Pre-Hiring Assessments: The Mobile Challenge

Throughout your career, you’ve likely come across a job application that requires you to take an assessment at some point in the hiring process. In a highlighted or boxed area, most platforms will have a short line that highly recommends (this part might even be bolded too!) that you complete the assessments on a desktop computer. 

But in an age where nearly everything can be accessed on a phone and with candidates that are 365% less likely to complete an application that takes more than 15 minutes to complete, why haven’t assessment providers provided mobile-friendly userfaces? Can mobile-friendly assessments still provide accurate results? 

Weighing the Pros and Cons

The advantages of mobile devices are hard to ignore—they’re light, portable and always turned on so you don’t have to wait for the operating system to boot up. Plus, many devices offer larger screens like Apple’s iPad Pro which has a 12.9-inch display. Candidates can complete the assessments whenever they want and you’ll likely get results faster. This can help you identify and recruit the best candidates before your competitors do, since time is key in hiring.

However, while assessments can be taken on a mobile device, it’s generally not recommended. The small screen size can make answering questions more difficult and time-consuming. This is especially the case for open-ended questions and skills tests, particularly ones that involve more complicated inputs like coding. Not all mobile browsers will find it easy to run a coding simulation on a small screen. Other considerations include varying screen size and response entry (typing, selecting options) between devices, which all have the potential to impact a candidate’s results in certain assessments.

A Fair Candidate Experience

For companies, creating assessments that translate flawlessly to other devices is a challenge. You have to make sure that the assessments work in both portrait and landscape orientation. Individuals on a phone will often work in portrait mode, but tablet users may be working in landscape. Regardless, this is a challenge that should be undertaken. 

Candidates should be able to achieve the same results no matter what device they are using if the assessments are designed properly. They should be at no disadvantage simply because they are using a mobile device. Companies need to ensure that its assessments are fair to all, regardless of education, culture, age, disabilities or gender. If you offer assessments, consider labeling assessments accordingly. More general assessments can be completed on any device while more technical ones can be strongly encouraged to be completed on a desktop. To make sure we are creating a fair testing environment for all candidates is a top priority for all assessment companies.

Though there are difficulties in creating mobile-friendly assessments, creating better access for all applicants is a win-win situation. With smartphones and tablets being so ubiquitous, being multi-platform friendly is rewarding—all candidates will be able to take your assessments and companies are able to receive results faster, increasing their ability to recruit the best candidates.