Skills Tests Take the Guesswork Out of Hiring and Training
Organizations worldwide have found hiring to be challenging during the past few years. Many were forced to adjust their business model virtually overnight due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then they have had to resolve supply chain issues to fill orders and keep customers happy. When it looked like everything was getting back to normal, there was a global talent shortage.
HR leaders across all industry sectors have looked for ways to up their recruiting game and are learning that skills testing will help them improve hiring outcomes. In addition to wanting to know, “What is a basic skills test for employment?” they ask, “Can skills tests be used for all kinds of jobs?”
How Are Skills Tests Used in Hiring?
Labor markets are stabilizing, but many businesses still struggle to recruit qualified talent. So, organizations worldwide have adopted skills-testing solutions like the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM to hire top talent, minimize hiring mistakes, and reduce turnover. When business leaders ask, “What can I expect from a skills assessment test?”, they learn about some ways they can benefit by implementing a skills-testing solution:
- Hire Top-Quality Employees: Skills testing helps HR professionals instantly identify candidates with the right skills and experience. It is difficult to find top talent because there is a lack of applicants with in-demand skills. Organizations have implemented new technologies and digital transformation initiatives during the past 10 years. This has made it necessary to retool internal processes and revise procedures. So, many jobs now require different skills, and other jobs have been eliminated because they were obsolete.Applicants’ skills have not kept pace with these changes, and the result is a huge skills gap. A Korn Ferry report shows a global talent shortage of more than 85 million people—a number roughly equivalent to the population of Germany. Experts predict that organizations could lose around $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues if this deficit is not addressed by 2030.
- Instantly Eliminate Unqualified Candidates: Skills tests help hiring teams eliminate candidates who lack the right skills and experience. Most companies receive hundreds of responses when they post a job. HR teams know many applicants are unqualified, but they cannot easily determine which ones. If they do not use skills tests, the alternative is to manually review every resume and application, which is counterproductive and wastes time.Another problem is that traditional screening methods, such as reviewing resumes and conducting interviews, are unreliable. A recent HireRight Employment Report shows that over 85% of candidates lie or exaggerate their experience on their resumes and during job interviews. So, a candidate with a “perfect” resume, who sounds good during interviews, could be a bad hire. And the company will not know until they have invested thousands of dollars and countless hours in onboarding and training.
- Maximize Productivity: Skills testing helps organizations hire top talent so they can maximize productivity, generate higher profits, and meet growth goals. According to Harvard Business Review, leading companies are over 40% more productive than their nearest competitors and have operating margins that are 30% to 50% higher than their peers.A recent McKinsey study shows that if an organization implemented a cross-functional project that would take three years to complete, it would be done in less than two years if it replaced 20% of the average performers with top talent. The project would take less than a year if the team members were 400% more productive than average. If the company and a competitor were working on similar projects, and the competitor hired talent that was 20% better than theirs, the competitor would beat them to market even if they had a year or two head start.
- Minimize Hiring Mistakes: Utilizing Skills tests minimizes costly hiring mistakes. Hiring the wrong person is every manager’s worst nightmare because it negatively impacts productivity. Hiring mistakes are also expensive. According to a Gallup study, U.S. businesses lose $1 trillion yearly through voluntary turnover. Since the cost of replacing an employee is about one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary, turnover and replacement costs for a 100-person company that pays employees an average salary of $50,000 will average around $660,000 to $2.6 million per year.
- Reduce Turnover: Skills testing helps reduce turnover. Managers want new employees to become productive team members who contribute to organizational goals and objectives. Unfortunately, this often does not happen. Around 68% of new hires leave within the first three months, and 90% of employees continue to explore new opportunities even if they are not actively looking for a new job.A loss of $240,000 can be the result of a bad hire. If an employee leaves voluntarily or does not work out, the company loses that investment and must incur additional costs to recruit, onboard, and train a replacement.
- Improve the Candidate Experience: Skills testing helps organizations attract top employees and avoid losing them during the hiring process. Once a business attracts the interest of a promising candidate, it does not want to lose them due to frustration with the hiring process.Employers that implement the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM can brand their assessment center with their logo and corporate colors. Many organizations promote their company by providing videos to watch and information applicants can download.They can also create a single skills test to assess candidates on all the skills they need to measure instead of requiring applicants to complete multiple assessments. For example, if a company is recruiting customer support representatives with advanced MS Word® and MS Excel® skills and basic math abilities, it can evaluate applicants on all these skills by building a skills test that includes questions from the Customer Service, MS Office®, and Basic Math skills tests.
What Are Some Examples of Skills Tests?
HR leaders often ask to see examples of skills tests because one of their biggest questions is, “What is included in a skills assessment test?” They learn that each company has specific and unique needs. Their best choice of skills tests depends on the jobs they want to fill and the skills required for each. When they ask, “How do skills tests help companies hire better employees?”, they learn about features like the following, which they should look for when evaluating skills testing solutions.
