correcting tedious...

No one likes to wait.

Not the invigilators handing out tests at venues. Not the ones staring at the clock waiting to go home. Not the ones correcting tedious papers so they can get back to their daily grind.

No one.

Lucky for us, we now live in a world where we can opt not to wait, and instead, take a painless approach to finding that diamond in the rough of campus recruiting.

How you may ask? Read on.

The ugly side of campus recruitment

We cannot uncover a solution to the problem without dissecting the problem first.

Campus recruitments have for long been the go-to tactic for companies to attract fresh talent to their organization. They typically involve companies sending their representatives to colleges to give pre-placement talks, conducting tests at venues, followed by group discussions and interviews, all to select bright-eyed and rosy-cheeked recruits fresh out of college. There is significant investment in terms of cost of travel, accommodation, the opportunity cost of pulling managers and professionals away from their tasks, and administrative costs (such as test preparation, delivery, and evaluation). Add to this equation, multiple colleges, and the cost quickly compounds.

“The average cost per hire is estimated to be a whopping $3,582. “

Apart from the mounting cost and time requirements of conducting traditional assessments, some companies are opting to go off-campus because of stringent campus rules. Google, for instance, opted for the latter, because of campus inflexibilities which included what was thought to be a restrictive interview time slot, strict rules regarding the conduct of in-person interviews (Google preferred Skype interviews), and more.

While we are hearty supporters of the tactic itself; we believe some of the pain-points of campus recruiting can be removed.

Enter online assessments

Online assessment refers to objective tests designed to check skills, personality, or professional prowess of job applicants, which are created, uploaded, proctored, and evaluated online. These tests check for problem-solving, cognitive, emotional intelligence, communication, critical thinking, programming, and coding, amongst other skills. Examiners can choose from different types of question formats – MCQs, essay type, fill-in-the-blank, matching, timed questions and more. Companies use these assessments in place of traditional pen-and-paper tests, to find candidates that “fit” the company’s culture and job requirements.

The adoption of assessments to filter and screen applicants is on the rise – three out of the top ten IT services companies in India are using programming assessments in their entry-level process to screen candidates. Let us look at why these assessments are an ideal replacement for the traditional pen-and-paper tests that are administered in colleges and how they help in campus recruitment.

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Eliminates dependence on manpower

Companies no longer have to depend on their personnel to conduct tests. Since these tests are administered online, there isn’t a need to have a dedicated team delivering, proctoring tests, and keeping track of time at the test venues. In addition, test evaluation is done online by a software, eliminating the need for people to take time off their jobs to do tedious test corrections.

Test different skills

Recruiters can easily build multiple layers testing diverse skills using online assessments, which in traditional testing would need to be built and evaluated by different subject matter experts. For instance, you can have multiple choice questions testing programming basics, followed by a single coding challenge, ending with a psychometric test. This provides recruiters with a holistic understanding of the applicant’s skills and nature, which is a more reliable predictor of candidate fit within the organization and for the role.

Sophisticated analytics

The test evaluation is received in real-time and provides sophisticated analytics which can be used to study candidates’ skills and abilities from different angles and make an informed decision. Recruiters can slice and dice the data provided in analytics reports, to find the perfect pool of candidates with the right concoction of skills that they are seeking. Some recruitment assessment software lets recruiters playback code videos, to analyze their thought process and organization skills.

Saves time

Creating tests using assessment tools is convenient as recruiters can automatically generate tests from a curated library of questions. These tests also have a quick turnaround time as the evaluation is done in real-time by the software. This saves a lot of time in selecting candidates, which is crucial especially in campus recruiting where applicants might be receiving competing offers from various companies.   

Assessments done remotely also save companies the time and effort taken to travel to multiple colleges in multiple regions which can quickly add up.

Unbiased results

It is impossible for tests corrected by humans to not be colored by their individual prejudices and biases. Online assessments, on the other hand, are software-based and provide objective analysis and test results, free from individual preferences and opinions.

Reliable predictors of performance

Research shows that at an entry level, the best predictors of performance on the job are general mental ability tests (such as work samples and job knowledge tests), combined with either structured interviews or integrity tests. These are far superior in predicting performance compared to metrics such as education or years of experience.  

What’s next?

Online assessments are changing the testing landscape indefinitely. Some of the emerging and exciting trends to watch out for include gamification of tests (where companies test for competencies and expected performance using simulations carried out in games), using social media activity to predict performance and fit via algorithms, crowdsourcing, using collective intelligence to get an insight into peer-data and reviews which are integrated with tests, and more.

Online assessments are morphing to suit employer needs – the types of tests are as varied as the companies seeking to use them for pre-employment screening. Since the cost of hires is so high, companies are gathering as much information they can about candidates, using a variety of mediums and formats. Campuses that are not training students for these trends are going to lose out in the long run as their students will not be equipped to handle these assessments and will not be selected by companies who are relying on assessments for pre-employment screening. Students must be made online assessment savvy so they are able to handle any kinds of tests that companies subject them to. For those companies that are not utilizing online assessments, they are relinquishing an exciting opportunity to utilize the vast insight and information on candidate competencies and skills captured by these tools, which would otherwise be unavailable to them in traditional assessment settings. (Read how Chitkara University transformed learning & development using online assessment)

Jump on the assessment bandwagon

Campus recruitments are not going away. Last year, IT majors like Accenture, Wipro, and Cognizant offered jobs to 1688, 1,162, and 1,084 students respectively. The latest report by Naukri shows that while hiring in the IT-Software industry is slow and showed a decline of 24%, maximum number of new jobs (3% MOM) were created in the entry-level category. It is evident that while companies understand the investment involved, campus recruitment continues to be an effective instrument in their overall recruiting tool-kit.  As seen above, the best way to make this process more efficient and cost-effective is to shift from traditional pen-and-paper tests to online assessments. With more companies recognizing these benefits and adopting software-based assessments, companies that are slow to adopt will lose valuable talent to their competitors. Remember, if “The Hare and the Tortoise” wasn’t a fable, the hare would obviously win.

Try HackerEarth Assessment Software for University Recruitment.


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