The Assessment Center is the most reliable method of evaluating skills and is now at a technological turning point, in line with the digitalization of the working world.
New digital assessment players are beginning to appear. Trends are emerging and the evaluation of skills seems set for a revolution.
But is digital compatible with an assessment method that relies on situational testing?
Between a very operational approach that has made its strength and the potential offered by new technologies, this article presents the new tech-oriented Assessment Center models.
1 - What is a "traditional" Assessment Center?
This assessment method arrived in France in the 1970s and was immediately very rational.
For the past 50 years, the objective of an Assessment Center has been to evaluate and identify a candidate's skills in real-life conditions, i.e. through role-playing.
After all, how can we assess a candidate's stress management or management skills, other than in a context and a situation?
This is the problem that Assessment Centers have come to solve: assessing skills that are difficult to evaluate (such as soft skills) in order to better recruit.
To do this, an assessment session traditionally takes place in person. Several candidates are invited to perform exercises related to the targeted position. This is often referred to as "in-basket" testing, where the candidates will, for example, receive e-mails, calls, documents or even invitations based on an internal employee in a similar position. This exercise aims to evaluate how they prioritize these elements.
Illustration of an in-basket test
On the company side, the evaluation is carried out by several recruiters and consultants (the involvement of managers is also common), in order to objectify the evaluation and obtain a quality reference.
2- What form does the digitalization of assessment centers take?
This brings us to the important subject of this article: digitalization.
In the case of assessment centers, this means putting psychometric tests online.
Very often, these tests take the form of questionnaires, whether they are multiple choice or not, that the candidates must complete within a time limit.
These not-so-immersive tests arrived on the market some twenty years ago, and are largely based on "declarative" information and lose the very concrete dimension of the simulations that companies are so fond of.
On the other hand, new market players such as Yuzu have appeared and are closer to the initial objective of Assessment Centers.
With these players, role-playing is once again at the heart of the assessment process, thanks to the arrival of serious games where video games are used to immerse candidates and obtain more reliable results.
Extract of a Yuzu assessment
Then, we can imagine reproducing everything that can be assessed in a face-to-face environment, such as interactions, behaviors or actions through fictitious scenarios.
3 - What are the advantages of a digital Assessment Center?
Based on the latest tools mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are many advantages.
Firstly, the logistics are greatly simplified. When interviews take place in person, companies have to monopolize several employees to welcome and evaluate candidates, synchronize the agendas of all the people involved, and dedicate a location. With digital technology, assessments can be done asynchronously, saving companies a lot of time and money.
Digital platforms also allow us to get off the beaten track and out of the "corporate" world. While traditionally we evaluated candidates in environments very close to their future offices or workstations, by constraint with the places available to the company more than by choice, the only limit of the scenarios with digital platforms is that of our imagination. Why use an office or a factory as an assessment setting when you can send candidates into the jungle, the ocean or the desert?
In concrete terms, in a serious game, the evaluation will no longer be based on a general impression linked, for example, to the person's physique, but on the candidate's results in a virtual situation, which eliminates the Halo effect.
For social desirability, candidates naturally take time to adjust their answers to the questions, especially in the case of multiple choice questions. It is obvious that the choices will be oriented to please the recruiters. The immersion that digital technology can offer tends to reduce this bias, where, caught up in the mechanics of a game, talents will answer more instinctively.
Finally, the guinea pig effect is a classic feature of face-to-face assessment. The evaluated candidate behaves differently when he/she knows he/she is being observed. The absence of physically present assessors reduces this effect. Once again, it is the immersion that will allow the candidate to let go and behave naturally.
While the Assessment Center is a practice that has been widely proven for the past fifty years, its adaptation to digital technology has only just begun.
Indeed, online questionnaires have been legion since the early 2000s, but the real revolution, to exploit the full potential of digital seems to come from immersion.
This is indeed the element that comes up the most when we do the math. If the needs of companies are constantly evolving, so are the needs of candidates.
In this sense, the new generations are putting a premium on fun, more equality, more transparency, more agility.
To enter the new era of recruitment, companies will have to make the choice of immersion.