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Pre-Employment Communication Skills Assessment: An End-to-End Guide for Recruiters

Recruitment | 10 Min Read

Pre-Employment Communication Skills Assessment: An End-to-End Guide for Recruiters

Introduction

Communication skills assessment is one of the fundamental pillars of recruitment for organizations focusing on a holistic HR management approach. Using the right set of tools to evaluate a candidate’s language proficiency, non-verbal etiquette, even culture-fitness can be extremely rewarding in matching.

This guide offers essential insights into the science of communication assessments, answering prominent questions concerning their role, requirement, applications and advantages in global recruitment processes.

 


Chapter 1 : The Importance of Communication in Recruitment

Good communication skills are the core of successful workplace collaboration – why modern recruitment processes are designed to assess candidates beyond profile-specific competencies. This chapter elaborates the role of communication in the hiring stage of HR management, serving as the platform for understanding pre-employment communication skills assessments.

 

Why communication skills are important to employers?

 

Communication is fundamental to a committed and productive workforce. From team building to innovation and growth, every stage of the employee life cycle is directly linked to their ability to express their ideas openly.

According to a GMAC Corporate Recruiters’ Survey Report, employers rank communication skills as the most important recruitment criteria.

(https://www.mba.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/2017-gmac-corporate-recruiters-web-release.pdf?la=en&hash=3BE3D5B35B50D7080A3EA9EC15D95680503C4739 ).

Here is why:

  • Effective communication enables professionals to interact, work, relate, motivate and optimize their potential for better work results.
  • Good communication skills are key to critical thinking and problem-solving.
  • Employers seeking candidates to build their leadership pipelines need to focus on interpersonal abilities, active listening, social perceptiveness, coordination, persuasion and negotiation, time management, and personnel resource management. In other words, employers specifically look out for competencies that are foundational to compassionate and empathetic leadership.

How effective communication skills are fundamental to workplace success

 

Irrespective of professional achievements or working styles, a thriving workplace today largely focuses on soft skill development. Research by Optum indicates that:

  • Effective lateral and workgroup communication boosts the overall company performance.
  • Effective workplace communication increases employee job satisfaction and employee engagement.

(https://intranet.ecu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/501634/Communication-practices-for-managers-Jan15.pdf )

Besides, when the workforce exhibits collective effectiveness in communication:

  • There is better conflict mitigation across multiple scenarios.
  • Client relationships get stronger.
  • Productivity improves as there is a better understanding of talents and skills.
  • Understanding communication patterns give a leader more information about their employees, encouraging more strategic team building.
  • Managers can clearly deliver messages and define goals and expectations.

What jobs require good communication skills as the most important parameter?

 

As hinted above, we are living in an era that demands great workplace communication. However, there are certain professions where these skills are the top priority.

While some of these areas focus more on excellent writing abilities, others demand profound verbal communication skills:

 

demand profound verbal communication skills

 


Chapter 2 : The Science of Pre-Employment Communication Assessment

The right tools and resources must be utilized during and before the recruitment process to ensure smooth and lasting success post recruitment. Among other skills, an ideal combination of pre-employment assessments helps determine a candidate’s communication abilities. A holistic approach toward measuring these aptitudes is imperative to find the best match for a role, company culture and long-term association.

 

What is a communication assessment?

 

Communication skills assessment or a communication test is a way to gauge an individual’s proficiency in a language, his/her ability to utilize that proficiency in multiple scenarios, and his//her skill to harness that potential in professional and social contexts.

Communication assessments are essential when hiring for positions involving regular interactions with customers, coworkers, or people at large.

 

Key areas to cover for a holistic assessment of communication skills

 

When choosing a communication assessment, it is crucial to pick one that covers all the basic elements of interpersonal communication. These elements can be placed under four broad categories:

 

Key areas to cover for a holistic assessment of communication skills

 

Writing

Most professions today require good writing abilities to manage communication over emails, social media and text messages.

