Candidate taking skill tests

Leveraging Skills Tests for Recruitment

Some of the most innovative companies in the world have stopped asking for resumes and cover letters. Instead, they use pre-hire assessments to evaluate candidates’ skills.

In this article, we explore what skills tests are and how you can use them to improve your quality of hire.

A brief history of skill tests

Companies began applying skill tests to measure cognitive ability in the 1970s. Back then, job candidates had to go to designated testing centers to take them—and these long, dull, multiple-choice questionnaires could take hours to complete!

In the decades that followed, tests stayed more or less the same. What changed was how applicants took them—over the phone in the 1980s; in their personal computers in the 1990s; and online in the 2000s.

New ways of testing came about only in the 2010s, when changes to work and society made traditional assessments obsolete. 

Today, a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered skills tests assess candidates’ soft skills and cognitive abilities quickly and in engaging ways. We look at them in more detail below.

The new generation of skills tests for recruitment

Modern skills tests are fun and visually appealing. They can be designed not just to give you insight into candidates’ abilities, but to also add value to candidates by educating them about the position.

Tools such as Toggl Hire make generating tests easy; all you need to do is choose the skills you want to test for. Best of all, you can use the test as a recruiting tool by sharing it on job boards and on social media.

Recruitment technology company HireVue also offers short psychometric tests in the form of games. Each one is designed to measure one of six cognitive abilities:

  • Reasoning
  • Problem-solving
  • Planning
  • Abstract thinking
  • Comprehension of complex ideas
  • Learning from experience

To measure emotional intelligence, companies can complement psychometric tests with video testimonials. HireVue analyzes data points in candidate-submitted videos—including content of speech, intonations, and facial expressions—to measure soft skills such as the ability to work in a team or to take on responsibility.

Reasons for leveraging skills tests for recruitment

There are multiple reasons to use skills tests in recruitment. Here are some of them:

Skills tests are a more effective screening tool

Resumes and cover letters can be deceiving. In their blog, tech company Toggl describes how hiring based on resumes and interviews failed them.

When they stopped asking for CVs and began testing applicants instead, their recruitment metrics drastically improved. The results were so impressive that they turned their skills tests into a product.

Skills tests are scalable

You can’t consistently, objectively, and efficiently screen thousands of candidates, but skills tests can. Open your recruiting process to a wider, and potentially more diverse, pool of candidates.

Skills tests make the hiring process more inclusive

Our unconscious biases can cause us to reject candidates based on their race, gender, and socioeconomic status. By removing human biases from the screening stage, skills tests can make recruitment processes more inclusive.

Skills tests save you time

According to Ideal, an AI recruiting software company, recruiters spend around 23 hours screening resumes in each recruiting process. With skills tests, you can narrow down a pool of hundreds of applicants to a few dozen strong candidates in half a day. Monese, a company that offers money transfers services, reduced its time to hire by 72% using skills tests.

Skills tests save you money

Because they bring down the cost of screening candidates and improve job matching, ultimately leading to increased quality of hire, skills tests are a good investment.

Skills tests improve the candidate experience

Job candidates see hiring processes as a reflection of how a company functions and how it treats employees. They expect to be respected and motivated throughout the hiring process just as they would if they were employees. They especially crave immediate feedback after each stage of the process.

Because they are respectful of candidates’ time; can be designed to be fun and educational; and make immediate feedback possible, skills tests improve the candidate experience and are an opportunity for employer branding.

Evaluate skills, not resumes

Great employees stay longer, are more productive, help create a positive work environment, and contribute to a company’s success. But finding these high-quality contributors isn’t always easy. 

Conventional screening methods, such as reading cover letters and resumes, are time-consuming and often ineffective. Through skills tests, you can more effectively assess candidates’ skills to find the best matches for your open positions. With the evolving dynamics of the job market, it’s crucial to understand what to include in a CV to make it stand out. However, even the most well-crafted CVs may not fully showcase a candidate’s actual capabilities and potential.

Additionally, skills tests save you time, money, and make the hiring processes more inclusive.

Check out the tools we’ve mentioned in this article to start evaluating skills, not resumes. Let us know in the comments below: Do you use skills tests in your recruitment process?

Is your company recruiting remotely these days? Check out our guide to remote recruiting: The Essential Guide to Remote Recruiting

Comments and Discussion

  1. I did not take part in skills tests, but I know that many companies have introduced such tests durig recruitment. It’s a good way to test skills, but I believe that recruitment should not be limited to that. Sometimess stress tends to lower the score and personality is important.

Comments are closed.