With no face-to-face customer contact, Intelligence Finance realised early on that staff development had to be central to it operation
Internet-based assessment is now widely used in recruitment, selection and development, and with good reason. Technology allows more efficient and innovative processes to be delivered consistently and cost-effectively across different parts of the organisation - a major benefit for global employers.
It is also easier to customise and brand processes and design assessment tasks to closely resemble everyday working practices, giving candidates a better insight into whether they are suited to a particular culture and job role.
However, fairness and equality remain an issue, both in terms of attracting a diverse range of applicants and avoiding bias, and web-based processes have been criticised for creating 'unequal opportunities' as users have tended to have a particular socio-economic profile.
Although this is beginning to change, the ownership and usage of PCs can represent part of a lifestyle and culture. By using the internet as the only application method, organisations run the risk of marginalising a significant number of suitably qualified applicants.
Research suggests, for example, that:
- Indian households are nearly 60 per cent more likely to own or use a computer than black, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, or white households (FRS/Mintel)
- There is a digital gender divide - only 25 per cent of internet users in the EU are female (Cyber Atlas)
While employers are becoming more aware of their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act, there are still many which fail to make reasonable adjustments to their selection processes for people with disabilities. By building in adaptations at the front end of the online selection process, employers will ensure fair access and a potential broader talent pool in which to recruit.
There are other 'best practice' guidelines that will help to make online assessment effective and fair for everyone:
- Computer proficiency will vary, so offer practice questions and time for familiarisation (especially if job simulation exercises are included). Not everyone has ready access to the internet, so allow plenty of time to organise resources
- In internal assessments, inequality of technology and access to equipment is likely to be an issue because of different soft