Skills tests are assessments that are designed to help employers gauge the knowledge and skill level of potential new hires or even existing employees. Often, these tests focus on and measure knowledge of particular subjects as well as proficiency of tangible skills (such as software use of different applications and programs or technical abilities).
Skills assessments are typically off-the-shelf testing programs that cover a broad range of standard questions. Testing is typically administered online and therefore providers have the ability to grade testers automatically on their answers. However, some providers (such as ourselves at Skillsarena) offer a customisable type of testing that can be adjusted to a specific business' needs. Bespoke testing covers multiple technical and software aspects as well as the applications of skills, and it can be a great option for organisations with more specific testing needs.
Testing for skills can also be a helpful tool for existing employees, as it can help testers identify where they may need to create more bespoke training courses and encourage further training, upskilling, reskilling or learning within the company.
Why use skills assessments?
Testing for skills pre-employment is a great way to speed up the recruitment process or narrow down and choose from a large pool of candidates. Looking at candidate experience on a CV only tells employers so much, so verifying whether they have the particular skills for the role at hand is of vital importance. By creating an assessment that is specific to your business, selecting the right person for the job will become much easier.
What are the benefits of bespoke tests?
Tailor to the company
Creating an assessment for your business is a great way to make sure specific hiring criteria and the company culture are reflected in your testing. Designing an assessment can include questions that range from hard to soft skills, and can automatically help select the type of candidates that would fit in well with your business' culture.
It is also great for ensuring that particular hiring practices are covered. For example, if a writing sample is required for a certain role, your test can include this alongside all other questions.
Tailor to the role
All roles are unique. Even an entry-level administrative position will vary depending on the company, the team and the clients. Having a unique assessment created for your business gives you the advantage when selecting to see which candidates have the particular skills that are necessary for the specifics of the role itself.
Whether the position you are testing for is extremely technical (such as an automation or software tester) or whether it requires a more varied skill set (such as a project management role or an assistant position), creating an assessment can help ensure that the relevant skills and knowledge are actually represented in the candidates' answers while you are selecting who should move forward to the interview process.
A unique test can grade hard skill types such as programming languages or software skills alongside softer skill types like problem-solving or communication, making processes efficient and helpful during the pre-employment stage.
Better recruitment outcomes
Creating your own test of skills can help you to narrow down large applicant pools and select the people that are the most suitable for the position based on their answers and grades.
Standard interview questions measure less of what the necessary skills and knowledge of the role are, and are often more focused on the applicant trying to 'sell' themselves to the employer, which can be detrimental in the long run. In order for the right applicants with concrete skills to be put forward for the job (rather than just those who are good at convincing others of their skills) multiple hiring approaches must be carried out.
Creating a unique test for your organisation is a great way to make sure the best people for the job are being hired. A good interview and a good test do not always go hand-in-hand, therefore having the tools for both allows you to make decisions more clearly. This will ultimately improve employee retention and, by extension, employer satisfaction.
Another advantage of creating a unique ability test for your organisation's recruitment process is to see what opportunities for training there are for potential new hires. It is unlikely that one person will have all the knowledge, skills and requirements that the role requires as a new starter, and therefore testing their skills is a great way of determining what needs improvement within their particular skill set.
This can then lead to developing opportunities for learning and bespoke training once the candidate is selected, and shows the tester exactly what kind of development needs to take place in order for the new hire to be successful.
Is a bespoke skills test right for you?
Creating a skills test may not always be the best option for all organisations or roles. However, large or small companies can benefit from creating their own skills tests rather than using pre-made tests to select their candidates based on ability. Here are some criteria that may help you choose what type of test (bespoke or off-the-shelf) is best for your process.
Number of applicants
If an applicant pool is quite large, creating a skills test may be a good option as it will help the tester to select which candidates are suited to the role more easily based on their answers and grades. It will also speed up the hiring process and ultimately save the business time and money.
Unique and technical roles
A unique skills assessment may also be a good idea if the role in question is very technical and unique. One may think that standard software tests are fine for all recruitment needs, but software development, application development, software testing and related roles will always vary in the specific skills needed in candidates. So, creating a bespoke test for these roles will help select candidates and determine how much training they may need once hired.
Creating your own skills test comes with the advantage of choosing which format you wish your test to be in. You can have a combination of question types like multiple-choice questions, drop-down test questions and short answers, and you can also have different question types depending on the information being tested. A specially designed test can have psychometric questions, personality questions, technical questions and critical thinking questions.
Creating your own exam allows for the tester to have time limits for test-takers, ensuring that not too much or too little of someone's time is being spent on the test. It also allows for test automation, making things easier for employers by scrapping the need for manual testing in the office, which takes up much more time and many resources.
At SkillsArena, we offer an array of pre-made tests that are available to use in your recruitment process. We also offer personality tests in order for you to get a well-rounded view of potential and current employees and their working styles.
However, if you do feel like a bespoke test is right for your organisation, we will work with you to adapt and create a test that will work the best for you and your process.
Should you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us by giving us a call on 0203 693 2201 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org