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

Recruitment | 10 Min Read

Communication assessment: An end-to-end guide for recruiters


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 multiple layers of this assessment analyze how well the test-takers comprehend language, how quickly they process it, and their ability to respond appropriately to the same vocabulary.

Communication skills assessment is also one of the fundamental pillars of recruitment for organizations focusing on a holistic HR management approach. Using the correct tools to evaluate a candidate’s language proficiency, non-verbal etiquette, and cultural fitness can be rewarding in matching professionals and profiles. This guide offers essential insights into the science of communication assessments, answering prominent questions concerning their role, requirements, applications, and advantages in global recruitment processes.



Chapter 1: Why use a communication test: The importance of communication in recruitment

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


Why are communication skills 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 Graduate Management Admission Council Corporate Recruiters’ Survey Report, communication is one of the most essential skills in recruitment.

It is essential in the following ways:

  • Effective communication enables professionals to interact, work, relate, motivate and optimize their potential for better results.
  • Good communication abilities are fundamental 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; employers specifically look out for competencies foundational to compassionate and empathetic leadership.


How effective communication is fundamental to workplace success


Irrespective of professional achievements or working styles, today’s thriving workplace primarily focuses on soft skill development. Effective lateral and workgroup communication boosts overall company performance and increases employee job satisfaction and engagement.

Besides, when the workforce exhibits collective effectiveness in communication, conflict mitigation improves, client relationships get stronger, and productivity is enhanced as there is a better understanding of talents and skills. Understanding communication patterns gives leaders more information about their employees, encouraging strategic team building.


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


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

While some areas focus more on excellent writing, others demand profound verbal communication abilities. Some jobs include advertising and marketing, journalism media and PR, BPOs, human resource management, and teaching.




Chapter 2: The science of pre-employment communication assessment

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


What is a communication assessment?


A communication assessment or a communication test is a way to gauge an individual’s proficiency in a language, their 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.


What does a communication assessment measure?


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 evaluate a candidate’s comfort and proficiency in a particular language. They measure an individual’s ability to read and hear information, their processing speed, develop an understanding of it, and their ability to come up with a suitable response to that information in the same language. Communication assessments evaluate writing skills, grammar, pronunciation, and speech. The following section covers these parameters in detail.


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 essential elements of interpersonal communication. These elements can be placed under four broad categories:


Infographics 2

Written communication test

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 to prevent 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 reference.

A written communication test analyzes the writing abilities of the candidates and evaluates their pieces based on grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and more. Such a test is practical when recruiting for several sales, marketing, customer/technical support profiles, etc.

Reading comprehension test

Reading comprehension skills demonstrate a candidate’s ability to accurately interpret and analyze written information. These skills are relevant for any profession that requires routine verbal communication. Assessing reading skills with the help of a holistic English communication skills assessment is vital to getting an overall picture of an individual’s:

  • Average comprehension abilities
  • Critical thinking skills
  • General aptitude
  • Ability to pay attention to details
  • Patience, focus and attention span

Listening comprehension assessment

Listening is essential to minimize misunderstanding, often an overlooked element in the verbal communication spectrum.

Efficient listening skills can help get and register more information. Hence, a holistic communication assessment must include a test of listening abilities.

Spoken English test

Speech, or spoken language proficiency, is one of the most prominent and traditionally valued skills employers seek 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. 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.
  • Ensure the recruits are qualified and comfortable working internationally and interacting with cross-border and cross-cultural clients/customers.


Applications of communication assessment tools


Communication skills assessment tools, or any communication test, measure a professional’s ability to function in a corporate environment. Whether one wants to evaluate grammar and punctuation or needs a set of communication test questions to measure verbal ability for a specific industry, these tools offer myriad possibilities, such as:

  • One can use an English communication skills test online to identify a suitable 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 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 assessments open new vistas of predictive insights that 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 created 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 remarkable candidate experience and support convenient remote access. Furthermore, these tools eliminate bias during the evaluation, providing higher accuracy.

Online assessment platforms help recruiters screen candidates faster with test content made by experts. These tests also streamline the evaluation process by removing the onus 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. With the help of cloud-based and mobile-ready assessment testing tools, they can access the test results and analyses anywhere, anytime. Here, the benefit 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 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 must accommodate several question formats, evaluation parameters and feedback options. Technology has made it possible. 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 job’s demands, recruiters can choose the type of assessment most suited or a combination of multiple solutions.

