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Talent Is the Name of the Game

Cutting-edge recruitment should not be a roll of the dice.

By Madeline Laurano
Gaming is the latest buzzword in talent management. Both traditional and innovative providers are launching products that simulate real-life situations and provide a new level of engagement to candidates, recruiters, and managers. Not surprising, considering studies by PwC that predict the gaming industry will reach nearly $70 billion by 2012. Talent management solution providers are continuously looking for the “next best thing,” and gaming seems to fit the bill.
Despite its recent popularity, gaming is not a new phenomenon in the world of recruitment. Leading assessment providers long have demonstrated product leadership in the form of job simulations that provide organizations with enhanced branding, validity, and engagement. The difference, according to assessment expert Charles Handler, is that today’s simulations have evolved dramatically, offering greater innovation through improved content development, platforms, and data.
Yet in order to be effective, next-generation simulations need to tie directly to business results, engage users, and offer innovation. With hundreds of assessment solutions competing in the market, only a few providers are able to achieve these goals.
How are organizations leveraging best-in-class job simulations? What should organizations consider when selecting the right assessment provider? What are the best practices for organizations using simulations?
One example comes from Capitol One. With pressure to hire 10,000 employees each year, the bank implemented job simulations to identify high-quality hires for teller positions. The design of the program involved several stages, including job analysis, content development, content validation, custom test building, implementation, and data collection. Success of the program depended on senior leadership support and involvement from high performers in the position to help provide the content. Overall, simulations have enabled Capitol One to assess a candidate’s customer services and broaden coverage of job-related competencies—not to mention a much improved candidate experience.
Another comes from Swarovski, a leading manufacturer of crystal products worldwide. In talent acquisition, employer branding is paramount, and any investment in tools and technology needs to reflect the brand. Swarovski implemented job simulators for retail sales positions. Simulators were developed to represent the actual stores, including store layout and dress attire. Upon implementation, Swarovski improved the candidate experience and strengthened the ability to differentiate the organization with its brand.
As usual, one size does not fit all. Four key elements should be considered when assessing a provider:
• Industry: Certain industries such as manufacturing and call centers are early adopters of simulations, while others such as retail and banking are only now gaining momentum. It is important to understand which providers offer deep domain expertise or vertical solutions in a given industry.
• Realistic Employer Branding: Simulations greatly improve employer branding by offering a positive candidate experience through a realistic work environment. In order to reflect the brand, simulations need to support real-life interactions and a branded candidate experience. Simulations should accurately reflect the work environment.
• Validity: Assessment providers need to be validated. Organizations find a reputable provider, one that can conduct either a local validity study or a transportability study if a company wants to use a test that has been validated in a different setting. Buyers should make sure that the providers are staffed with professionals, such as industrial and organizational psychologists, who have strong backgrounds in assessment testing.
• Data: In today’s economy, organizations need strong analytics to support their recruitment efforts. Assessments are no exception, and few providers offer true intelligence and insight to help organizations make informed decisions around their talent. Organizations need to be able to leverage this data in a variety of ways, both to benefit talent initiatives as well as the overall business.
Job simulations are proving to be the most innovative and, in many cases, effective use of assessments in today’s environment. With the right technology, organizations using job simulations will increase engagement, improve validity, and strengthen the overall employer brand. In order to achieve success, organizations seeking job simulations should develop a clear vision, enlist the support of senior leadership, and select a leading technology provider.

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