The English filter: DPT for recruitment

by | 17 November 2020

In February 2020, the Gulf Transportation Company (GTC)*, based in Saudi Arabia, was in the middle of its graduate recruitment round. It needed to select 50 engineers from 2,000 applicants who had applied from universities in the UK, the US, and Saudi Arabia itself. They had invited the applicants to fly to Riyadh to sit a number of assessments, including an English test.

Then disaster struck. By March, Covid-19 had forced countries all around the world to start locking down, and in-person recruitment was no longer viable. With the engineers still needed, how was GTC going to filter down their applicants to exclude those without an adequate level of English? They needed a 100% online test, with CEFR output, which was accurate and reliable, and had simple administration. After seeking help from British Council Riyadh, they selected the Dynamic Placement Test (DPT), published by ClarityEnglish and telc Language Tests.

Before making the final decision, GTC had two primary concerns. The first was test security. What if the applicants cheated? Would this affect the rest of the recruitment process? The beauty of the Dynamic Placement Test is it is actually very difficult to cheat. The nature of the questions and the time frame within which candidates have to complete the test allows little room to look up answers or ask questions of others. Also, if candidates had cheated, they would simply be caught out at a later stage, perhaps in the face-to-face interview, and swiftly disqualified. The test was, therefore, as secure as it needed to be at this point in the process.

Satisfied with this answer, the clients put forth their second concern — administration. Handling the data of 2,000 applicants was a lot of work. Was DPT going to make it more complicated? ClarityEnglish reassured them that DPT was, in fact, a quick and accurate solution. The administrator would simply import test takers’ email addresses into the Admin Panel, set the test date and time, and the test was ready to go. Candidates would automatically be emailed all the necessary details.

Finally, the time had arrived — it was test day. With customer support on-hand to solve any problems, the test ran smoothly with remarkable operational efficiency:
2,007 candidates took the test.
1,980 completed it successfully.
23 signed in and then gave up.
3 took the test, but did not complete enough answers to get a grade.
There was 1 error.
So that’s a technical success rate of 99.95%.

There are more nuances that could be analysed such as the types of devices they used, or the candidate’s performances in the following rounds, but the primary result was a successfully run testing process and a happy client.

So what conclusions can be drawn from this experience?

  1. A significant amount of time can be saved with a straightforward and simple administration process. Avoid trouble and inconvenience by having all your information in a single Admin Panel.
  2. Cost is key. When the test already incorporates security into its questions, clients don’t have to incur unnecessary expense on flying in candidates or invigilation. At just a few dollars per test, clients can refocus their resources and attention to where it is needed most.
  3. Knowledge is power. Having access to a detailed results report is extremely useful for both the clients and ClarityEnglish. Both parties walked away with the information they wanted — GTC with candidates they could interview, and ClarityEnglish with a bank of anonymised data to further refine the test…

This post is based on a presentation delivered by Andrew Stokes and Ian Cortez. If you wish to read the full transcript, click here. If you would like to learn more about this case study or the Dynamic Placement Test get in touch.

*To preserve the anonymity of the client we have used a fictitious name. All other details in this post are accurate.

Further reading

Katie Stokes, Blog Editor, ClarityEnglish

Katie Stokes, Blog Editor, ClarityEnglish