Are you involved in graduate recruitment? Are you confident that your assessment tests are finding the strategic visionaries you need? Or are they mainly testing for the skills that can be replicated by robots or computers – number crunching, “critical thinking”, judging typical work situations? To remain the useful backbone of your organisation you need to be selecting the right people to thrive in the new world of intelligent technology.

We see frequent articles* about the potential for robots to take over the workplace. “About 35% of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation over the following 20 years, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte”, reports the BBC.

Scrutiny coming

Nobody can complain that we have not been warned. Soon, recruiters are going to face big questions. How are they ensuring that they select and develop those people with the creative and social skills that cannot be easily replicated by automation? The emphasis for assessment will have to switch from numeric and quantitative to strategic and decisive, with a huge dollop of communicative authority.

Are you genuinely prepared for this? How will you gain the insight that finds the right candidates? Does your process only provide circumstantial evidence of the attributes you seek? And how will you manage the challenge of keeping the diversity of the talent pool in this context, not missing the hidden stars?

Our leaders for the future must be confident in predicting outcomes, taking definite decisions quickly and then flexible enough to change their stance in the light of events. Success will depend on one or both of these attributes:

  1. Decision making – The ability to identify opportunities and risks from external influences and to act on them in time
  2. Communication – The ability to communicate the strategy and to communicate well with clients

These qualities, always vital to any organisation, cannot be left to the computer!!

A new form of assessment is required. Even personal profiling or psychometric testing are not really designed to find leaders (cf the “crystal methodist” of the Co-op bank). The development and evaluation of candidates for the fast stream needs a programme that identifies the necessary potential and cannot be gamed. Your senior executives, especially income generators, need to be engaged early on and buy in to the process. The small amount of time needed is more than compensated by the better quality of hire they receive (and an end to the resentful grumbling)!

Forewarned is Forearmed 

A proactive move, bringing the business with you, will save much embarrassment and recrimination in the coming months. We are forewarned about automation. We must adapt our processes to attract and select the right candidates for the new (business) world order.

But a bit of good news courtesy of the Beeb again:


And more GOOD NEWS – METTLETEST provides a programme. Learn more.

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*Other articles:


Daily Telegraph – “Increasingly, machines are providing not only the brawn but the brains”

Alphr – “Accountants are screwed: Will a robot take your job?  Short answer: probably”