Pre-hire evaluation or assessment refers to the process of any systematic method based on quizzes, tests, investigations, and examinations done to obtain information on performance progress. The choice of evaluation directly affects candidates’ careers, and it needs to be structured well. The evaluation results can help assimilate the training path for the employees. Evaluation is an integral part of learning and can turn hesitant candidates into more engaging ones. The evaluation loses its value if it is not accompanied by fast, concise, and constructive feedback from the examiner. These feedbacks act as strong pillars of skill development and increase employees’ motivation.
Have you ever had a skills assessment test? Did you know you have taken one during your employment? Have you ever had to conduct a skills assessment test? These are the common questions both employers and employees face, and surprisingly you are not alone.
Before going into detail, a simple definition of skill assessment refers to the “type of test designed to precisely understand the candidates’ potential if they have the skills to perform the tasks needed for the role.” In other words, can the candidate be a part of the workforce based on their skill set?
This is a comprehensive guide to understanding better the skills assessment tests and how they can be used effectively in the dynamic 2022 job market.
Definition Of Skill Assessment Test?
Skills assessment tests are used to provide objective insights into the candidate’s performance and competency in the job-specific tasks. Skill tests are an important part of the talent acquisition equation. Different fields require different skill sets, and skills assessment tests can help you identify them effortlessly. Recruiters more commonly use them to scale down potential candidates. They can be made flexible and customized to fit the needs of the recruiters.
Know Before You Hire
The terms such as “21st-century skills,” “soft skills,” “non-cognitive skills,” and “personal characteristics” include a wide range of attributes – honesty, resilience, teamwork, communication, and much more. Technical skills alone are not just enough. If a cohort of freshers comes in, the “hard skills” becomes the competitive element. This starts at the school. As we progress in education till graduation, it’s all about grades. Even at the start of the new job, the focus is entirely on the hard skills where employees will be asked about what they know and how well they know.
Humans are not entirely logical beings, and hard skills become challenging to differentiate after a few years. Research by experts in Deloitte suggests specific criteria to be considered while designing and implementing the skill-test questions. First, it is essential to define the human elements needed for performing the job. Set questions that would measure those human elements. The reports from the evaluation tests can be used for processing the next rounds of screening and interview. Upon completion of the hiring process, it is essential that hiring managers review the effectiveness of consistency of the assessment, as well as the quality of the results delivered.
Well, how do you determine which pre-employment skill test is suitable for you? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine which one is right for you.
What are the key skills you want in a candidate? This is the first and foremost thing where the recruiting team has to be aware of the exact skills they are looking for. LinkedIn reported a 21% increase in job postings mentioning skills and responsibilities compared to the qualifications in 2021. There has been an increase of 40% since 2020, when recruiters began focusing on the relevant skills rather than degrees. For instance, if you are hiring an IT professional, the basic IT skills assessment should include coding knowledge, communication, networking, data analytics, leadership, and time management.
Now you need to ask what “must-have” and “nice to have” skills you expect from the applicants? The essentials can be determined only when the recruiter does an in-depth job analysis. When determining the must-haves and nice to have, it is essential to determine what kind of training the company can provide if the candidate lacks the desirable criteria. Let’s take the example of hiring IT talents. A desirable IT talent might be known networking software. You can use the pre-employment online skills assessment tests to determine if they know the particular software and their skill level in using it. This assessment can help you formulate the training course to help the candidates refine their skills. This helps you separate strong candidates from weak ones and rank them based on their needed skillset.
What level of language abilities do you expect from the candidates? Of course, companies prefer multilingual communication as one of today’s sought-after skills. Companies aim to expand their global force, and being proficient in more than one language is a desirable attribute. Do you want the personal attributes of the candidates to incline with the company’s vision and mission? A recent study done among 312 companies showcased that 46% of new employees were either fired or quit in the first 18 months. 11% of them left as their skillset failed to be compatible with the organization’s expectations. The most shocking factor was that 82% of managers admitted that they overlooked some “red flags” during the hiring and chose to ignore them as they were desperate to get the job roles filled in. This is a costly mistake, and therefore recruiters need to check the personal attributes of the candidates, such as ambition, goals, eagerness to learn, honesty, relationship building, and accountability. Thanks to the pre-employment basic skills test, you can assess candidates’ emotional intelligence, cognitive, and personality and settle for the best.
