2023 Assessment Trends: The Year Ahead

At Amberjack, we work in close partnership with our clients and candidates to understand assessment needs and requirements. We consistently seek and gather feedback to make sure we are constantly improving our assessment processes. By doing so, we gain invaluable insights which we use to help our clients find the right fit for their assessment needs. To help us achieve this, we keep up to date with current industry trends to stay on top of changes and continually develop. 

As we head into 2023, we are starting to see some key trends stand out.  

Whether to run face-to-face or online assessment centres remains a hot topic in assessment, but we’re also starting to see other themes such as the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how to retain top tier talent during economic uncertainty start to emerge this year.  

Here we explore these trends in more detail to help with your assessment needs.  

Online vs. Face-to-face: Which Assessment Centres to use in 2023? 

One of the key trends we will continue to see moving forward into 2023 is organisations continuing to utilise online assessment centres for graduate and apprentice recruitment campaigns. This is a decision that hiring managers are deliberating over, and it seems that most will decide on online assessments due to the myriad of benefits they provide: 

Cost savings Online assessment centres can save a significant amount of money by eliminating the need for travel and accommodation expenses. 
Flexibility & Accessibility Hosting online assessment centres can broaden your candidate pool and help candidates who find it difficult to travel to be included in your assessment process. 
Automation Many online assessment tools can be automated, saving time and increasing the efficiency of the assessment process. 
Standardisation Digital assessment centres can also be designed to ensure that all candidates are assessed in a consistent and fair manner. 
Data collection These assessment centres can collect a variety of data to be used for informed decisions about candidates, this includes their scores, responses, and behaviour. 
Scalability Online assessment centres can be scaled to accommodate many candidates, which can be useful for organisations that need to assess a large number of candidates. 
Variety Hosting assessment centres online can enable a wide range of assessment methods, such as interviews, presentations and group exercises, to assess a broader range of candidates’ skills and abilities, helping to ensure a fairer assessment process.  
Security Online assessment centres can include security features to protect the integrity of the assessment process and the confidentiality of the candidates’ information. 

However, we also expect that some organisations may decide to go with a hybrid model. Where the volume hiring is conducted through online assessments and assessment centres, yet some parts of the process, such as the interview, may return to face-to-face.  

A decision most are seeing due to enthusiasm from team members (especially managers) who want to meet the candidates.  

Whilst this is understandable, it does open the debate up around which is the better choice for businesses. There are pros and cons on each side, but the costs of face-to-face interviews can far outweigh the online interview. Face-to-face introduces the following risks into the hiring process: 

Limited data: Face-to-face interviews rely heavily on the interviewer’s subjective impression of the candidate, which can be influenced by factors such as the candidate’s appearance or communication style, having implications on marginalising minority groups. 
Time-consuming & costly: These interviews can be time-consuming, both for the interviewer and the candidate, costing the organisation time and money, particularly if they involve travel and accommodation expenses. 
Limited scalability: It can be difficult to conduct face-to-face interviews with a large number of candidates, particularly if they are located in different geographic areas limiting your candidates to a certain area and potentially preventing candidates from applying and attending. 
Limited feedback: Face-to-face interviews may not provide as much feedback as online assessments, which can be designed to collect a wide range of data about the candidate. 
Limited comparability: Face-to-face interviews may not be as comparable as online assessments, which can be designed to ensure that all candidates are assessed in a consistent and fair manner. 

The debate is ongoing, but what is sure to stay for 2023 is the online assessment centre; a balance has been struck between biases in the process and cost versus candidate experience.  

Organisations would be best placed to weigh up their options and the pros and cons related to their circumstances to make a tailored decision. Regardless of choice, ensure the assessment centre gives candidates a good experience, great interaction, and a chance to develop and learn more. 

Artificial Intelligence in Assessment and Selection 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly gained momentum in recent years and has the potential to revolutionise the way we conduct assessment and selection.  

From automating repetitive tasks to providing more unbiased decision-making, AI is rapidly changing the way organisations identify, select, and develop top talent.  