- Assessment Library: A skills testing solution should include access to a library of validated assessments for various jobs. If you need an executive assistant with advanced MS Office® skills, a controller who can prepare financial statements, or a team of software engineers with advanced Java and C++ skills, the library should offer assessments for those situations.The library should also include cognitive skills tests to measure logical thinking and verbal reasoning. The eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM has hundreds of validated job- and subject-based skills tests hiring teams can use to assess applicants for virtually any job.
- Customization: The skills required for your job roles are most likely different from those of other companies in your industry. This is why choosing an assessment solution that allows you to use pre-prepared assessments or create customized skills tests is important.With the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM, HR professionals can use standard job- or subject-based skills tests as-is or modify them by adding and deleting questions. They can also build customized assessments using questions from multiple skills tests.
- Simulations: When HR leaders ask, “What kind of questions are asked in skill assessment tests?” they are happy to learn that they can include simulations in skills tests. A simulation presents candidates with situations they will encounter on the job, and the best way to confirm applicants can do a job is to watch them perform job-related tasks. The eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM offers MS Office, Chat, Multitasking, and Digital Literacy simulations.The MS Office simulation enables you to assess candidates’ Word® and Excel® proficiency accurately. With the Chat simulation, you can evaluate a candidate’s ability to manage multiple conversations simultaneously while answering emails and responding to customer requests. The Multitasking simulation lets you set up a series of tasks and designate a time limit to assess candidates’ ability to manage emails, handle orders, and respond to customer requests. The Digital Literacy simulation assesses applicants’ basic computer knowledge and Internet and social media expertise.
- Video Response Questions: It is difficult to measure some abilities, such as foreign language proficiency and verbal communication skills, using a written skills test. So, HR teams also need the option to include video response questions in With the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM, they can include video response questions in skills tests by setting up questions and designating scoring criteria. Hiring team members can then review and rate candidates’ responses and add their comments.
- Behavioral Assessments: High turnover is one of the leading causes of reduced productivity, and poor job fit is the cause of 89% of hiring failures. Skills testing measures hard skills, that is, abilities that pertain directly to a job, such as MS Word and Excel proficiency, and helps recruiters identify candidates who have the right skills to do a job. Behavioral assessments measure soft skills that determine whether candidates are a good fit for a job and company culture, such as problem-solving, time management, and critical thinking. Hiring teams use behavioral assessments to confirm that top contenders have the soft skills essential to being a good fit for their company culture.
How Different Types of Skills Tests Work Together
The different types of assessments work together to help organizations get a 360o view of applicants. Subject and job-specific skills test results show candidates know how to do the job; cognitive assessments confirm they have the intellectual capacity to learn on the job and grow with a company, and behavioral assessments show whether they are a good cultural fit for the organization.
These are some ways the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM provides organizations the flexibility their HR teams need to design skills testing strategies for any hiring situation.
- Customize skills tests by choosing questions from multiple assessments and adding proprietary content.
- Modify pre-prepared assessments to match job roles or edit and delete questions to meet corporate requirements.
- Choose top candidates based on their test scores and speed up their progression through the recruitment process.
- Add video response questions to measure skills that are hard to measure using written assessments.
- Use simulation questions that replicate real work situations to evaluate how applicants will handle job-related problems.
- Verify that candidates are a good cultural fit by using behavioral assessments along with skill and cognitive tests.
How Skills Testing Minimizes Bias
Skills tests minimize unconscious, or subjective, bias—negative attitudes and stereotypes that can influence hiring team members’ decisions. In a perfect world, all hiring team members judge candidates fairly and impartially. However, research shows that unconscious bias can taint hiring processes—even those that are well-managed. In fact, 79% of HR professionals agree that subjective bias exists in recruitment and succession planning decisions.
Unconscious bias can be unintentional preferential treatment. For example, a hiring team member could favor a particular candidate because they grew up in the same area, attended the same university, or enjoy the same hobbies. It can also occur if a hiring team member has a preconceived opinion about the type of person who can do a particular job. For example, an interviewer may be unable to visualize a woman as an auto mechanic or structural engineer, or an African American as a controller or sales manager.
Skills testing reduces unconscious bias in hiring decisions by emphasizing candidates’ skills and abilities and reducing the focus on traditional tools like resumes, applications, and interviews. This allows HR teams and hiring managers to make sound hiring decisions based on hard data and helps organizations maintain compliance with industry and federal regulations.
Get Started with Skills Testing
Skills tests are the perfect solution for organizations that want to simplify and streamline recruiting and improve quality of hire. Implementing an industry-leading skills testing solution like the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM helps businesses take the guesswork out of hiring, reduce recruiting costs, and decrease time-to-hire. Many eSkill clients have decreased hiring costs by 70% and reduced time-to-hire by 60%.
Do you want to learn how skills tests can help you streamline recruiting and improve hiring outcomes across your organization? Contact us to request a demo.