Designing Talent Assessment for a Global Pool of Talent

November 14, 2019 Espen Skorstad

First published on LinkedIn

Adapting to a global workforce also requires designing assessment tools that can adapt to global audiences.

Aon’s talent assessment software is accessible in over 40 languages and commands a wide reach. Serving global companies and communities is part of our commitment to clients, and our assessment tools are designed with a global audience in mind.

Here are some ways that international users are put first in our talent assessment designs.

Adapting to a Global Audience

A global workforce requires assessment tools that can adapt to local needs and preferences. It’s not simply a matter of translating words; the design must accommodate the shapes and order of those words or find ways to substitute universal iconography. You're never going to hit every audience, but a good assessment makes sure everyone at least has a decent experience.

Cultural adaptation also requires recognizing when certain concepts aren’t universal, and therefore not optimal for assessment. For instance, the idea of Christmas isn’t relevant to everyone’s culture. Or consider Boxing Day, which is virtually unknown in the United States but is widely recognized in former British Commonwealth territories.

Also, colors can convey different meanings in different cultures, and so can icons and images. The dollar sign ($), for example, doesn’t universally represent currency. These and other elements of visual design should be streamlined and optimized for international use. These are all things that designers must keep in mind when creating assessment tools for a global audience.

Emphasizing the Candidate Experience Across Cultures

Designed well, assessments can contribute to an extraordinary candidate experience that communicates the values of an organization and fits the employer brand. But well-designed assessments have to be stripped of culture-specific markers.

Sensitivity in this area can help protect a brand’s reputation with consumers and candidates by making it more likely that people will talk about your company in a positive way. Social media has amplified the power of word-of-mouth influence, and giving a candidate a good experience often has a cascading effect.

In creating assessments, the goal should be to give candidates something that's easy, intuitive and enjoyable to complete. They should gain something from the exchange, such as insight into their skill set and career possibilities. The tests should be based on adaptive scoring techniques that match questions to the candidate, making each individual feel challenged but not overwhelmed.

The setting should feel natural, to the point that candidates don’t need instruction on what to do. Assessments can feel daunting and overwhelming, but if you can present candidates with something that is familiar and comfortable, it helps them relax. They're more engaged and it’s easier to get a true assessment of their personality, skills and aptitude.

Putting Your Organization’s Values First

Good talent assessment tools should be accessible cross-culturally. Instead of privileging one ethnic culture over another, they should be designed to put your organization’s values at the forefront of the candidate experience. Purging ethno-cultural markers can help streamline the assessment to read for talent attributes in a fair and unbiased manner.

These talents and traits should not be read in a vacuum, however; they’re measured against the culture and values of the company. This will help your organization to determine the most-fit candidates based on what your company values. Adaptive learning renders each person’s assessment results unique, regardless of cultural or environmental factors.

There are multiple differences between people across nations and cultures, but at the core, people are the same: We all have the same need for purpose and belonging.

If you want to know more about design trends in talent assessment, we recommend this white paper "How Design Thinking is Transforming the Future of Talent Assessment."

About the Author

Espen Skorstad

Espen Skorstad is Chief Regional Officer for Europe for Aon's Assessment Solutions and is a renowned occupational and organizational psychologist, specializing in leadership selection, talent management and online measurement instruments. He was the Chief Regional Officer for Europe at the cut-e Group which was acquired by Aon plc in 2017. Aon's Assessment Solutions undertake 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages.

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