How can we attract and retain talent through flexible delivery models?
Optimising candidate experience plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining talent in today’s competitive job market. As technological advancements continue to pave the way for new and innovative approaches, flexible delivery models in assessment have emerged as potential solutions to improve the candidate experience. But what are these? And how can they be used and enhanced to boost candidate experience? Let’s find out.
Adaptive testing tailors the difficulty of questions based on a candidate’s previous responses. In this way, it can offer a more personalised experience for candidates by adapting to everyone’s individual skill level – helping to engage them more in their learning. It should be noted that adaptive tests are not suitable for every subject and can’t assess every skill (AQI, 2022) – supporting the view that each approach to assessment should be primarily matched with what it’s trying to achieve.
Having assessments that are accurate is key. Adaptive testing requires a large test item bank to enable the programme to select questions that are suited to each candidate’s ability (Cambridge University Press, 2020). By eliminating irrelevant questions based on demonstrated abilities, candidates can complete assessments more efficiently as less questions are needed in order to produce more accurate measurements of their ability. However, creating adaptive assessments requires expertise in item selection and calibration, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. As a result of the dynamic nature of question selection, there are also concerns around test security and integrity of adaptive testing.
In order for adaptive testing to be optimised for the candidate experience, organisations must have skilled assessment professionals who can develop and maintain adaptive tests. When this is paired with the right technology, a robust testing platform that delivers and analyses assessments effectively can be developed. Furthermore, candidates themselves might benefit from guidance on how adaptive testing works to alleviate any confusion or test anxiety.
Online or remote proctoring enables candidates to take assessments remotely while maintaining test security through the use of video monitoring and advanced AI algorithms. The convenience of online proctoring enables candidates to take assessments from any location, eliminating the need for travel to test centres and therefore saving time and money for candidates and organisations alike. Similarly, it is an accessible approach that allows individuals with disabilities or mobility constraints to participate in assessments more easily than in traditional exams by removing barriers of accessibility and geography. Hussein et al (2020) recognise that although online proctoring has the potential to break down these barriers, it requires students to have access to the right infrastructure and support so not to contribute further to the divide.
However, candidates can experience technical difficulties with online proctoring that can have a direct impact on their experience and potentially lead to unfair outcomes. Also, there are ethical concerns regarding privacy and security (Lee and Fanguy, 2022) with the use of video monitoring and some candidates may feel hesitant to consent to constant surveillance. Using an automated system for online proctoring might offset these concerns as students wouldn’t need to worry about someone being on the other side of the camera observing them (Hussein et al, 2020) and it would be an even more cost effective option since there is no requirement to book human proctors.
To ensure the best candidate experience with online proctoring, organisations need the right infrastructure in place such as a reliable online proctoring platform to ensure a seamless testing experience. Also, dedicated support staff on hand to address technical issues promptly and assist candidates during the assessment process. With privacy concerns, transparent communication is needed about candidate data handling and proper measures in place to alleviate concerns, as well as training for all users of the proctoring system (Lee and Fanguy, 2022) – both students and staff.
Gamification involves incorporating game elements and mechanics into assessments to enhance engagement and motivation in learning. Engagement is a huge factor in introducing gamification into education and assessment. They create a more interactive and enjoyable learning experience which in turn helps to drive engagement in an informed and fun way (Welbers et al, 2021). They also provide a great opportunity to showcase deeper learning skills like problem solving, teamwork and analytical reasoning – providing a realistic platform for candidates to develop and demonstrate skills and abilities needed in the modern workplace (Rizvi, 2021). The tracking element in gamification enables immediate feedback and progress tracking – allowing candidates to independently identify areas for improvement. Feedback options are vital to the success of gamification and student performance so that it can adapt the level of difficulty to candidate performance and provide targeted support where needed (Welbers et al, 2021).
However, ensuring the game elements do not compromise assessment validity can be challenging. There is also a concern from candidates that the competitive nature inherent to games might negatively impact their experience (Rizvi, 2021). Providers must have open communication with students to make sure they are comfortable, and ensure that game mechanics are sensitive to different cultures as not all candidates may be familiar with certain game formats. In order to provide the best experience for the candidate, organisations must collaborate with game developers and those with design expertise to create effective and valid gamified assessments. Also, to ensure a user-friendly interface, intuitive interfaces and clear instructions are vital so that candidates can navigate the gamified assessment seamlessly and access timely results and feedback.
In today’s competitive talent landscape, prioritising candidate experience is essential for organisations to attract and retain top talent. Flexible assessment delivery models, such as adaptive testing, online proctoring, and gamification, offer promising avenues to enhance the candidate experience. To implement these flexible assessment delivery models successfully, organisations need the necessary structure and support. This includes investment in technology platforms, technical support, training for both candidates and assessment professionals, design expertise, user-friendly interfaces, and timely feedback mechanisms in order to provide a seamless candidate experience. Adopting flexible delivery models can also help organisations gain a competitive advantage in attracting and selecting the best talent. As technology continues to evolve, we must stay informed of new developments to provide an exceptional candidate experience throughout the assessment process.