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Candidate Reactions to International Employment Assessments

July 23, 2019

Candidate Reaction International Employment AssessmentMultinational organizations are faced with a long list of challenges due to the nature of working across countries and cultures. The following are only some of these challenges: standardized hiring practices and procedures, maintaining a respectable reputation, retaining top talent, economic conditions, high costs of labor, operations management, political instability, and cyber security risks.

Understanding, enhancing, and innovating the hiring process can have a noticeably positive effect on these complex issues. Research shows there are three key areas which are heavily influenced by the overall hiring process experience of job candidates:

  • Organizational attractiveness
  • Consumer investment opportunities
  • Social media reputation

There is also evidence that candidate reactions have significant and meaningful effects on attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. Organizations are constantly seeking research and knowledge to better understand the specific candidate pools from which they hire. Research in this area has determined that there are four areas of potential growth:

  • Development of theoretical perspectives
  • Amalgamation of new technology in selection
  • Emerging boundary conditions
  • Internationalization of candidate reactions to hiring assessments

A recent study conducted by PSI focused on the internationalization of candidate reactions to hiring assessments. Specifically, they wanted to understand the differences between candidates in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in how they react to online hiring assessments. They predicted that with their sample of over 35,000 candidates, there would be significant differences in reaction scores between countries. They based this theory on a framework for cross-cultural communication developed by Geert Hofstede, known as Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.

These dimensions describe the effects of a society's culture on the values of its members and how these values relate to behavior using a structure derived from factor analysis. You can see that Mexico has much larger differences than Canada and the United States do.

Hofstede Cultural Differences Applicant Reactions

In line with Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the recent study showed significant differences in candidate test reaction scores. These scores were based on several questions that addressed the candidate experience. Test fairness, impression of the organization, and ability to appropriately display skills and abilities were some of the areas measured in the overall reaction score.

While all of the candidate scores were high, candidates tested in Canada showed the lowest average reaction scores while those testing in Mexico showed the highest average reaction scores out of candidates in all three countries.

What can we learn from this study?

It is important to understand cultural and statistical differences for how individuals in a country will react to online hiring tests. In this particular study there were differences in reaction scores, but their reactions were favorable overall. Therefore, there may not be cause for concern if you see differences between countries and cultures, but it’s important to aim for good reactions overall. Some of the elements of this particular assessment that could be considered for successful implementation elsewhere might be:

  • Translation of the assessment into the native language
  • Including multiple methods of measurement within the test battery
  • Providing optional feedback items at the end of the test
  • Reasonable test time to complete the assessment
  • Providing reasonable test accommodations in accordance with ADA standards
Other considerations when implementing hiring employment assessments internationally.

There are many things to consider when implementing any hiring solution across countries and/or cultures. Being aware of cultural differences and understanding potential challenges is vital for a good start. Making sure the best solution is chosen while considering:

  • Industry
  • Position
  • Candidate pool
  • Cost/budget
  • Recruiting limitations
  • Hiring volume
  • Stage in the hiring process

Though multinational organizations are faced with an overwhelming amount of challenges, understanding cultural differences and taking a proactive approach to addressing these differences when implementing hiring solutions can have a strong positive impact on many facets of the organization.

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Trevor McGlochlin Trevor McGlochlin is a Research Consultant at PSI. He leads the Financial and Automotive verticals within R&D. He earned a Master of Science degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology. His areas of expertise include selection, employee turnover, organizational development, applied research, and statistical analyses. His analysis work is centered around validation, adverse impact, turnover analyses, assessment scoring, and other data analysis.