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Many companies analyze candidates’ handwriting to predict job performance to make hiring decisions. This method seems as unfounded as someone claiming crystal ball gazing to be helpful in hiring top talent. So long as organizations do not rely on Oracles and prophecy, skills testing can help them make informed hiring decisions and take the guesswork out of recruitment.
Team morale and productivity are bound to go for a toss if you recruit someone without the knowledge or skills to perform a task as expected. More organizations now employ skills assessments to undertake all hiring phases while refraining from onboarding people who lack specific skills required for the roles.
CVs and interviews reveal significantly less about candidates’ actual potential when recruiting or promoting them for new roles in your organizations. A candidate’s education, professional experience and achievements are predictors of her/his knowledge and accomplishments. But the surefire way to assess a person’s proficiency and ability is by administering a skills assessment test.
This blog will detail the intricacies of a skills test and how organizations can leverage pre-employment skills tests.
Skills assessments are scientific and formal evaluation tools to assess the potential applicants’ skills. Skills tests enable employers/hiring managers to gain a first-hand insight into someone’s ability to perform a particular task, helping remove subjectivity or bias from the decision-making process. This process allows easy analysis of the candidates’ readiness for the jobs/roles for which they have applied.
Skills assessments are useful and time-saving tools that evaluate candidates early in the assessment process when managing high-volume hiring, enabling recruiters to screen out unqualified applicants from large applicant pools quickly.
Besides being a high-octane, industry-recognized tool, skills assessments are beneficial for various purposes, such as: enabling organizations to objectively assess employees for different roles, helping them identify potential employees that have the leadership chops; identifying employees’ strengths and areas of improvement; and reskilling employees, which is imperatively necessary, especially in the post-COVID-19 world.
”Hiring employees is like watching new movies: no matter how much people tell you about them, you don’t know how good they’re going to be until you try them out. Skills assessments help employers reduce the uncertainty of hiring employees by giving them a better idea of the ability levels of their prospective employees,” says Zach Reece, Owner and COO at Colony Roofers.
Hiring managers can ask candidates to take skills assessment tests to evaluate their aptitude or abilities and determine whether they are a good match for the role. Managers can make a formal job offer after the interviews, and skills assessment can help them facilitate the decision-making process in the right manner.
Business organizations employ role-specific skills assessments for workforce development and recruitment. The skills tests can help the hiring managers recruit and retain the best talent during a campus or lateral hiring. Skills tests may be administered online or in-person and may be presented as a test, simulation, questionnaire, etc. However, conducting skills assessments online can significantly reduce recruitment costs and the administrative burden.
These tests may be in the form of a general evaluation that helps gauge an individual’s personality type and skills, and expertise level, providing a detailed understanding of candidate fitment for the position or the company culture. Moreover, HR and learning and development teams can utilize skills tests to identify their workforce’s knowledge gaps or plan the succession.
A skills test assesses a candidate’s competency to perform specific tasks. The entire recruitment and selection process can be strenuous, but you can leverage job skills assessment tests to turn it into an opportunity and stand out from the competition.
According to Willie, founder of the Product Analyst, ”Skills are a pedestal in the workplace. No matter how jammed up or difficult a certain project is, the worry usually fades away when someone is skilled enough to accomplish the job. While this may not be the ultimate factor considered in one’s longevity and efficiency in the company, it surely is another aspect that is considered in assessing one’s performance. Also, hiring someone skilled enough saves a company from tedious training expenses and future troubles newbies usually make as well.”
Employers conduct job skills assessments to make the right hiring decisions. Some of the most common methods of assessing candidates’ or existing employees’ skills are resume reviews, interviews, employment tests, background investigation, etc.
However, there’s no match for high-precision skills assessment tests. These are standardized, scientific and formal means of identifying high-potential employees and deserving candidates. Intrinsically, skills assessment tests must ensure authentic scores, rating, grading and overall description. Hence, these tests are prepared to evaluate the candidates’ skills and abilities comprehensively.
Skills assessments offer additional benefits over other assessment methods. For example, when evaluating through old-school testing methods, you cannot vouch for the candidates’ genuineness. The facts presented in resumes, job interviews, and reference checks can be misrepresented. Such misleading results can create a quandary for recruiters because candidates might portray themselves in the best light to grab the opportunity.
