What are skill assessment tests?
Skill assessment tests are tests designed to help employers evaluate the skills of their job candidates and employees.
Using skills assessment test helps companies ensure that their job candidates, as well as their current employees, have the required skills to successfully perform their jobs.
Skill assessment tests are most commonly used in the hiring process. Many employers ask their applicants to take a skill assessment test in order to narrow down their list of candidates who will be invited to a job interview.
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Skill assessment tests vs. other assessment methods
There are many different methods used by employers to assess their potential or existing employees’ skills.
Some of the most popular methods for assessing job candidates’ or employees’ skills are:
Job simulation exercise (such as mock sales call, writing assignment, presentation, etc.)
Skill assessment tests.
High quality skill assessment tests are the only completely standardized, formal and scientific method for evaluating the skills of employees and job candidates.
By definition, skill assessment tests have to yield a clear score, rating, description and a category. This is why these tests are able to more objectively define, measure and evaluate candidates’ and employees’ skills and abilities.
Besides, comparing with the other skill assessment methods, skill assessment test have many additional benefits.
For example, when using other skill assessment methods, you can only hear what candidates themselves (in their resumes and job interviews) or some other people (in reference checks) say about their skills.
The problem here is that your candidates and even your current employees will try to present themselves in the best possible way.
Of course, when done right, structured job interviews can be a solid predictor of job performance. Good, experienced interviewers have their ways of checking if interviewees are telling the truth (mostly by reading their candidates’ body language).
Job simulations are also quite an effective method for predicting job performance.
However, when compared with administering skill assessment tests, these two methods (conducting job interviews and applying job simulations) turn out to be a more time-consuming and much more expensive.
How common is skill assessment testing?
Although skill assessment test are around for decades, in the last few years the percentage of employers who use them has grown enormously.
Today, 82% of companies use some form of pre-employment assessment tests, according to the recent Talent Board's Candidate Experience Research report.
This is due to the scientific and technological advancement of skill assessment tools. Today, these tools are more affordable than ever, which is very convenient for employers.
Another reason why so many employers use skill assessment tests these days is because they guarantee a great candidate experience. Candidates can access and solve these skill assessment tests online from their own living room, at the time that suits them the best.
Why so many companies use skill assessments tests?
Besides being the most reliable, objective and affordable method for assessing job candidates, skill assessment tests have many additional benefits.
The Society for Human Resources (SHRM) lists the following reasons why employers use skill assessment tests:
To hire new employees,
To evaluate current employees for different roles,
To identify employees with high leadership potential,
To compare talent within an organization against industry or geographical benchmarks,
To understand talent strengths and gaps
To develop employees’ long-term value.
Skill assessment tests provide relevant information on both job applicants’ and employees’ ability to perform in the workplace.
As such, skill assessment tests are used by employers to make well-informed, data-backed decisions regarding recruitment, training, and promotion of job candidates and employees.
➡️ If you’re interested to find out more about the specific benefits of using skill assessment tests, check out our blog post: 20 Reasons to Use Skill Assessment Tests!
Types of skill assessment tests
There are many types of so called talent assessment, pre-employment or pre-hire assessment tests.
Here are a few examples of the most commonly used talent assessment tests:
General mental ability assessments
Job knowledge tests
Situational judgment tests
and skill assessment tests.
Skill assessment tests are the tests created to measure and evaluate candidates’ and employees’ skills needed for successful job performance.
Skills assessments aren’t focused on measuring knowledge (like job knowledge tests do) or personality traits (like most of psychometric and personality tests).
Skill assessment tests measure actual skills, most commonly referred to as soft skills and technical skills.
How to choose the right type of skill assessment test?
There are many different types of skill assessment test which measure different soft and technical skills. Which one you should use? That depends on the specific job position you are looking to fill and the skills needed to successfully perform in that role.
For example, are you looking for a candidate with strong communication, teamwork, public presentation, problem solving, time management, coding and programming, project management, technical writing or leadership skills?
In order to choose the right type of skill assessment test, you should first define the most relevant skills for the position you are looking to fill.
A word of caution: Skill assessment tests limitation
A word of advice from my own experience: People can have all the best skills, experience and job knowledge in the world, but if they are not motivated to do the job, they will never become top performers.
Another important thing: Besides hiring the right people for the job, you should also make sure you’re hiring the type of person who will fit in with your company culture.
Thus, when you’re evaluating a job candidate, make sure to test not only their skills, but also motivation, personality and cultural fit.
