Job candidates innocently assume that if they take an assessment test on their tablet or smartphone, they’ll achieve the same result that they’d get on a desktop computer. However, providing exactly the same test experience across every device is a complex challenge.
Assessment specialist Aon's Assessment Solutions has launched 16 new ‘device-agnostic’ tests which have been designed to consistently predict job performance, regardless of whether candidates complete them on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. These assessments supplement the 34 mobile-optimised tests that the company launched in 2015-16.
“Candidates, particularly those for entry-level positions, like the convenience of completing assessments via their mobile devices,” said Richard Justenhoven, Product Director at Aon's Assessment Solutions. “However, employers need to be confident that the tests they’re using to make hiring decisions provide accurate scores, no matter which device the candidate chooses. Some tests might play on a mobile device but they’re not optimised for that format and this penalises candidates because they’re not given the same testing experience that they’d get on a desktop computer. To rectify this, we now have a complete series of 50 ‘mobile-first’ tests which have been designed and built specifically for mobile devices. If a candidate takes these tests via a desktop, they’ll get exactly the same test experience.”
Aon’s 50 mobile-first assessments include personality and interests questionnaires, language tests and aptitude tests (such as numerical and verbal reasoning, concentration, deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, mathematical thinking, short-term memory, mechanical understanding and multi-tasking tests). All of these assessments have been built in the HTML5 programming language (instead of Adobe Flash), to ensure that they display properly on different devices and that they’re compatible with different web browsers.
“Hundreds of different phones, tablets and computers are available and there are many different browser combinations, so it’s a big challenge to ensure that a test will give a consistent experience and dependable results every time,” said Richard Justenhoven. “Clicking a mouse takes longer than tapping a screen, so you have to ensure that the completion time is the same on a mobile device as a desktop. We’ve undertaken a significant validation process to ensure that candidates will achieve the same results regardless of whether they take our new tests on a desktop, laptop or an Apple or Android tablet or smartphone. Effectively, all candidates take the same test regardless of the device they’re using. This is the model for the future and other test providers will have to follow our lead, or their clients will never be able to implement mobile assessments.”
Technical challenges had to be overcome to create the new series of tests. For example, Aon’s developers had to ensure that the test content adjusts correctly for different screen sizes; that candidates are able to complete their tests offline if they lose their internet connection; that randomly-generated test items are created and that ‘adaptive testing’ - which responds to the candidate’s answers - works effectively, and that candidates cannot cheat on the tests, for example by changing the time settings on their device.
“Some assessments - such as our dedicated multitasking test for airline pilots, which includes moving objects - are unsuitable for mobile completion,” admits Richard Justenhoven. “We’ve made other tests, which need to display a lot of information, available on tablets but not on smartphones. However, if a client wants to run a seamless mobile recruitment process, we now have a series of tests which has been specifically designed for this purpose. Clients can be confident that our mobile-first tests have the same high quality as our traditional assessments and they’ll provide fair, objective and consistent selection.”
Aon's Assessment Solutions will continually update its new series of mobile-first tests to ensure they remain compatible with new devices and future browsers as they are launched.
Aon’s Assessment Solutions is part of Aon’s global Human Capital business, helping clients achieve sustainable growth by driving business performance through people performance. Aon’s Assessment Solutions undertakes 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages.
Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.
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