Imagine if your HR team and direct supervisors could get specific insight into whether or not a candidate has the right skills for the job? Not only that, but your team could quickly search through a pool of applicants and select the future employee most likely to be a productive member of your workforce. And they could do all of this in a way that ensures an unbiased selection based only on the candidate’s relevant skills.
It almost sounds too good to be true. Almost.
More employers are taking a skills-based approach to hiring by incorporating skills assessments into their process. A skills assessment is a test designed to evaluate a candidate’s ability to perform job-specific tasks. High-quality assessments are based on industry-defined competencies and should adhere to rigorous test development standards to ensure they are fair and unbiased.
Using the right assessment from a credible provider helps you hire with greater efficiency, accuracy, and without bias. Here are three specific ways a skills assessment benefits your hiring process and enables you to fill every position with skilled and competent employees.
1. Hire More Efficiently
Skills assessments reduce the time it takes to find qualified candidates and give your team training insights to help lessen a new hire’s overall time to competency.
How does this work? Instead of sifting through piles of resumes and applications, a skills assessment allows your team to efficiently screen candidates and find those with the right skills and knowledge for the position. Assessment scores provide insight into a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, making it easy to create customized training plans to bring them up to speed sooner.
2. Hire More Accurately
Given the current skills gap (2.1 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030) and the costs of making a bad hire (around $15,000), HR teams are under pressure to hire qualified candidates. Thankfully, the right tools can identify skilled applicants with the highest chance of succeeding. Your team no longer has to rely solely on subjective methods like resumes, unstructured interviews, or personality tests.
3. Hire Without Bias
Every hiring process should be based on the candidates’ qualifications and not on their race, gender, age, or any other personal characteristics. Many experts recommend giving work sample tests (also called performance assessments) as a strategy to reduce bias during hiring. An objective test like a skills assessment forces employers to evaluate a candidate’s job-relevant skills without unconsciously judging them based on personal characteristics.
What Does a Skills Assessment Look Like As Part of a Skills-Based Hiring Process?
Let’s set up a scenario to explore how a skills assessment might work in your hiring process.
Hypothetical Hannah from HR needs to hire two new industrial maintenance mechanics for her growing manufacturing company. Her previous hire for the position seemed qualified in interviews and listed previous experience on their resume, but the plant manager reported that the new employee had difficulty troubleshooting electrical control systems and assembling pneumatic circuits.
The first hire was part of a plan to expand manufacturing operations. Because they weren’t the right fit for the role, Hannah needs to hire two people for the position as quickly as possible. But she’s also under some pressure to ensure the new hires have the correct skills to be successful on the job. Hannah decides to add a skills assessment to the hiring process.
After hearing about NBS from an HR colleague, Hannah requests to preview the entry-level Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Performance Test to make sure it aligns with the position she needs to fill. Hannah has just finished arranging details for the performance portion of the exam with a local technical college when she begins reviewing applications.
Hannah receives six applications for the open positions. Each candidate has some formal education and experience on the job. She decides to have all six take the skills assessment, which includes a written test and performance assessment where test takers complete four sample jobs in three hours.
After reviewing the official scores and the evaluator’s notes, Hannah has more than enough objective data to determine who the most qualified candidates are, and she’s surprised to see it’s not who she might have hired based on degrees or resumes.
Hannah recommends hiring two of the top three candidates and provides the objective skills assessment results as proof they have the skills for the job. Her manager approves, and Hannah sends out the job offers. During the onboarding process, Hannah shares the test scores and evaluator’s notes with the plant manager and helps create a training plan that addresses one or two competencies where the candidates scored a bit lower on the skills assessment.
Hannah checks in after a few weeks and is happy to see that the new employees completed training faster than anticipated and are performing above the plant manager’s expectations. Hannah knows she will have to hire another maintenance mechanic within the next few months and plans to reach out to the third candidate who scored above the national average on the skills assessment.
Skills-Based Hiring with NBS
Your hiring process might be more complicated than Hannah from HR, but a skills assessment can help you find qualified candidates faster and make hiring decisions based on objective data, instead of relying on resumes or unstructured interviews.
NBS has been helping employers evaluate their workforce’s skills for over 20 years. We specialize in assessments for highly skilled positions like maintenance mechanics, industrial electricians, and precision machinists. Most entry-level tests have an optional performance test where candidates demonstrate their skills using the tools, machinery, and technology specific to the industry. This means you get a comprehensive yet objective picture of a candidate’s actual skills.
Have questions about our assessments or services? Send us a message and let us know how we can help. We look forward to helping you build a skilled workforce!