The new rules of recruitment and selection in the digital age

While many of us still remember old-fashioned ways of conducting assessments (i.e. pen-and-paper), the last decade has seen a deep integration of digital technology into the processes of recruitment and selection.

It is also clear from work done in artificial intelligence, big data analysis and computing that the fields of IO Psychology and assessments will continue to change rapidly. Notably, these changes are likely to be driven not only by technology but also the changing expectations of new generations entering the world-of-work.

What are the new rules that will govern such changes? In today’s article, we look at how changing technology and candidate demands will shape organizations’ recruitment and selection practices into the future.

A new digital world

Surveys from across the globe point to an increasing portion of people’s time being spent online. Indeed, the full integration of offline and online living is no longer something that only science fiction authors talk about. Technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, for instance, blur the lines of what we define as “online” and “offline.”

Such changes have real impact on how organisations conduct recruitment and selection. Recent surveys show that the proportion of global companies that are still using offline mechanisms such as pen-and-paper selection is near zero. Potential hires are also becoming more digitally integrated, with 82% of job searches now taking place on a mobile (usually smartphone) device. In addition, Millennials entering the job market send or receive on average 130 messages per day via social media or chat applications.

In such a rich digital media context, recruiters, IO Practitioners and hiring managers can no longer afford to ignore modern trends in assessment and talent management.

Trends in recruitment and selection

In this vein, LinkedIn recently conducted a survey with 4000 organizations across the globe, and asked questions about selection and recruitment methods. Key findings were:

  • Recruiters reported that their top three KPIs were:
    • The length of tenure of new hires
    • The time to hire
    • The satisfaction of the hiring manager
  • The three most important future trends for recruitment were:
    • Recruiting more diverse candidates
    • Assessing for “soft skills”
    • Innovating interview methods and practices

Given these priorities and trends, IO Practitioners will need to deliver solutions that reduce time-to-hire, attract the right talent, and use innovation as a lever for success.

Promising technologies

In order to meet the above demands, TTS product partner, cut-e (an Aon company) investigated how technologies such as mobile-first assessments and context-valid strategies may help:

  • Mobile-first assessments are designed from the outset to use the unique interfaces of smartphones and tablets to maximum effect.
  • Context-valid assessments closely resemble either the candidate’s future work situation or ways of interacting with co-workers.

Focusing specifically on Millennials, cut-e found that using mobile-first and context-valid tools like chatAssess (mobile-first SJTs that mimic chat applications) and gamified, mobile-first assessments like smartPredict may hold significant benefits for hiring companies.

In their research, cut-e researchers found that using such assessments can:

  • Significantly reduce drop-out rates during initial screening
  • Improve engagement (70% of their sample preferred gamified and context-valid assessments)
  • Increase applications for advertised positions

Building on digital advances mentioned above, many organisations now also use the selection process as an opportunity to showcase their brand and educate potential hires about actual work situations and environments. Referred to as Realistic Job Previews (RJPs), these can feature rich media, dynamic content and be fully integrated into an organisation’s existing recruitment management processes.

Assessments like cut-e’s smartPredict, chatAssess and vidAssess are uniquely positioned to form part of such digital, multi-media solutions.

Next steps

It may be tempting to view the new digital world of recruitment and selection as a radical paradigm shift, where nothing will stay the same and everything will change. In many instances, such as the move away from manual, offline processes, the increased skepticism about traditional interview methods, and the need to widen one’s recruitment pool to the digitally enfranchised, there seems little doubt that change is not only coming but is already here.

On the other hand, there are stable factors that ought not to change. Most notably that assessments must remain fair, valid, reliable and scientifically credible.

In this regard, technology is perhaps best viewed as an incredibly powerful tool for use by the IO Professional to enhance recruitment and selection, make things more efficient, and attract better talent. But in making better talent decisions, we should steer close to best practice and scientific credibility.

If you’re interested in how TTS can help you to meet the challenges of the new digital world, why not drop us a line at