Skills tests are quite effective in predicting performance when compared to traditional interviews or CV screenings. The results derived from skills testing are objective, factually relevant and crucial in selecting a candidate – whereas a CV is not enough to make a hiring decision. Candidates can present misleading information on their CVs but not on a skills test.
There are several benefits to using skills assessments. Listed below are just a few of them:
Leveraging skills assessment tests for employment purposes makes perfect sense, given that employers often use these tests to assess candidates’ professional competencies and gain insights into their abilities. Since these tests measure skills and knowledge, they are sometimes also called pre-employment skills tests or career skills assessments.
Given below are some significant reasons why employers rely on job skills assessments to evaluate candidates:
Many resumes often present misleading information and convey distorted facts. Skills tests can help employers validate the authenticity of an applicant's resume. Conducting pre-employment skills tests can help employers ascertain the credibility of claims made by the candidates to gauge whether they possess the skills they claim.
Administering an employee skills assessment is one of the most effective ways to identify whether a person is ideally suited for the job position you intend to hire. Skills assessment tests can uncover relevant information about applicants on whether they are a good fit for the job or the organization.
Your applicants may have exceptional technical skills, but if they miss out on essential communication skills to facilitate effective workplace communication, they might not be on the same page with the team members and may feel disconnected. Skills assessment tests enable recruiters to determine candidates' cultural fit competently and effectively.
Employers sometimes make hiring mistakes. No one willingly wants to err, but mistakes occur. Job skills assessments enable employers to ascertain whether the applicants are well-suited for the job and the organization culture as they claim. Consequently, employers who employ skills tests can make informed hiring decisions.
Skills tests come in handy when hiring at scale. By using an employability skills assessment as a pre-screening tool, hiring managers can differentiate between ideal and incompatible candidates early on and save substantial time that would otherwise be wasted on interviewing unqualified candidates.
Candidates with similar skill sets require an objective and thorough assessment of their abilities. That is where skills assessments come in handy in providing valuable insights and accentuating the nuances between applicants with similar education and experience levels.
Biases can creep into the hiring process in several ways. Using a thoughtfully structured employee skills assessment is one of the most effective ways to weed out biases in recruitment. At the core of a skill assessment is the idea that providing evidence-based and substantial information on applicants' knowledge and skills, rather than relying solely on CVs, interviews and gut feeling, simplifies recruiters' work greatly and offers an objective evaluation of abilities. For example, a person with no exposure to college education might have more knowledge and caliber for a given position than the one with a fancy degree. Therefore, using skills assessments can displace an employer's implicit bias toward the latter, bringing to the fore competencies and abilities of the former even when she/he does not have a college degree.
Skills assessment tests can also help circumvent legal complications associated with hiring. Job skills tests are formal, objective and systematic means of assessing talent, so they can help substantiate and defend a firm's claims in the event of a legal proceeding.
Research conducted by PWC suggests that the United States would suffer a loss of USD8.5trillion due to talent scarcity and skill gaps by 2030. Leveraging skills assessments in the L&D process is a foolproof method to address the skills gap challenge. These tests can offer in-depth insights into employees’ abilities and help upgrade their existing skills and develop new skills.
Before interviewing a job candidate, recruiters must ensure that candidates have favorable tendencies to help their company reach its actual potential. Skills assessments can be used as an essential tool to eliminate unsuitable candidates early in the screening process and get a fair idea of the deserving candidates, ensuring that hiring managers' time is focused only on assessing and interviewing the best.
Managers in the HR industry often grapple with the most typical question: “which skills test should I choose?’’ It depends entirely on the business requirements, the job position you must fill, and the required skill sets. For example, are you thinking of hiring a candidate with strong communication, problem-solving, programming or leadership skills? Your selection of skills assessment tests depends on the relevant skills you seek in your new employee. However, one must consider several factors before choosing an assessment, as mentioned below:
Determining objectives: Employers must identify their needs and what they intend to accomplish via these assessments. Do they want to hire new candidates or assess existing employees? Are they seeking people with particular skills?
