Skills assessment tests: How to use them to evaluate candidates

Skills assesment test

A skills assessment test is a type of test often used by recruiters to assess whether you have a certain skill set for a job. They are used during the recruitment process to measure a candidate’s technical ability, level of skill, and suitability for a role. Ranking candidates according to their skill set can help pinpoint the best person for a particular role, and ensures that they meet the requirements for a role.

Employers also sometimes use these tests to verify a candidate’s skill level and qualifications, and ascertain whether their skill set matches the company’s requirements. They are also a great tool for assessing whether existing employees´ skills are up to date, or if additional training is required. It sometimes happens that upskilling existing employees by providing training is a more efficient way of meeting business needs than hiring new team members.

If you are a recruiter or work in a hiring role, you may wish to use skills assessment tests to evaluate candidates. This can help narrow down applicants and find the best person for a position. Furthermore, you wish to check the skill level of your existing employees.

What are skills assessment tests?

There are a few different skills assessment tests to choose between, the best option depends on your business and industry. In some cases, a test using multiple choice questions may suffice. For some roles, in particular in areas such as tech and IT, a more extensive test may be needed to fully understand a candidate’s capabilities. It is standard practice for candidates to complete a hard skills test as part of the recruitment process, especially in areas like typing, computer coding, or operating machinery.

Types of skill assessment tests

There are various types of skills assessment tests including hard skills tests, personality tests and cognitive ability tests. A functional skills assessment test is an efficient way to assess a candidate’s level and technical ability in an area. As a recruiter, or person involved in the recruitment process, you may wish to create a test in house. This allows candidates to test using software or programmes that are already in use in your company, and will let you ascertain how comfortable they are using them. There are also some general tests and tools available, in particular when it comes to personality tests.

Personality tests

Personality tests can play a helpful role in assessing a candidate’s suitability and potential fit in a team. It is important that an appropriate assessment is used and that the results are used alongside other factors. Personality tests are generally not designed to predict job performance.

Some of the best known personality tests include the Myer Briggs test, the Enneagram and the DISC test. They can provide insights on what motivates people and may shed light on a person’s working style. A personality test may be useful in assessing whether a candidate would be a good fit for an existing team. Personality tests can also be used to optimise communication and collaboration in existing teams.

Skill assesment test

Hard skills tests

These tests vary a lot depending on your industry. When evaluating candidates, recruiters tend to consider both their hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills include technical knowledge such as computer coding, proficiency in a foreign language, UX design skills or financial management abilities. They are acquired through training and education.

Soft skills tend to be more general and relate more to personailty. Great teamwork, communication and collaborative skills fall into this bracket. Hard skills tests are often used for roles in fields such as programming, engineering, data analytics and journalism. Hard skills tests include work sample tests, technical coding tests in languages such as Python, Javascript or Ruby, in data analysis, and in writing assessments.

Cognitive ability tests

Cognitive ability tests are used to measure thinking abilities. These include verbal skills, reasoning, memory, verbal skills, problem solving skills and perception. Cognitive tests examine a person’s use of mental processes to solve problems, learn about new job related topics, or pick up new skills.

Abstract reasoning and quantitative reasoning are sometimes tested as part of cognitive skills assessments. They tell a recruiter how competently an applicant can interpret, understand, and relay a topic, be it descriptive or numerical. Verbal and spatial reasoning may also be assessed through a cognitive ability test.

Benefits of a skill assessment test in the hiring process

If you have a large pool of qualified candidates for a new position, a skill assessment test will let you compare candidates in a more thorough way than through interviewing and CV review alone. They also provide insightful data that you can share with other hiring managers and stakeholders. This can be hugely beneficial, especially if your company is growing rapidly and you need to hire quickly. Skills assessment tests make the hiring process more efficient. They help recruiters evaluate candidates and hire more confidently when growing their teams.

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