Should You Use a Basic Skills Assessment Test When Vetting New Employees?

Are you trying to figure out the best way to hire new employees for your business? One option you might be considering is using a basic skills assessment test. However, is this type of test really worth the time and effort?

As you review job candidates, a skills assessment can provide useful information. These tests are designed to objectively evaluate a person’s abilities in key areas like language, math, data analysis, and attention to detail. The results can give you a better sense of whether a candidate has the core competencies to succeed in the role.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the potential benefits of using skills tests, as well as some important factors to consider as you design and implement them. By the end, you should have a better idea of whether this approach might be right for your business.

What Is a Basic Skills Assessment Test?

A basic skills assessment test is a type of pre-employment test used to evaluate someone’s proficiency in the core skills required for a particular role.

The specific format and content of a basic skills assessment can vary. However, they typically involve a series of questions, tasks, or exercises that allow you to assess a candidate’s knowledge and abilities in key areas.

By incorporating a basic skills assessment into the hiring process, you can gain valuable insights about a candidate’s fit for the role beyond just resumes and interviews. This helps them make more informed decisions and reduce the risk of making a bad hire.

​Benefits of Using Skills Assessments

Incorporating a basic skills assessment test into your hiring process can provide several key benefits. Here are a few things you can look forward to with this process:


Data For Comparison
When all candidates complete the same skills test, you can directly compare their results on an even playing field. This provides standardized, objective data to supplement the other information gathered during the hiring process.

Moreover, research has shown that standardized testing has predictive validity. This means they can accurately predict future job performance based on the test results. This makes them valuable tools for identifying candidates who are likely to succeed in the role.

Improved Hiring Outcomes
Employees who are well-suited to their roles are more likely to stay with the company long-term. By ensuring that new hires have the necessary skills, you improve the likelihood of retaining them. Skills assessments help ensure new hires are truly qualified for the job. Leading to better long-term employee performance and retention.
Deeper Insights into Candidate Fit
Skills tests allow you to directly measure a candidate’s proficiency in the specific abilities required for the role they applied for. But this data can also reveal unexpected strengths that might make them a better fit for a different position within your organization.

For example, a candidate may have outstanding analytical and problem-solving skills, even if the role they applied for doesn’t require those abilities as heavily. Identifying this hidden talent could open up opportunities to place them in a role that’s better aligned with their true strengths and interests.

By taking a more holistic view of each candidate’s skills and capabilities, you can make hiring decisions that fill immediate needs and pave the way for long-term success.

Considerations When Choosing Skill Assessments

When selecting a skills assessment for your hiring process, there are several things you want to look for. Here are the top five things you should keep in mind when exploring your options:
Relevance to the Role
The most important thing is to clearly define the specific skills and competencies required for the job. Work closely with managers and top performers in the role to identify the 3-5 most critical skills. The skills assessment you choose should be designed to accurately measure proficiency in those key areas.
Actionable Results
The assessment should provide clear, data-driven insights that can directly inform your hiring decisions. Look for assessments that go beyond just a score and give you a detailed understanding of a candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and fit for the role.
Candidate Experience
As skills assessments become more common in hiring, candidates often expect and even anticipate taking them. However, it’s important to be considerate of the candidate’s time and energy. Especially for entry-level roles. Avoid assessments that are overly long, complex, or frustrating for applicants.
Look for assessment providers that offer flexibility in terms of format, timing, and integration with your existing hiring process. This allows you to customize the experience to best meet your needs.
Evaluate how the skills assessment connects with your current applicant tracking system and other hiring tools. Seamless connections streamline the process and make assessment data more meaningful.

Integrated skills assessments save time by automating candidate screening and evaluation. Assessment data can be directly imported into your ATS, providing a centralized view of each candidate’s qualifications.

Integrated assessments also improve the candidate experience by making the process feel streamlined and efficient. Using combined data from assessments and other hiring tools helps you make better, data-based decisions on which candidates to consider further.

​Using Skills Tests as Part of a Comprehensive Hiring Process

While basic skills assessment tests can provide valuable insights, it’s important to remember that they are just one component of an effective hiring strategy. To get the most out of skills assessments, they should be used in conjunction with other pre-employment evaluation methods.

In addition to skills tests, you may also want to incorporate other types of pre-hire assessments, such as:

  • Personality/behavioral assessments
  • Job knowledge/situational judgment tests
  • Cognitive ability tests

Using a combination of assessment tools can give you a more well-rounded view of each candidate’s fit for the role and your organization.

Make Sure To Follow Best Practices
To maximize the predictive power of your skills assessments, it’s important to follow best practices in their implementation. This includes:

  • Clearly defining the specific skills needed for the job
  • Ensuring the assessments accurately measure those skills
  • Evaluating all candidates using the same standardized criteria
  • Avoiding any potential bias or discrimination in the testing process

Adhering to these guidelines can help you get the most value out of your skills assessments and make more informed, equitable hiring decisions.

Moreover, the assessment format and delivery should be accessible to all candidates. Including those with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations should be provided as needed to give everyone an equal opportunity to demonstrate their skills.

It’s important to be upfront with candidates about the use of skills assessments in the hiring process. Provide clear information about the purpose, format, and scoring of the tests so applicants know what to expect.

Any personal or performance data collected through the skills assessment process must be securely stored and used only for legitimate hiring purposes. Candidates should be informed about how their information will be handled and protected.

Remember, skills tests should complement, not replace, other important parts of the hiring process, such as:

  • Reviewing resumes and cover letters
  • Conducting structured interviews
  • Checking references and employment history

By combining skills assessments with these traditional hiring methods, you can develop a more comprehensive understanding of each candidate’s qualifications and potential for success.

Partnering With an Assessment Provider

While you could potentially create your own basic skills assessment tests in-house, working with a trusted assessment provider can offer several key advantages.

Assessment providers have the expertise and resources to develop high-quality, validated tests that accurately measure the skills you’re looking for. This helps ensure the assessments are fair, unbiased, and legally compliant.

Partnering with a provider also gives you access to a turnkey solution for administering and scoring the assessments. They handle the logistics, freeing up your team to focus on other parts of the hiring process.

If you have any trouble when reviewing test results, assessment providers can help you interpret them. This includes benchmarking candidate scores against relevant norms and generating detailed reports to inform your hiring decisions.

Working with a provider means you have a dedicated partner to help you optimize your skills assessment strategy over time. They can offer guidance, provide training, and update the tests as needed to keep pace with evolving job requirements.

After implementing a basic skills assessment as part of your hiring process, it’s important to regularly evaluate its effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments.

Track the performance and retention of new hires who completed the skills assessment compared to those who did not. This can help you determine if the assessment is successfully identifying candidates who go on to be successful in the role.

Skills Tests Deserve a Spot in Your Hiring Approach

To get the most benefit from skills assessments, it’s important to approach them as just one component of a comprehensive hiring strategy. If you’re interested in exploring how a basic skills assessment test could enhance your hiring process, we can help.

As a leading provider of validated, job-relevant assessments, we have the expertise to guide you in selecting and implementing the right testing for your organization. Reach out to learn more about our employee assessment services.