  • Employers prefer the written mode in several contexts as it prevents the risk of distorting facts.
  • Communicating significant information in writing ensures that everyone gets the same message in a professional setting.
  • The written word can be easily preserved for future references.

Reading

Reading comprehension skills demonstrate a candidate’s ability to interpret and analyze written information accurately. These skills are relevant for any profession that demands a routine exchange of verbal communication.

Assessing reading skills with the help of a holistic English communication skills assessment is key to getting an overall picture of an individual’s:

  • Average comprehension abilities
  • Critical thinking skills
  • General aptitude
  • The ability to pay attention to detail
  • Patience, focus and attention span

Listening

Often an overlooked element in the verbal communication spectrum, listening is a skill essential to minimize misunderstanding. In fact, the US Department of Labor Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) identifies effective listening as one of the three foundation skills essential for those entering the workforce. (https://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/chang/sped/scanskills.html )

Research further states that efficient listening skills can help get and register more information in general. Hence, holistic communication assessment must include a test of listening abilities.

Speaking

Speech, or more accurately, spoken language proficiency, is one of the most prominent and traditionally valued skills sought by employers when assessing an applicant’s communication abilities. Communication skills assessment for speech is essential when the candidates are not native speakers of the language in question.

It helps:

  • Determine if the candidates understand the language well enough to succeed.
  • Prove that the candidates can navigate complex terminologies and linguistic nuances when required.
  • Ensures that the recruits are qualified and comfortable to work in international settings and interact with cross-border and cross-cultural clients/customers.

Applications of communication assessment tools

 

Communication skills assessment tools, or any kind of communication skills test, measure a professional’s ability to function in a corporate environment. Whether you want to evaluate grammar and punctuation or need a set of communication assessment test questions to measure the verbal ability for a specific industry, these tools offer myriad possibilities.

  • You can use an English communication skills test online to identify the right fit for global contact center roles.
  • Pre-employment communication skills evaluation enables recruiters to scientifically identify applicants with the potential to match specific functions and responsibilities required in leadership positions.
  • People managers can utilize these assessments to identify communication-related gaps within an organization. Furthermore, the results can be fundamental to designing targeted training programs for a future-ready workforce.
  • Communication assessments serve as a convenient filter for mass hiring.
  • They help improve lateral hiring decisions through an unbiased and holistic assessment of a candidate’s language proficiency, listening comprehension and reading skills.

 


Chapter 3 : How Has Technology Improved Communication Assessment for Recruiters?

When coupled with advanced analytics, communication skill assessments open new vistas of predictive insights that can directly translate into the metrics needed to support strategic and tactical hiring decisions.

  • Technology has made communication skill testing more objective, quick, scalable and accurate.
  • AI and analytics have come together to create an exceptional anti-cheating environment for remote communication tests.
  • Assessments can be made more immersive with advanced industry-specific simulations.
  • New assessment tools are making it possible to provide timely, interactive and retrievable feedback to the users.

 

Smarter tools ensure higher accuracy in evaluations

 

Scientific and technological advancements in communication tests have expanded their reach, making these assessments more adaptive, scalable and accurate. These tools ensure a remarkable candidate experience, also supporting convenient remote access. Furthermore, these tools eliminate bias during the evaluation, ensuring higher accuracy.

Online assessment platforms help recruiters screen candidates faster with test content made by experts. These tests also streamline the evaluation process by taking the onus away from manual grading. As a result, the entire process allows companies access to a larger, diversified and highly-skilled talent pool.

 

Technology helps scale up the process of pre-employment communication assessment

 

The global reach of online communication assessment tests allows recruiters to dive into a larger talent pool. Recruiters can share remote English communication tests or communication test questions with candidates at the click of a mouse. And thanks to cloud-based and mobile-ready assessment testing tools, they can access the test results and analyses anywhere, anytime. The benefit here is having the flexibility to administer and review tests wherever and whenever needed without being tied to physical paper tests or even a desktop computer.