Finally, keep in mind that technical, as well as soft skills can be trained and learned.
How to select the right skill assessment tool?
With so many different providers and skill assessment tools in the market, it may seem quite hard to choose the best one.
In order to help you make the right decision and find the skill assessment testing tool that will perfectly fit your needs, we created this handy 5 step guide:
Step #1: Define your goals and needs
The first step in choosing your ideal skill assessment testing tool is to define your goals and needs.
Here are a few questions to help you get started:
Do you want to evaluate the skills of your candidates or your existing employees?
Are your goals to hire the best job candidates or to identify skill gaps in your current employees?
How many people do you plan to evaluate on the monthly and yearly basis?
Step #2: Define the skills you want to evaluate
The second step in choosing your ideal skill assessment tool is to define the skills you want to evaluate in your candidates or employees.
The most important question here is do you want to evaluate soft or technical skills? Or both?
Some skills assessment tools are specialized in either soft or technical assessments, but there are also those who offer test for both soft and technical skills.
Make a list of the specific skills you want to evaluate in your employees and candidates. You’ll start your search by finding skill assessment tool that offers all the skills assessment tests you need.
Step #3: Define the characteristics of your ideal skill assessment tool
Next, define the characteristics of your ideal skill assessment tool.
Here are a few questions which may help you:
Should your ideal skill assessment tool be scientifically validated?
Can your ideal skill assessment tool be integrated with you applicant tracking system (ATS)?
Does your ideal skill assessment tool offer a 24×7 customer support by email or telephone?
Should your ideal skill assessment tool offer the possibility of customizing the skills tests?
Should your ideal skill assessment tool provide a great candidate experience?
You should also consider the budget constraints you have when it comes to buying a skill assessment tool.
Step #4: Research the market
The following step is to research the market. You’ll do that by browsing the top skill assessment test providers’ websites and comparing them against each other.
You can create a list of you desired skill assessment tool characteristics defined in the first three steps. That way, you will be able to compare different skill assessment tools much easier and faster.
➡️ To help you save time, we created a list of the most popular skill assessment tools in the market (see the list below).
Step #5: Decide between your top 3 choices
Finally, take the top three skill assessment tools form your list for a test drive. Most of these tools offer a free trial or a demo, so make sure you take advantage of that possibility.
That way, you’ll be able to compare and evaluate competing skill assessment tools from the first-hand experience.
Recommended skills assessment tools
Here is the list of the best skill assessment tools in the market.
All of these tools offer skill assessment tests which can be administered quickly and easily through well-designed software.
eSkill is an online skills assessment solution which helps organizations deploy the most accurate, valid tests for pre-employment and skills gap assessments. You can choose from over 600 standard tests, 5000 combinable topics or create your own content for any job and industry.
Devskiller offers developer screening and online interviews in one platform. They offer a possibility to test programming languages, frameworks and libraries. With their Test Wizard, you can generate coding test based on your job description in order to verify coding skills you are looking for.
With Interview Mocha, you can verify your candidate's job fit with our 1000+ skill tests, aptitude tests, enterprise-ready assessment platform. You can choose from a vast library of pre-built skill tests, customize one yourself or order a custom-made test specially designed for you.
The Hire Talent
The Hire Talent offers different pre-employment test solutions, including people (EQ) & logic (IQ) assessments, work personality assessments, skills assessments and sales aptitude and skills assessments.
Codility is a software platform that helps tech recruiters and hiring managers assess their candidates' skills by testing their code online. Codility generates automatically scored reports about each candidate's coding abilities, empowering the whole team to gauge technical skills.
Plum provides organizations with the data they need to make predictive talent decisions with the power of AI and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. By measuring talents such as adaptability, innovation, and communication, Plum hosts the single largest database for quantifying human potential at every stage of the employee journey – predicting successful hires and informing learning & development, strategic workforce planning, and emerging leader capability.
Mercer Mettl is an online talent assessments platform which can help you measure your candidates’ skills, personality and ability. You can choose from their test library of different psychometric, cognitive and technical test or get custom test built for your specific needs.
The Owiwi platform is a revolutionary recruitment tool that takes the shape of an interactive, immersive game. The game is designed to measure a job candidate’s soft skills. Presently, this psychometric assessment tool provides insight into a candidate/player’s following soft skills: resilience, flexibility, adaptability, decision making, work ethic, accountability, teamwork, learning agility.