How do skills measure up?

Assessing the skills needed to choose the right candidate.
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Skills Assessment

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Having a well-structured interview process is key to finding the right candidate. Peer interviewing is an effective way to know the candidate’s values and if previous employment behaviors are in line with the expectations of your organization. Another way to ensure you have met the right candidate is by using a skills test. In fact, Google believes this to be the best predictor of how well a candidate will suit a role, followed by a test of general cognitive ability and the behavior-based interview.

A skills test can be done through activities or assignments in which candidates work on a problem similar to what they will face in the role and offer a solution. A skills test can be taken in a variety of ways. For example, a potential editor could edit a document they could be exposed to during employment. This could take place in-house, prior to a peer interview. Ultimately, how to implement the process is dependent on the nature of the role and the skills your team feel are crucial to test.

Taking the time to evaluate your candidates with real examples of the work they will perform is a critical step to ensure you hire the best talent. These tests are a key predictor of whether a candidate will be able to handle the challenges of the role and drive success for the organization.


Take Home Test

This test can be shared electronically by creating an email template that includes the instructions for the candidate to complete the assignment. Then, instruct them on how you would like to receive the response. An email response that allows you to review the material before the next interview or a print out that you can choose to review once the candidate has performed an in-house interview are possible ways to utilize this method. Alternatively, if your organization is tech-savvy, you might choose to create an online assessment.

In-House Test

In-house tests can be conveyed as a part of the interview process from the beginning stage and is conducted when the interviewee attends the peer-interview as the first exercise prior to meeting the team. Then, the team can assess the results and see if the skills combined with the behavior-based questions create the best match.


Get together with your interview committee and discuss what skills are most prevalent in a role you will be filling in the future or are currently looking to fill. Then, work out whether applying a skills test is to your team’s best interest. Create a test that best suits a skill and decide how you will implement. Use the skills test options above for guidance. Keep in mind using a combination of interview methods to find the right candidate is always the right approach as there is no single method strong enough for exclusive use. For example, add a skills test alongside peer-interviewing for optimal results.

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