 

There is greater variety and higher efficiency in general communication tests and focused English communication assessments alike

 

Technologically advanced communication skills assessment is essential for saving time and improving efficiency. When you need to test candidates for specific communication skills (e.g., writing or speaking, for industries such as advertising and BPO), assessments need to accommodate several kinds of question formats, evaluation parameters and feedback options. Technology has made it possible. And such a variety and possibility make testing communication skills easier and customizable.

 


Chapter 4 : How to Choose the Best Communication Assessment Tool

Different types of communication assessments are designed to evaluate candidates for specific roles across industries. Depending on the demands of the job, recruiters can choose the type of assessment that is best suited, or a combination of more than one solution.

  • An online communication test to gauge an applicant’s confidence levels and agreeableness by analyzing facial expressions and body language.
  • Tests to understand a candidate’s communication style: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, or assertive.
  • Evaluations of basic verbal communication to determine job-readiness and trainability.
  • Elaborate assessments to test vocabulary, reading comprehension, reasoning and critical thinking.
  • English communication skills test to evaluate fluency, comfort, and command over the language.

There are three keys to choosing an effective communication assessment tool. We have broken them down into three steps.

1. Define the purpose

Begin by answering the ‘whys’ and ‘how’s.’

a)  Why do you need to use a communication skills assessment?

b)  How do you assess communication skills?

c)  How will the recruitment process benefit from a communication assessment?

d)  How do you plan to conduct the assessment? (Online or in-person?)

2. Define the Audience

The next step is to have a clear idea of who you will assess using these tests. It is more about the number of candidates and the position for which they are being assessed.

a)  Is it a mass hiring drive?

b)  Is it an assessment for a handful of professionals applying for a senior-level role?

c)  Or is the assessment a final tool to break the dilemma when choosing between two equally qualified candidates?

Once you have clear answers to all the above questions, you will know the type of communication skills test you need before you pick one that boasts of the most practical and useful features.

3. Look for these highlights- features of a good communication assessment

Now that you have gained some clarity about the type of communication skills aptitude test that you need, it is best to seek options that promise the following:

  • Adaptability and Scalability: You don’t want candidates to struggle with bugs and glitches when attempting a crucial exam. If you choose an online communication test, there should be no bandwidth problems. Hence, adaptability is imperative for a test software to run smoothly for the required duration. The software or assessment platform should also be functional across devices and geographies and run uninterrupted irrespective of the number of candidates using it at a given time.
  • Auto-Evaluation: This is particularly useful during mass hiring. Auto evaluations minimize the chance of errors and remove biases in the results.
  • Anti- Cheating Features and Real-Time Reports: Several tools ensure remote assessments are taken without any malpractices. A combination of AI and manual proctoring can be added to the assessments for extra security.

 


Chapter 5 : Mercer | Mettl’s Revolutionary Suite of Communication Assessment Tools

Mercer | Mettl offers a range of holistic communication skills assessments that help recruiters make better hiring decisions and filter out the most efficient communicators for specific positions. These scientifically- backed, smart tools measure communication skills based on all major parameters.

What’s more? These tests are customizable, flexible and domain-specific, allowing recruiters vast possibilities in optimizing their hiring process.

Mercer | Mettl’s Communication Assessment Suite: An Overview

 

Mercer | Mettl’s Communication Assessment Suite: An Overview

 

SpeechX: An AI-Powered English Speaking Proficiency Assessment Tool

This is the ultimate English communication test online that evaluates the spoken English skills of non-native speakers. The tool evaluates candidates’ listening, comprehension, fluency and grammar proficiency using patented Speech Recognition Engine and Pinpointing Technology by Proprietary Speech Analytics and Carnegie Speech.

  • SpeechX serves as the most comprehensive English communication skills test that assesses spoken language competence at the phoneme level testing pronunciation, grammar, fluency, and lexical stress.
  • It is entirely machine-administered and auto-graded to carry out unbiased evaluations.
  • The tool also evaluates crucial non-trainable mistakes across dimensions such as prosody, speaking rate, pausing, intonation, etc.

