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Dropouts vs. Measurements: The Assessment Length Debate

Many employers see candidate dropouts in assessments as a bad thing. The thinking is that candidates are not completing the assessment because the experience is turning them off… and perhaps turning them off to the company as well. So making the assessment shorter might help lessen dropouts and increase the pool of quality candidates.

“Not so,” says the Recent Shaker research study “Are Applicants More Likely to Quit Longer Assessments? Examining the Effect of Assessment Length on Applicant Attrition Behavior” recently published by the Journal of Applied Psychology.

According to the data, assessment length is not a driver of candidate drop out, so shortening your assessment may not be buying you what you think it is.

Examining data from nearly a quarter of a million job-seekers, the study concludes that the biggest influencer on drop-out behaviour is the expectations set upfront on the length of the assessment.

The authors go on to say that candidate attrition may be a good thing. They posit that candidates are removing themselves from the process because the assessment makes them realise they are probably not a good fit. And the authors state that shortening an assessment to lower dropout can be problematic as it may compromise its psychometric reliability and negatively impact selection accuracy. In other words, “The shorter the assessment, the less robust its measurement.”

And all of the argument they present is well and good. But focusing on assessment length is missing the boat. What employers really need be focusing on is how engaging their assessment is.

For example, at Talegent, psychometric accuracy is paramount so shortening an assessment to the point where that accuracy becomes compromised is never a consideration. But, we have focused on developing new assessment formats that are so engaging that length is not an issue. Our new Gamify assessment, for example, is a long form assessment that provides a highly graphic, interactive logic-based game. Despite its length, dropout was just 1%. Further, candidates raved about the experience.

So, while we applaud Shaker’s efforts for researching the importance of assessment length, we ourselves will continue to place our focus on achieving higher engagement by innovating the candidate experience.

 

If you’re interested, here’s a link to the Shaker research study referenced above:

http://www.shakercg.com/resources/whitepapers/are-applicants-more-likely-to-quit-longer-assessments-examining-the-effect-of-assessment-length-on-applicant-attrition-behavior

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