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Talent Hub   | 10 min

Skills Test/Skill Assessment

Written By Shaivya Gupta

Everything is a step-by-step process – so is with hiring, selection, and promotion. It’s all about the baby steps that keep you traversing towards your target goals. Skills assessment tests provided by Mettl allows companies and professionals to make well-calculated decisions when it comes to recruitment, training, and promotion of job candidates and employees. It is, therefore, crucial towards achieving success in the brand’s pursuits for excellence in the industry. Once you get to claim your first hefty slice of success – you will be pining for more; which is a good sign.

During the hiring or recruitments, most employers would require candidates to take skills assessment tests to evaluate the aptitude or skills or an individual and determine whether he or she is a good match for the role. They make the formal job offer after the interviews and skills assessment tests are done to make an informed decision in the end. These skills assessment tests may be in the form of a general type of evaluation which helps to gauge and evaluate an individual’s personality type as well as skills and expertise level which paint you a clear picture of whether the candidate fits the position or would thrive in the company culture.

Skills Assessment: How to Ace Them
 
The entire recruitment and selection process can be nerve-wracking and stressful, but you can turn skills assessment tests into an opportunity to stand out from the competition. This can prove to be your perfect ally when approached with the right mindset. Here’s how you can get through with the skills assessment test and pass with flying colors:

 

Gear up for the skills assessment

Skills assessment tests should not intimidate or scare you. You can prepare for this battery of trials to get zone into a positive frame of mind before and during the evaluation or assessment. You may ask or inquire about the types of assessment tests that would be done and on the approximate length of time or duration of the testing procedure. This should give you the advantage or rough estimate of what to expect. You can also do practice skills assessment or personality tests online like the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Doing so would help you prepare and gain hindsight as to what you are capable of or in the context of your personal and professional abilities. If you are tested in a particular skill, then you must review the concepts and try practice quizzes that you can take online. If you can, inquire about how much the skills assessment test results would affect the hiring process or decision. Be careful though not to appear nervous or incompetent when asking about these details. Project confidence and give them the impression that you are interested and committed to becoming a part of the company. This will help boost your chances too of being considered for the role.

Give the skills assessment your best shot

When taking the skills assessment test or any tests for employment or promotion, make sure that you provide accurate, honest, and consistent answers. Personality tests may have no right or wrong answers because everything is considered in the grey area but consistencies can be detected in your responses if ever you try to cheat the system in any way. You would often observe some questions repeated yet plotted in different contexts to reveal if the answers are sincere and unswerving. Also, the most common mistake noticed in skills assessment tests is when people fail to follow instructions correctly. Make sure to read the questions and instructions and clarify when necessary. Do not make guesses with these assessment tests – take your time to comprehend questions before making responses accurately. Don’t allow your nerves to take control or get the best of you. Take note that for skills assessment tests, you must always consider and align your responses according to the company’s corporate culture.

Wait for the skills assessment result with confidence

After you are done with the skills assessment tests, take the time to talk to the recruitment manager and employer to demonstrate your commitment to the role. You can also ask them for feedback on the results. Express gratitude regardless of the negative or positive criticism given to you.

Many companies cultivate the culture of having a healthy competition which fosters positive reinforcement and motivation to excel for the benefit of the entire organization. The use of these skills assessment tests does not just help evaluate a person’s suitability and competency for the job but also determine whether one has the drive and hunger to succeed and thrive in a robust organization. In addition to these personality and skills assessment tests provided by Mettl which is an online assessment platform for many companies globally, employers also depend on interviews and background or references check for choosing the right people for specific roles in the organization. This also becomes the barometer in the effective comparison and contrast of applicants and employees in a company. Take heed that the top senior executives of the biggest brands are required to take skills assessment tests on a periodic basis to get to know individual progress and also serve as a guide for coaching, enrichment, and training sessions.


Overall, the use of skills assessment tests is to determine where one lacks in skills and should improve upon. This gives companies precise data on the skills that should be developed to boost overall productivity. These skills assessment and personality tests have internal validity scales that can quickly detect any misrepresentation. This does not just assess how fit you are for the job but also weighs how you would fare and measure up to the expectations of the company over the long run. This further aims to assess how your skills and personality would fit the role and if you are going to be productive and happy with the job for the long term. Skills assessment tests need readiness mentally, physically, and also psychologically – you need to be ready and psyched to do the assessment tests at the appropriate time so you get to ace the skills assessment and be on top of the ballgame.

A five-year study by Rutgers University showed that only 50% of college graduates landed jobs between 2008 and 2011. That is correct. One entire half could not get a job, any job. Learn the facts and you’ll realize that this statistic isn’t very surprising, to begin with. There will always be those that beat the odds, and we call some of the lucky, the rest – brilliant. So, how do you acquire that flare of brilliance, and on a modest note – luck? Read on and follow through on these points.

  1. Do not count on your education
    A high GPA means little for several jobs past the first screening, some disregard it altogether. Even the best of programs, respected and valued throughout the world, fail to give you the coveted golden ticket to a job.Few, if any at all, teach you how to plan and manage your career.

