By Jeremy Haskell
Welcome to the New Year - and the avalanche of applicants that can come with advertising open positions. While many modern tools, such as applicant tracking systems, can help funnel these candidates to hiring managers or recruiters in more efficient ways than ever before, it is still up to the individual recruiter or hiring manager to make the final decision.
Can one piece of paper - a resume - predict how someone will handle the intricacies of a job? A great interview doesn't always gauge an individual's specific abilities on any given task. And we've all been lied to on a resume or mislead in an interview. It happens. Objectively measuring a person's ability is difficult.
Not Just for Big Business
One tool that can help: skills assessments. Large organizations and staffing firms have used them for years, but over the past decade, there have been significant advances in the science of assessments. And today, many small business that lack the time and resources to make hiring mistakes, use skills assessments to hire a wide range of candidates.
While most people are familiar with the typing test or software assessments, such as those for Microsoft Office suite or a programming language, it is only relatively recently that organizations have begun using more sophisticated tests, such as those based on cognitive abilities, behavioral tendencies, and comprehensive skill sets, such as sales ability.
Factors to Consider
There are two basic factors to consider before implementing skills assessments into your hiring process:
- What do you need to test? Is it a specific software program? Do you need to gauge how an individual will work with prospects or clients? Is there a specific skill, such as data entry, that is key to success in the position? Before you can determine the right test, you need to identify your company's functional need.
- Make sure your test is reliable. Your test should be generally accurate across the population. Working with a reputable company that specializes in assessment testing will help to guarantee just that. While there are a number of reputable firms - as with all things - other, less reputable, companies are taking advantage of this hiring trend. Research the organizations that interest you before you agree to a partnership. It is almost always a bad idea to create your own assessment, as that can lead to unforeseen biases in the results, doing more harm than good to your hiring process.
Although there is no fail-safe hiring solution, focusing on each position's unique needs and how the right candidate will contribute to the success of your company - from skills and abilities to attitude and cultural fit - will make your business run smoother the first time.