Deciding what to measure: Employers should focus on which skills they hope to evaluate. Do they want to assess technical or soft skills? A holistic competency framework can provide employers with a viable blueprint for defining the knowledge, characteristics and skillsets required from prospective employees.
Describing the characteristics of an ideal skill assessment: Employers need to ask the right questions before prioritizing their preferences. For example, what are the aspects of an effective assessment? Is it possible to customize the questions? Are these scientifically validated assessments? Have the assessments been modeled using the competency framework? Their preferred characteristics will come in handy in making informed decisions.
Researching options: An employer can consider all aspects and begin sifting through the options available on the market to find its ideal skills assessment test.
Skills are the veritable currency for hiring and training and development. They determine the likelihood of one’s success at work, and skills test primarily help recruiters gauge the depth and breadth of knowledge and skills required for the role/job. There are various types of skills assessments tools, and each can help organizations evaluate candidates’ skills for specific roles when hiring.
With a plethora of skills tests available on the market, companies can get a holistic profile of the job applicant taking these tests. Listed below are some common categories of skills assessments used during the recruitment process:
Psychometric tests are psychological evaluation tools conducted to objectively assess a candidate’s aptitude, personality traits, abilities and intelligence levels. These assessments are extensively used in hiring and employee development. Whether for employment or career guidance, the psychometric test can help match an individual’s personality and abilities to the right role or career. These tests can help in large-scale recruitment drives, whittling down a huge applicant pool to those selected few who could be the right match for a particular role or organization.
Behavioral tests are structured frameworks to assess candidates’ behavioral competencies in a simulated work environment. Individuals taking these assessments demonstrate their behavioral skills in tasks that mimic actual workplace settings. Behavioral assessments are a crucial part of the evaluation process that aims to observe, understand, analyze, predict, or even rectify the candidates’ behaviors. It is a type of pre-employment assessment that employers use to assess critical behavioral traits required to excel in a particular role. The test can help recruiters determine whether an individual is a good fit for the organization based on behavioral competencies.
Aptitude tests are standardized pre-employment assessments that help employers determine an individual’s fitment for a role. These tools are an excellent way for recruiters to understand how applicants might tackle the challenges of the role for which they have applied, uncovering their strengths and weaknesses. Aptitude assessments are usually conducted online via a dedicated, web-based platform that can help conduct virtual assessments at scale. These scientifically designed assessments lent incredible ease in evaluating every person’s professional aptitude to find performance-driven and goal-oriented candidates.
Coding tests are technical skills assessments that tech recruiters can use to single out suitable coders with the desired skills. These online skills assessments can help hiring managers filter out unsuitable candidates early in the tech hiring process, ensuring only the most competent professionals get to the next level. Using these technical skills tests, employers can easily assess the coding prowess of job applicants. For example, Mercer| Mettl offers an innovative digital tool, Mercer | Mettl Hack, which includes many coding skills tests and simulators for both campus and lateral hiring purposes and helps evaluate coding abilities online.
Domain tests, also known as technical tests, are structured assessments administered to candidates (for technical and non-technical profiles) to evaluate their domain knowledge and aptitude required for the given roles. Such a skills test helps determine suitable candidates by placing probables in strict test environments to gauge whether they possess the knowledge and skills required for the position. The test helps determine candidates’ functional abilities, aptitude, and technical skills and how well they can perform various domain skills tests, such as sales and marketing assessments, leadership skills assessments, accounting and finance assessments, etc.
Communication skills assessments evaluate the candidates’ communication skills and focus on how well they understand the complexities of the language. These tests are broadly based on four evaluation parameters: pronunciation, fluency, listening comprehension and grammar. These tests comprise several assessments and language comprehension assignments to gauge the breadth of the applicant’s knowledge and proficiency in oral and written mediums. The various components of such a skills test help recruiters assess how well the test-takers can understand the language and the promptness with which they can imbibe its essence and respond properly.
Skills assessment tests are handy for employers. These tests provide employers with critical insights into the recruitment process by filtering out undesirable candidates. However, apart from assessing applicants’ competence accurately, they can also differentiate candidates that may be better suited for another role or a promotion.
