All you need to know about skill based assessments

A couple of decades ago, education and one’s performance in the academic space were considered the sole measures to judge a candidate’s competency. There has been a significant shift in these hiring criteria during the fourth industrial revolution. Skill-based or competency-based hiring is the norm today. A study conducted by Dr. Sean Gallagher from Northeastern University cites “companies like IBM who demonstrate that skills-based or competency-based hiring appears to be gaining significant interest and momentum. Gallagher’s survey shows a majority of HR leaders reporting either having a formal effort to de-emphasize degrees and prioritize skills underway (23%) or actively exploring and considering this direction (39%).” This shift in mindset has resulted in more and more hiring teams adopting skill-based assessments to measure the competency of a candidate.

Another change in the hiring landscape has been the surge in the demand for technical talent. Though skilled technical workers are available in plenty, it is still a challenge to find the right candidate with the right mix of technical skills. This places unwarranted pressure on the hiring team responsible for hiring tech talent. They have to sift through resumes laden with tech abbreviations to cull out candidates with the relevant experience and skills. This is why most hiring teams consider technical assessments with automated, structured frameworks to be a lifesaver.

What are skill based assessments?

All you need to know about skill based assessments

These are role-based tests that help you determine the suitability of a candidate for a particular role. A suitable hiring partner would be able to tailor or customise the assessment to suit the domain or role you are hiring for. These assessments are meant to gauge the technical abilities of candidates as well as their responses to specific problems they might encounter in their role.

Here is a range of domain-based assessments:

  • Coding assessments: backend programming, database programming, frontend programming and scripting
  • Aptitude assessments: logical reasoning, data interpretation, quantitative ability and verbal ability
  • Functional assessments: finance and accounting, sales, HR, supply chain management and law

Advantages 101

Skill based assessments are ideal for evaluating a candidate’s suitability for a certain position.
Most employers have adopted this method because of the many benefits it brings to the table.

  • Reduces bias and discrimination
  • Different biases such as affinity bias, gender bias, ageism, racism and many more can come to play during the hiring process. After all, hiring professionals are also human and can fall prey to these unconscious biases.
    These assessments act as a neutral impersonal funnel through which candidates are evaluated only on the basis of their skills and abilities. This prevents bias from creeping in during the early stages of the hiring process.

  • Focuses on ability to succeed
  • These tests evaluate candidates across a range of abilities required for several types of tasks that they may have to perform in their role.

  • Accelerates the hiring process
  • These tests help recruiters quickly narrow down the candidate list instead of spending precious time reading resumes and finding suitable candidates. This, in turn, accelerates the hiring process.

  • Ensures accurate hiring decisions
  • These tests evaluate the candidates on a wide range of skills that they would need to apply on the job. They also ensure that hiring is not influenced by the natural bias of the hiring team. This, in turn, makes for more accurate hiring decisions.

The How

All you need to know about skill based assessments

Assessments can be very effective if they are well-thought-out and planned well.
Let’s take a look at how you can craft an effective assessment plan.

  • Plan Strategically
  • Start with defining what you wish to accomplish with this evaluation. Define the skills being assessed, the roles and the complexities that you wish to address. Once you define these objectives, charting out the plan will come naturally.

  • Choose the right assessments
  • You can choose from a variety of online assessment tools. The key point is to ensure that the skill assessment or functional assessment you administer is aligned with your objectives.
    If you wish to evaluate the coding skills of your candidate, narrow down your assessment to backend programming, database programming, frontend programming, scripting, etc.
    If you wish to evaluate the functional skills of your candidate make sure to use tests that evaluate functional skills. Some assessment platforms like HirePro offer functional assessments on a wide range of functional domains like finance and accounting, sales, HR, supply chain management and law.

  • Customise the testing pattern to suit your requirements
  • Design the tests for screenings, capability assessments or hackathons based on your needs.

    For example, you can decide to administer pre-designed MCQs from your recruitment partner’s database to filter out unwanted candidates in the initial stages.
    You can use proctored online technical assessments with advanced role-based coding simulations to choose the best amongst the qualified candidates.
    You can host live coding interviews with candidates to accurately assess their technical skills in an unbiased manner.

  • Analyse test results to pick the right candidate
  • Evaluate each candidate based on their Stack rank (rank, percentile, marks), Code status (compilation status, test case status, time to solve), Code performance (average memory consumption, average execution time) and Code quality (cyclomatic complexity, lines of code, plagiarism score).
    This will help you filter out the most appropriate candidate for the role.

Choose the right assessment tool

Choose the right assessment tool

The use of a suitable assessment platform can help optimise your hiring process and enable you to find the right candidates for every role in your organisation. The key, of course, is in finding the right assessment platform. There are a number of online assessment tools available in the market. You can find your ideal online assessment platform by asking these questions.

  • Does the assessment platform have its own library of tests?
  • A suitable assessment platform should have its own library of assessment tests. If it’s a coding assessment platform, it should be able to support a wide range of programming languages like Bash, C, C++, C#, D, Erlang, F#, GNU Octave, Go, Java 7, Java 8, JavaScript, jQuery, Node.js, Perl, PHP, Python 2, Python 3, R, Ruby, Rust, Scala, MySQL, HTML, CSS, Angular, AngularJS, and Data Science (Python).

  • Does the assessment platform allow you to customise tests?
  • The assessment platform should also allow you to build customised tests for your specific needs. This allows you to have more control over the hiring process and makes the hiring process unique to your company.

  • Does the assessment platform allow you to conduct live coding tests and hackathons?
  • Live coding sessions with candidates and hackathons allow you to accurately assess their technical skills in an unbiased manner. Make sure that your hiring platform allows you to have brainstorming sessions over a shared coding window.

  • Does the assessment platform offer advanced proctoring?
  • A great assessment is of no use if you are unable to prevent fraud. In fact, fraudulent behaviour is one of the reasons organisations used to shy away from online tests. However, this risk can be mitigated with strong proctoring. Make sure to choose a platform that automatically notifies you of fraudulent behaviour through impersonation and multiple people detection, plagiarism reports and code playbacks.

    You can control fraudulent behavior through AI-powered live proctoring, automated warnings and disqualification, question randomisation and auto-expiration, secure browser, and granular access control with time, IP and browser.

  • Does the assessment platform offer superior candidate experience?
  • A smooth candidate experience enables you to project a positive brand to your candidates and thereby elevate your standing as a preferred employer. Make sure that the platform you choose allows for a smooth test experience in spite of machine and internet issues. Ensure that you are able to keep the candidate engaged with timely interventions over email, phone and chat.

  • Does the assessment platform give you detailed performance insights?
  • Tests are of no use if your platform is not able to give you relevant insights on the candidate’s performance. Make sure that the platform you choose is able to give comparable feedback on the candidate’s performance across various relevant criteria.

  • Does the assessment platform comply with your security and compliance requirements?
  • It would be prudent to make sure that the platform complies with the relevant data protection policies that you adhere to.

Online Assessments are powerful tools that can positively impact your hiring efforts. The trick is to understand what you want to achieve by adopting this strategy. Once you have your hiring outcomes in sight, it’s a simple matter of evaluating the online assessment tools out there and choosing the one that suits you best. Visit us at XXX to know more about HirePro’s AI powered online tech assessment platform.