How to transform recruitment and hiring with online testing

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Posted by Julie Delazyn

Did you know that 80 percent of employee turnover is a result of poor hiring practices? With turnover costs as high as $20,000 per exiting employee, improving the screening and testing process is a priority for every HR professional.

Online testing is making the hiring process easier and more effective. In this webinar,  “How to transform recruitment and hiring with online testing,” we’ll also share best practices and a case study from Canada Post Corporation.

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Dr. Glen Budgell, PhD and senior strategic HR advisor at Human Resource Systems Group (HRSG)

 Join us on June 14 at 12:00 p.m. EDT. Click here to reserve your spot!

The webinar is designed to give you an up-close look at the latest assessment technologies. To learn more, I spoke to Dr. Glen Budgell, PhD and senior strategic HR advisor at Human Resource Systems Group (HRSG), who will be leading the session. Glen has over thirty years of experience managing the promotion, development and delivery of consulting services in the area of assessment and testing.

Here is a snippet from my conversation with Glen:

How can online testing transform recruitment and hiring?

Online testing has transformed the recruitment and hiring landscape in many ways. The days in which employers were limited to local talent is over: online tests can be administered at the click of a button to job candidates in remote regions, thereby increasing both the diversity of the talent pool and the inclusiveness of the work place. Standardized testing (whether paper-pencil or computer-based) provides job candidates with a sense of fairness in the hiring process.  When you combine this sense of fairness with an innovative online test that is both job relevant and engaging, you really “wow!” the job candidate, and that is one of our goals at HRSG: to wow our clients and their job candidates with innovative employment tests.

Online testing platforms such as Questionmark provide employers and firms like HRSG the tools to efficiently develop and deliver assessments. At HRSG, we use Questionmark to develop employment tests for our clients so that they can identify the right talent faster, and at a lower cost.

What are some best practices that are important to developing a strong assessment process?

Traditional testing best practices are always relevant, and we strongly urge our clients to conduct the required job/task analysis before choosing or building an employment test. In addition, and especially if the test is being built in house, it should be ensured that the test is both job relevant and linked to the abilities/skills identified in the job analysis.

Of course, online / computer-based testing has introduced a myriad of other challenges. Companies must ensure that the testing software they use is secure and candidate data is protected. We rely on the expertise of Questionmark to provide our clients with the required security and data protection features mandated by the ISO and ICT standards. Furthermore, we share with our client’s methods and best practices for cheating prevention and analysis, monitoring the web for leaked test content, and most importantly, providing candidate’s with technical support and accessibility features when required.

What tools will attendees walk away from the webinar with:

We’ll also discuss:

  • When to buy an off the shelf assessment when to build in house
  • How to enhance the candidate experience with online testing
  • How to develop and use innovative item types
  • Importance of candidate perceptions of online testing
  • Best practices for unproctored internet testing
  • Case study which describes best practices with high volume testing

Thank you, Glen, for taking the time to speak to us!

We look forward to seeing you at this complimentary webinar on Tuesday, June 14 at 12:00 p.m. EDT.

Click here to register and save your spot.

Establishing a data-driven assessment strategy – A Q&A with Amazon

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Posted by Julie Delazyn

Jason Sunseri is a senior Program Manager – Learning Technology at Amazon. He will be leading a discussion at Questionmark Conference 2016 in Miami, about Creating a Global Knowledge and Skills Assessment Program for Amazon Sellers.

Jason Sunseri, Program Manager – Learning Technology, Amazon

Jason’s session will look at how Amazon Seller Support and Questionmark OnDemand have partnered to deliver a world-class solution. Jason will illustrate how Amazon has used the OnDemand platform to deliver a robust, data-driven assessment strategy.

I recently asked him about his session:

Tell me about Amazon and its use of assessments:

Amazon Seller Support engages with the 2.5 million+ global sellers represented on the Amazon platform. Due to rapid global expansion across the platform, the Amazon Seller Support needed to find a technology and assessment partner that could support both its knowledge and skill acquisition assessment strategies.

How does Amazon use data to drive strategy?

