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An age-old maxim is often quoted nowadays: ‘the only thing constant is change.’ It is true because of rapid and unprecedented changes occurring all around us. As we look back, we realize that our world is far more dynamic and complex, characterized by a changing business landscape, rapid technological progression and relentless competition.
Professionals who acknowledge and understand these changing business and industry dynamics are considered forward-looking and assets. They are well-versed in the operational and environmental realities of their domain/industry. They are known as domain experts. As the business landscape evolves and the demand for domain experts grows, so does the pressure on human resource professionals to hire the best talent.
Over the past few years, many companies across industries have realized the importance of assessing candidates’ domain expertise. As per the NASSCOM future skills survey, there is a shift in organizations’ requirements from only technical abilities to ‘composite’ abilities, comprising domain knowledge, professional skills and technical skills.
This preferential change can be attributed to the realization that job roles are becoming increasingly specialized. And not just experience but expertise too matters in a modern business environment. Most job profiles now require more technical skill sets, and employers want to pull out all the stops to assess the domain expertise of both potential and existing workforce – where domain assessments come into play.
A domain assessment, also known as a domain knowledge test, involves evaluating domain-specific knowledge of an industry. It enables HR professionals to understand whether job candidates are suitable for the given position. Sometimes, recruiters lack the relevant industry-specific knowledge required to test and screen candidates. That is where domain assessments come in handy to help recruiters determine whether an applicant is a right fit for the role.
Domain knowledge, also known as business knowledge or industry knowledge, is the knowledge and expertise of a specialized discipline or domain instead of general knowledge. It is the knowledge possessed by an expert in a particular field. A domain expert has considerable work experience in a specific domain or industry and understands its concepts or jargon well.
For example, suppose a software developer working in a financial domain is concerned with designing different banking applications. In that case, it is customary for him/her to coordinate with other stakeholders, understand additional requirements for app development, and devise various concepts, terms and trends about that industry. This accumulation of knowledge and expertise can be called domain knowledge.
People with domain knowledge have ample industrial exposure and have already worked on specific projects. They can understand trends, customer pain points and business requirements in a more nuanced fashion. For this reason, many job postings mention domain knowledge as the most crucial parameter for ascertaining the suitability of candidates for diverse industries like education, healthcare, investment banking, financial services, insurance sector, gaming, and automotive, etc.
Organizations these days avoid hiring candidates who are not job-ready or need thorough training to get started. And perhaps therein lies the urgency to find accurate means of assessing candidates to understand how ready an individual is to fulfill job responsibilities from day one. That is where domain knowledge tests come in handy. Such assessments help recruiters determine whether a candidate has deep knowledge of his/her respective field, enabling them to identify suitable candidates during the talent acquisition process.
Domain tests are playing an important role in helping organizations to find the perfect fit for the job vacancy they have. These domain knowledge tests provide a detailed knowledge of the candidates’ skills and field-specific knowledge necessary to excel in the career and benefit the organization. Such tests also speed up the process of hiring as they make the organization assess the skills and knowledge of the candidates with just one test.
Kristi Stoll, Business Innovator & Founder at Kid Visionaries
Cale Loken, Business Consultant and the CEO at 301 Madison Consulting, echoes this sentiment. He asserts, ”Domain assessments are quite useful in the hiring process. They help increase hiring accuracy and decrease the costs of hiring the wrong candidate. Such tests enable recruiters and hiring managers to evaluate a person’s domain expertise and see if they fit well with the company’s criteria. If a person does not meet the organization’s requirements, employers can tick the candidate off from the list.”
Some vital reasons to use domain assessments are listed below:
Domain skills assessments analyze and assess individuals on different parameters that are crucial for identifying right-fit candidates. Such tests measure a wide range of industry skills and are a part of an extensive roster, enabling organizations to find and hire the top talent.
The roster includes various domain-based assessments, ranging from comprehensive engineering tests to industry-specific tests aimed specifically at blue-collared workers. These tests cover a wide range of industries, corporate functions and skills.
Listed below are some of the most sought-after domain tests based on their functionality and industry application.
Based on corporate functions:
Sales domain tests are based on sales competency frameworks covering the candidate’s strategic sales focus, integrity, perseverance and interpersonal skills. With these tools, it is possible to determine crucial cognitive and behavioral competencies for sales professionals. Based on such competencies, recruiters can assess a candidate’s genuine sales potential. Such sales assessments help employers determine whether the candidates have the drive to excel in the sales domain.
HR assessments are domain ability tests to assess a job candidate’s knowledge in HR-specific areas, such as effective communication, business acumen, technical expertise, relationship management, consultation, negotiation, conflict resolution, critical thinking, ethical practice, engagement, etc. Such domain tests are an industry-proven tool to assess qualities that organizations desire in HR professionals.