Finally, is pre-existing knowledge mandatory for the job role? You can hire fresh candidates for some roles, but some roles need experienced candidates with pre-existing knowledge. So ensure that the recruiters are clear in asking the right questions and using the right pre-employment software and tools to appropriately hire qualified people to avoid inconsistency.
How Do the Skills Assessment Tests Work? Are They Consistent? Are they Valid?
Whether you are a small business owner or you are a multinational corporation, your success depends on skilled employees. When you hire the wrong employees, it can cost your business $15,000 on an average per bad hire. Therefore, pre-employment testing is an innovative and efficient tool for your hiring process.
Are they consistent? Yes, they are reliable as you can see that the use of pre-employment skills assessment goes as far as 206 BC when the Han Dynasty in China used cognitive employment tests for assigning people to different government roles. Moreover, the U.S army used the Army Alpha test during the first World War to recruit soldiers. The assessment results were used to select candidates responsible for leadership positions based on their performance. The Army Alpha tests necessarily tested the verbal and numerical ability of the soldiers.
At present, pre-employment skills assessment testing has been significantly developed with technology. It is widely used by recruiters and has eliminated ineffective assessment methods. Different skills assessment software and platforms make the hiring process more straightforward. There is even automation in the recruitment process.
Skills testing works best when the questions are specifically crafted to test the skills needed to perform the job roles. While designing the different skills assessment test, make sure the questions will get you a 360° view of the candidate’s skills and how they will perform in real-time.
Different Types of Skills assessment tests
There are different types of pre-employment skill assessment tests such as:
- Psychometric tests
- Industry Skills Test (IST)
- Soft and Hard skills test
- Role-specific tests
- Emotional intelligence and cognitive abilities assessment
- Integrity tests
- Situational judgment tests
- Work orientation inventory tests (WOI)
- Background checks, Drug tests, and physical fitness test
Recruiters design these assessment tests to assess the applicants’ competency. Selecting the right assessment test will give you a better insight into the applicants’ suitability. It also helps candidates learn more about your organization and what is expected from them.
Companies more commonly use psychometric tests to evaluate candidate performance. The test is not limited to evaluating but helps recruiters get useful insight into skills, knowledge, potential, and personality traits. The test is generally divided into two types – personality assessments and aptitude assessments. Hiring managers use the scores from the personality test and match them against the job specifications to ascertain the candidates’ competencies.
Irrespective of the industry, a psychometric test helps recruiters to assess personality profiles, map them and maintain a personality inventory. Since these tests are evidence-based assessments, exact personality traits needed for the job can be identified. The results provide them with objective information on the specific candidate’s personality traits. The second category is the aptitude tests which involve testing candidates’ cognitive abilities and intelligence. Common aptitude tests include numerical reasoning assessment, logical and verbal reasoning assessment, inductive reasoning assessment, abstract reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning assessment, deductive reasoning, and situational judgment tests. Each of the tests is conducted based on the job specification and the company’s requirements. Both aptitude and personality tests are integral parts of profiling in the recruitment process. They cannot be substituted for one another.
Industrial Skills Test (IST)
The industrial skills test, generally abbreviated as IST, is a broad assessment used to examine specific skills associated with industrial occupations. IST is a stepping stone in the employment process and is generally conducted after the initial screening. The test objectively measures candidates’ mechanical and aptitude abilities. The sections of IST include reading comprehension, numerical reasoning, and mechanical principles. IST can be used for positions of warehouse staffing, construction, maintenance, count and stack, logistics, and manufacturing sectors.
Soft and Hard skills test
Hard skills are binary and quantifiable. They are more tangible and easier to assess. For instance, conducting an IT skills assessment test will reveal whether the candidate is suitable for the role or not. Some examples of hard skills include – knowing computer programming, a specific IT-related skill, language proficiency, data analysis, Adobe, DBM, SEO, statistical analysis, data mining, UI/UX, marketing, programming languages, bilingual/multilingual, and much more. Testing the hard skills can be done by conducting specific technical assessments using pre-employment assessment tests. You can conduct an IT skills test online and interview the candidates based on their performance.
