I started recruiting university graduates in 2006. My very first campaign was small on scale compared to my experience now. My very first campaign I think I received just over 300 applications (and back in those days it was a written application and resume) and it took me about 3 weeks full-time just to read them and about 12 weeks to finally get the offers out to about 20 successful graduates.
It only took me that one campaign to realise that I couldn't do it that way again. Not only was it time consuming for candidates, but also for me. Technology has had such a huge impact on the way recruitment has evolved. If I fast-forward to today, I am now receiving nearly 4,000 applications for 50-70 roles and completing the process within 6-8 weeks max. This huge positive shift in efficiency is the use of technology.
I have now been using online assessments for a number of years and have always had a successful outcome. More recently I have also incorporated video interview and gamified assessments into the mix. There are so many benefits to both the candidate and the recruiter. For example, as a candidate you can complete these assessments at a time/place convenient to you, you don't need to be in the same city as the job, and they are less time consuming (a 20min test compared to a written application?). I'm sure if you asked my 2006 cohort what they would prefer...they'd go with the 20min test!
On the other side of the fence, as a recruiter, we have access to more data about a candidate than ever before. This information is what helps us to make more reliable and quicker decisions through each stage of the process. Remember, there are no right or wrong test results.....as recruiters we can all be looking for different things. Even within an organisation there can be different requirements in a candidate from one team to another.
Anyway, back to why graduates need to embrace this technology. Basically, it's not going to go away, if anything it's going to keep evolving. As a candidate take the time to find out what tools are used and at what stage of the process you can expect them. Do your research, a number of companies have sample tests available....have a go, know what to expect. When you do the tests, make sure you're in the right mood, have had enough sleep, eaten well and all those things that help you perform at your best. You may not get a chance to do it again, in fact I can almost guarantee it.
Like with any change, there is always some resistance. There seems to still be a strong hold on cover letters, resumes and interviews (i.e. traditional methods) which are still relevant and important, but are equally important to the other tools that recruiters are using. A recruiter will not do something just for the sake of it. If there is a tool used by a company there is always a reason why they are using it. Embrace it, don’t dismiss it!
Research! Prepare! Be positive!