Recently a client told me about a new assessment program that made my ears perk up. It’s called the Bloomberg Assessment Test (BAT) and it’s yet another piece of solid evidence that the use of pre-employment assessment is being seen as a value-add by business leaders across the globe.
To me the BAT says that the highest echelons of the corporate boardroom are starting to gain some clarity about the value that quality assessment tools can provide in predicting outcomes that have a direct business impact.
We have the dawn of the era of big data to thank for this. All facets of business are now using predictive data modeling to help them make better decisions. While HR is a bit behind in this area (in what area is HR not behind?), it is catching up fast as more tools are becoming available to support the collection and analysis of data. The results, even at this stage of the game, are proving to be amazing.
Those setting the pace in the financial world (such as Bloomberg) are not only on board, they are actually driving the train — showing the rest of the business world the value of predictive pre-hire data to the achievement of valued business outcomes.
Here’s the skinny on the BAT.
What Is It?
The BAT is a standardized testing program that is designed for those interested in working in the world of high finance. The moving parts consist of a venue for job seekers (the exam) and eventually a venue for employers (a subscription website and set of related services).
The exam is about three hours long and contains questions tapping specific areas of financial knowledge as well as raw cognitive ability that are related to finance and fancy numbers.
Want proof that the Bloomberg folks are genius?
First of all, the BAT is primarily being pushed in the UK, a nation that absolutely loves psychometric testing.
Secondly, Bloomberg currently offers the BAT for free. It knows that the value of predictive matching lies in the database of candidates. The more people in the database with valuable predictive data attached to them, the more value access to the database has to employers. Once they hit critical mass and have employers calling for the BAT score, they can begin charging test-takers and switch on a new revenue stream.
Finally, the Bloomberg institute offers a range of development and training programs, helping drive the value of a continuum between pre-hire evaluation and post-hire development.
Why Is it Valuable?
The core of the value related to the BAT is the fact that it will help ensure that financial institutions making hiring decisions can do so with some degree of quality. This is the same value proposition that has always existed when it comes to pre-hire assessments. The twist is that we are now entering what I refer to as the “candidate quality revolution.” The days of static between a candidate’s true abilities (and desires) and the needs of employers are slowly passing. We are poised to see hiring tools that help squelch the noise and amplify the truth.
This revolution is not going to be driven by companies internally because hiring is still mired down in the morass that is HR. It is the vendors who will be creating the standards and the tools to help companies collect and analyze data to help them understand the business impact of hiring decisions. Those moving the ball forward will include smart folks like Bloomberg (and others like them within industry verticals); industry leaders such as SHL, Taleo, and Kenexa; and a host of new startup ventures that are working frantically on a new generation of tools.
To me the value of the BAT goes well beyond the fact that it is a predictive tool that can help promote staffing as a profit center. It is a true sign of things to come in the not-too-distant future.
To the BAT cave Robin — We have work to do!