Mobile SJT solutions: cut-e’s chatAssess

In previous articles, we examined the potential benefits of mobile assessments for the IO Profession. In addition, we’ve started a recent series of articles on the advantages of Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs). What if we combine both? In today’s article, we look at just such an example: cut-e’s exciting chatAssess technology.

SJTs go mobile

One of the most common shortcomings of traditionally-delivered SJTs is the problem of realism. SJTs rely on candidates responding to questions (and potential answers) as though they are in the actual situation depicted. If the questions or contexts depicted are not sufficiently close to the job or realistic enough, candidates may try to pick the “correct” answer, rather than behaving as they would in the actual situation.

Our assessment partner, cut-e, recognized this challenge in developing their mobile-first, psychometric communication game, chatAssess. The chatAssess solution mimics contemporary instant-messaging applications like WhatsApp. Most employees, regardless of age, will know how to use such intuitive interfaces—something they do as part of their normal day-to-day interactions already.

SJTs delivered via chatAssess resemble a live chat with several imaginary colleagues, managers, or clients. Topics of conversation are customized to the client, but will tend to reference business- and role-relevant issues.

Like a real-life situation, the candidate is free to decide which messages to respond to and in which order, and once messaging, candidates must choose among several realistic options for their responses. The chatAssess app heightens realism by responding back in various conditional ways, thus mimicking actual human conversation.

For instance, a typical scenario may have several competing messages being sent to a candidate, some of which will be core to the scenario (e.g. Client complaints in a retail context) and some of which will be less relevant (e.g. Invite to an internal social function).

Depending on the subsequent choices of the candidate, they will have to choose between a number of equally-plausible responses to questions posed by avatars created by the game, just like a regular chat session using instant messaging. Once an answer is selected, it appears as a message to the relevant avatar, and the avatar responds in turn. Thus, chatAssess functions more like a conversation and less like a traditional SJT, further enhancing the level of immersion candidates experience.

Advantages of chatAssess

SJTs delivered with chatAssess have several advantages over traditional methods:

  • Speed. Because the SJT is delivered via a mobile device, results can be gathered very rapidly—in fact, SJTs on chatAssess typically take no more than 6-15 minutes to complete and score.
  • Customization. There are no “standard” SJTs on chatAssess. Each test is customized to specific client needs and situations. This increases face validity and turns chatAssess into a powerful communication tool for your organisation’s values and brand to potential hires.
  • Engagement. Because chatAssess is so realistic and familiar to test-takers, their engagement during and after completing chatAssess SJTs remains high, enhancing the quality of the data gathered. Test motivation therefore becomes less of a confounding variable in interpreting results.
  • Quality. Using secure online technologies ensures data integrity and the efficient use of assessment results. The chatAssess system is embedded in the larger cut-e online infrastructure that allows for candidate tracking and instantaneous scoring and reporting.

Next steps

Employing SJTs to measure behavioral tendencies and judgements under specific conditions is on the increase across various industries. Recent surveys conducted by cut-e suggest that more recruiters are using SJTs than ever before in response to increasing demands from clients to make assessments more company and job-relevant. In addition, consumers of assessment data value decreased turnaround time from first application to eventual employment, something mobile-first SJTs like chatAssess are purpose-built to achieve.

As always, it would be reckless to surmise that SJTs, even ones that are engaging and realistic, are sufficient to provide a close and thorough read of an applicant’s abilities and behavioural styles. A better approach is to use chatAssess SJTs in combination with psychometric tools to sketch a more holistic, fit-to-purpose picture of the applicant.

But if high volume screening assessments are called for, especially when using a hurdling approach, chatAssess SJTs should be on the IO Practitioners short-list of possible solutions.

If you would like to know more about how mobile-first technologies like chatAssess can change the way you make talent decisions, why not drop us a line at