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Employee Assessments: Job Applicant Reactions

June 26, 2014

452269237Imagine there is a job applicant named Jane who found a job she thought would be a perfect fit for her. She excitedly submitted her application online and then was asked to take an assessment.  She thought the process was going well and found the assessment intriguing.  However, she kept waiting to hear from the organization after she submitted the application and took the assessment.  As more and more time passed, she became frustrated at the organization for not contacting her regarding her status in the hiring process.  She started to talk poorly about the organization to her friends and family.  She stopped buying any products associated with the organization and also urged others to stop buying products as well.

Looking at all of the different components in your current hiring process, how do you think job applicants perceive your selection process?  Are they having favorable views of the selection process even if they are not hired?  Do they feel that the various components in the selection process are fair?  Do the job applicants have negative views about the process and an overall poor impression of the organization?  Do the job candidates feel informed regarding their status in the hiring process?  These are some questions of interest from a variety of organizations.  Having favorable applicant reactions to your selection process is beneficial.  Research [1] has shown that job applicants who view the selection process positively tend to look more favorably upon the organization and recommend the organization.

Given organizational interest and the benefits from having a favorable selection process, one of the research initiatives at Select International. is to examine applicant reactions to the various assessments we develop.  For instance, in a recent study examining a sample size of over 40,000 job applicants taking SecureFit, a screening assessment for entry-level positions, we found favorable applicant reactions to the assessment.  Specifically, 91% of applicants found that the assessment content was relevant to the job. A total of 92% of the applicants thought the SecureFit assessment was fair. Finally, 91% of the applicants found that SecureFit provided a positive impression of the organization’s commitment to hiring the best people.

Select International also regularly works with clients to promote positive and effective communications with candidates at appropriate points in the selection process, to help clients develop or maintain reputations as employers of choice in their regions.  

All of the different components in the selection process can be crucial in how the job applicant views the process and organization.  Jane, the job applicant discussed earlier, may have found the selection assessment to be intriguing, but the lack of communication regarding her status in the hiring process lead to frustration and a poor impression of the organization.  If the organization had contacted Jane regarding her status in the selection process, her poor image of the organization may have been prevented, and in fact, she could have left with a very positive impression. 

[1] Hausknecht, J., Day, D. D., & Thomas, S. C. (2004). Applicant reactions to selection procedures: An updated model and meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 57, 639-683. 

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Amy Gammon, Ph.D. Amy Gammon, Ph.D. is an experienced Managing Research Consultant helping organizations with talent management needs globally. She manages and provides guidance on the maintenance, enhancement, and development of various pre-employment assessments, and she is the vertical lead for manufacturing and consumer industries. Additionally, she leads the development of new assessments, including mobile-first simulations and SJTs. She provides R&D expertise for sales and consulting and has conducted and managed several validation studies, ROI analyses, and other client analyses and deliverables across industries and countries.