    Few teach the latest methods and technologies in use with any depth. No, the system is not flawed. It is simply inadequate.

    Buckle up; get yourself an internship or an apprenticeship. You’ll weep when friends holler out party calls and yahoo, but the professional experience will give you an invaluable edge when you graduate.

  2. Stop acting like a student
    Do you recall the elite or lucky ones I talked of earlier? They graduated, put themselves out there and landed great jobs. Grit your teeth and make it yourselves. If you are just starting out in college, get an internship every vacation. This will keep you ahead of the curve, by a huge margin. If you’re already in your last year, scramble for one and forge some industry presence.

    Simply put, pretend, become, and breathe professional before you even begin your first day at work. Even through your interviews, refer to your professional work in the past tense. The more you convince them of that, the lesser your prospective employers think of you as a student. It’s a given that even with all this, your work needs to represent something great.

  3. Learn some manners
    If you have ever heard of assessment centers, you will know that this is a graduate’s rite of passage into a corporate job. Nobody cares if you’re the second coming of Bill Gates if you are failing as a human being.

    Your technical knowledge will speak for itself some time through the whole process. Employers value soft skills along the lines of teamwork, communication skills, and a solid work ethic. In fact, many have gone on to cite that graduates today severely lack in the mentioned aspects.

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  • Inspired by Bart Cleveland

 

Andre Paul Guillaume Gide, author and winner of the 1947 Nobel Prize in Literature, once said, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he had the courage to lose sight of the shore.”


The Indian sub-continent by itself hosts innumerable and unheard of picturesque sights; all possessing a hauntingly mesmerizing air about them. Untouched by modern civilization, true to its pristine origins, these locations could effortlessly hit an adventurer’s heart with inspiration.

Leh, a high-desert city in the Himalayas, in northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir is one of many such hotspots. However, for a place far from internet’s reach, it is easy to wonder how or why in Leh the Mettl banners soared high on 19 May 2016. Surely, an IT SaaS company had no business planting its flag on the former capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh.

Better yet, would you believe it was for a mission assigned to Mettl by the Telecom Sector Skill Council? Probably should, because that was exactly what creaked the cogwheels into motion – cogwheels that urged to push for the unknown. With the TSSC’s need to conduct an assessment, Mettl knew it had to do what it did best – provide an efficient end-to-end service.

For those new to the term SSC, the Telecom Sector Skill council is a non-profit organization – an industry led apex body jointly set up by The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Indian Cellular Association (ICA) and Telecom Centers of Excellence (TCOE). They exist to ensure adequate availability of skilled work force to boost growth and productivity in the Telecom Sector.

Set up under the aegis of the National Skill Development Corporation, or the NSDC, Leh was another step for the TSSC toward the Skill India Initiative in the sector. Candidates underwent intensive training for a role as a level two Handset Repair Engineer – people responsible for handset hardware & software repair and testing.

To make an appearance for the assessment even, test takers needed to acquire a certain level of proficiency in Digital Electronics, General Handset Components, and Operating Systems. Of course, the job role had its own set of competencies under multiple National Occupational Standards as specified by the NSDC, which Mettl needed to map to its own competency framework. All of this to produce an assessment of the highest quality.

However, assessment creation comprised only a small part the work. Deployment, proctoring, result generation, and delivery – these concocted to a recipe for what Mettl boasted as their end-to-end service. Only this time, the task involved the spice of adventure.

On 16 May 2016, the journey had begun in Delhi with the test content uploaded into electronic tablets – an offline solution to zero internet access. As the premiere assessment body for 20+ SSCs, Mettl deployed a field operations agent to lead the charge by road. It rung true to Leh’s historical value as an important stopover on trade routes along the Indus Valley, and between India and China.

With only three days in hand, the adventure tasked the Mettl agent to travel from Delhi to Srinagar first, and only then to Leh. On route, Kargil was merely another legendary stop before the final destination, still a daunting 234KM away. By no means was it easy, far from it, and after days on roads layered with snow ten to twelve feet in depth, Leh was finally in sight.

While the travel had concluded at 3:00AM, 19 May 2016, the job was far from finished. Mettl had yet to hoist its flag at Leh. At 9:30AM, the field operations agent arrived to ensure everything was in place for a batch of twenty odd test takers. The moment meant more than success; in fact, it breathed life to an outreach that stuck true to the words Pan India.

 

Students appearing for the TSSC assessment for the Skill India Initiative 
Candidates Taking The Assessment at Leh Ladakh

 

However, as opposed to online assessments with instant result generation, its offline sister usually required a couple more steps before completion. Mettl’s agent needed to make it back to Delhi, and that spelled for a different adventure of its own. The snowstorm in Kargil had halted travel for fourteen hours, but at 2AM, on 24 May 2016, the journey had completed its full circle.

Dheeraj Sharma, the member of the Field Ops team assigned to Leh, later described the trip as a beautiful effort. Throughout the journey, Mettl had also faced radio silence when the absence of cell towers curbed real time communications. However, with the tests uploaded, photos captured, everything remained on schedule.