Many companies make the mistake of overlooking the soft skills and settling for the technical skills of the candidates. As a result, soft skills have fallen flat, but the hiring managers can assess the soft skills needed to maintain the balance of skills. Some of the soft skills include integrity, accountability, open-mindedness, oral and written communication, team building, leadership, empathy, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, flexibility, willingness to learn, and much more. You can use pre-employment assessment software, which contains predefined tests which can be easily used for testing the soft skills that you expect from the applicants.
Business organizations employ role-specific assessments for developing workforce and recruitment. The role-specific skill assessment consists of simulation, questionnaires, and questions related to testing their company culture fit. The expertise level of the candidate can then be evaluated based on their performance. These tests can be conducted both online and in-person during campus and lateral hiring. There is no match for the job-specific skills assessment tests as they are scientific and standardized for identifying the high potential candidates from the pool. The scores, grading, and overall rating are done in an authentic way which helps evaluate candidates comprehensively.
Emotional intelligence and cognitive ability assessment tests
Companies conduct game-based emotional intelligence assessments to see how well the candidates can handle, perceive, and accurately manage their emotions. There are five scales of emotional intelligence – internal motivation, self-regulation, self-awareness, empathy, and social awareness. These tests are emerging as one of the most important qualities to look for as managing emotions is needed in the workplace, especially in the modern era. When the employees fail to manage their emotions, it affects their productivity, affecting overall company performance. The questions would include testing leadership, job performance, stress handling, job attitudes, teamwork, and commitment.
An integrity test is specifically designed to evaluate candidates’ honesty, dependability, and trustworthiness. When the particular employee lacks integrity, it leads to counterproductive behavioral issues such as violence, theft, sabotaging relationships, absenteeism, and disciplinary problems. This also affects other employees in the workplace, which has a direct impact on the company’s performance. Like other skill assessment tests, integrity tests can significantly enhance the validity of the hiring process when combined with the cognitive ability assessment. Generally, candidates who perform poorly in the integrity tests tend to be less suitable for the job.
Situational judgment tests
The situational judgment test (SJT) is used for assessing how well a candidate can make decisions and precise judgments. In general, SJTs consist of work-life situational questions with several possibilities to choose from. The candidate must choose the option which is more likely to solve the presented problem. The options that they choose reveal how they will handle a similar situation in real life.
Work orientation inventory tests (WOI)
The Work Orientation Inventory (WOI) tests are used by some companies to get a better insight into the attitude and behavior of the candidate such that they are successful in their jobs. The test comprises multiple-choice questions which ask about the attitude and experiences of the candidates related to – safety behaviors, customer service, and teamwork. The candidate must answer on impulse as they cannot prepare for this test beforehand. There are no explanations for the answers, and the recruiters check the physical and mental readiness of the candidates.
Background checks, Drug tests, and physical fitness tests
Background checks are done by companies during the screening process where they verify the selected candidates’ educational qualification, employment history, felony records, etc. This is the most common pre-employment testing done by the companies. It is always better to inform the candidate before conducting background checks. Companies nowadays perform drug tests based on the local legal framework. There are companies that perform physical fitness tests to ensure that their employees have a certain level of stamina. This is generally done for job roles that involve heavy manual labor. Physical ability tests are done to reduce workplace accidents.
Pre-Employment Assessment Software
The traditional hiring process is slowly transforming towards the age of AI and automation. The technology eliminates bias and enhances data-driven hiring decisions. Automated hiring systems have high stakes and are fast developing. Among these are the algorithmic personality and psychometric tests, which are completely automated with AI ensuring indicative surfacing of potential candidates.
The pre-employment assessment software and tools include features for sourcing candidates, resume screening, skills assessments, interview process, video and voice analysis, and in-depth data reports. Especially after the pandemic, the popularity of the AI-assisted hiring tools soared as it drastically reduced voluminous manual paperwork.
However, the choice of a pre-employment assessment tool should not be taken lightly. Here are some of the benefits of choosing the right tool.
