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how to assess candidate skills

How To Assess Candidate Skills  

When you’re hiring, the goal is to find the best candidate in the shortest amount of time. Reducing time to hire can save money and keep your business on track by limiting any missed potential. When you’re looking at candidates for an open position, however, how do you assess their skills to determine if they have what it takes to get the job done? 

Candidates may list skills on their resume, but it can be difficult to know just how proficient they are in their listed skills, tasks, or tools. Interviews are one way to learn more about a candidate’s skills, but the traditional interview is not the most effective screening tool. 

Talent acquisition professionals know that screening candidates and assessing their skills requires more than just a resume and an interview. Some hiring professionals are calling for the use of more direct assessment tools, both before the pandemic and now, in light of the difficulties of remote interviewing. Learn how to better assess candidate skills so that you can make the best hiring decision in a shorter amount of time.  


Use Technology to Analyze Resumes 


If you’re at the resume stage of the hiring process, you know that pouring through dozens of resumes can be exhausting. The resume is a vital document for hiring managers, but it can also be a weak assessment tool. A candidate could create the perfect resume, but that doesn’t mean they’ll actually perform perfectly on the job.

The resume isn’t going away anytime soon, but there are better ways to sort through them and make the most educated choices based on the resumes you receive. There are various technologies out there to help read and score resumes for you. If your business uses an applicant tracking system, it may include resume screening technology already that looks for common semantic search terms.  

There are other technologies out there that can screen for certain skills, score resumes based on your criteria, and turn them anonymous so that all bias but talent is removed.  


Ask Different Questions 


The traditional interview has gone remote in recent times, but it certainly isn’t gone for good. While some people believe that an interview is an ineffective tool for screening candidates, it’s still the most common way to learn more after reviewing resumes. If you feel that interviews have not been an effective tool for hiring, consider changing up the questions you ask. 

Many interviews use the same common questions, and candidates are typically prepared with answers for them. Asking more creative interview questions can reveal more about the candidates you’re considering. 

If you’re trying to assess their skills in an interview, ask more specific questions about the skills required. For example, if a web developer claims to be proficient in Java, ask them a specific question about how to solve an issue in Java code. These kinds of questions can reveal gaps in candidate knowledge or will give them a chance to shine in the interview.  

If you’re assessing soft skills, give the candidate a relevant scenario and ask how they would respond. If you want to assess things like work ethic or cultural fit, use critical thinking questions or more high-level questions about the business or industry itself.  

Make your interviews better and more useful with more compelling questions. 


Use Candidate Assessment Tools  


Aside from resume screening tools, there are also plenty of candidate assessment tools available. You can use assessment tests, scoring tools, simulation exercises, and more. We’ll list a few examples here, but there are plenty more out there to look into.

  • HireSelect – Web-based assessment tests for skills, aptitude, and personality for over 1000 different positions or careers  


  • Plum – Candidate ability and personality test that creates a talent profile for all candidates, so you can sort through your top candidates’ various data points  


  • Koru – Online assessment tool for candidate soft skills 


  • eSkill – Online skill assessments across a variety of industries and positions  


  • HackerRank – Coding assessments for web developers and engineers  


  • Pymetrics – Assessment tool for soft skills and employee strengths and weaknesses, compared to your company’s top performers 


Follow Up with References 


Many hiring managers already follow up with references, but not all do. If you’re doing a reference check, make it valuable. Instead of simply confirming their employment and asking generic questions, ask them about specific skills that matter most to you. References can typically offer better, unbiased assessments of their skills since they worked directly with the candidate.  


Assess Differently 


Get creative in how you assess candidates to gain new perspectives on how they would perform. Consider not only how applicants act in an interview, but how they act around the office before and after. Do they greet the office manager or whoever is working at reception, or others in the office? Do they follow up after the interview?  

Consider the gaps in your ability to assess candidates and look for creative ways to fill them. Working with a recruiter can offer various benefits, as talent acquisition professionals know the ins and outs and candidate screening. For help with your hiring process, contact ORS Partners.

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