Job Simulation as an Important Suitability Factor
Published on December 7th, 2022
In an era of growing technology and diverse talent, it is all the more important to carefully curate your human resources. Your choice of talent can be the game changer for your business to sustain, scale and witness exponential growth. In order to pick the best from the lot, the most efficient screening methods have to be deployed, to distinguish candidates with stellar to stale skills.
Your recruitment strategy needs to include diverse, unbiased and thorough methods of screening possessing a twofold objective: to find the most suitable candidate while also offering unrivalled candidate experience.
Both these objectives can be achieved by a screening technique long used by the human resource fraternity - job simulation. Having had its first application in the 1940s in the army, job simulation as part of screening has a profound impact on the business and the applicants.
Cut to now, it is being paired with other screening methods such as personality assessments and basic aptitude tests to generate a comprehensive overview of the candidates’ knowledge, skills and abilities.
To understand why you need to introduce this highly efficient form of screening in your company, keep reading.
Skills and Experience: Expectations vs Reality
The dogma of an experienced candidate having the desired skill set no longer holds true. Previously, candidates with similar experience were preferred and they were assumed to have all or at least most of the skills required for the job. But, leadership teams have begun to realise that this is not the case anymore.
People with experience may or may not have worked in the exact scope of work of the job in question, despite their claims. When they are placed on the job, they tend to apply what they learnt in their previous jobs, which may or may not fetch results for your organisation.
Hence, businesses are shifting their paradigm and starting to transition towards skill-centric hiring.
Importance of Hiring Skilled Candidates
A candidate with the necessary skills, domain based, behavioural and cross functional is invariably a better fit, regardless of the tag of experience. Core skills such as communication, leadership, rapport building, negotiation, learning and critical thinking are considered crucial as they significantly determine the candidate’s ability to work with systems, people and adapt themselves to any changes that come their way.
Companies look for desired skill sets for your position and how you demonstrate them, to ascertain your suitability for the position you have applied for. Possessing the right combination of skills trumps experience as it directly translates to results for the job in question. Hiring top talent with the desired skill set puts you in a competitive advantage with other competitors.
Hence, it is better to steer clear of fudged resumes, bloated experience and flowery responses during the interview by matching your candidate’s actual skills to the job’s expectations as accurately as possible.
Job Simulation - What, Why and How
One of the best ways to ensure accurate skill matching of candidates is to have a job simulation in place. It comprises a group of assessment methods that determine the candidate’s work related skills, ability to perform tasks required, liaise with critical stakeholders and use equipment or technology necessary for the job.
What is it?
Job simulation consists of a variety of assessments that each or collectively resonate the parts of the actual job in question, so that when the simulation is over, the candidate gets a realistic picture of the job and the organisation determines whether the candidate is fit to meet the job’s demands.
Commonly, job simulations are used to measure different capabilities of the candidates pertinent to the job, such as domain specific and soft skills, task performance, knowledge of the job, overall cognitive ability and learning agility.
How does it happen?
Based on the hiring strategy, domain and profile of the job, the mode of administration is determined. Most jobs nowadays are compliant to online screening and hence offer limitless scope for innovative testing. The application or site can house near-real scenarios and seek response from the candidate.
This response can be choosing an option, narrating a course of action, or actually completing the task in question or all of the aforementioned.
Job simulation tests need to be designed carefully keeping in mind three aspects:
- Psychological relevance: The extent to which a candidate's knowledge, skills and abilities used on the job is accommodated in the test.
- Physical relevance: How closely the test resembles the actual tasks to be performed on the job.
- Stimulus and response relevance: Keeping in mind that the mode of delivery of the test response/task is congruent to that of the real job.
When offered at the optimal combination based on the job description, the tests can give a realistic overview and practical experience of working on the job, which no other tests can guarantee.
Types of Job Simulations
Presenting real life work scenarios to the candidate and assessing their skills through job simulation can take different forms, based on the skills to be tested and the working environment of the job. Some of the common types of job simulations are:
Situational Judgement Tests
The candidate is presented with a real work scenario, most often as a case study, either in text or in the form of a video or an audio. These cases are curated so as to reflect the real time challenges or nuances of the job.
After going through the case, the candidate is invited to answer further course of action pertinent to the case, or needs to choose the best option to the questions asked.
This form of job simulation is suitable for candidate evaluation for any white collar job. Studies have shown that candidats best respond to multimedia tests including audio, or video elements than a bland textual approach.
Intended to assess the skills of influencers and decision makers in the company, these tests are deployed to ascertain the skills of professionals, supervisors, managers and the C-Suite cadre.
Oftentimes, the candidates are given situations or challenges that correspond to the job interviewed for, and they will have to choose how to handle the situation effectively and create a win-win situation for their team and the company.
Assessment centres take the form of in-basket tests, role plays including video, or avatar based item presentations, analytic exercises and group discussions to figure out the leadership skills, problem solving, analytical thinking, people skills, communication, risk and team management skills, measured over the course of a day or a week.
These tests require the candidate to perform an actual task to determine their suitability to the job. Tasks are highly physically and psychologically relevant to the job and are mostly done for positions that involve high level field work and customer interaction.
