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The Role of Job Simulations in Diversity and Inclusion at Work

— April 27, 2023

Removing the unconscious biases that so often play a role in the hiring process leads to more diversified workplaces.

It is well-documented that workplace diversity leads to greater productivity and creativity. When it’s time to recruit new team members, job simulations can help to create inclusive workforces that boost the overall success of the business. Job simulations also save the business a lot of money that would otherwise be wasted on a bad hire.

Hiring the wrong candidate can cost your business between $17,000 to $240,000 — an amount most business owners wouldn’t dream of wasting. Although job simulations may take a little more time to carry out than the traditional basic interview process, it’s clearly worth it for the long-term savings.

What are job simulations?

A job simulation sometimes referred to as a recruiting test, is an opportunity to sample the practical abilities of job candidates. There are different types of job simulations based on the needs of the company hiring. These tests are designed to give both parties a clearer idea of how well the candidate can perform the available role.

Job simulations are especially popular today, in a time where resumes and cover letters are easy to manipulate with keywords in order to progress through a hiring process. Using a practical test to examine the capabilities of candidates makes it immediately apparent whose resume is legitimate and who is less suited for the work.

Many industries can benefit from job simulations thanks to the varied styles of simulations that exist.

What are the different types of job simulations?

There are a lot of similarities between the different types of job simulations, though they have distinct benefits for different workplaces and styles.

1. Skill assessments 

This is one of the most common types of job simulation. It is highly customizable to different roles and workplaces. Often, this incorporates a range of questions/tasks to get a comprehensive idea of the candidate’s abilities. Job simulations like this work for marketing roles, coding work, and administrative roles to name a few.

2. Situational judgment tests 

These simulations, often called SJTs, decipher how effective candidates are at making time-sensitive decisions. Placed into theoretical scenarios they might face in the workplace, candidates can demonstrate their interpersonal skills as well as their problem-solving abilities in real-time. A job simulation like this one is great for roles with a customer-facing focus.

3. Live simulations 

Live simulations are comparable to SJTs because they incorporate theoretical scenarios the candidate might encounter on the job. These tests are usually done in person – although it’s becoming more popular for them to be conducted over virtual meetings. Sometimes, live simulations use groups of candidates together to highlight who stands out for their leadership qualities, and independent working traits.

4. In-basket tests

Black and white analog egg timer; image by Marcelo Leal, via
Image by Marcelo Leal, via

The name for this test comes from the days of having a physical office desk with an ‘in-basket’ and an ‘out-basket’ for keeping work organized. These tests allow recruiters to establish how efficiently a candidate can complete relevant tasks within a specific time frame. Tests like this one are ideal for managerial and administrative roles.

5. Take-home assignments

For job simulations that have fewer time restraints, take-home assignments are ideal. The benefit of this style is that candidates have the time to show their best work on their own time. This is a good test to assess how effectively a candidate can self-manage their time and their work. Without the presence of a higher authority, this method is good for workplaces that want independent workers.

Diverse and inclusive workforces

One of the main ways that job simulations create diverse and inclusive workforces is in their ability to even the playing field. Most recruiters have some degree of unconscious bias that makes them warm more readily to candidates with similar backgrounds and characteristics to themselves.

Using job simulations removes the power of unconscious bias, with each individual’s work speaking for itself. Simulations also make it easier to identify any candidates who have exaggerated their own experience, while those who are confident in their abilities get the chance to show off how they would be a benefit to the company.

Removing the unconscious biases that so often play a role in the hiring process leads to more diversified workplaces. Factors like gender identity, religion, sexuality, and other personal details put aside in favor of characteristics and abilities relative to the role identify the best candidate for the job.

Job simulations are an invaluable tool for both parties. The business saves time and money by ensuring they hire the right person for the role and a good fit in the company. Simultaneously, the candidates sample the role itself; those who don’t like the work can easily step down without furthering the recruitment process. 

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