How Multi-tasking can be Measured in the Hiring Process
Continuing our series on multi-tasking’s importance to hiring front line representatives, we explore how multi-tasking can be measured in the hiring process.
When we discuss how to measure multi-tasking, we focus on the pre-employment evaluation of a job candidate. How can the hiring manager confirm that the job candidate has the “right amount” of multi-tasking ability to meet the job requirements as set forth by the job analysis findings?
What is Multi-tasking and How Can You Assess or Test for Multi-Tasking
From our review of the definition of multi-tasking, we know that multi-tasking ability involves multiple processes happening at the same time. Therefore, measuring multi-tasking requires a test that can evaluate many tasks at the same time. Specifically, we want to think about the number of tasks, the time interval of the tasks, and the frequency of task-switching. A traditional behavioral interview does not allow the hiring manager to evaluate the job candidate’s multi-tasking ability realistically. The hiring manager could ask about multi-tasking during the interview, but to evaluate the candidate’s true ability requires a job try-out or audition. If you were casting a Broadway musical, you probably wouldn’t ask the prospective performer about her singing ability and just hope for the best. You would make her sing. The same approach can be used to evaluate contact center agents.
Using Job Simulation to Test Multi-Tasking Ability
These days, technology is making it easier to measure multi-tasking ability. Realistic job simulations and electronic in-baskets can provide effective measures to measure multi-tasking. In our experience, the use of realistic job simulations has shown significant results in measuring multi-tasking. In addition, the realistic job preview they provide to job candidates is beneficial to the hiring organization.
What Should You Look for when Selecting A Multi-tasking Assessment Test
When selecting an assessment test to measure multi-tasking, one should consider the following important factors:
- The test should require minimal training in order to be successfully completed.
- The test should not require any domain knowledge to be completed. This is especially important for contact center hiring when the hiring organization wants to be as inclusive as possible with the labor pool.
- The test should require the candidate to draw on his or her prospective memory.
Research has shown that individuals with better multi-tasking ability are also better able to use their prospective memory. Prospective memory refers to tasks that require retrieval and execution of an intention at an appropriate time or combination of circumstances, usually while another task is being performed. (Dodhia and Dismukes)
- The test should measure multiple events or tasks at the same time.
- The test should be objective.