Why is it useful to assess hard skills?
Each job requires a specific set of skills. Hard skills are specific competencies, skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to perform a task or role. Thus, they can be defined as part of the role specification.
Hard Skill Examples
- Spoken languages
- Microsoft Office
- Programming language
Why is this important?
Biographical data (biodata) measures are based on the measurement principle of behavioral consistency, that is, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. However, collecting job-specific biodata is still one of the most underestimated ways of screening candidates.
How do we assess biodata?
Biodata measures include items about past events and behaviors reflecting personality attributes, attitudes, experiences, skills, and abilities validated as predictors of overall performance for a given occupation. We collect essential, sector, and occupation-specific activities and ask candidates to self-evaluate their expertise regarding the activity.
We assume that each job requires a specific set of skills. How do we know which skill sets are important?
➡️ We collect job-specific skillsets through ESCO, which is the European multilingual classification of Skills, Competences, and Occupations
➡️ ESCO works like a dictionary, describing, identifying, and classifying professional occupations and skills
➡️ ESCO provides descriptions of 3.008 occupations and 13.890 skills linked to these occupations
With ESCO, we created 218 Modules that contain sets of skills.
Skillset: People skilled in Accounting review and analyze financial statements, budgets, financial reports, and business plans in order to check for irregularities resulting from error or fraud, and provide their clients with financial advice in matters such as financial forecasting and risk analysis. They may audit financial data, resolve insolvency cases, prepare tax returns and provide other tax-related advice in reference to current legislation.
What does this look like for the candidate?
Example Item for Module “Accounting”:
Introduction: In this section, we would like to learn more about your expertise in Accounting.
Explanation: People skilled in Accounting review and analyze financial statements, budgets, financial reports, and business plans in order to check for irregularities resulting from error or fraud, and provide their clients with financial advice in matters such as financial forecasting and risk analysis. They may audit financial data, resolve insolvency cases, prepare tax returns and provide other tax-related advice in reference to current legislation.
Next, you will see some activities related to Accounting. We ask you to assess your expertise in each activity. Keep in mind that we will review your answers as a part of the application process. Please be honest in your evaluation to avoid misalignment!
Question: Please indicate your current level of expertise in the following activity: “Analyze financial statements”.
- No Expertise - I have not yet gained any experience with this activity in my professional career.
- Beginner - I gained theoretical knowledge in a classroom setting and/or gained initial practical experience in this activity (e.g. as an intern).
- Advanced Beginner - I have performed this activity in a work-related context. To achieve the desired results of the activity, I often require help or supervision.
- Intermediate - I have independently performed the activity during my professional career. Despite my ability to perform the activity, I am still figuring out all of its details.
- Advanced - I can confidently perform the activity and others ask me for advice when they have difficulties with it.
- Expert - This activity is my area of expertise. I have solved complex challenges related to this activity in numerous contexts and can confidently advise others regarding the activity.
Overall Experience Question
Question: All in all, how many years of professional experience do you hold in “Analyzing financial statements”?
Response Format: [number of years]
For what kind of job roles should I use the hard skill assessment?
Any role that involves specific knowledge and abilities required for success in a job. This may include technical job roles, analytics, or bookkeeping.
When to use the hard skill assessment?
Hard skill assessments can be used at any stage of the hiring process. Ideally, they make sense in a prescreening context or the interview.