Article: Should you give skills tests before conducting interviews?


Should you give skills tests before conducting interviews?

Traditional methods of recruitment do not yield the best results. Alternative methods may be the solution.
Should you give skills tests before conducting interviews?

No matter the type of company you work for, the priority is to increase company performance and reduce costs. As the leader of your organisation, you want to retain the right talent who will meet your company’s mission and vision. These employees will be able to achieve desired results at a particular time.

The typical hiring process in a company starts by reviewing résumés, moves to initial phone interviews with potential candidates, and then draws on various tests to determine the personality and skills of the candidate. This process is done so that Human Resources can gather as much information as necessary on candidates. 

The problem, however, is that traditional methods to get to know candidates do not yield the best results. Studies show that résumés are notoriously unreliable. About 78 per cent of résumés contain misleading statements while 46 per cent of statements are actual lies. What’s more, interviews serve as poor predictors of job performance because they are subjective.

Is there an alternative way to recruitment? One possible method is to provide a psychometric test and a skills test first before doing an interview with the candidate. According to Harvard Business Review, doing so effectively weeds out the least-suitable applicants, and leaves room for better qualified candidates to undergo the more personalised aspects of the recruitment process.

The advantages of giving skills tests before interviews

  • Tests can help draw more objective conclusions. These tests are valid and reliable because they measure what they are supposed to measure. For instance, if you want to determine whether a candidate can use a particular software, you can test his initial skills and see whether he fits your team.

  • Tests are equal. These tests are similar for everyone, unlike other assessment methods such as unstructured interviews and screened calls. Interviewers often ask different questions to different individuals and there is no agreement on how to measure and rate the answers of candidates. Meanwhile, tests are standardized and created according to certain criteria.

  • Tests help you save time on interviews. Evaluating 20 traits during an interview is time-consuming. You can evaluate these traits through pre-employment testing instead. Through this, you can also test other aspects of the candidate’s skills such as written communication, typing speed, or problem-solving.

The disadvantages of giving skills tests before interviews

  • Tests can discriminate. Tests are supposed to be objective, but there are instances when knowledge and cognitive ability tests disproportionately screen out non-white candidates. There’s also the risk that physical ability and personality tests break anti-discrimination laws. Both can result in lawsuits.

  • Tests do not give the whole picture. Tests typically measure traits. However, they neglect crucial details. For instance, they don’t consider how willing someone is to learn from the job and improve. Test results do not necessarily tell you who would be the right candidate for your company.

  • Tests can’t capture uniqueness of individuals. There are many traits that people have in common, but there are also things that make us unique. Tests can’t capture this uniqueness because tests assume that we respond to things the same way.

All in all, it’s best to offer the right mix of tests for potential candidates. You don’t want to overdo it, but you can maximise the advantages so that you can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

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Topics: Recruitment

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