In the last few years, there has been a steady rise in the number of companies that use skills tests to attract and retain talent. While many leading companies rely heavily on pre-employment assessments, there is an enormous potential yet to be explored in its adoption.
Scientific and technological advancements in assessment tools have expanded their reach, making them more affordable and convenient for employers. These tools also ensure a remarkable candidate experience, giving candidates remote access to skills assessment tests at their convenience.
Skills assessment tests provide deep insights into hard skills and several other vital competencies of both job applicants and current employees to accomplish organizational objectives. Skills tests can significantly help employers recruit quality hires and improve existing employees’ performance through well-informed and data-driven decisions.
According to Bill Harrison, CTO of ComplianceBridge, ”Ideally, employees would have all of the skills necessary to hit the ground running on day one – but that is not the typical scenario. A learning curve accompanies every new role and responsibility, and that learning curve can stretch for months without proper support from management. One solution, and a good one at that, is to implement skills assessment tests: an evaluation meant to determine how equipped an employee or potential new hire is to perform the necessary functions of a job. The exact skills these assessments look for will vary by industry and role, but it is generally a best practice to cover both hard skills and soft, as both will play a pivotal role in an employee’s success.”
For all of the reasons stated above, it is better to leverage the functionality of an established hiring and skills testing platform that offers reliable, scientifically validated assessments designed by subject matter experts (SMEs).
A superior assessment platform is robust, scalable and armed with AI-backed proctoring tools to deliver end-to-end skills assessments. Such a system takes the load off the recruiter/employer by automating and standardizing the hiring process and eliminating all the logistical hassles that have long been an organizational nightmare.
Mercer| Mettl has acquired a prime position in the assessment ecosystem, enabling a myriad of clients across industries and business verticals to conduct their assessments virtually with the highest industry standards. With several pioneering features in its armory, this comprehensive online assessment platform accommodates all recruitment needs.
Though there are several benefits of utilizing skills tests, appropriately implementing these assessments can be laborious. Mercer | Mettl’s assessment platform ticks all the boxes in the recruiter’s checklist and provides a host of crucial features: seamless integration, convenient user interface, AI-powered online proctoring, assured data safety, diversity of question types, real-time results, customizable analytical reports, secure API support, round-the-clock services, and much more.
The technologically advanced system is inherently attuned to clients’ needs, helping them conduct high-stakes skills assessment tests in a scalable, credible and cost-effective manner. It enables test administrators to streamline, integrate and automate the preparation, delivery and attestation part of the skills tests, making talent assessment a facile affair.
With over a decade of experience in providing HR technological solutions and talent assessment services, Mercer | Mettl’s in-house team of SMEs is the force behind creating industry-leading career skills assessments. These tests enable organizations to make well-informed decisions on recruitment, training and development.
Since its inception, Mercer| Mettl has partnered with over 4000 corporates across 80+ countries, successfully delivering more than 25 million assessments in more than 20+ languages to date. Mercer | Mettl’s extensive library of skills tests and simulators can enable employers to evaluate job candidates and existing employees on various criteria. Its all-encompassing roster of skills assessments provides a host of coding, domain, language, aptitude, and personality evaluation tools, coupled with powerful AI-proctoring technology.
The art of successfully getting the best people on board is not as challenging as most recruiters presume. Finding the best hire is a strategic process that requires clarity from every employer. The ever-increasing talent pool and the advent of pre-employment tests have simplified selection. So, your primary goal in hiring new people shouldn’t merely be about increasing the headcount but recruiting and retaining the best quality employees.
Mercer | Mettl’s online assessment battery makes it easy to cut through the clutter and shortlist the best candidates with the utmost ease. The hiring process demands complete transparency, and there’s nothing better than assessing a candidate based on the skills listed on their resumes.
A comprehensive platform
If you have less time to review candidates, you’ll want a platform that is easy to use and provides ready access to exams, candidates and results. That’s where self-manageable software will be beneficial in tracking an individual’s progress over time.
