Validity in the Age of Candidate Experience

In the modern world of graduate recruitment, engagement and experience are key. With VR, games-based assessment, and more multi-media assessments than you can shake a stick at, there is one key question that we still need to ask – is it valid?

There appears to have been a gradual shift over the years towards being concerned with ‘how shiny it is’ and I worry that this might reflect a lesser emphasis on meaningful results and the robustness of the process. Of course, it may be that users expect that all assessments are designed to a level where validity is ‘as standard’, and they can instead focus on the more exciting innovative elements. Unfortunately, this assumption doesn’t always stand up to scrutiny.

Of course, candidate engagement is hugely important, with research showing that a negative experience can impact brand perception and loyalty. However, this initial attraction should not come at the expense of an effective and robust assessment process. You can have both!

Navigating the vast recruitment offerings available can be confusing, so here are three simple tips to consider when building a new process.

1) Does it measure what is successful for you?

The most crucial aspect of any assessment is that it measures the behaviours, skills and abilities relevant for the role you are recruiting for. If the assessment is not relevant, even your superstar candidates who score in the 90th percentile, may not result in a great hire. Pay attention to what the assessment claims to measure and how those behaviours are defined. Do they resonate with the role you are recruiting for?

2) Is it relevant?

One of the possible drawbacks of an assessment which focuses mainly on candidate experience, is that it may lose its relevance to the role for which you are recruiting. Face validity is the extent to which an assessment feels like it’s measuring what it’s claiming to. An assessment can still be engaging as well as face valid. Check if the assessment feels relevant to the role – for example, are the candidates asked to complete the types of task they may complete in their role? Are the questions relevant to work, rather than their personal life? If the assessment is set in an abstract environment, does it feel obvious how the types of tasks they are being asked to complete link to skills in the role?

3) Will the assessment help you achieve your goals?

There may be a number of organisational outcomes you wish to achieve by implementing a new recruitment process. Define these upfront and think about how you can measure them. These may be anything from quality of hire, efficiency, cost, experience or diversity and inclusion. Think about how you can collect data on these from the outset. If you are working with an external consultancy, can they help you with this? Use the objective data you have available to you.

As a final note, after your recruitment process has finished, evaluate how it went, and most importantly, be honest with the results! Assessments and processes can always be improved over time. Being open to anything that went wrong, can only lead to great solutions in the future.