Get awesome marketing content related to Hiring & L&D in your inbox each week

Stay up-to-date with the latest marketing, sales, and service tips and news
Future of hiring: Job simulation or skills assessment?

Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

Future of hiring: Job simulation or skills assessment


Hiring top talent has become challenging because, today, recruiters receive thousands of applications for one job profile. When hiring managers complete candidate shortlisting, screening, and evaluation phases manually, they spend multiple hours sorting through applicants, finding relevant key skills in resumes, and interviewing top talent.

Using relevant job simulations or job skills assessment tests helps recruiters streamline hiring processes. These assessments are designed to match specific job roles, helping identify talent that culturally and technically fits the job role.

However, many recruiters confuse job simulation with job skills assessment tests. While job simulation is a sub-category in job skills tests, both have functional differences. It is essential to evaluate which type of assessment suits the organization’s hiring needs.




Job simulation vs. skills assessment

A job simulation assessment is a type of skills test that evaluates candidates on the domain-specific job profile. It creates a suitable working environment to test candidates’ hands-on experience and knowledge. For example, Mercer | Mettl’s Codelysis is a leading AI-based integrated development environment (IDE) that automatically generates results using multiple parameters like plagiarism, code playback, and a custom scoring mechanism.

A skills assessment test for employment evaluates candidates based on relevant on-the-job interpersonal and strategic skills. For example, Mercer | Mettl’s pre-employment tests evaluate candidates on multiple traits like personality, behavior, aptitude intelligence, domain skills, communications, and many more.

When hiring managers need to onboard employees based on their core competencies rather than generic skills, they should use job simulation assessments to replicate the working environment. If job requirements include multiple competencies or involve hiring freshers, job skills assessment tests help evaluate candidates’ overall knowledge.


Role of skills assessment in tech talent recruitment

It is challenging to find quality tech talent in an exhaustive hiring market. For one job application, thousands of candidates apply, many with relevant job skills. Using the right recruitment tools at this stage helps shortlist top talent for future hiring stages.

Therefore, job skills assessment helps gauge candidates’ comprehensive job fitment. These assessments may not reveal in-depth knowledge of core skills. However, they help evaluate collaboration skills, problem-solving, strategic and critical thinking, and leadership qualities. It helps approach candidates based on their soft skills and technical knowledge.


Key factors that a skills assessment cover


Skills assessment covers many job-related tests, such as domain knowledge and pre-employment assessments. All these integrate to evaluate candidates’ core competencies, leadership, teamwork, and job fitment.

Key factors that make skills assessment valuable for companies:

  • High-quality questions: Skills assessment should contain high-quality questions in multiple formats, such as caselets, situational questions, coding questions, etc. A blend of different question types evaluates candidates’ performance on the job.
  • Question relevancy: Any employee on the same job profile should be able to answer these questions without challenges. Therefore, questions should help recruiters measure candidates’ key competencies and performance metrics.
  • Customized for job skills: Questions in a skills assessment should be tailored to job responsibilities, keeping applicants’ backgrounds and experiences in mind. A candidate with one year of experience may not have similar cognitive and behavioral intelligence as a candidate with ten years of experience.


Role of job simulation in tech talent recruitment

Authentic job simulation offers an immersive experience to candidates. Any candidate taking a test via job simulation may experience a real-world job environment. These authentic experiences mimic real-world roles and responsibilities that employees perform.

Hence, when searching for suitable tech talent, recruiters can use a coding simulator to shortlist top candidates. These simulators use IDEs similar to real testing and coding environments.


Four benefits of job simulation in tech hiring


Mercer | Mettl’s coding simulator replicates real-world IDE and evaluates candidates automatically on key coding skills. It uses various parameters to find technical fit candidates, which are:



1. Plagiarism check

When candidates submit the code in the coding simulator, the tool uses advanced plagiarism technology Measure of Software Similarity (MOSS) to compare and find similarities. It detects plagiarism based on factors such as partial, outright, and identical lines, parameters, and code structure similarities.

2. Code playback

The entire coding process of candidates is recorded to understand their thought process, knowledge in the field, and code execution. This allows an understanding of memory optimization, code cleanliness, use of logic, and accuracy. Mercer | Mettl’s coding simulator has integrated editors such as Sublime and Emacs to view how code has evolved in each compilation. This feature helps identify skilled tech talent and coders.

3. Standard scoring

Coding simulators use a standard scoring mechanism that awards points to every test case candidates have successfully completed. These are evaluated based on code correctness, space complexities, difficulty levels, and time offered. The score offered to every candidate in each stage becomes the benchmark for the next round or stage. This helps shortlist skilled tech talent and eliminate other candidates in the initial hiring stages.

4. User-friendly

Coding simulators are user-friendly tools that help candidates complete assignments or test questions without pressure or challenges. Since this environment is close to the actual working environment, most experienced tech talent is able to fully understand IDEs almost immediately. They are able to complete coding tests in an immersive simulator online from anywhere.


Which phase of hiring should include job simulation and skills assessment?


Job simulations and skills assessment tests should be incorporated in earlier hiring stages. Including pre-employment tests, coding skills tests, or other job simulations in the early recruitment phases help reduce costs, improve time to hire, and eliminate chances of wrong hires. These tests identify applicants who don’t match job requirements, reducing the pool of qualified candidates in the final hiring stages. As a result, recruiters only interview skilled candidates in the final stages to gauge cultural fitment.



Job simulation and job skills assessment tests are both essential in different roles and recruitment stages. While a job simulation helps gauge candidates in a real-world environment, skills assessment allows an understanding of candidates’ transferable and on-the-job skills. Therefore, hiring managers should create a plan incorporating both tests at relevant stages of recruitment to hire top talent and reduce time and money spent on wrong hires.



What is a job simulation in the hiring process?

Is a job simulation an interview?

Originally published March 31 2023, Updated April 19 2023

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

Talent acquisition is all about strategizing for sourcing, hiring, and retaining the talent an organization needs. This blog offers more insights on the topic.

Related posts

Would you like to comment?


Please write a comment before submitting


Thanks for submitting the comment. We’ll post the comment once its verified.

Get awesome marketing content related to Hiring & L&D in your inbox each week

Stay up-to-date with the latest marketing, sales, and service tips and news