Online assessments – how to improve the process

Both graduate employers as well as students and graduates are familiar with the online assessment element of the application process. Most potential applicants begin their job hunt by applying for their chosen job online, but this is only the start of this section of the application process. Online assessments are becoming an increasingly important part of the application process for employers. Although employers only have to focus on their own online recruitment processes, recent graduates could be filling out three or four at a time which can become tedious and lead to them dropping out of the application process if it presents them with unnecessary obstacles.

We spoke to Ciara Holohan, Occupational Psychology consultant at Aon’s Assessment Solutions, about how to best utilise online assessments for graduate employers which will also help to give future applicants an insight so that they can better prepare and ultimately perform better in these assessments.

What is an online assessment?

Online assessments usually fall at the beginning of the application process. After you apply for a role, through submitting your CV or application form, you may be invited to complete a number of online assessments”, explains Ciara Holohan.

These assessments can range from numerical reasoning tests, verbal reasoning tests and inductive reasoning tests and are designed to test various different elements of an applicant’s personality as well as their skills.

What can employers glean from an online assessment?

Online assessments are used by employers to ensure that candidates have a minimum level of ability required for the role. For example, if a candidate was applying for a finance graduate role, they may have to complete a numerical reasoning assessment to ensure they have the minimum level of numerical reasoning required for the role,” -Ciara Holohan.

What can candidates glean from an online assessment?

“From a candidates perspective, the assessments also work to ensure that the role is aligned to their strengths, they help to ensure high levels of engagement and maximises potential.”, – Ciara Holohan

So although online assessments can prove to be time consuming, especially if you are trying to complete multiple ones simultaneously, they are worth seeing through as they can give applicants a better understanding of whether or not the job is aligned with your personality and skillset.

How to make your assessment stand out

The graduate landscape is competitive on both the employer side of the fence and for the graduates themselves. Graduates need to make themselves stand out in a world where more and more people posses a postgraduate degree, there are free courses readily available online and everyone is seeking to upskill in any way they can. For employers they need to stand out amongst their competitors in ensuring that they are the best place for the most skilled graduates to ply their trade.

With online assessments being utilised more and more, and in today’s world given the current circumstances, they are essential. So how can you as an employer make the most of online assessments and how can you keep students engaged for the duration of the assessment?

“Employers can make the most of online assessments by using them early in their selection processes, to ensure the right fit candidates are progressing to the next stage. Key tips for keeping applicants engaged include using short assessments with high face validity, using assessments that reflect the company cultures and values in terms of content and look and feel, ensuring that they are challenging and adapt to the candidates capability and that candidates are offered useful feedback at each stage”, said Ciara.

It’s important to keep in mind that, as with interviews, the candidate wants to know about you just as you want to know more about them in an online assessment. It’s also worth noting that as company culture becomes increasingly important for today’s graduates, stating your mission and outlining your culture early in the application process could be a key factor in attracting the right people to your business.

Given the current restrictions on movement, online assessments have never been more important so now is the time to re-think your process and maximise its effectiveness by utilising some of the tips outlined above.

For employers – Online assessments are a trend which have been escalated due to the current pandemic. However you can read about other trends in an in-depth manner here.

For students & graduates – Before you take an online assessment for an employer, take The Graduate Benchmark first to see how you match up against students and graduates nationwide.

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