The City of Montreal optimizes its evaluation and staffing processes with an online test delivery system based on uVox technology.
« Implementation of a computerized online testing system has helped the City of Montreal greatly improve its candidate assessment process. » - Joanne Provost, Project Manager and Senior Advisor to the Human Resources Department for the City of Montreal.
One of the oldest cities in North America, Montreal is also among the largest with a population approaching 2 million people and an area of 365.13 km2. Montreal is a major leaguer with its various offers of Industry, Tourism and Sports and its strategic multimodal location on the St. Lawrence River. The city administration has over 25,000 employees spread among 19 districts and 20 corporate services. In 2013, 20,000 internal and external candidates were evaluated online to fill job positions.
The Problem To Solve
Historically, each administrative unit was responsible for its own staffing and acted as an independent and autonomous staffing center. As a result, the City of Montreal experienced disparities and redundant costs associated with the evaluation of candidates. Also, as a public entity, the City has to be prepared to defend itself before organisms to which candidates can appeal. It therefore has to ensure the validity of its candidate testing and evaluation methods, provide a secure testing environment and protect the confidentiality of candidates’ results.
The City had already taken steps to standardize some elements of the recruitment and promotion process. For example, it used the Oracle iRecruitment solution for managing job applications.
In 2009, the Human Resources Department of the City prepared a call for tenders for a turnkey system to manage online testing. The system needed to be able to manage all the candidate evaluations for job positions across all departments and boroughs.
Implementation of the “Online Testing” Solution
The project was named “Tests en ligne” or “Online Testing” and its implementation began in 2010.
To direct and coordinate the implementation, the Human Resources Department had assigned a multidisciplinary
team including organizational psychologists and experts in psychometrics. This team had, among other tasks:
- To develop and validate assessment instruments to implement.
- To ensure that the specifications of each test were met when put online.
- To develop norms for each test.
- To ensure compliance with the specifications that were set out in the call for tenders.
As a first step of the implementation, Ullix and the Human Resources Department conducted a thorough needs analysis to prepare detailed final specifications for developing the system.
Ullix completed Phase II of the project in 2013. This phase aimed to extend the capabilities of “Online Testing” to support the evaluation of candidates for other job categories. In this phase, a new feature was developed for manual correction of writing skills tests.
Benefits of the “Online Testing” Solution
The City gains tangible benefits that are both immediate and ongoing as the system evolves:
- Shorter candidate evaluation cycle (City administrative units are served more efficiently).
- Streamlining the management of applications:
- Assessment exemptions valid for the entire City.
- Elimination of duplicate evaluations.
- Reduced duplication of common skills assessments.
- Simplified administrative process. It costs less to evaluate a candidate because of:
- Automation of the assessment process.
- Reduction of the effort by internal professional resources throughout the City.
There are also other significant advantages:
- Fairness for candidates: the same tests administered for the same job.
- Candidates who are better qualified for the positions for which they are applying (This is a very important but difficult-to-quantify benefit).
- Improved candidate experience.
- Improved services to citizens/taxpayers/candidates.
- Ability to use assessment data for employee development and for the management of career path programs.
- Better control of candidate and test data.
- Better protection against legal actions.
- Brand strengthening of the City by positioning it as an employer of choice through the use of technology.
As a result, the City is now able to assess candidates using a standardized, secure, fair and just process. In addition, the system is flexible enough to evolve with the needs of the City, such as the introduction of other assessment methods or the use in a centralized or decentralized way. The City is now well positioned to enjoy benefits recurring year after year.