How to optimize your hiring process with online skills assessments

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How to optimize your hiring process with online skills assessments

Hiring Process

One of the chief concerns when looking for talent is time to hire. The faster you can get through the hiring process—while still making excellent hires—the better. That’s because you’ll be more likely to hire top talent before your competitors, and the sooner you make a hire, the sooner you can start onboarding your new employee so they can begin making a meaningful contribution to your organization.

This article will cover how you can overcome some of the typical obstacles that get in the way of an efficient hiring process by using online skills assessments.

Traditional methods are inefficient

Determining whether an employee meets the qualifications you need is a challenge. It’s not as simple as looking through their resume and calling their references. Relying solely on resumes, cover letters, and references may mean you miss out on great candidates (especially if you use resume screening tools which favor candidates who know the right keywords instead of candidates who have the right skills). It could also lead to mishires.

Interviews offer you a chance to interact with the candidate yourself and gain a first-person understanding of how they might fit into your existing team. But interviews take time, and they may not fully assess a candidate’s capabilities. Obviously interviews are a necessary part of the process, but there are two rules that will streamline your interviews and your overall hiring process:

  1. Ensure that the candidates you interview are qualified so you don't waste resources on an interview that won't go anywhere.
  2. Use online skills assessments at the top of the hiring funnel in order to shortlist candidates more efficiently.

Two obstacles that get in the way of faster hiring

There are two primary challenges you'll need to overcome to make your hiring process more efficient. The first is that the shortlisting process can be very time consuming. The second is that it's difficult to get an accurate picture of a candidate's skill level from a resume and a cover letter.

Too many candidates at once

One obstacle that slows down many hiring teams is the sheer volume of candidates to be screened. Individual companies have incorporated various strategies over time to narrow down their candidate pools, including using resume screening software or only interviewing applicants with particular academic qualifications. 

While these solutions can make your candidate pool much more manageable, they are arbitrary and result in unfairly eliminating around 60% of qualified candidates. 

For example, if you use resume screening software, some individuals may be removed from the applicant pool based on having an atypical job title on their resume, despite having the necessary skills. Great candidates may be eliminated before even having the chance to prove their suitability for the role. 

Using knockout questions that relate to something like educational requirements could cause you to miss out on people who have substantial on-the-job experience but lack the educational background.

Difficulty verifying references

Providing references is required for many job applications. Hearing accounts from applicants' former colleagues and supervisors are can be useful to gain insight on their performance in their previous roles, but references are not the most reliable source of information. In fact, it's been shown that references only provide 13% reliability in predicting a candidate’s fit.  

Depending on the circumstances under which they left their previous role, the reference they provide may talk them up or down. In either scenario, this provides an inaccurate and biased account of the candidate’s aptitude for the position. Individuals who left their previous role on bad terms may even plant fake references using friends or family members in hopes of providing an extremely positive reference. 

Another problem with relying on references is that many employers will refrain from giving negative feedback due to legal concerns. Especially in countries that tend to be more litigious (e.g. the US), a reference may worry that giving their true opinion of the candidate could open them up to legal action. 

Using online skills assessments to increase hiring efficiency

Online skills assessments offer a simple way to get a true sense of a candidate's capabilities, as well as how well they will fit in with the rest of your team. By assessing candidates at the top of the funnel, you can see who has the skills you need and shortlist the top scorers. This eliminates the need for poring over resumes and it offers a more accurate picture of a candidate's skills than you might get from a resume.

By reducing the amount of candidates that move on to in-person interview stages, you reduce the amount of time you will need to devote to filling a job opening at your company. In addition, the use of standardized testing platforms provides an easy way for results to be tabulated and compared without requiring additional work from your staff to analyze this data. 

Compared to resume screening tools and knockout questions, implementing tests early on in your hiring process can be a more meaningful way to sift through your initial list of applicants. Assessment scores offer a source of meaningful selection criteria based on real evidence of a candidate's suitability.

Online skills assessments also mitigate the risk of false or inaccurate references because they allow you to judge candidates based on concrete assessments of their skills. Then you can use references as a supplement to the data you collect through the assessment.

Online skills assessments empower your hiring team

Hiring the right person for your company is a crucial step to success, and being able to improve this process by making your hiring strategies more efficient and accurate is definitely an added bonus most companies should pursue. 

Implementing skills assessments at the top of the hiring funnel empowers your team by giving them a reliable way to prioritize candidates. By using quantifiable performance standards, you can shortlist candidates that will be able to fulfill the requirements of the jobs. This also ensures that your assessment of the candidates is objective, rather than relying purely on testimonials or the candidates’ own personal recounts at face value.

As mentioned throughout this article, assessments are an easy way to circumvent existing obstacles in hiring. They allow you to make quicker decisions and expend less resources on the search for a new employee without missing out on any quality candidates, as your primary filter is based on their performances in job-related tests. 

By incorporating assessments, you should experience a much easier and more reliable hiring process. Assessments empower your hiring department to quantify and rank candidates based on their fit and aptitude for the position, and this information can then be supplemented with interviews to find the best fit.

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