Why Test for Skills?

  By John Valenti  |    Tuesday June 27, 2012

Category: Recruiting


If you asked your employer to take $8,000 of the company's money to a casino and let it all ride on one wager, how do you think he or she would respond? How do you think they would respond if you came to them with this question weekly? Better yet, how do you think they would respond if you did it without even asking for permission?

It is becoming more and more evident that the equation of running a profitable organization begins with adding the right people. So, it should be considered a great compliment to be invited to contribute to the hiring process. It is a serious responsibility and a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to the success of your organization.

The Hiring Scenario

Let's consider a very typical hiring scenario: Your organization is leaner and meaner than it has ever been, and every single decision made is tied closely to profitability. It seems like there are more candidates applying for positions than ever before, and you find yourself under a sea of resumes filled with diverse skills and experiences. Your human resources department is a little smaller and it seems like everyone's time is at a premium. And, of course, you need the position filled yesterday!

Hence, the $8,000 bet. The cost of hiring, training and then losing a candidate for any reason, will vary from organization to organization, but hiring managers place these bets every single day. Most are just not aware that technology exists to assist them in making the right decisions in a time-efficient manner.

Let's look at one way we can leverage pre-employment assessment technology to help "hedge our bets.” If a job description has been written for a vacant position, then chances are there are certain skills that are deemed critical contributors to success. Consider a case in which a local employer is hiring for a "Sales Assistant" position. The skills required by the employer involve typing speed and proficiency in two common office software applications. The human resource manager is making the hiring decision with the ever-elusive sales manager, and they happen to receive over 100 resumes on the very first day it is advertised.

The Solution

So now you have a huge candidate pool, a hiring team that is already busy, and a critical revenue-generating position that is vacant. Does this sound familiar? Here is how pre-employment assessments can help: First, Internet technology provides the ability to access a wide variety of skills assessments via the web. Common areas of interest are clerical, software, technical, call center, customer service, financial and many more. Next, employers can issue password protected session ID's to candidates via their email. A candidate receives the session ID, along with an email that explains the entire process. Then, the candidate takes the tests from any available computer with Internet connection, at any time. Finally, scores are emailed to the test administrator immediately upon the candidate's completion, accompanied by a comprehensive report that includes proficiency by skill type, task type, question level and the time it took to answer each question.

No More Bets

The end result of this process is demonstrated by the actions of the human resource manager in the scenario above. Each applicant with the relevant job experience is emailed a session ID and a battery of skills assessments. Within 24 hours, the employer is supplied with statistical data from 15 candidates who exhibited proficiency in the skills deemed critical for job success. Hence, the human resource manager and sales manager are able to schedule one full day of face-to-face interviews with pre-qualified candidates with the job experience and skills that they are looking for. They find their new "sales assistant" that day! The human resource manager moves on to the next hiring decision, the sales manager goes back to selling, and they can both feel confident that they have made the most informed hiring decision they could, in the most efficient manner possible.

Skills assessments are basic hiring tools that are simple to administer, cost-effective and a reliable way to determine whether or not a candidate truly possesses the skills represented on their resume. They are easy to implement and standardize throughout an organization and they quickly become a key component in a world-class hiring system.

So, with these and other great hiring tools available today…why leave anything to chance?

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