Behavioral simulations provide an assessment of candidates’ ability to demonstrate proficiency in core job skills by engaging in business challenges similar to those faced on the job. Such assessments are ideally suited for organizations that desire a high-fidelity and legally defensible way to “test drive” candidates’ proficiency in core job skills. It’s one thing to ask a candidate to talk to you about his/her persuasion skills in an interview, for example, but it’s often very different to say to the candidate “show me.” This is precisely what behavioral simulations do.
Central to all behavioral simulations are the following elements:
Rooted in Job Requirements
Like any well-constructed and validated assessment, behavioral simulations are rooted in key job requirements. In other words, they measure an individual’s capabilities to learn and/or perform important aspects of the job—this is what enables an assessment to be predictive of job success. With behavioral simulations, however, this characteristic also contributes to the assessment’s “face validity” (it looks like the job) and the assessment becomes a realistic job preview for candidates.
Structured and Standardized
Most behavioral simulations present candidates with some hypothetical scenario or situation and then ask them to demonstrate what they would do in the situation in the form of a role play or a case study interview. In addition to materials provided to the candidate to review and prepare for the exercise, detailed materials are also provided to the interviewer that outline how they should interact with candidates (e.g., scripted questions and/or responses to things the candidate might do or say).
Detailed Evaluation Guidelines
Finally, behavioral simulations include detailed guidelines to help interviewers evaluate candidates’ performance. These evaluation guidelines, like the assessment itself, are rooted in job requirements, and they also contribute to the structured, standardized administration across candidates.
Prior to implementing any behavioral simulation, Polaris trains administrators (quite often the client’s interviewers) on how to conduct the exercise properly.