Benefits of Skills Assessment
#1 Optimize your Hiring Process
There is no debate needed on how tedious and time-consuming the hiring process can be. When the job position stays open for too long, it costs the company a fortune. You can see some job postings being open for more than 90 days.
When you use skill assessment testing tools, you can weed out the “spammers” who keep sending resumes without knowing if they are truly compatible with the position. Using pre-employment testing software, you can screen out the spam resumes and look for serious candidates.
Moreover, when the hiring process is long, it can cast out candidates who are actually in high demand. They will go to your competitor and other companies as they prefer the smoother offers which come first. This is a major challenge for recruiters. The pre-employment testing tools can provide hiring managers with the right pre-employment assessment software and tools. Using this, hiring managers can effectively spend their time while saving time.
#2 Simplifying to the maximum
Candidate evaluation is the fundamental process of candidate screening, and this determines if you have made a good hire. The pre-employment tools with their features help to hire specialists to be comprehensive. Some positions can be evaluated using the built-in assessments from the software, and others require a more complex set of questions that need to be constructed. Therefore, you can use the “bundle” functionalities that SkillRobo offers. Using SkillRobo, you can save time, and it gives you an idea of the skill level of the candidates and how updated they are.
#3 To face the dynamic job market
According to a recent survey by Hays, only 18% of employers conduct assessment tests before deciding on what kind of training each employee wants. And furthermore, 36% of them simply stick to select staffing. Not only do new hires need to be evaluated using the pre-employment testing tools, but the existing employees also need to be evaluated. This helps managers get an insight into how well they keep themselves updated.
The results from the tests can be a useful insight for determining if the existing workforce can remain for a long tenure. They identify their weaknesses and discuss them with the company to improve their specific skill sets. The organization can also be restructured and support skill growth.
#4 Enhanced candidate experience
Positive candidate experience is fundamental for the success of the entire recruitment technique and business brand. Candidate employing experience will be the principal association a candidate will have with the organization, and of course, the first impression counts! It gives them the sensation of what is to come and what to possibly expect in the event that they are recruited.
Offering your candidates a good interview experience during the hiring and assessment process looks silk and sleek. It adds an extra highlight to your employer’s image. As an arrangement, make your candidates your image ministers.
#5 Instant reports and Unbiased decisions
One more advantage of pre-employment assessments is candidate abilities reports that are produced right away upon the assessment completion. They give top to bottom experiences on the candidate profile and his/her similarity with the particular job — and according to the candidates’ viewpoint, they get criticism, exhibiting how they can improve. With these reports close by, employers can make quicker and more educated recruiting choices.
Bias is a serious problem in hiring decisions. Pre-employment assessments prevent biased choices caused by the human factor. They equitably evaluate each candidate using the same tests, circumstances, and inquiries, after which it examines candidates’ reactions to create a report. This is one method for staying away from any unjustifiable judgment or inclination that people are vulnerable to.
Issues with pre-employment assessment
There are some key issues with using pre-employment assessments. Even with the many benefits gained by the recruiters, there are two key issues that organizations should understand before implementing skill assessments of any type.
The first key issue is validity. There is always doubt about the validity of the assessments, and whether they truly assess the specific criterion related to the job. The validity is checked using the validity coefficient. It is the correlation between the test scores and the predicted performance. When the correlation number is high, the likelihood of those candidates performing well in the test is more likely to do the job well. Poor test scores indicate that they are likely to perform poorly in the job.
The second key issue is reliability. It is the measure of the consistency of the test. For an assessment test to be reliable, the candidates’ test scores should always be the same whenever they take it. If the score is high on one day and low one week later, the test is not reliable. If the test results are not consistent in measuring the candidates’ traits, then the validation cannot be considered and has little value in predicting the applicant’s future job performance.
Enhance the hiring process with the skill assessment tests. If you are searching for ways to optimize your hiring process, then it is time to look for an ideal solution – SkillRobo.
It is an online pre-employment assessment tool that helps you to hire skillful candidates in a streamlined approach using its unique features, sign up for the free trial of SkillRobo. Visit us to know more.