Like many industries, technology has changed the landscape of employee selection. How candidates apply and complete phases of the hiring process is dramatically different today than a decade ago. The future will be no different; technology advances will continue to impact every phase of the talent cycle, including how we select people to join our organizations. While innovative technologies often offer new ways of presenting and collecting information from candidates, not every emerging technology trend improves our selection processes.
As advances are applied to our talent programs, it is critical to view these enhancements through the scientific lens that has been so useful in the last 50 years in helping organizations identify best practices. There are three main factors to consider when determining the effectiveness of your selection process. I like to think of these as the three pillars of personnel selection – accuracy, utility, and fairness. If your process rates highly in these areas, you will have a best-in-class hiring process. It’s worth it to explore some of the most recent trends in employee assessments and consider how they stack up to these pillars.
To start, let’s briefly define each:
- Accuracy: this is the ability of the selection process to screen out the worst candidates and screen in the best. Accuracy refers to the validity of the decisions you reach using your selection procedures (e.g., is your assessment accurately differentiating between those who are a good fit for the position and those who are not?).
- Utility: this pillar determines the ROI to the organization. A selection process with strong utility has a nice balance between accuracy and efficiency. Any time or cost invested by the company is “worth it” by getting valuable information about a candidate.
- Fairness: this last pillar is related to the legal compliance of a selection process. All assessment tools used to make selection decisions must be job-related. Information that is not job-related should not be used to make decisions about candidates.
Armed with an understanding of the basic pillars that define effective selection, let’s evaluate a few emerging trends in personnel selection based on these ideas. The five we will focus on are:
Do these trends make selection processes better, worse, or the same?
To answer this, we have created a table that considers each of these trends in the context of the three pillars. The symbols below are used to show our conclusions:
Evaluating Emerging Technology Trends
What does this all mean? When deciding if a trend is going to help your hiring process, don’t forget to consider all three pillars. While a new technology might improve utility, it could reduce accuracy or fairness. Be aware of all three and find a process that balances them to the best of your ability. Consider the pillars most important to your organization or position.