How to hire the best with skills assessment tests

skills assessment tests
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At TestGorilla, we’re on a mission to help you make the best hires faster and bias-free. That’s why we are constantly upgrading our platform and our pre-employment skills assessment tests, adding new ones, and improving our product.

In this article, we’ll explore the different test types you have available to you, the question types that are featured in them, and all the additional features that help you make better hiring decisions.

Let’s dive in.

Test types

At the moment, we offer 7 different test types, which you can use to test for many roles, from a 3D Software Engineer to a Marketing Director. Our tests are developed by subject-matter experts and peer-reviewed by a second expert.

Afterward, they’re further fine-tuned and calibrated, based on the actual performance of the people who take the test. We make sure the tests aren’t too easy or too difficult, and that they’re accurate and reliable in predicting future performance. Besides that, you have the option to create your own tests and send them to candidates. 

Most of our tests take only 10 minutes, which will help you minimize candidate abandonment. In fact, according to a 2018 study, 71% of candidates abandon online application forms that take over 15 minutes to complete or are overly complicated. You can, therefore, use a role-specific test for the initial screening step of your hiring funnel.

Below, you can find information and examples of each one.

Cognitive ability tests

Cognitive ability tests help you assess your candidates’ cognitive, analytical and reasoning skills, such as attention to detail, critical thinking, problem solving, verbal reasoning, and more. They’re not role-specific, so you can use them in addition to other, more specialized tests. When used in combination, they allow you to get a clearer picture of your applicants’ cognitive capabilities and their ability to understand and perform complex tasks and tackle issues successfully. 

Language tests

With our language tests, you can assess your candidates’ language proficiency by testing their reading and listening comprehension, grammar, sentence composition and vocabulary. Like this, you’ll have an accurate idea about how well they can communicate about work- and everyday life-related topics, and whether they would be a good fit if they need to navigate sales calls, contract negotiations, client visits, or working in a foreign environment, for example. 

You can test candidates’ reading and listening comprehension, grammar, sentence composition and vocabulary. Language tests allow you to test for several languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Dutch, or Mandarin. The tests are either for an intermediate or for an advanced level of language proficiency. 

Personality and culture tests 

Experienced HR managers know that hiring for personality and culture fit is as important as assessing candidates’ role-specific skills. Culture tests, such as the culture add test, help you guarantee that you’re hiring a diverse and inclusive workforce. Personality assessments help you find the right fit for your team, based on your candidates’ character traits, such as openness, extraversion, and emotional stability (as in the Big 5 OCEAN test). 

Programming skills tests

It’s notoriously difficult to hire talented programmers, mostly because of difficulties that arise during the screening process. After all, how can you test for highly technical and specialized roles with confidence, given that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with recent developments and best practices in programming and software development? Programming skills tests allow you to compare applicants’ skills in different programming languages and frameworks. With our programming skills tests, you can test for entry-level algorithms in JavaScript, React, Django REST Framework (DRF), Flutter, and more.   

Role-specific skills tests

Role specific skills tests allow you to test your candidates’ capabilities in relation to the requirements for the specific role you’re looking to fill, such as a B2B sales representative or an accountant. Role specific tests allow you to get granular details of your applicants’ performance and compare them side-by-side. They’re also a solid predictor of the future success of candidates, and you can combine them with personality and culture or cognitive ability tests to get a good overall picture of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Situational judgement tests

Situational judgement tests help you assess the situational judgement capabilities of candidates and their capacity to navigate complex business situations and environments. They cover areas of advanced expertise such as negotiation, leadership and people management, and business ethics and compliance, but also skills such as communication and time management. You can use them in combination with other, more specific tests, and they might be particularly relevant for fast-paced work environments and roles in which the successful candidate would need to prioritize and make the right decisions under stress. 

Software skills tests

The last type of tests helps you assess your candidates’ software skills and the ease with which they use different enterprise software solutions, and determine whether they’re proficient with the tools they’d need to use in the role you’re looking to fill. Examples of software skills you can test for include Google Analytics, Microsoft Azure, Zendesk CS, and more. 

Question types and general rules

On our platform, you can either create your own tests or use our ready-to-use tests from our test library. When creating a test, you can define the questions yourself, and ask candidates to provide a video response, write an essay, or upload a file. The only constraint to using custom-made questions is the fact that clients need to then rate them manually. 

Subject-matter experts create all our existing tests. When they create each test, they prepare around 100 questions. Questions are frequently cycled to make sure the integrity and quality of our tests won’t be compromised in the case of a leak. Besides that, the quality of the questions in our skill assessments is dynamically evaluated, based on the actual performance of candidates who take our tests, eliminating questions that are too easy or too difficult, or otherwise pose a problem.  

Overall, we use a few rules to determine the quality of the tests submitted to us. We’re looking for questions which: 

  • Are clear and easy to understand

  • Are up-to-date and reflect any recent developments in the area or subject 

  • Provide enough information to give an accurate answer

  • Cover each subject in sufficient depth to be able to make an accurate assessment of the candidate’s skills

  • Aren’t too easy or too difficult. 

In our existing tests, there are four question types. Let’s look at each one. 

Multiple-choice questions

Most of the questions in our skills assessment tests are multiple-choice, where the person taking the test needs to select a single right answer from a list of possible choices (usually four). This is because multiple-choice questions have solid psychometric properties, which makes them particularly well-suited for accurately assessing the candidates’ knowledge in a given domain. 

Multiple-response questions

Multiple-response questions allow for a more nuanced and creative approach when assessing candidates’ skills, but they can sometimes be confusing for test takers. In them, they need to select a number of correct answers, and not select any of the wrong ones. The available options vary between 2 and 10. 

True or false questions

True or false questions are a specific subtype of multiple-choice questions that are usually quick to reply to. In them, candidates need to assess whether a given statement (the question) is true or false. 

Short text (requiring an exact match)

Short text questions are tricky because they require an exact match. They’re used to test grammar, vocabulary or spelling skills in language tests, or whether the candidate knows a specific term or notion, or can use it correctly. 

Additional features of the platform 

Our platform has several features that make it particularly easy to use–and that help you boost your employer brand and choose the right candidate confidently each time. For each position you’re looking to fill, you can select tests from our test library, design your own, or use both. 

Custom branding and tests

With any of the assessments you send out to candidates, you can use your own logo and even record a branded intro or outro video. This way, you can offer a more personalized assessment and create a positive candidate experience. It also makes your brand more recognizable.

You can also use the platform to build your own tests. This is especially helpful if you already have tests that you want to continue using in combination with our growing library of tests.

Real-time assessment status and results

For each skill assessment and candidate, you can see its status in real time. You can also see how many applicants have completed a given test, check which ones have taken it, and see the last time a candidate was active on the platform. This allows you to streamline the hiring process and move forward fast. 

Detailed performance review and comparison

For each skills test, you can compare candidates’ performance at a glance, and rank applicants by their test score. You can also see all the details of each applicant’s individual results and get a granular review. Of course, you can also review all custom questions and rate them.

Cheating prevention 

You don’t have to worry about applicants cheating: we’ve built in several anti-cheating measures. For example, you can receive an alert if a candidate exits full-screen mode, and also get snapshots of candidates while they’re taking a test. 

Streamline your hiring process with a data-driven approach 

At TestGorilla, we’re all about data and objectivity. We want to make sure our clients are able to pick the best candidate each time, and have an accurate estimation of their future performance and chances of success.

That’s why we’ve developed our skills testing platform to help you make data-driven, unbiased hires. If you’re not already using TestGorilla, sign up for a free trial to see how we can help you identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

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