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Quick or Interesting? Tradeoffs Between Brevity and Candidate Immersion

April 25, 2017

In recent years, I have been observing a tension evolving between two important goals in many organizations’ talent assessment endeavors. Understandably, many organizations are interested in the briefest possible assessment processes, particularly for entry-level high volume assessment programs.  The goal of brevity is to ensure candidates do not abandon the assessment, thereby limiting the size of the potential talent pool.  At the same time, many organizations also desire highly immersive assessment processes, to ensure an up-to-date, engaging experience for candidates with innovate assessment content corresponding to cultural and market imperatives.

These two trends can sometimes conflict.  Just like it can be harder to feel immersed when watching a commercial compared to watching a full-length movie, there is often a limit to the candidate engagement possible with a very brief assessment.  That said, brief, validated assessments can still be valuable in high volume selection settings.  As an initial hurdle in a multi-stage selection process, a brief, initial assessment – even if less than maximally immersive – can help eliminate applicants with the least chance of success on the job.

Nevertheless, when more time is available and technology will support a more sophisticated test delivery model, immersive assessments such as multimedia or game-like simulations provide many advantages.  Along with the cutting-edge image imparted to candidates by the organization, evolving technologies can allow for the assessment of a broader range of competencies than more traditional assessment methods.  Candidates can also leverage the assessment experience as a realistic preview of job or training requirements.

This week at the 32nd Annual Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology Conference in Orlando, FL, PSI will present research describing another potential benefit of utilizing engaging, multimedia assessments in settings that can support such technology.  More specifically, we will present results of a study illustrating how an immersive, multimedia simulation format can potentially reduce minority-majority subgroup differences in the assessment of cognitive ability.

To learn more about this topic, join us for this SIOP Conference session titled, “Alternative Measures of “G”:  Not Your Grandfather’s Cognitive Tests,” on Friday, April 28th, beginning at 1:00 p.m.

We hope to see you there!

Joseph Abraham, Ph.D., is Vice President of Assessment Solutions at PSI.  Contact him at jabraham@psionline.com or by phone at 818.847.6180.

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