It is official, talent is a valuable resource and the systems used to find it and develop it will increase in demand over the next decade. One of those systems is testing and assessment.
Technology is pushing testing and assessment into some interesting and divergent directions. First of all, the sound bite culture we live in has spilled over into the world of testing. Everything must be quick and to the point. If our constitution were written today it would likely be the length of a blog posting. Likewise, organizations are demanding hiring tests that are shorter, often 30 minutes for professional and leadership positions and as short as a 5 minutes for entry level jobs. Managers and executives can still expect to participate in longer evaluation processes but much of it will be completed on line with only final interviews conducted in person. There is little doubt that with the dramatic improvements in live video chat, it is just a matter of time before the distinction between interviewing someone in person versus “in-phone” will be hardly noticeable.
While fast, short tests are the future, we are also seeing a trend toward high-end assessments that utilize gaming technology. Sometimes referred to as Virtual Job Tryouts or Virtual Simulations, these evaluations are designed to use high-end graphics to simulate the workplace. Like Second City or Sims, the candidate is asked to work in a simulated environment interacting with people, managing tasks, and making critical decisions. While this technology is currently quite rudimentary when compared with what you would experience in a $60.00 video game, it is none the less beginning to be used and will likely have wide appeal when the cost points come down, the graphics improve and the interactive experience is more job-realistic.
On the provider side, it appears that multi-billion dollar companies such as SAP have decided that there is money in selling the platforms used to hire, track and develop people. Look for these large organizations to use a buy verses build approach to growth and gobble up small, medium and large hiring related companies. Included will be those organizations providing web-based applicant tracking, talent management, testing and assessment, and training and development. All of this means that we can expect wonderful and much deserved improvements in the world of talent acquisition and management.