The integration of AI into selection and assessment processes can not only improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these procedures, but also provide new insights and perspectives that were previously unavailable. 

Most notably, the AI technology, ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI has been a hot topic across industries. So much so, that Microsoft is currently in negotiations with ChatGPT owners to acquire a majority stake in the technology.  

ChatGPT is a large language model, it uses deep learning techniques, to generate human-like text. It is trained on a massive dataset of internet text and can be fine-tuned for specific tasks such as language translation, question answering, and conversation generation.  

The model can generate text that is often indistinguishable from a human and can be used for a variety of natural language processing tasks, available through OpenAI’s API. The use of such technology could have very positive outcomes for selection and assessment.  

However, stemming from academia and the education sector, many are concerned about the candidate’s use of AI to help them answer online assessment centre questions, and what AI could mean for cheating in online assessments. A study by Professor Kevin Bryan from Toronto University has already found that a candidate could use ChatGPT to gain a 2:1 grade for university essays. 

The team here at Amberajck have investigated the use of ChatGPT in assessment and tested the technology against assessment methods such as situational judgment tests and video interviews. We have found that at present these processes are relatively protected against the use of AI for aiding candidate performance. Here’s some top tips from the team about how to spot an AI generated answer: 

• ChatGPT is yet to get creative with its structure of responses, so check for repetitive structure of wording in candidate answers and across candidate responses. 
• ChatGPT may be used to form a script in interview questions, however, the devil is in the detail – assessors can look for authenticity in answers and use video interviews to identify when a candidate may be reading off a script.  
• ChatGPT is not human. Generic responses can be identifiable across candidates if candidates are to copy and paste questions. 
• Although the use of ChatGPT can generate content for candidates based on the prompt candidates type in, the answers will generally give responses consistent with average performers. Those high performing candidates will stand out without the use of AI.  

Navigating Economic Uncertainty 

Economic uncertainty has become a defining feature of 2023 and today’s global economy.  

Whether it’s the unpredictability of financial markets, the impact of trade tensions, or the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and individuals are facing an unprecedented level of economic volatility.  

This uncertainty can make it difficult for organisations to plan for the future, and for individuals to make decisions about their careers, finances and investments. Despite these challenges, it’s important for businesses, governments, and individuals to understand the nature of this uncertainty and to develop strategies for navigating an increasingly uncertain economic environment. 

What this means for graduate candidates is that across selection and assessment renege rates are increasing. This continues into 2023 as prices are increase and starter salaries don’t meet the requirements of sustaining an early career candidate.  

Many graduates are seeking the highest salary possible and accepting offers only to reject them and move to the highest bidder. Who could blame them whilst we move into a recession, but what can organisations do to retain top tier talent? 

• Making sure your early talent team have the right support to create assessment centres that are relevant and relate to the market.  
• Be honest about the role, many organisations seize graduate recruitment campaigns as an opportunity to sell the company. Whilst this is very important, it is also worth keeping in mind is the person-role fit and making sure that the campaign assessment is designed to give a candidate a balanced feel for the company and role to avoid renege when joining.  
• Provide coaching and feedback to candidates. There is nothing worse than bad press, you want candidates to have a great experience and gain some insight from meeting with you. 

You can explore the current state of the market further and utilise insights from other organisations by requesting your free copy of our Assessment and Selection Insight Report with The Firm. 

Utilising Assessment Trends and Insights for Your Campaigns 

As we start to see increasing investment into current employees as well as early career employee development, motivated by 2022 themes around ‘quiet quitting’, disengaged employees, or employees seeking higher paid opportunities in 2023, investing in early career talent development is a great way to let employees know they are valued and that they will develop within the organisation. 

For early careers tracking this development of soft skills can help to identify where the talent gaps may be and what soft skills help them progress in the schemes. Insights that can help to direct the investment for future talent recruitment campaigns.   

If you are interested in how the team at Amberjack can partner with you to help with your future talent campaigns get in touch with us today. 

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