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Talent Assessment | 10 min Read

All You Need to Know About Online Assessments

What Are Online Assessments?

Online assessments evaluate an individual’s personality attributes, skills and behaviors. They comprise a series of questions that assess multiple aspects of a test-taker. The assessments are created based on the job role, level and competency requirement.  Assessments offer an objective evaluation of an employee’s capabilities and predict on-the-job performance. They allow individuals to take assessments from any part of the world, as per their convenience, while saving traveling time and cost.

Also referred to as e-assessments, digital assessments or electronic assessments, online assessments have revolutionized the way recruitment and Learning and Development(L&D) practices across the globe. As per Talent Assessment Study, the use of online assessments grew by 114% in recruitment and 116% in L&D from 2016-2017. This tremendous growth in the adoption of the online assessment system points to its effectiveness and efficiency in Human Resource Management (HRM).



Traditional Assessments V/S Online Assessments Tests

The traditional and manual methods of assessments, such as pre-screening, pen-and-paper tests, multiple telephonic rounds, and face-to-face interviews, were prone to hassles. Sifting through a pile of applications, scheduling interviews with relevant candidates, managing common availability and selecting the most suitable candidate became subjective, time-taking and challenging to manage. With online assessments, the time spent in coordinating with job applicants, selecting qualified prospects and scheduling multiple rounds became easier. Candidates now must clear an online assessment even before the telephonic interview. This not only saves hiring managers’ time but also provides them clarity in ensuring that only top talent qualifies.

When compared with traditional assessments, online assessments offer speed and accuracy in identifying and developing top talent. They streamline both these processes, enabling organizations to make the right ‘people’ decisions. Due to their multifold benefits, there has been increased adoption of online assessment tests in human resource management. They are now widely used in various sectors, such as education, government, consulting and others.

Benefits of Online Assessments

Digital assessments have made hiring and employee development effortless. HR technology has facilitated end-to-end execution of recruitment drives as well as given a direction to L&D programs. E assessments help in filtering out top talent most suitable for a job opening. They act as an effective measure to tap creme de la creme from top tier institutions. Meanwhile, skill gap analysis enables L&D departments to come up with a targeted training program that benefits both the organization and its people. People feel valued knowing that they have sufficient resources to grow in their careers, thus staying with the organization in the long-term. Other benefits of online assessment platforms include:

  • Personality traits help HR managers in determining a prospect’s role fitment.
  • Enables HRs to keep employees motivated and engaged.
  • A fair method of shortlisting the ideal candidate from a large candidate pool.
  • Reduces the chances of hiring the wrong candidate, considerably bringing down hiring costs.
  • Lowers attrition rate.

Types of Online Assessment Tools


0_Psychometric Assessments  Psychometric Assessments

Psychometric assessments are a scientific method to evaluate a person’s competencies, behavior and aptitude. They are designed to assess personality traits and role fitment. They measure how individual behavior affects the workplace dynamics and vice-versa. The information gauged via psychometric assessment tests is then used by employers to make informed decisions. They are divided into three categories:

i) Personality Assessments

Personality assessments are based on the premise that observable changes in individual behavior vary from person-to-person based on the degree of an underlying trait. The traits may differ in people coming from different socio-economic backgrounds, cultures or religious beliefs and upbringing. Personality assessments aim to measure these traits objectively. They can be administered to observe a change in personality, screen job applicants and provide a holistic view of an individual’s weaknesses or strengths. Amongst the various trait theories, the Big Five OCEAN model reveals the five core personality traits.


Click Here to Know More About Personality Assessments

ii) Behavioral Assessments

The purpose of behavioral assessments is to perceive, comprehend, elucidate and envisage human behavior. To understand which behaviors are expected at the workplace, hiring managers often consult psychologists regarding appropriate workplace behavior. Hence, behavioral assessments are based on behavioral competencies and relevant indicators.

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

-Mark Twain

 Agreeing with Twain’s ideology, American psychologist Paul Meehl wrote, “…behavior science research itself shows that, by and large, the best way to predict anybody’s behavior is his behavior in the past.”

Consequently, behavioral assessments are founded on this theory.

