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Communication assessment is a holistic analysis of an individual’s communication skills. It includes various tests and language comprehension exercises to gauge the candidate’s proficiency in written and oral mediums. The various layers of such an assessment help analyze how well the test-takers are able to comprehend language, how quickly they can process it, and their ability to respond appropriately in the same language.
Communication skills assessment is also 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 professionals and profiles.
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.
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 assessments.
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.
Irrespective of professional achievements or working styles, a thriving workplace today largely focuses on soft skill development. Research by Optum indicates that:
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 abilities:
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.
Communication 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.
A well-structured communication assessment measures all the essential parameters of verbal and non-verbal communication. Organizations and industries that require excellent workplace communication can leverage a suite of assessments that help evaluate a candidate’s comfort and proficiency in a particular language. The goal is to measure an individual’s ability to read and hear information, their speed of processing it, developing an understanding of it, and finally, coming up with a suitable response to that information in the same language.
Communication assessments help evaluate writing skills, grammar, pronunciation, speech, and more. The next section covers these parameters in detail.
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:
Elements in all the above categories can be measured using dedicated communication assessments. Below, we delve deeper into each.
Most professions today require good writing abilities to manage communication over emails, social media and text messages.
A written communication test helps analyze writing abilities of the candidates and evaluate their pieces based on grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and more. Such a test is useful when recruiting for several profiles in sales, marketing, customer/technical support, etc.
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:
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.
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.
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 assessment for speech or a spoken English test is essential when the candidates are not native speakers of the language in question.
Communication skills assessment tools, or any kind of communication 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 verbal ability for a specific industry, these tools offer myriad possibilities.
When coupled with advanced analytics, communication assessments open new vistas of predictive insights that can directly translate into the metrics needed to support strategic and tactical hiring decisions.
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.
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.
Technologically advanced communication 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.
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.
There are three keys to choosing an effective communication assessment tool. We have broken them down into three steps.
Begin by answering the ‘whys’ and ‘how’s.’
a) Why do you need to use a communication 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?)
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 test you need before you pick one that boasts of the most practical and useful features.
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:
Mercer | Mettl offers a range of holistic communication 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
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.
This English communication 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:
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 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:
Designed specifically for assessing communication skills in a corporate setting, Mercer | Mettl’s Corporate Communications Test analyses professionals in areas like:
The test brings together a series of objective and subjective questions along with simulators to assess all areas of verbal communication.
This communication test is best suited for gauging a candidate’s communication skills in a quantifiable manner. It will help identify communicators who:
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.
Using this domain-specific communication test allows recruiters to access a talent pool that promises abilities to:
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.
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.
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.
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 August 24 2021
D’ipanjenah is a writer and marketing professional associated with Mercer Mettl since 2020. Her working style thrives on a balanced approach towards standard insights and novel trends. She utilizes creative content and digital strategies to help brands start important conversations. When not reading/writing, she enjoys art and parents a calico.