According to a report by Quess, a business solutions provider, the demand for IT skills has grown by 22% from October 2020 to March 2021 with BFSI, technology services, auto and engineering, and consulting industries taking the lead in skill demand. Along with the increase in demand for skilled labour, the skill gaps in various roles have also increased. A World Economic Forum report reveals that skill gaps continue to be high in various roles across industries. In order to meet the high demand for skilled candidates and bridge the skill gap, recruitment teams need to ensure pre-employment assessment tests evaluate candidates holistically. Candidate interview tests and assessments need to cover a wide spectrum of skills like cognitive ability, critical reasoning and problem solving, behavioural traits required for the role, job-related skills, and logical and analytical reasoning.
What is a pre-employment assessment?
To make informed hiring decisions, the recruitment and selection team requires complete and updated information on the candidate’s skills, temperament, aptitude, and employment history. Pre-employment assessments and interviews are the main channels through which candidate information can be gathered. What is a pre-employment interview assessment? These are objective and standardized ways of gathering complete information on candidates during the interview process. The concept of testing and assessment is essential to ensure that the candidate is the right fit for the role, skill wise and personality wise.
Professionally curated and well-validated interview assessment tools are the most efficient and reliable ways to gain deeper insights into knowledge, skills, traits, and capabilities of potential employees. There are many types of assessments available in the market, all of which help the recruitment team arrive at informed hiring decisions. The type of assessment is chosen depending on the role you are hiring for, and the skill/competency level required for the role. Skill assessments can also be used for evaluating skill level of employees in order to identify the skill gap. Training and development programs can be identified based on the skill requirements to bridge the gap.
Why do employers use pre-employment testing?
Traditionally, human resource managers have relied upon telephonic and face-to-face interviews to fill open job vacancies in the organization. This approach has however proved flawed and inadequate especially when hiring at scale and increases the number of bad hires and attrition rates. The incompetence of bad hires costs the organization in many ways. The need for filling open vacancies quickly is one of the main causes of making bad hires. Use of skill assessment testing empowers the hiring team to make informed hiring decisions by gathering complete information on the candidate skills, competencies, aptitude, and personality.
Employers may use online assessment tools for the following reasons:
Accelerate the hiring process: screening several candidate profiles in a short duration of time is possible with online assessment tools. Employers use these tools to quickly narrow down on the number of applicants to find the right fit for the role.
Evaluate candidates holistically: pre-employment testing software comes with a battery of tests that evaluate various aspects of the candidate’s personality and technical capabilities. From cognitive ability to psychometry tests to software coding skills test – pre employment assessments cover a wide range of candidate evaluation.
Identify the skill gap in employees: employees need to continuously update/upgrade their skills in order to stay competent. Employers use skill evaluations to identify the skill gaps in employees in order to organize training programs to bridge the gap.
Identify the strong and weak areas of the company: skill assessments may be used by the organization to identify areas or departments that require more training.
Compare organizational talent with market standards: skill assessments can be used to compare organizational talent against geographical or industry standards.
Types of Assessments
Various types of assessments are available for the hiring team to choose from depending on the skill requirements of the role. Choosing the right testing assessment improves the quality and speed of hiring significantly. Here are 10 types of skill assessments are listed below:
1) Personality test: in addition to matching the skills of candidate w.r.t to the role, the hiring team must also ensure that the candidate’s personality and aptitude matches with requirements of the role. HR professionals use personality tests to maximize employee potential. These tests give a good idea of workplace patterns, relevant characteristics and traits, and help gauge people’s response to different situations. Personality tests are divided into two categories: bright side and dark side. The former type is based on Big Five Personality Traits of the Five Factor Model. The bright side of human traits like openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and agreeableness are evaluated in the bright side assessment. Certain characteristics of a person are triggered under challenging circumstances, which offer insights into how effectively the person tackles these circumstances.
2) Cognitive ability test: critical reasoning/thinking, verbal reasoning, numerical ability, decision making, and problem-solving skills are categorised as cognitive abilities. The cognitive ability is an indicator of the intelligence quotient (IQ) of the person. Research has established a clear correlation between cognitive ability and work performance. High score in cognitive ability translates to high job performance.
3) Coding tests: jobs in the software industry require thorough evaluation of the coding skills of candidates. Best technical talent can be identified through exhaustive coding tests with questions relevant to the role.
4) Behavioural Assessment: the ability to gel into the work environment and company culture can be effectively gauged by behavioural assessments. A simulated work environment is presented to the candidate to gauge how well they operate and cope with challenges. Possible courses of action for each work-related scenario are provided to the candidate to choose from. Their choice throws light on their attitude and demeanour. Situational judgement tests, in-box exercises, caselets sets, and case study simulators are different types of online behaviour assessments. Offline behavioural assessments include group discussion, behavioural interviews, in-tray exercises, group activities, case presentations, and role plays.
5) Role-based tests: role-based tests are customized for job functions and roles. These tests evaluate the domain expertise, aptitude, and behavioural attributes of candidates. Role-based tests are commonly used for business functions like law, retail, BPO, engineering, financial services, media/PR, accounting, and blue collared jobs.
6) Remote work assessment: remote work was once considered a good to have skill, but the way the COVID pandemic has changed all that. Remote work skills and competencies are required in almost any industry and function. These assessments gauge the candidate’s readiness and preparedness to ensure business continuity and productivity through remote working. The behavioural competencies required to work remotely are gauged by these tests.
7) High potential identification: development of individual employees drives organizational growth. By tapping into the job prospect’s high potential capability, businesses can sustain rapid transformation and limited resource availability situations. Pre-employment assessments are clear differentiators of high potential employees.
8) Learning ability: employees with a steep learning curve help improve productivity levels. Learning ability or mental agility is one of the most desired competencies in prospective hires in order to sustain in a complex and dynamic business landscape. An organization powered with learning agile workforce has:
- improved productivity
- future-ready workforce
- higher organizational efficiency and productivity
- more number of high potential employees
Job prospects with a high score in learning ability tests respond actively to new work conditions and evaluate their experiences objectively.
9) Digital readiness: in a world that is surrounded by digital technology, digital readiness and awareness is a must-have skill for performing any role in any industry. For businesses to survive in the digital world, every aspect of the business – from strategy to processes, should embrace digital transformation. Digital readiness assessment helps evaluate how aware and ready prospects are to embrace digital technology.
10) Language proficiency test: proficiency in English language is required for jobs at all levels, from CEO to a clerk. English is the preferred language for communication across the world. Verbal and written proficiency in the English language must be evaluated during the hiring process. Any customer centric role requires excellent communication skills. Pronunciation, grammar, fluency, and listening comprehension are the main types of language-based evaluations.
Organizations can choose the type of assessment based on the role for which the candidate is being considered for. SkillRobo is an online assessment that can be customized based on skill requirements of various roles. The hiring team can create tailor-made assessments from the fully customizable test library in SkillRobo. Instant reports and analytics on the candidate’s performance is provided to the hiring team to make informed decisions on hiring. The secure browser environment ensures a fair administration of tests. The candidate’s online activity is monitored throughout the test to prevent fraud or cheating.
Pre-employment skill assessment tests are handy tools for hiring teams to make quick and informed hiring decisions. Interview assessment tools improve the quality of hire and help identify the high-performance candidates. Skill gaps in the organization can be effectively identified through skill assessments. Hiring teams can choose from various types of assessments depending on the skill requirements of the role. You can create your own online assessment free by signing up for SkillRobo. The free trial of SkillRobo gives you a peek into hiring assessment capabilities of the software.
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