Employers often use skills assessment tests during the hiring process to determine if candidates are a good match for the open position. Even if you have showcased both your hard and soft skills on your resume with facts and figures, you may still need to sit this test.
Knowing what to expect from this type of assessment test can help you prepare for and clear them. In this article, we define a skills assessment test with examples, describe the different types of tests, and list the top 10 strategies for taking these tests.
What is a Skills Test?
A skills test is an assessment test used to evaluate the knowledge, skills and abilities of job candidates. These tests are designed to determine if a job applicant has the necessary skills to perform the various aspects of a job. In some cases, employers may even ask their existing employees to take this test.
The importance of the Skills Test
Because skills assessments are designed to objectively assess the skills of individuals, there are many benefits to using them. Here are just a few:
- Reduce Bias: Especially in the hiring process, intrinsic biases can affect our hiring decisions. The more weight given to skills assessments, the less is given to things like age, gender, previous employer, education, address, and other factors that can inadvertently sway a hiring manager.
- Consistency: Without an assessment, hiring managers are left with human reports of proficiency – with no objective agreement on the “scale.” One job candidate may report that her skills are mostly “3” on a 3-point scale and another mostly “2” – even if their skill levels are exactly the same. A skills assessment does a much better job assigning objective meaning to that 1-2-3 scale.
- Personalized Development Plans: Just because someone isn’t fully skilled doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get the job or promotion. A skills assessment is extremely helpful in pinpointing exactly the areas where someone needs to develop skills, making it easier to develop a relevant, personalized learning and development plan.
- Measure Progress: Whether monitoring the development of individuals or teams, regular skills assessments can confirm progress – or identify areas where the training and support aren’t enough.
- Employee Engagement: As a global employee reward and recognition company Fond reminds us, that employees want to keep learning. “Cultivating your employees’ growth is a win-win situation — it keeps them engaged and allows them to develop new skill sets that will make them stronger employees.” Skills assessments are precisely all about employee growth; supporting and recognizing their progress keeps employees engaged.
Top skills in demand for the 21st century
Creativity Skills Test
Creativity is key for many industries and positions in the 21st century. Any company or industry in need of innovation should be searching for employees with loads of creativity. The ability to think outside of the box allows companies to adapt to changing markets and find innovative ways to resolve potential problems.
If you often feel stuck when brainstorming or problem-solving, don’t worry—creativity can be cultivated. Staying up-to-date with news and trends within your industry and others can get your creative juice flowing. “I do a lot of reading and encourage my team members to do the same. It keeps us energized, integrated, and creative.
Critical thinking is the key to students and employees coming to logical and well-reasoned conclusions. Well-developed critical thinking skills help us objectively analyze a situation, weigh options and identify potential outcomes to any decision.
It’s not hard to see how this ability can be valuable in life—and employers certainly appreciate an employee who is forward-thinking enough to predict and plan for future problems before they’ve even happened.
Like any skill, critical thinking can be refined through practice. Try walking through your day with problem-solving glasses on. For example, if you’re stuck in a long line at the grocery store run through the situation—what’s the primary cause of the delay? What can be done to help? Could this solution have an effect on other areas in the store? Just getting into an evaluation and problem-solving mindset can go a long way in refining your critical thinking abilities.
Collaboration means being willing to listen, learn and work with others to accomplish a goal together. The modern workforce is full of employees with highly specialized skills and knowledge. This doesn’t mean you’ll need to be able to do every job, but you better be able to collaborate with these people effectively.
It’s especially important to demonstrate your ability to work well with others at the start of your career when you don’t necessarily have enough experience to deliver high-end results on your own. If you’re able to work effectively with your peers, you’ll be able to get much-needed help, expand your expertise and as a result, deliver better work.
If you have a tough time asking for help from others or working with a team, try getting involved in projects or volunteer work that forces you to rely on someone who knows more than you.
Communication Skills Test
Communication is probably a skill you are sick of hearing about—but there’s no denying the value of being an effective communicator. It’s universally useful and your ability to communicate trickles into all aspects of life.
“With so much automation that enables smooth work processes, communication is the one skill that remains critical for healthy company culture.
All of the technical knowledge and skill in the world isn’t worth much if you can’t effectively get your point across in a respectful and coherent way.
Information Literacy Skills Test
Whether you’re doing research for a paper at school or a report or presentation at work, information literacy is key. Information literacy is the foundational skill that media literacy is built on. A student or employee with this skill is able to separate fact from fiction by interpreting facts and raw data they might find online.
Students can easily refine information literacy skills while in school through the scholarly writing process, according to Kehoe. A lot of research projects require good information literacy skills to correctly interpret results and draw conclusions in a written setting.
Adaptability Skills Test
Though this isn’t necessarily a quality you’ll see listed in a job description, the ability to demonstrate flexibility can make or break a job interview.
The job market is changing quickly. Adaptable employees are flexible in several ways. They should be able to work both remotely or in the office, independently and with a team. They’re also open-minded, interested in new ideas, and willing to take on new tasks.
How can you practice being flexible? Though lunch-break yoga won’t necessarily do the trick, getting out of your comfort zone regularly will. Try a new hobby, shadow a co-worker for the day to see what they do, or attend a conference focused on a new-to-you topic.
Leadership Skills Test
If you think leadership is just for the CEOs or your manager, think again. No matter what your ambitions are, cultivating leadership skills while in school or while working that entry-level job can lead to greater opportunities in the future.
Since leadership involves many other traits including humility, decisiveness, and managerial competence, working to develop leadership skills as a whole can seem vague or overwhelming.
Social Skills Test
Self-awareness and regulation mean understanding and managing yourself including your past, values, motivations, and stressors. Though it’s not flashy, glamorous work, it’s important. Try asking for more feedback from your boss and colleagues about your behaviour, or give daily journaling a go.
Empathy can help you become a better listener and in turn a better colleague. If you can relate to a client’s or colleague’s problem or distress, you’ll form stronger relationships and may be able to suggest better solutions.
Though it may be tough, working on your social skills is always worth it. “Good social skills ensure that a candidate can interact and work well with others, understand the nuances of social interactions, bring the best out of others, and ultimately, function as a part of a team.
How is the Skills Test conducted?
Skill testing works best when the questions being asked are specifically crafted to the role and needs of the team hiring the new candidate. In designing a skills test, combine different types of questions to get a 360-degree view of how a candidate will perform in different scenarios.
There are a variety of ways to set up a skills test – and we’ll get into the mechanics of how to actually run the assessment in the next section. But, designing a thoughtful aptitude test takes some initial foresight on behalf of the hiring manager and team.
- Define the “human elements” needed to perform the job.
- Compile questions that will measure and predict these human elements.
- Use the data gathered by the skills assessments to empower the next round of the screening process.
- Post-hiring, evaluate the efficacy of the hiring assessment to ensure the questions delivered the best result.
Ultimately, the best use for a skills assessment is to help recruiters move away from the resume and allow candidates to prove they are the real deal. Crafting the right series of questions should be a collaborative process between the recruiting team and the team hiring the new employee. Here’s how these teams can set up and run a skills test.
Platforms for skill testing;
- The Predictive Index
- The Athena Quotient
Hope this blog helps in understanding the Skills Tests in detail. For more insightful content;
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