Marketing domain-based tests assess job applicants’ marketing abilities and skills on different technical and theoretical aspects, enabling recruiters to understand their specific strengths and areas that need improvement. These domain tests help organizations measure the most coveted skills required in a marketing job aspirant, such as planning and execution of marketing activities (ATL, BTL & TTL), content management, understanding of the customer base and key market trends, knowledge of advertising tools for promotion and branding, ability to plan, organize and execute various marketing campaigns effectively, business, process and result orientation, negotiation and influence, collaboration, networking, attention to details and analytical and verbal ability.
Operations domain assessments are structured assessments to assess and analyze a candidate’s expertise in business operations. These tests help recruiters evaluate whether an individual has the skills necessary to manage business operations, such as planning, purchasing and procurement, supply chain management and distribution of resources, defining, tracking and improving key metrics related to operations planning, leadership skills, technical skills, communication skills, etc. Such tests are a proven tool to gauge candidates’ industry skills and professional competency, helping recruiters narrow down the applicant pool by filtering good candidates from unsuitable ones.
Customer support assessments are specialized domain tests to assess candidates’ suitability for various customer service roles, including but not limited to call center and customer support. The tests are designed to help employers assess whether a candidate has the necessary skills to perform critical aspects of a job in customer support. Such tests include questions that accurately assess a candidate’s ability to succeed in a particular role or position.
Accounting and finance domain tests are pre-employment assessments to gauge a candidate’s ability to interpret, process and convey financial information. These tests analyze a candidate’s knowledge in various streams of accounting and finance, such as financial accounting, financial analysis and management accounting, etc. These tests require applicants to answer thoughtfully structured questions about the fundamentals and core topics within the accounting and finance domains.
Coding domain assessments are technical skills tests to get an insight into an individual’s coding skills. Such assessments help employers understand a candidate’s likelihood of performing and thriving in a specific role. With these tests, recruiters can efficiently conduct technical hiring and find highly skilled coders during the hiring process.
Leadership skills assessments form the core of a strong leadership pipeline and are a sure-fire way to identify a prospective leader. These tests help senior-most leaders to test the skills and abilities of potential applicants. These tests help bring those competencies to the fore that are deemed necessary for leadership roles, such as strategic perspective, participative management, change management, decisiveness, self-awareness, leadership, proactivity, equanimity and building synergetic relationships. Such specialized assessments can work wonders for workforce development and succession planning.
Based on Industry:
Retail domain assessments are pre-employment tests that have been designed particularly for professionals keen on working in a retail environment. These domain skills tests enable recruiters to assess candidates’ employability skills and determine their suitability for working in a retail setting. These tests are an essential part of the candidate evaluation process to identify the best talent for retail/in-store jobs.
BPO assessments are specialized domain tests to determine candidates’ suitability for call center and BPO-based roles. Such assessments can enable employers to automate the hiring process, helping them gain insights into a candidate’s true potential. Recruiters will find it convenient to use these tests to determine whether an individual is inclined to providing excellent customer service to clients in the future.
Engineering domain assessments are specially designed to gauge candidates’ knowledge and expertise to perform duties required in various engineering roles. These tests help recruiters find candidates who are industry-ready in terms of skills and are most likely to thrive in such positions. These technical domain tests are used for analyzing participants’ knowledge in different streams of engineering, including but not limited to civil engineering, petrochemical engineering and mechanical engineering.
Media assessments measure one’s awareness and knowledge within the media domain. These domain tests assess a candidate’s proficiency in public relations and media skills. These skill assessment tests help recruiters assess potential candidates on competencies that are a must-have for every media professional. Such tests include questions that quantifiably assess verbal, technical and quantitative aptitude for diverse media roles.
Blue-collar domain tests are pre-employment tests administered to job candidates by prospective employers during the hiring process. These assessments are most suitable for industries concerned with recruiting a talented blue-collar workforce and help assess candidates’ employability skills across roles in the service industry. Such tests are based on a well-defined competency framework that covers blue-collar positions.
Legal domain ability assessments are a crucial component of the candidate evaluation process for legal roles. These pre-employment tests enable employers to identify candidates’ skills and knowledge within the legal domain. Such tests are an excellent tool for determining the job applicant’s awareness of business and corporate law and auditing and banking basics.
A domain skills assessment efficiently streamlines the hiring process by enabling recruiters to hire the right domain experts in the right jobs. If implemented correctly, domain tests can help alleviate the burden for recruiters and hiring managers by identifying the top talent, helping improve organizational performance and productivity.
It may seem like a formidable task for most recruiters to screen, shortlist, interview and keep track of so many applicants. What appears to be lacking here is a holistic tool for conducting recruitment effectively. That is where online assessment platforms can help automate and improve hiring processes.