Identifying Integrity at the Workplace


Source: Behavioral Competencies at Work


iii)  Cognitive Assessments

Cognitive assessments assess individual abilities such as critical thinking, verbal reasoning, numerical ability, problem-solving, decision-making, etc. They are an indicator of a person’s intelligence quotient (IQ). The test results predict on-the-job performance and assess current and potential employees across job levels. They also test role-specific IQs across multiple job functions.

Cognitive tests play a critical role in mapping the workforce’s development journey. They reveal the competency gaps on which employees need to be trained to perform better. They also help the HRs to improve the quality of hires.



0_Technical Assessments  Technical Assessments

While psychometric assessments assess the human personality, traits, behavior and intelligence, technical assessments focus on the subject matter expertise possessed by an individual in his/her line of work. They test the in-depth knowledge of the person. The questions in a technical assessment are based on the skill requirement of that particular role. The competencies in technical assessment vary with the job role, job function and industry. Technical assessments can be divided into three categories:

i) Coding Tests

Information Technology (IT) encompasses numerous coding skills. These assessments include a C developer test, Java developer test, C++ developer assessment, software testing, python development, and more. Prospects can be assessed on a variety of languages and technologies such as  Java Spring, ReactJS, C#, automation testing, Oracle DBA, SQL, and much more within real coding environments. Coding tests not only evaluate the output but also consider numerous parameters such as code, time and space complexity.

The Competency Framework for a C# Developer



ii) Role-Based Tests

The purpose of role-based assessments is to assess the domain expertise of individuals. Unlike IT skills, non-technical assessments are a combination of domain, personality and cognitive competencies. This enables hiring managers to onboard the most eligible candidate. Role-based assessments can be customized for a variety of job functions such as marketing, sales, finance, operations, customer support and more.

The Competency Framework for a Financial Analyst 


Source: Competency Frameworks for Popular Job Roles


iii) Language Proficiency Assessment

English language proficiency measures an individual’s fluency, pronunciation, grammar and listening comprehension. It plays a crucial role in effective communication. The Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered spoken English evaluator is critical for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry since BPO workers are the first point of contact for both prospects and existing clients.



The Role of Online Assessment Tests in Recruitment and Employee Development


0_Recruitment  Recruitment

Assessments are the key to an effective recruitment strategy as they provide tangible results by assessing candidates objectively.  They help in determining if a job prospect is a right fit for the open position. The use of online assessment tools allows companies to identify top talent while reducing hiring time and recruitment costs. Also known as pre-employment tests, online tests streamline the hiring process and increase the likelihood of new hires being a great addition to the team. They can be used for both campus/fresher hiring and lateral hiring.

According to Mercer | Mettl’s Talent Assessment Study 2018, the use of assessments in hiring grew by a whopping 114% from 2016 to 2017. The report also revealed how companies use online assessment tools such as cognitive tests, personality assessments, technical, or role-based tests to scale their people decisions. At a time when in-person interviews have become a talk of the past, evaluating job applicants has become all the more difficult. To tide over the disruption caused by COVID-19, more organizations will take to online assessments to meet their recruitment needs.


Source: Talent Assessment Study 2018

0_Learning and Development  Learning and Development

Employee learning and development directly impact revenue, cost and overall productivity. The change and churn are making numerous job profiles obsolete. A majority of organizations have frozen their on-going recruitment. The focus of businesses has now shifted to sustenance, employee engagement and development. With a host of upcoming skills and technologies in-demand, organizations must continue investing in employee training.


The current situation demands employees to upskill and cross-skill to stay relevant. To meet these requirements, employers first need to identify the training needs of their workforce by utilizing the pre-training assessment. Skill gaps are identified and a development plan is proposed based on the assessment report. The effectiveness of the training can then be analyzed via a post-training assessment, which helps in mapping employees’ development journey.

0_Succession Planning  Succession Planning

Since the worldwide lockdown, the rate of business losses appears to be surmounting. Hence, organizations need a skilled and experienced leader to navigate through this turbulence, someone with a deep understanding of effective crisis management, workplace disruption and problem-solving. However, to build a leadership pipeline, businesses must first identify the high-potential (HiPo) employees who possess the knowledge, expertise and potential to take-up future leadership roles.

