Technology Isn’t Everything

By: Andrew Day, February 13, 2017

The pace of technology advancement is remarkable. To highlight how impressive it is, people often point out facts like: “The processing power of the modern mobile phone exceeds that which got us to the moon.” This is amazing. It is so amazing, in fact, that it is easy to get caught up in focusing all your attention on technology innovation. However, great technology does not override the principles of high quality practice.

Today, talent assessments can be delivered almost anytime and anywhere. High speed internet and mobile devices allow organizations to vastly expand their employee searches. Results can be processed instantaneously so that you can quickly capture sought-after talent. All this speed and efficiency is useless, though, if the assessments are not measuring the right attributes. Or if they are poorly constructed tools in the first place.

When personal computers were on the cutting edge and talent assessments transitioned from paper-and-pencil administration to the screen, there was great concern about the impact computerized assessment delivery would have. It turned out there wasn’t any effect on quality. The validity of the tool, created with appropriate methods and implemented properly, was not influenced by computer administration at all. Similar results were obtained when assessments moved online (for example, Gosling, et al. 2004). Extensive research on the new technologies continues to show that best practices in talent assessment that were applied before the new technology arrived are still critical to success.

Technology is an amazing tool with many benefits. Like any tool, though, if it is used improperly it can be rendered useless. A mobile phone can’t launch and land a rocket any more than a Saturn V rocket’s computer could Facetime grandma. Poor quality and badly implemented talent assessments will not be effective, regardless of the technology that delivers them.

H/T – Gosling, S. D. et al. (2004). Should we trust web-based studies? A comparative analysis of six preconceptions about internet questionnaires. American Psychologist. 59(2), 93-104.