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Why Skills Testing Is the Key for Successful Employee Retention

Posted by Kristina Minyard

skills testing

The online technology to acquire and assess professional skills is constantly improving and slowly being adopted by human resource departments.  This should move hiring away from being driven by networking power to being driven by skills meritocracy.

That’s why a critical step in your hiring process should be skills testing. Leaving this step out of your most important function (recruiting and retaining the best talent) could be setting your organization and your candidates up for failure. According to professor Michael Watkins, 58% of the highest priority hires fail in first 18 months. Unmet expectations are really the culprit here, so you want to do everything you can to effectively communicate and demonstrate expectations for candidates coming into a new role.

To avoid miscommunicating expectations, start with a test that reflects the key performance metrics of the position. Having a benchmark for candidate ability, allows managers to communicate expectations and create employee-specific goals to help them excel in delivering the company’s mission. This is important because we are all becoming accustomed to personalized experiences, from customized learning in the classroom to customized shopping options.

Increase Hiring Accuracy 

Skills testing is sometimes mistakenly associated only with particular kinds of positions, such as technical roles, when, in fact, skills testing can be done with most positions your organization interviews for. Let’s walk through some examples.

Say you’re looking for an interview scheduler, and your company requires a lengthy interview process that involves multiple employees. To be successful in this role, the prospective scheduler must be able to juggle multiple calendars across the company and prioritize the order of multiple interviews. You can use a test to measure key abilities for this role. How about if you are hiring for a call center? You can ask your typical (and you should) customer service questions, such as how would the candidate deal with difficult situations, but you can take your assessment a step further and test the candidate. Using a reliable test to measure the candidate’s abilities is another tool in your interview process that you can add to your interview questions to make the best hiring decision–it’s not a one or the other solution.

Download our FREE Whitepaper about Skills Testing and Behavioral Assessments

A candidate can sit across from anyone and say they can do all the things listed in the job description. Interviewees can research buzzwords and relevant statistics before going in for their interview with you. They can practice their answers until they sound completely natural and confident in their “abilities” to make you believe they are. On the other hand, candidates can know how to do all of the things listed in your job description and not be excellent communicators or be so nervous they forget things they had wanted to share with you about their experience and abilities. Skills testing will mitigate their interview awkwardness and equip your team to make a better-informed decision by simply giving candidates a test relevant to job performance. Of course, if the job requires excellent interpersonal communications skills, you can test for that, too.

What you need is a customizable option for testing your organization’s needs. The simple steps will put you in the right direction for identifying the best test for any position:

  • What tasks have to be done in this role?
  • How do we gauge success for those tasks when doing a performance appraisal?
  • How can we translate those metrics into an upfront test for the candidates?

Avoid Discrimination and Resulting Legal Risks

An important factor to consider when using a skills test in your recruiting process and decision making is to choose one that will protect your company from legal risk. Whether you are a government contractor subject to an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) audit or a business, not contracted with the federal government and subject to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) audit, keep these two factors in mind to ensure your hiring methods will be compliant.: Use the test consistently for candidates testing for the same position, and make sure the test is relevant to the position.

To further avoid risk, work with your hiring managers to fully understand the needs of a position before choosing the appropriate test. For example, if the position does not require typing, then using a typing test result as a factor in your hiring decision is heading down the wrong path. Of course, this is a simple example, but proves that you cannot be too careful in your approach to hiring for any position. Consider your current approach and revisit your hiring strategy to include relevant skill testing to help your organization select the best talent available.

You could consider customizing skills assessments that have questions covering all these various fields. With eSkill’s customizable test platform, you can combine questions from multiple subjects to create a single job-based test, or deploy your own test content with the eSkill Editor.

A Tale of Two Applicants: Making the Right Choice Easier

How can you tell which candidate is the best choice? It's hard to see past the resume to the real person. That's why eSkill and Chequed have joined forces to provide comprehensive applicant assessments that combine hard skills testing and soft skills assessments to predict on-the-job success, so you can be sure to hire the best candidate every time.

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About Kristina Minyard

Contributor

Kristina Minyard is currently the Director of Ignite Education in Huntsville, AL. She has over 11 years experience in HR, Recruiting, and Business Development. She utilizes her skills and experience in HR Consulting, Technical Recruiting, HR Policies, Staffing Services, and Labor Relations to create content on her blog hrpockets.com and other platforms.

3 COMMENTS Join the discussion
  • Katarina August, 08, 2017

    I believe an important part of skills testing is the internal employee evaluation. Assessments are crucial to understanding how your employees are developing and how to train them accordingly.

  • Sean K. August, 08, 2017

    You forgot to mention benchmarking assessments. These are the perfect tools for testing existing employees on the absolute core skills of their role. By choosing the levels of difficulty and what question topics to include in a test, you can pinpoint strengths and weaknesses more accurately.

  • Allison August, 08, 2017

    Recruiters and hiring managers often judge candidates based on subjective, rather than job-related, criteria. Skills assessments, if they’re crafted according to strictly job-related criteria, give everyone the same opportunity to succeed. This is the way to go!

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Guest August, 08, 2017