This can include:

  • 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 essential verbal communication to determine job readiness and trainability.
  • Elaborate assessments to test vocabulary, reading comprehension, reasoning and critical thinking.
  • English communication test to evaluate fluency, comfort, and command over the language.

There are three keys to choosing an effective communication assessment tool. They are:


1. Defining the purpose


It is pivotal to begin by answering the ‘whys’ and ‘hows.’ Some examples are:

  • Why do you need to use a communication assessment?
  • How do you assess communication skills?
  • How will the recruitment process benefit from a communication assessment?
  • How do you plan to conduct the assessment? (Online or in-person)


2. Defining the audience


The next step is understanding who will be assessed using these tests. It refers to the number of candidates and the position for which they are evaluated.

  • Is it a mass hiring drive?
  • Is it an assessment for a handful of professionals applying for a senior-level role?
  • Is the assessment a final tool to break the dilemma when choosing between two equally qualified candidates?

With clear answers to all the above questions, one can know the type of communication test they need with the most practical and valuable features.


3. Identifying features of a good communication assessment


After acquiring clarity about the type of communication skills aptitude test that one needs, it is ideal to seek options that promise the following:

  • Adaptability and scalability: Adaptability is imperative for an online communication test software to run smoothly for the test duration to avoid bandwidth issues and struggle with bugs and glitches. 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 malpractices. AI and manual proctoring can be added to the evaluations for extra security.




Chapter 5: Mercer | Mettl’s revolutionary suite of communication assessment tools

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, innovative tools measure communication skills based on all significant parameters. These tests are customizable, flexible, and domain-specific, allowing recruiters vast possibilities for optimizing their hiring process.


Mercer | Mettl’s Communication Assessment Suite: An overview


SpeechX: An AI-powered English speaking proficiency assessment tool

This English communication test online evaluates the spoken English skills of non-native speakers. The tool evaluates candidates’ listening, comprehension, fluency, and grammar proficiency using a patented speech recognition engine and pinpointing technology by proprietary speech analytics and Carnegie Speech.

Some of its characteristics are:

  • SpeechX is 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.


This English communication assessment is instrumental when hiring for the BPO industry and jobs with client-facing responsibilities. Using the tool helps 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 clearly and relevantly to build a good rapport with clients and customers.
  • Perfectly understand the company’s services and product quality and can communicate the same to potential clients and customers 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.


The English Writing Simulator helps hire technical writers, web content writers, and product/service reviewers across industries. It assesses 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 Test

Explicitly designed for assessing communication skills in a corporate setting, Mercer | Mettl’s Corporate Communications.

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 and 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 identifies 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 designed to analyze individuals applying for the position of marketing communication manager. Hence, the questions are tailor-made to understand their aptitude for the specific role.

Some of its features are:

  • The questions test oral and written communication skills.
  • The test approach analyzes 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 enthusiasm, flexibility, and persistency for the desired response.


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 about branding through various campaigns and media strategies.



This guide covers the critical elements of an effective communication skills assessment, offering detailed insights into measuring a candidate’s communication abilities before and during recruitment. It provides elaborate solutions for conducting industry-specific communication tests that speed up hiring initiatives, making it a valuable resource for an employer and recruiter. Mercer | Mettl’s assessments provide valuable insights, allowing recruiters to make data-driven decisions when selecting suitable candidates for the job.





1. What are the five basic communication skills?

2. How do you assess communication skills?

3. What is an English communication test?

Originally published February 23 2021, Updated March 22 2024

Written by

Archita Bharadwaj has worked as a Content writer at Mercer | Mettl since April 2023. With her research background, she writes varied forms of content, including blogs, ebooks, and case studies, among other forms.

Pre-Employment Communication Skills Assessment

AI-Powered English Proficiency Assessment Tool

An English proficiency test software is used to evaluate the English-speaking and comprehension skills of an individual. Customer-facing industries like hospitality, retail, BPOs, etc., often used some variant of an English proficiency test software to assess the pronunciation, fluency, accent, intonation and grammar of potential employees.

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