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With seemingly myriad assessments available on the market today, HR teams and hiring managers are understandably overwhelmed with options. Moreover, with recent trends in remote / hybrid working, the practice of assessing candidates online has grown considerably, with organisations showing a strong shift towards online talent assessment tools. Naturally, this trend towards the digital and away from the physical has employing organisations worried, especially those who have historically used the traditional employment interview as their only talent assessment tool.

Fortunately however, a large body of research in the field of occupational and organisational psychology has revealed the efficacy of the major talent assessment tools, and can provide straightforward recommendations for use. Here are the top seven talent assessment tools available today, based on the empirical evidence in occupational psychology:

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What is talent assessment?

Talent assessment involves evaluating individuals' skills, abilities, and potential to excel in specific roles within an organisation. Employers use various methods, such as tests, interviews, and simulations, to gauge candidates' suitability for a position and make informed hiring decisions.

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Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning is a specific cognitive aptitude that underpins a person’s to ability understand and interpret written / spoken information. Few cognitive abilities are as important to workplace performance as verbal reasoning, as the vast majority of the information they receive on a daily basis will be in verbal (written or spoken) format. High performers are better equipped to deal with verbal information, greatly aiding in learning, decision making, problem solving, and overall task performance in the workplace.

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Numerical Reasoning Tests

Numerical reasoning is another specific cognitive aptitude that underpins a person’s ability to understand and interpret numerical / quantitative information. It is an essential ability in any quantitative field, especially in highly complex professional / technical / managerial work. Since organisations are increasingly relying on data and analytics to drive decision making, numerical reasoning is in increasingly high demand, and is now one of the most sought after abilities in the workplace.

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Inductive Reasoning Tests

Inductive reasoning is the last specific cognitive aptitude in this list, and it measures a person’s ability to think logically and solve abstract problems. Inductive reasoning is key to performance in any role that requires creativity, innovation, or systems-based thinking, particularly in highly technical roles. When combined with a verbal and numerical reasoning test, these three assessments form an overall measure of general cognitive ability, which is the strongest predictor of job performance known, making these three a particularly potent combination.

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Personality Questionnaires

Personality questionnaires are designed to measure a wide range of behavioural constructs which collectively underpin a person’s character and temperament. They allow employers to measure the key behavioural indicators of performance, which academic research shows to be essential to workplace performance. Personality questionnaires are particularly predictive of “contextual performance”, the indirect behaviours which contribute to organisational performance, which are outside of their main daily tasks. They are also very commonly used in combination with other talent assessment tools, particularly cognitive ability tests.

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Situational judgement Tests

Situational judgement tests (SJTs) are behavioural assessments designed to measure judgment and decision-making in the workplace. They present candidates with a hypothetical workplace relevant scenario, and then provide a range of possible actions they could take. The candidate is then required to either rate or rank the effectiveness of these actions, allowing organisations to evaluate the quality of their judgements. Unlike the previous assessments, which tend to be very general and role-agnostic, SJTs must be directly role related to be useful.

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(Structured) Face to Face Interviews

The traditional face to face interview, although falling out of favour in recent years, is still a highly effective predictor of workplace performance according to the research. In fact, research suggests they are the second most powerful predictor of performance known, just behind cognitive ability tests. Although psychometrically useful, these assessments are ranked 6th in this list, as traditional interviews simply don’t scale the way that other talent assessment tools do. As a result, as organisations grow in size and scope, they decreasingly rely on face to face interviews for talent assessment, in favour of more easily automated assessment tools.

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(Two-Way) Video Interviews

Last on our list of effective assessment tools is the two-way video interview. Although the empirical research suggests that remote interviews aren’t as predictive of performance as face to face interviews, they are still powerful predictors of performance, and are considerably more convenient for candidates. Moreover, two-way interviews are far more predictive of performance than asynchronous recorded interviews, which show a far weaker association with job performance due to the inability to ask probing questions. Overall, these are highly viable assessment tools, especially towards the middle or end of the assessment process.

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The ideal talent assessment tools are highly predictive of performance, scalable, and convenient to complete. Although interviews are highly predictive, and video interviews specifically can be convenient, they simply don’t scale, and thus eventually organisations will be forced to seek alternative assessment tools. Fortunately, a wide range of highly effective assessment tools exist, allowing employers to transform their assessment processes and adapt to the ever shifting nature of today’s workplace.

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