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Two Trends in Mobile-First Assessment Design

July 9, 2019
Mobile Assessment

Most competitive assessment providers, including PSI, are aware that they must adapt assessment practices to accommodate today's technology trends. As such, mobile-first assessments are no longer a nice-to-have option – they're a must. Limiting assessment completion devices to PCs and laptops can be a fairness issue in some demographic areas. Some individuals do not own a PC or laptop or may have a harder time accessing such devices. As such, assessment providers must build and validate job relevant, mobile optimized solutions to measure important competencies predictive of successful performance. Let’s explore two of the biggest trends in mobile testing that were discussed at 2019’s Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist (SIOP) conference.

Mobile-First Cognitive Ability Testing

Personality based mobile assessments are nothing new to the field, but those including cognitive ability? Not so much. Incorporating a cognitive ability measure into mobile assessments proves to be a challenge and point of concern for I/O Psychologists. Measuring cognitive ability is desired – it is the strongest predictor of performance (good), but also is tied to the potential for adverse impact (not so good). Cognitive ability tests historically involve problem solving and logical reasoning activities such as interpreting information in charts and graphs, determining the next number or shape in a sequence, and mathematical abilities. These tasks often require a bit of brain power, and one can imagine how that can become even more difficult if you are required to scroll, enlarge, etc. on a mobile device.

Read more about mobile-friendly assessments here.

SIOP 2019 reinforced that test providers aren’t afraid to step up to the challenge of implementing cognitive measure on mobile-first assessments, including measure of inductive, deductive, and numerical reasoning. Importantly, assessment providers are finding measurement equivalence, meaning that those who complete assessments on mobile devices are not scoring any better or worse than those who are not completing on mobile devices.

Concierge-Style Situational Judgement Items

Cognitive ability and situational judgement tests have been a staple of selection processes for decades. As mentioned above, some assessments require reading and interpreting information to make an informed decision regarding the answer to a particular question or set of questions. This may require a candidate to digest a large paragraph of text or information at one time. If completing on a mobile device, this requires a bit of scrolling up and down which can be viewed unfavorably by candidates.

Keeping a positive candidate experience in the forefront, some companies are beginning to use chat-style items where only a small amount of information is presented at a time and then a “chatbot” pops up with questions for the candidate.

Related: Design A Positive Candidate Experience To Support Your Hiring Process

The approach is conversation-like, and the chatbot will seek out information such as how effective certain ways of handling situations are or what the candidate thinks should happen next in the situation. This approach eliminates the need to scroll back through information since the chatbot is asking questions in real time as the information is presented. 

Don't Miss Out on Top Candidates

In 2019 it’s estimated that 63% of internet usage worldwide takes place on mobile devices and tablets. It's clear that mobile devices aren't going away - usage of them will only become more widespread as technologies become more advanced. Considering that, it only makes sense to make these types of assessments more accessible on mobile devices to ensure that you aren’t missing out on top job seekers. 

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Lindsey Burke Lindsey Burke is a Consultant based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. She is largely responsible for client support and managing clients in industries including manufacturing, sales, and healthcare. Lindsey completed her M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Xavier University and earned a B.A. and B.S. in Psychology from Kent State University.