Employee Screening with Job-Simulation Videos

There are no shortcuts to effective recruitment – a three-component process that involves a legitimate and objective skills assessment, structured behavioral interviewing and proper reference checking. These elements reinforce each other to predict job performance better than other variables by giving you the most accurate profile of a candidate’s attitude and skill set.

A Tool for Kick-Starting Effective Recruitment
Forward-thinking organizations can also utilize another tool in the recruitment process called “job simulations.” Job simulations may take different forms, but the gist is to have actual employees pointedly describe the job and workplace via a cost-effective video format. Job simulations nicely complement – but never replace – the three components of due diligence. Akin to a pre-orientation session, job simulations offer two main advantages:

  • Candidate Self-Selection. Applicants receive a realistic preview of the job requirements and demands. This is not a marketing ploy to persuade people to apply, but rather an accurate look at the position and the issues that might cause a person to fail. This helps poor-fit applicants to self-select out of your recruitment process, saving you time and money.
  • More Positive Applicant Experiences. Recruitment processes that engage applicants and educate them about the department or company on more personal levels are perceived more positively by job seekers. Moreover, employee testimonials are more effective than company press releases and marketing tactics in attracting and impressing top talent.

Creating Job Simulations
Modern technology allows even the most tightly-budgeted departments or organizations to produce effective job simulations. Many IT solutions are available that permit your preferred video format (DVD/CD presentation vs. streaming online video) with the company’s existing technology platforms. And for maximum impact, keep these presentation guidelines in mind:

  • Include a short message from the CEO, President or Department Head to convey the mission and vision of the company.
  • Include at least three “testimonials” from current employees. Show good close-ups of the employees’ faces. The employees should emphasize typical workplace challenges – not just what they like about the workplace or their benefits package. The idea is present a realistic preview of job demands and organizational opportunities.
  • General outlines or scripts are useful to structure the job simulation, but allow your employees to speak spontaneously and in their own words. “Real” or unedited and uncensored talk always comes across as more authentic and credible. Of course, this does not preclude the taped employees to re-do their sections should they dislike their presentations or feel they “flubbed.”
  • Ensure the employees on record represent the diversity of your workforce and select only employees who are articulate and comfortable on camera.
  • Update or completely change the video every year (two years at the most) to reflect changes in personnel, business conditions and job requirements.
  • Show the job simulation video prior to conducting any other phase of the due diligence process – i.e., skills assessment, structured behavioral interview or reference check. This is an opportunity for candidates to self-select and conserve your resources.

Final Points
Some recruitment vendors offer automated “job simulations” or job “tryouts” of varying sophistication and quality, but all commercial applications have noteworthy limitations:

  • Questionable psychometric quality and legal defensibility. Despite marketing claims, job simulations customized for businesses to include “skills testing” or other type of performance assessments will likely not meet professional testing standards, and therefore fail to satisfy legal requirements for screening and selection instruments. Time consuming and expensive scaling analytics (grounded in Modern Test Theory) are always required to ensure assessment questions in any form are unbiased and do not adversely impact applicants as specified by the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.
  • High costs and uncertain ROI. Despite various marketing claims by commercial vendors, job simulation applications are expensive to implement. Additionally, the ROI from an assessment-oriented, job simulation tool will only be as good as the psychometric quality of the tool itself. Finally, commercial job simulation-assessments will never be more authentic or representative of the company’s culture than simulation videos produced by those actually working and succeeding within the company culture. This brings us to the third issue.
  • Missed opportunity for enhancing employees. Perceptions of poor job security and company appreciation consistently underlie high turnover and low employee satisfaction, morale and productivity. However, employees typically embrace projects and opportunities that feed their personal and professional development. Having key employees or committees actually facilitate the production of a job simulation allows simulations to be tailored to specific departments, provides a novel exercise for professional development, enhances employee morale and promotes a sense of company ownership and saves money on commercial applications. All of these factors add significantly to your company’s bottom line.

Job simulation videos bring candidates a stimulating and educational view of the workplace, so applicants better understand the inherent opportunities and challenges. Internally-produced videos are easy to create with minimal investment, they bring employees together by leveraging internal resources and they nicely kick start the due diligence process. Plus, they demonstrate to applicants and employees alike that your company is dynamic and forward-thinking. These advantages clearly earmark job simulations as a Best Practice approach.


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