Mercer | Mettl is one such leading assessment management system that provides end-to-end test management services, right from preparing domain assessment questions, scheduling and managing assessments online to ensuring tests’ credibility through proctoring and analyzing test responses. This seamless system can work at scale and integrate with a holistic suite of proctoring tools to simplify conducting domain assessments.
To illustrate, let us understand how Mercer | Mettl’s suite of tools enabled Indus Valley Partners (IVP) to find specialized coders during campus hiring drives.
About the Company
Since its inception in 2000, Indus Valley Partners has grown to become one of the leading technology solutions and consulting service providers in the global asset management industry. It provides asset management solutions, such as portfolio analytics, regulatory reporting and data management to a diverse client base, including international private equity firms and hedge funds.
The company faced challenges in conducting campus hiring drives due to assessors’ inability to administer so many candidates for tech roles manually and efficiently. The focus was on ensuring an effective tech recruitment process while screening and interviewing each candidate from a massive talent pool.
Mercer| Mettl’s comprehensive package of domain assessments helps overcome hiring obstacles by offering various domain-based assessments for wide-ranging job roles. Such domain tests can be combined with other scientific assessments, such as psychometric, behavioral and cognitive assessments, to help organizations assess candidates’ domain knowledge and crucial core traits. Recruiters can gauge the expanse of candidate’s knowledge with the expert-curated test questions to get a holistic candidate profile for different domain-specific roles.
Leveraging these domain skills assessments is the most effective way to hire the top talent with in-depth domain knowledge. These assessments cover a wide range of core skills, industries and corporate functions. Such domain tests’ questions may be presented in the form of objective-type problems, caselets or case-study simulators, depending on the assessment needs. There are choices galore when it comes to domain assessments. One can either choose a standardized functional test from Mercer | Mettl’s rich repository of pre-built tests or get a customized domain test based on a job-specific competency framework.
Now that you have covered much ground, understanding what domain tests entail, the time is right to start leveraging them in your hiring process. Utilizing domain assessments enables organizations to find the right people for domain-specific positions. Such tests are also helpful in employee training and development programs, helping them prepare for the ”future of work” in terms of newly emerging job prospects and categories. Resultantly, companies can avoid the exorbitant cost of bad hiring decisions and maximize employees’ productivity at work, positively impacting the company’s bottom line.
Domain assessment meaning: It is a test aimed at assessing individuals' skills in specific domains. Such a test helps employers to either test job applicants or reskill employees in technical roles. The test comes in handy when recruiters aim to recruit individuals based on their domain expertise. Domain tests are a surefire way to understand the depth of candidates' domain knowledge.
Unlike general knowledge, which is broad-based knowledge about various subjects, domain knowledge refers to a specialized domain's knowledge and expertise.
Domain knowledge tests are an ideal way to assess the domain knowledge of prospective candidates before final-round interviews. These tests are the most common means of determining candidates’ industry-specific expertise and suitability for different organizational roles.
A domain expertise interview refers to a job interview environment wherein candidates must answer domain-specific interview questions to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and skills in that specific domain. It is a rigorous assessment process centered on domain knowledge test questions and answers.
Domain skills, also known as technical skills, are functional, specialized skills to perform complex acts, tasks or processes. These skills help in job analysis because one needs to identify the skills required for the job and determine their contextual importance before structuring interview questions for the hiring process.
Domain experience refers to the experience accumulated after several years of working in a particular domain. It cannot be an overnight epiphany but a continual learning process.
Technology domain assessments are used to assess job applicants willing to work in the core technical domains. These tests help employers evaluate the technical abilities of candidates. Such tests help determine whether someone is well-versed in the domain and functionality of the role for which he/she is being assessed.
Domain-based assessment tools are techniques employed to measure the applicants' employability skills and fluency in respective domains to assess their fitment for different roles. These tools help organizations assess candidates for wide-ranging job roles.
Domain ability meaning: It refers to one's ability to use domain knowledge or experience readily and effectively in a specialized discipline or profession.
Domain tests can help streamline the campus placement process by enabling recruiters to narrow down the applicant pool and identify qualified graduates with appropriate technical skills needed for a job/role. These tests form an integral part of the placement process and help identify the most suitable candidates during the placement process, leading to better on-the-job training results and lower attrition rates.
Originally published May 4 2021, Updated August 12 2021
Abhilash works with the Content Marketing team of Mercer|Mettl. He has been contributing his bit to the world of online business for some years now. Abhilash is experienced in content marketing, along with SEO. He’s fond of writing useful posts, helping people, traveling, and savoring delicacies.
Technical skills assessments are employed by hiring managers to measure an applicant on distinct role-based skills as per the industry standard. They can be leveraged across various disciplines or fields to assess skills and knowledge.