Application

This English communication skills assessment is extremely useful when hiring for the BPO industry and jobs that entail client-facing responsibilities. Using the tool will help you recruit qualified professionals who:

  • Understand the importance of flawless and culturally appropriate grammar.
  • Do not let pronunciation and accents impede intelligibility.
  • Can maintain the integrity of critical communication messages.
  • Possess excellent English language skills to prevent miscommunication.
  • Speak in a clear and relevant manner to build a good rapport with clients/customers.
  • Perfectly understand the company’s services/product quality and can communicate the same to potential clients/customers with the goal to develop lasting and loyal business relationships.

English Writing Simulator

Ideal for shortlisting candidates for content writing and digital marketing profiles, Mercer | Mettl’s English Writing Simulator can be used as a fine-toothed comb in recruitment.

The simulator:

  • Automatically grades a candidate’s content piece based on grammar and vocabulary.
  • Evaluates abbreviations, use of punctuation and parts of speech.
  • Rates overall content quality.

Application

The English Writing Simulator is very useful for hiring technical writers, web content writers, and product/service reviewers across industries. It helps assess if the writer can:

  • Follow and create detailed instructions to produce accurate content
  • Translate data into easy-to-comprehend information.
  • Support the information with interesting aids, such as visuals and charts.

Corporate Communications Skills Test

Designed specifically for assessing communication skills in a corporate setting, Mercer | Mettl’s Corporate Communications Skills Test analyses professionals in areas like:

  • Corporate branding
  • Corporate identity
  • Crisis management
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Investor relations
  • Public relations

The test brings together a series of objective and subjective questions along with simulators to assess all areas of verbal communication.

Application

This communication skills test is best suited for gauging a candidate’s communication skills in a quantifiable manner. It will help identify communicators who:

  • Are active listeners and decent speakers, in tune with the required corporate etiquette.
  • Know how to interpret everyday business situations and stakeholders to create the best communication strategy and message.
  • Have the skills and experience to draft formal messages, emails, press releases, etc.

Marketing Communications Manager Test

This pre-built comprehensive assessment is particularly designed for analyzing individuals applying for the position of marketing communication manager. Hence, the questions are tailor-made to understand their aptitude for the specific role.

  • The questions test oral and written communication skills.
  • The test approach is directed at analyzing the applicants’ understanding of target audiences.
  • The assessment includes measuring the applicants’ strategic thinking abilities toward developing and implementing media campaigns.
  • It also entails behavioral assessment to measure the level of enthusiasm, flexibility, and persistency for the desired response.

Application

Using this domain-specific communication test allows recruiters to access a talent pool that promises abilities to:

  • Create and manage their company image.
  • Maintain and improve the company’s position in the market.
  • Craft communications and marketing strategies that drive product positioning.
  • Devise initiatives that help with quality lead generation.
  • Think creatively for branding through various campaigns and media strategies.

 


Conclusion

This guide covers the key elements of effective communication skills assessment, offering detailed insights into every aspect of measuring a candidate’s communication abilities before and during the recruitment process. You will discover elaborate solutions for conducting industry-specific communication tests that help quicken and scale up your hiring initiatives. As an employer/recruiter, you will find this resource very helpful.

 


FAQs

What are the 5 basic communication skills?

 

The basic communication skills include writing, reading, speaking, listening, and non-verbal interaction. These skills are also the major areas of pre-employment communication assessment.

 

How do you assess communication skills?

 

Several ways of assessing communication skills include questions based on grammar and vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension, language proficiency analysis, and simulator-style assessments to evaluate a candidate’s ability to use communication in specific job scenarios.

 

What is an English communication test?

 

An English communication test measures an applicant’s expertise and command over the English language. Such a test can comprise sections that evaluate the individual’s writing skills, reading and listening comprehension, pronunciation, vocabulary and fluency.

Originally published February 23 2021, Updated March 23 2021

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