After all, most of the things worth doing in the world is declared impossible before they are achieved with finesse. Just another day for the Mettl crew in beating the odds.

While sipping our coffee, every morning, we take a deep breath and prepare ourselves for some news on cyber security.

Wham!  Not again!

The news on yet another cyber-attack pours in.   

UN finds that there is a huge struggle in cyber security, all over the world. A survey was conducted among 134 countries which showed, that there are massive gaps in cybersecurity. The list includes some of the most powerful nations in the world. [1]  

But, before we proceed any further, we delve into the causes for a cyber-attack.

The Causes

The cyber security experts believe that the human link is the weakest in the security chain. [2]

The primary cause is the lack of skilled workers. Period.

Moreover, the companies may have sufficient budgets, but it is difficult to hire what they need. This is due to the technology orientation of the skills.

In the words of Marc Van Zadelhoff, general manager of IBM Security,

Even if the industry was able to fill the estimated 1.5 million open cyber security jobs by 2020, we’d still have a skills crisis in security. The volume and velocity of data in security is one of our greatest challenges in dealing with cyber crime.” [3]  

Let us now come straight to the challenges faced by the IT heads:

What are the Challenges?

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap issue is a huge problem and the organizations constantly seek for solutions to fix it. The challenges for cybersecurity skills gap are:

To begin with, the security breaches are due to nefarious activities in some other country or a major technological catastrophe. The critical role is played by action or the failure of an insider. [4]

Next, a research from Cisco states 29 % of the organizations lost revenue due to a data breach [5]

Finally, the IT heads seek higher levels of technical expertise and analytical skills, providing insights. They need business savvy, strong-on-communication kind of skillsets. Not that easy to obtain.   

Honestly speaking, there is a problem. And we actually need tips to deal with it:    

Tips to deal with Security Skills Gap

You must not miss on some vital points related to the security skills gap. Here are some pertinent tips that immediately comes to our mind:  

Learning on-the-job

Knowledge in the IT security domain attains obsolescence at a faster rate.[6] Hands-on experience is rated higher than a technical degree. The best training achievable is -through an experimental hands-on learning.

Professional Development

A lack of training budget hampers the growth of the professionals. Corporates assume that reading and certifications are sufficient for the staff to stay up-to-date in the age of rapid technological advancement.

However, the best way to acquire the skills is through hacking competitions and professional certifications.

An Innovative Way

Another way to handle talent shortage is what IBM calls the “new-collar” job. The traits inherent to the role are problem solving, relentless curiosity. Not that is easy to acquire in a classroom training.   

The traits are better picked with technology - through certifications and on-the-job training. [7]    

It is good to know that in 2015, 20 % of the cybersecurity professionals in U.S were “new-collars”.

What will it take to bridge the Gap?

The cybercrimes are increasingly getting organized and aggressive. On the other hand, there is a dwindling shortage of talents. So- there is a need to empower the IT security workforce:

Finding the Perfect Fit

Having understood that there is a cyber security skills gap. The right combination of psychometric tests find the cultural fit to a company. .

Predicting the Intrinsic Skills

Mettl’s skills gap suite handles the security skills gap. It predicts the intrinsic skills in your workforce. And detects the non-adhering behavioral traits.

Other than the basic traits, additional skillsets are acquired through the on-the-job training. [8]

Many Fortune 500 companies, take fresh graduates with analytical talents and develop them into security professionals - in a matter of few months.

Mapping Core Competencies

High potential candidates are agile learners. The learning agility assessment tests cater to these agile learners - to ensure organizational success.

The assessment tests can be mapped to the core competencies of the workforce. It also helps in building the team into a cohesive unit.   

The Quest Continues

The cyber security skills gap is a real and a global issue. There is no dearth of job opportunities- but a severe talent shortage.

The skills gap analysis is solved by mapping core competencies of the workforce and predicting the intrinsic skills.

The professional services companies like Deloitte and Ernst and Young recruit armies of security professionals - as a panacea for their security concerns.

The emerging technologies like IoT, mobile technologies and Cloud Computing contribute to the rising need for skilled cybersecurity workforce.  We intend to provide further insights from the IT heads in our epaper on the same topic.

 

References

[1] http://www.techrepublic.com/article/cybersecurity-two-thirds-of-cios-say-threats-increasing-cite-growth-of-ransomware/

[2] https://www.rsa.com/content/dam/rsa/PDF/2016/11/closing-the-skills-gap-rsa-kpmg.pdf

[3] https://securityintelligence.com/how-the-cybersecurity-skills-gap-is-being-closed/

[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkauflin/2017/03/16/the-fast-growing-job-with-a-huge-skills-gap-cyber-security/#719de2af5163

[5] https://hbr.org/2016/09/the-biggest-cybersecurity-threats-are-inside-your-company

[6] https://securityintelligence.com/five-must-read-articles-on-the-cybersecurity-skills-gap/

[7] https://hbr.org/2017/05/cybersecurity-has-a-serious-talent-shortage-heres-how-to-fix-it

[8] http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/technology/2015/03/overcoming-the-info-security-skills-gap.html. .

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