Online skills measurement technology is removing bias and enhancing the measurement capability of an executive, says Ketan Kapoor, co-founder & CEO of Mettl, an online assessment platform for hiring and training
The rules of doing business are changing fast especially in knowledge industries where people are the true differentiators for any company. Here, measuring people’s skills effectively and efficiently becomes very important.
Of late, the focus is more on measuring skills as opposed to knowledge. Until now, because of the limitations of technology and high costs, it was difficult to measure skills and its applications. As a proxy, what we have traditionally measured is knowledge about a particular aspect and not its hands-on application. As learning moves online, assessment science is progressing rapidly and offering tools in the hands of CEOs and HR heads to solve this problem.
Business Acumen is a skill which encapsulates one’s knowledge about a particular business area and how one would apply that knowledge. Traditionally, case study interviews, if used well have been highly effective in measuring business skills and acumen of an individual and are employed by almost all consulting companies today. In the case of a typical case study setting, a business problem is presented with or without supporting data.
The evaluator then requests the candidate to seek more data and based on the questions asked by the candidate while he is doing a deeper analysis of the problem, the evaluator furnishes him with relevant data. As the candidate goes about the process of getting more data, she forms an opinion or zeroes in on the right cause of the business problem. Once the problem is identified, the candidate needs to take a final decision as if she was the actual business head.
In tune with our philosophy of moving away from multiple choice questions and using simulators and hands-on assessments to measure skills more effectively, we recently launched a business acumen evaluator that automates a case study interview and removes all subjectivity from the process. It offers the flexibility of incorporating real life background data in various formats to a case, and also offers the evaluator the option to make the case complex or easy depending on the requirement.
For example, a problem was presented to students on declining profits for a leading chocolate company. The students were expected to explore the reason for declining profits and also recommend the strategy that needs to be in place to fix the problem. As the candidates go about exploring, they have limited time and they can ask limited questions (around revenues, product volumes, cost, product mix etc. and around costs which may be fixed or variable) to the computer and based on the fact whether the question is relevant or not, the candidates get relevant credit.
The beauty of any solution is its ability to adapt to different situations – Business Acumen simulator can be used across functions, domains and industries. We believe that the future will consist of multiple such offerings wherein companies could select a particular skill, the best simulator to measure that skill and then invite the candidates remotely to take those assessments.