Do longer assessments mean higher applicant dropout?
Modern Hire associates Carter Gibson, Alison Carr, and Matt Sloan conducted research and co-authored Are Applicants More Likely to Quit Longer Assessments? Examining the Effect of Assessment Length on Applicant Attrition Behavior, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
This research shines a light on long-held assumptions that shorter assessments mean higher completion rates. According to the data, assessment length is not a driver of candidate dropout, so shortening your assessment may not be buying you what you think it is.
The research also identified what actually motivates early candidate dropout and the variables that improve completion rates.
The study used data from nearly a quarter of a million job-seekers from within 69 selection systems to challenge popular notions talent acquisition professionals have about how assessment length is related to the likelihood of candidates to leave an assessment incomplete. The study concluded that setting expectations about the length of the assessment is the biggest influencer on dropout behavior.
“One of the first things clients say when they see opt-out numbers is: should we be worried about completion rates?”
In fact, instead of dropping out, a candidate may be said to be opting out of future consideration after determining the job isn’t a good fit for them. Recruiters may be tempted to focus on possible negative candidate reactions to the assessment instead of how the candidate may have recognized they were underperforming or that the role or company were not a good fit. A well-designed assessment experience invites the candidate to be a decision maker, too. It should offer candidates an opportunity to think about what they are learning about the job and decide if it’s right for them.
The authors caution that shortening your assessment to a certain threshold just to retain more candidates can compromise its psychometric reliability and negatively impact your selection process. While many clients think cutting their assessment from 35 to 25 minutes will dramatically improve their evaluation process, Gibson says, demands for short assessment can compromise the integrity of its performance measurement and stability. Eliminating large portions of your assessment content in the interest of trying to retain more candidates will reduce the value of the assessment and have minimal impact on completion rates.
Modern Hire’s completion rate research is already convincing clients to change their assumptions about candidate attrition. Modern Hire is proud to be conducting ground-breaking research and be on the forefront of dialogue about candidate behavior and assessment design.