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Behavioural assessments have become an essential element of graduate recruitment

Behavioural assessments have become an essential element of graduate recruitment in an effort to retain Millennials longer, a testing and analytics specialist says. 

With a surplus of research suggesting Millennials are unlikely to stay in a job for more than two years, Emma Gladwell, a talent account manager at Testgrid, says while cognitive assessments remain the most common means of testing candidates, when it comes to graduates, the use of behavioural testing – also known as workplace personality testing – is becoming increasingly popular. 

"It's really tapping into what somebody's preferences are at work, asking questions about likes and dislikes, specific ways of working and [situations in which] they feel most comfortable or uncomfortable operating," she says. "It's still an online assessment but it's really tapping into personality much more than cognitive ability."

While cognitive assessments are generally done early in the recruitment process, organisations can hold off on behavioural assessments until right before final interviews, to probe into the specific expectations of candidates. "When it comes to their first graduate position we know that [Millennials] really prioritise professional development, as opposed to things like salary," Gladwell explains. "They're really interested in 'what am I going to learn, how I am going to grow when I first join this company?'"

Increasingly, the attributes employers are looking for when recruiting graduates are flexibility, resilience and adaptability. An assessment might question whether a candidate prefers a structured day and work routine, to variety and the prospect of new challenges, for example.

"Because organisations are moving so quickly, they are often looking for people who can be quite flexible and adaptable in new circumstances," Gladwell says. "With grads doing rotations, they are expected to really think on their feet and accept challenges quickly and roll with whatever is thrown their way."

Once a graduate starts in their role, their behavioural assessment can be referred to again, for development purposes – or benchmarking. "The results from those can then be used when the graduates actually start, as individual development guides or customised guides that help inform discussion with their manager, one-on-one development chats, and things like that," says Gladwell.

"It can be really interesting to look at those [results] one, two, or 10 years down the track: what characteristics do those high-performing grads have and could we have looked for those at the recruitment process? It's kind of an ongoing, tailored approach... using high performers' data to continually revise what you're looking for in selection as well."

The other big trend to emerge in graduate recruitment is a strong focus on diversity and unbiased recruiting, and Gladwell says blind recruiting is being used more often to hide factors such as the school or university a candidate graduated from.

Source : ShortList