Ease of administering tests
Test administrators have several options to create an online test and select questions. For instance, Mercer | Mettl’s extensive library of SME verified assessments is instrumental in designing a set of questions. These tests are readily customizable as per the administrator’s parameters for test configuration, test duration, question order and scoring logic, etc.
Invite candidates conveniently
Administrators send invitations to the candidates who accept the test invite to begin their assessment. There is complete freedom to set up invitations for specific dates, times and IP addresses.
It’s not easy to get away with cheating in the skills assessment. Conducting large-scale exams is no more a hassle – thanks to AI-powered remote proctoring that monitors suspicious activities and prevents candidates’ impersonation. In a secure virtual environment, candidates cannot access external apps and tabs on their browsers. Proctors have complete control over the assessment process, enabling them to gauge your candidates’ skillsets accurately.
Infallible testing process
There are no margins for errors at this stage of the self-assessment test. Candidates need to be verified via their government-issued ID cards and webcams. Simultaneously, proctors carefully check candidates’ surroundings and scan their computers before the tests commence. Once they begin, proctors can easily access candidates’ video feeds and computer screens. They can capture screenshots, end a test session, or reconfirm candidates using image shots. They can also broadcast messages and communicate with one or multiple candidates simultaneously.
Automated report generation
Employers get automatically generated reports after the tests’ completion. These reports feature essential data such as screenshots, live recordings and chat logs, etc. These reports are also customizable to provide accurate, actionable data. Moreover, you can add additional milestones and progress events to the timeline. You can assign a catchy icon and a date tag for each event that lends enhanced visual appeal to your report.
Many companies cultivate a healthy competitive culture that fosters positive reinforcement and motivation to excel for the broader organizational benefit. These skills assessment tests help evaluate a person’s suitability and competency for the job and determine whether he/she has the drive to succeed and thrive in the organizational setup.
These tests are typically used to determine where one lacks in skills and needs improvement, allowing companies to get precise data on the skills that need to be developed to increase productivity. These skills tests have internal validity scales, which can quickly detect any misrepresentation and help determine a candidate’s suitability, weighing how he/she would fare and measure up to the company’s expectations in the long run.
This evaluation method aims to assess how applicants’ skills and personality would fit the role and would be productive and happy with their jobs in the long term.
The skills assessment test is a skill evaluation process to determine whether a job candidate or professional possesses the required skills, knowledge or aptitude to perform or excel in a given role or organization.
Skills assessment refers to the competency-based evaluation of an individual’s ability to execute a specific skill-based task(s). This evaluation process is systematic, evidence-based, and provides an objective review of candidates ‘potential.
Skills assessment tests are used to establish the skills of employees and candidates. Each of these tests is specific to their respective skill sets and is used in tandem with the interview process to delve deeper into a person’s abilities to execute the tasks expected in a particular role. And various skills tests are available for the same, such as aptitude tests, behavioral tests, domain tests, coding tests, communication tests, and psychometric tests.
To prepare for a skills test, click on the assessment link received through email. Make appropriate preparations beforehand, such as keeping your ID card ready. Now comes the authentication part, where the system will require you to take your snapshot that would be matched against your ID card. Then comes the invigilation part, where the invigilator has to authenticate and confirm your registration. Afterward, click on the assessment link and proceed as per the instructions to undertake the assignment.
Skills assessments are administered to better understand the skill level and competency of the potential candidates. This mechanism enables a company to gain in-depth insights into each individual’s capabilities, his/her level of commitment, and how well he/she can perform the job. Skills assessment tests need readiness mentally, physically and psychologically – one must be well prepared to undertake these assessments at the appropriate time to ace the assessment.
Though the specific criteria would vary across employers, the most sought-after qualities by employers are competence, emotional intelligence and work ethic.
Professional skills are occupational competencies that are not acquired or taught as part of academic study. Professional skills such as project management, leadership and dispute resolution add value to any career.
Given below are some unique skills that an employer looks for in candidates:
Originally published December 4 2019, Updated August 23 2021
Abhilash works with the Content Marketing team of Mercer|Mettl. He has been contributing his bit to the world of online business for some years now. Abhilash is experienced in content marketing, along with SEO. He’s fond of writing useful posts, helping people, traveling, and savoring delicacies.