Assessments play a huge role at Amazon. We have really evolved into a data-driven culture and we use assessments in surveys and inside curriculum to assess training and performance, and to identify early issues and trends in order to tweak training content and fix errors.

What role does Questionmark play in that strategy?

We rely heavily on reports — Survey Matrix, Job Task Analysis and other report functions — to assess performance. We’re able to leverage the tool by having individual training centers analyze learning and training gaps and pass on those results. It allows us to see how and why a site is succeeding; where that behavior stems from — it’s really cool to see.

What are you looking forward to at the conference?

It’s Miami, so…the weather, for sure! In all seriousness, I look forward to learning about how other Questionmark users utilize the same tools and how their approach varies from ours.

Thank you, Jason for taking time out of your busy schedules to discuss your session with us!

The Importance of Safety in the Utilities Industry: A Q&A with PG&E

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Posted by Julie Delazyn

Wendy Lau is a Psychometrician at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). She will be leading a discussion at Questionmark Conference 2016 in Miami, about Safety and the Utilities Industry: Why Assessments Matter.

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Wendy Lau, Psychometrician, PG&E

Wendy’s session will describe a day in the life of a psychometrician in the utilities industry. It will explore the role assessments play at PG&E, and how Questionmark has helped the company focus on safety and train its employees.

I recently asked her about her session:

Tell me about PG&E and its use of assessments:

PG&E is a utilities company that provides natural gas and electricity to most of the northern two-thirds of California. Over the years, we have evolved into a more data-driven company, and Questionmark has been a part of that for the past 7 years. Having assessments readily available and secured within a platform that we can trust is very important to PG&E. We are also glad to have found a testing tool that offers such a wide variety of question types.

Why is safety important in the utilities industry?

Depending on the activity that our employees perform, most of the work has serious safety implications — whether it is a lineman climbing up a  pole to perform liveline work or a utility worker digging near a major gas pipeline. Our technical training must have safety in mind and, more importantly, it must ensure that after going through training, employees are competent to perform their tasks safely and proficiently. In order to ensure workforce capability, we rely heavily on testing to prove that our workforce is in fact safe and proficient and that the community we serve and our employees are safe and receiving reliable services.

What role does Questionmark play in ensuring that safety?

Questionmark helps us focus on safety-related questions by allowing special assessment strategies such as identifying critical versus coachable assessment items and identifying cutscores for each accordingly. Questionmark also allows a secured platform so that we can ensure our test items are never compromised and that our employees are truly being assessed under fair circumstances.

To find out more about the role of Questionmark plays in ensuring safety, you’ll just have to attend my session at Questionmark Conference 2016 in Miami!

What are you looking forward to at the conference?

I am very much looking forward to ‘talking shop’ with other Psychometricians and sharing best practices with others in the utilities industry and other companies alike!

Thank you, Wendy for taking time out of your busy schedules to discuss your session with us!

palm tree emoji 2If you have not already done so, you still have a chance to attend this important learning event. Click here to register.

 

Certification in the Cloud and the Move to Online Proctoring: An interview with SAP’s manager of global certification

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Posted by John Kleeman

I recently interviewed Ralf Kirchgaessner, SAP’s manager of global certification, about how the cloud is changing SAP certification. This is a shortened version of my conversation with Ralf. To read the full previously published post, check out this SAP blog.

John: What are the key reasons why SAP has a certification program?

Ralf: The overall mission of the program is that every SAP solution should be implemented and supported ideally by a certified SAP resource. This is to ensure that implementation projects go well for customers, and to increase customer productivity while reducing their operating costs. Customers value certification. In a survey of SAP User Group customers in Germany and the US, 80 percent responded that it was very important to have their employees certified and over 60 percent responded that certification was one of the criteria used to select external consultants for implementation projects.

John: What important trends do you see in high tech and IT certification?

Ralf: What comes first to the mind is the move to the cloud. Throughout the technology industry, the cloud drives flexibility and making everything available on demand. One aspect of this is that release cycles are getting quicker and quicker.