An everyday task for the would-be job holder is given to the candidates to perform and their performance will most accurately decide how they will fare if offered the job.
Job tryouts involve hiring the candidate on a temporary basis to truly give them a flavour of the job and the company and test their suitability for a certain period of time, usually for the length of the probation period.
Some companies also choose to hire candidates on contract, assess their contribution, interaction with the team and other skills required for the job. If they meet or exceed expectations of the manager and the leadership during their contract, they are offered permanent employment upon expiry of the contract. This is another way of engaging the candidate in a job simulation.
How Can Job Simulation Impact Job Performance?
Best suited to screen candidates with familiarity or at least basic experience, job simulation tests often prove to be an amazing judge of skills for those who occupy any position, right from foot soldiers to key decision makers.
Test in Natural Working Scenario
Job simulation tests offer the candidates the natural working scenario in the job, so as to cut through any hyped expectations they might have. Instead of interviewing so long for a coveted position in a company and finding out it’s completely misaligned to your expectations, job simulation offers you a chance to work in a controlled yet practical work set up to understand how you function in the said scenario.
Every job needs a unique set of skills to be possessed by the job holder so as to produce results and excel at the job. Any textual or theoretical evaluation of the candidate might give a vague impression of the candidate’s exhibited behaviour, but not job simulation. They are fool proof skill assessments and mandate demonstration of skills to pass the test.
Gauge Natural Response
When a candidate is placed in a real working scenario and has to solve a challenge at hand, they tend to respond in their natural working style which aligns with the appropriate course of action for the job at hand, thus revealing the candidate’s natural response and approach towards challenges.
Ability to Handle Obstacles
You can check if the candidate thinks on their feet, adapts their approach and gets their work done despite the many challenges posed in the test/job simulation technique. If the task is designed to stress candidates out, it offers an interesting opportunity to see how they manage stress, overcome bottlenecks and achieve the desired result.
Benefits of Job Simulation
Job simulation has phenomenal benefits to the company and the candidates. From short term gains such as filtering those who do not fit, to long term benefits like hiring a go-getter to the team and increased retention, job simulation gives you the cream layer of candidates for your organisation.
For the candidate, your job simulation techniques serve as a huge USP and branding factor as it shows you as an expert, respectful of their time and increases chances of them accepting your offer.
Easier to Train
Based on the performance at the job simulation, you can ascertain the current skill level of your candidates, deduce the level of training required for them to hit the ground running and start contributing meaningfully.
This helps you in customising the onboarding and initial training agenda of the candidate. If a candidate needs to be trained extensively for a job they need to already match the required skill set, you may need to rethink your hiring decision.
Once hired, they can easily bring them up to speed as they already have the necessary skills. You can arrive at this conclusion by perusing the results of the job simulation exercise.
Higher Quality of Hire
Highly skilled with a good personality, job ready and your culture friendly candidates invariably make promising hires. Adding these employees to the bloodstream of your company benefits you in the short and long run, as they get along well with the culture of your company, adjust easily to the new environment and are already familiar with the job demands.
Better Job Suitability
Job simulation offers a unique possibility of setting job expectations in stone. A candidate gets a real time perspective of the job and is able to decide if this is right for them or not. Those who pass the test have a strong grasp of job demands. Hence they are the most suitable for the job hired for, which leaves no room for gaps.
Since the candidate has a holistic understanding of the job, acclimated to the technology in use and familiar with the stakeholders, they are more likely to stay put in their jobs, learn eagerly and grow with your company.
Optimisation of Recruitment Budget
With expectations set clearly and the candidate blown away with the cutting edge methodology used for simulation by your company, there is a minimal chance of no-shows or absconding cases, thus providing value for your hiring costs.
Insights of Candidate
Job simulation offers other insights of the candidate depending on the mode of administration of the assessments. If offered online, the click patterns and mouse overtime of the candidate can be used to deduce their workplace behaviour.
If done offline in the office premises, the body language of the candidate, their response to pressure, interaction pattern with others in the organisation, adaptability and people skills can be noted from their working style.
Self Realisation of Candidates’ Abilities
Being in a simulated environment also brings out the abilities of the candidate, known and unknown. They tend to learn their own flight or fight response to challenges, their skill level, their masterful handling of people and tools. The job simulation also acts as a self reflection tool for candidates.
How Can You Introduce Job Simulation in Your Organization?
You can either introduce job simulation in the final stage of screening or in the initial phases. It is recommended that job simulation is kept in the last few stages, as you need to only invest in the high-end tests only for those who are serious and good at the job.
Finding the right match to your company can help you write your own success story. It’s essential to handpick those who can do what they are hired for, have the willingness and urge to learn, are motivated by duty and make full use of the opportunity to put their skills to use.
Job simulation offers the perfect environment to test your contenders for their will and skill, determine their suitability and make the final offer. By using job simulation techniques, you gain goodwill in the job market, which rewards you with bright talent from time to time.
Check out Hire Quotient to view how our assessments can bring top talent closer to you.
Thomas M. A.
A literature-lover by design and qualification, Thomas loves exploring different aspects of software and writing about the same.
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