When organizations commit to succession planning, they are building a leadership pipeline that develops high-potential talent, keeping those team members invested and on track for future success with the organization.

Jill Pioter
Director of Branding and Communication, Psychological Associates

Online assessments play a huge part in identifying and developing high-potential employees. Unlike subjective leadership evaluation, based on current performance or networking skills, online assessments offer an objective evaluation of competencies, skills and behaviors that are critical for leadership positions. Effective succession planning provides:

  • Improved retention of Hi-Pos
  • Increased availability of skilled leaders
  • Planning of career paths

What Are Online Assessment Platforms?

Online assessment platforms are an end-to-end mechanism for talent identification and selection. From screening and shortlisting to onboarding, they effectively map a candidate’s journey. When used together with assessments, these platforms automate human resource (HR) processes effortlessly.

Advantages of an Online Assessment System

The adoption of online assessment systems is rising steadily. Their faster adoption can be traced to the fact that these platforms can be used across the employee lifecycle, making human resource management more manageable than before. From hiring top talent, employee training and development, to succession planning, online assessment software offers umpteen benefits to employers.

0_ Handle a large number of candidates  i) Handle a Large Number of Candidates

Online assessment platforms allow talent experts to scale recruitment and selection effortlessly. The use of AI to automate manual processes has simplified many day-to-day tasks of hiring managers. Clean recruiter dashboards deliver a funnel view of applicants. HRs can view the number of applicants in the pipeline, test completion rate, pending tests and the status of the candidature. Conducting online assessments has become seamless with customizable e-mails and auto-scheduling of multiple rounds.


0_ CExtensive question library and easy customization  ii) Extensive Question Library and Easy Customization

Online assessment systems are enriched with a wide variety of questionnaires. The questions are based on a wide range of competencies required for numerous job roles and levels. There are 17 question types, including MCQs, coding, graphs, equations, video, audio, database and many more. Hiring managers can either choose from a library of thousands of questions, bulk upload their questions, or consult an in-house team of experts to get quick customization of online assessments.


0_ AI-enabled proctoring delivers secure environment  iii) AI-Enabled Proctoring Delivers Secure Environment

The remote proctoring service in the form of auto, live and recorded proctoring helps in maintaining the integrity of test results. The three-step authentication process keeps a check on impersonation, which is critical, especially in high-stakes assessments. The AI-enabled platform flags any suspicious activities. Additionally, the online assessment software kills all background apps, does not allow test-takers to navigate away from the browser and bar screen sharing, thus ensuring the credibility of the test results.


0_ Comprehensive post-assessment analysis  iv) Comprehensive Post-Assessment Analysis

Online assessment tests are followed by comprehensive reports based on candidates’ performance. The reports offer deep insights to employers, facilitating better decision-making. The reports can be generated for individuals and teams to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a particular team. The exhaustive reports also cover section-wise performance and time taken to attempt different sections. The report includes the following:

-Instant and completely accessible individual reports

-Evaluate response style from the candidate’s journey

-On-demand analytics report



0_Individual insights  Individual Insights



Advancement in HR technology has wholly revolutionized HR processes. The flaws in traditional talent practices have been eliminated with online assessment tools and platforms. Businesses that have acted wisely, and taken the online assessment route, have experienced a superior quality of hires, efficient skill gap analysis, effective development strategies and easy-to-implement processes. Organizations that are still following traditional talent management practices have no choice but to shift to the online mode. In such unforeseen circumstances, where all business activities can be solely dependent on digital platforms, it is about time to adopt HR tech to maintain business stability, consistency and growth.

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2018 is a year of progress for tests to go the online way and to be in vogue how do you propose to change?

Step-By-Step Guide to Create Reliable & Robust Assessments

Originally published December 4 2019, Updated June 19 2020

Megha Singh

Written by

A writer at heart, Megha has been in the content industry for 4 years. Starting her career from print, her journey spans across IT, legal and consulting industries. She has been associated with Mercer | Mettl as Assistant Manager, Content Marketing for 2 years.

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