For certification, this means that consultants and others have to show that they are always up to date and are certified on the latest release. It’s not enough to become certified once in your lifetime: you have to continually learn and stay up to date. But of course if you are taking certification exams more often, certification costs have to be much lower. In some regions, people have to travel large distances to get to a test centre. With more frequent certification, it’s not practical to travel to a testing centre every time you take a certification. So our aim is to allow certification anytime and anywhere using the cloud.

John: How does online proctoring work for the candidate?

Ralf: A remote proctor monitors the candidate via a webcam, and there are a lot of security checks done by the proctor and by the system. For example, a secure browser is used, the candidate has to do a 360 degree check of his or her room, and there are lots of specific controls. For instance, you aren’t allowed to read the questions silently with your lips in case someone is watching or listening.

The great advantage to the candidate is flexibility. If someone says, “I’d like to do my exam in the middle of the night or on weekends because during the week I’m so busy with my project,” they can. They might say that they’d like to do their exam on Saturday afternoon: “After spending two hours playing with my kids, I’m relaxed to do my exam!” It’s such a flexible way to get certified and to quickly demonstrate that they have up-to-date knowledge and are allowed to provision customer systems.

John: Who benefits from certification in the cloud? Candidates, customers, partners or SAP?

Ralf: Of course, I think all benefit! Candidates have flexibility and lower cost. Customers can be sure that partner consultants who work for them are enabled and up to date. For partners, it’s a competitive advantage to show that their consultants are up to date, especially for new technologies like S/4HANA and Simple Finance. A partner is much more likely to be chosen to deploy new technologies if they can demonstrate that they have several consultants already certified in something that’s just been released. And for SAP, our goal is to have engaged consultants, happy partners and lower support costs. So everyone genuinely benefits.

John: What are some of the challenges?

Ralf: One example is that it’s important in cloud certification to get data protection right. SAP have very detailed requirements that we ensure our vendors like Questionmark meet.

Security is also a challenge. You need to prevent cheating and stealing questions.  And interfaces and integration need to be right. We have worked out how we get the data from our HR systems, how people book and subscribe to exams and then how they can authenticate with single sign-on into the certification hub to take cloud exams.

The delta concept also gives challenges. You need very precise pre-requisite management logic, where the certification software checks for example that, if you want to take the delta exam, you have already passed the core exam. It also can sometimes be difficult to prepare a good delta exam, particularly if a new release has very specific or detailed features, including some that apply in only some industries.

Lastly, providing seamless support is a challenge when using multiple vendors. The candidate doesn’t care where a problem happened: he or she just wants it fixed.

John: Where do you see the long term future of high-tech certification? Will there still be test centres, or will all certification be done via the cloud?

Ralf: Test centres won’t disappear at once, but there is a trend of moving from classroom-based learning and testing to learning and certification in the cloud. The future will belong to anytime, anywhere testing. The trend is for test centre use to decline, but it won’t happen overnight!

John: If another organization is thinking of moving towards certification in the cloud, what advice would you give them?

Ralf: Ensure that you are aware of the challenges I mentioned and can deal with them. And do some pilots before you try to scale.

Interested in learning more about Online Proctoring? I will be presenting a session on ensuring exam integrity with online proctoring at Questionmark Conference 2016: Shaping the Future of Assessment in Miami, April 12-15. I look forward to seeing you there! Click here to register and learn more about this important learning event.

Cloud vs. On-premise: A customer’s viewpoint

Chloe MendoncaPosted by Chloe Mendonca

The cloud or on-premise: which is best? Many organisations are asking this question, and migration to the cloud is undoubtedly one of the biggest trends in the technology industry right now.

Many organisations are finding vast benefits from moving to the cloud. A recent research study by the School of Computing, Creative Technologies & Engineering and Leeds Beckett University, highlights how the cloud plays an instrumental role in the reduction of environmental and financial costs – often a 50% saving on costs related to the installation and maintenance of IT infrastructure in academic institutions. I was interested to learn more about the customer experience of moving from an on-premise system into the cloud.

My recent conversation with Paul Adriaans, IT Coordinator in Education at the Faculty of Law of the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands gave me some insight into what prompted their move from Questionmark Perception—our on-premise assessment management system— to Questionmark OnDemand—our cloud-based solution. Paul explained how the transition worked for them.

What is your history with Questionmark?
We began using Questionmark Perception at the University in the Faculty of Law department in 2007 and in December 2013 we moved to OnDemand.

What made you decide to go OnDemand?
With the on-premise system we always needed to get someone onsite to do the upgrades, as it required us to install the latest version of the software and set up our servers. This took planning, time and resources. We deployed the on-demand system within a few hours and the preparation was easy. Cost was another factor. The money spent internally to maintain our systems, was higher compared to the cost of going OnDemand. Moving to OnDemand also gives us greater flexibility to expand and grow our usage in the future.

Did you have any concerns about moving to OnDemand?
Understandably we were cautious about security. With our on-premise installation, we were accustomed to being fully in control of our own data security. Moving to the cloud meant entrusting Questionmark with data protection–but this new approach provides excellent security while still giving us complete access to our data. The university worked with SURF, the collaborative ICT organisation for Dutch higher education and research, and online learning services provider Up Learning, to test and approve Questionmark’s security. (The Questionmark OnDemand environment is located in an ISO accredited EU data center with multiple layers of security.)

How did you find the transition?
The upgrade process didn’t take a lot of work from our end, as we started with a clean database. We chose not to transfer old exams, users and schedules, but only to keep questions and a selection of the most recent exams. So we added all of the questions and exams that we still needed by exporting and importing QPacks (encrypted zip files) ourselves. We were able to have support from Up Learning as well as support from Questionmark’s help desk and customer care teams. They were very supportive and provided useful emails to guide us throughout the process.

How has the switch to Questionmark OnDemand affected your work?
OnDemand gives us access to all of the latest features as soon as they’re available. Due to the internal IT resources required to carry out an upgrade for our on-premise system, we were often several versions behind the OnDemand system. Now we always have the latest version and don’t have to worry about upgrading. If and when we decide to grow our assessment programme across the university, we know that OnDemand is flexible enough to accommodate that.

Caveon Q&A: Enhanced security of high-stakes tests

Headshot JuliePosted by Julie Delazyn

Questionmark and Caveon Test Security, an industry leader in protecting high-stakes test programs, have recently joined forces to provide clients of both organizations with additional resources for their test administration toolboxes.

Questionmark’s comprehensive platform offers many features that help ensure security and validity throughout the assessment process. This emphasis on security, along with Caveon’s services, which include analyzing data to identify validity risks as well as monitoring the internet for any leak that could affect intellectual property, adds a strong layer of protection for customers using Questionmark for high-stakes assessment management and delivery.

I sat down with Steve Addicott, Vice President of Caveon, to ask him a few questions about the new partnership, what Caveon does and what security means to him. Here is an excerpt from our conversation

Who is Caveon? Tell me about your company.

At Caveon Test Security, we fundamentally believe in quality testing and trustworthy test results. That’s why Caveon offers test security and test item
development services dedicated to helping prevent test fraud and better protecting our clients’ items, tests, and reputations.

What does security mean to you, and why is it important?

High stakes test programs make important education and career decisions about test takers based on test results. We also spend a tremendous amount of time creating, administering, scoring, and reporting results. With increased security pressures from pirates and cheats, we are here to make sure that those results are trustworthy, reflecting the true knowledge and skills of test takers.

Why a partnership with Questionmark and why now?

With a growing number of Questionmark clients engaging in high-stakes testing, Caveon’s experience in protecting the validity of test results is a natural extension of Questionmark’s security features. For Caveon, we welcome the chance to engage with a vendor like Questionmark to help protect exam results.

And how does this synergy help Questionmark customers who deliver high-stakes tests and exams?

As the stakes in testing continue to rise, so do the challenges involved in protecting your program. Both organizations are dedicated to providing clients with the most secure methods for protecting exam administrations, test development investments, exam result validity and, ultimately, their programs’ reputations.

For more information on Questionmark’s dedication to security, check out this video and download the white paper: Delivering Assessments Safely and Securely.