What is a talent assessment test?

August 15, 2022
Mikaella McInerney
What is a talent assessment test?

A talent assessment test is a great way to check a candidate’s skills, strategy and attitude, giving you a preview of their working style before you make an official offer. Also known as a skill assessment, a talent assessment test gives you, the recruiter, an objective way to check a candidate’s abilities, meaning it also removes bias from the recruiting process. If you’re having trouble picking between multiple skilled candidates, a talent assessment test will show you which candidate will perform best and be the right cultural fit for your company.

We all approach work differently. Even if you understand someone’s professional skill set on paper, the way they actually complete their work is often a surprise! Whether they’re a copywriter promising polished content or a software engineer who talks a big coding game, it’s always a good idea to check that a candidate is giving you an accurate picture of their abilities. Building a talent assessment test into your recruitment process gives you a better chance at finding the perfect fit for any role, as well as understanding which candidate will work best with your existing team.

What assessment skills should you test?

The specific assessment skills you test all depend upon the role you are trying to fill. If you’re hiring a product manager, you might ask for a market comparison or create a range of situational questions to see how they would respond at different critical periods during the company’s development and growth. If you’re hiring a salesperson, you might ask them to prepare a pitch to give you a sense of their sales technique. If you’re hiring a full stack developer, you might give them a coding test.

But no matter who you’re hiring, there are three main components you should always be testing.

What are the three components for conducting a talent assessment?

When you’re conducting a skills or talent assessment test, you want to keep three main ideas in mind:

  • The candidate’s experience
  • The candidate’s skills
  • The candidate’s cultural fit

Let’s break this down in more detail.

When you’re assessing a candidate’s experience, you’ll want to see how their professional experience is going to be useful in the role you’re trying to fill. Consider potential challenges they might face in this role and ask them how they’ve handled similar challenges in the past. Ask about projects they’ve worked on that align with projects they’ll be tasked with in this role. And for the objective assessment part of the test, ask for examples of their previous work. A copywriter’s portfolio, an engineer’s GitHub page, a PR manager’s testimonials—a candidate’s track record is always a great way to understand what they can achieve in the role you’re trying to fill.

A candidate’s skills, on the other hand, might be something where you want to create a new test. You could give them a brief assignment where you get them to try their hand at common tasks they’ll be responsible for in their new role. In general, it’s good to keep these tasks directly related to your company. You should already have a sense of how they work generally as a result of their CV, portfolio and work history; now it’s time to see how they will specifically work with you. Try to keep these tests under an hour, as it will make it both easier for you to assess the work and for your candidates to find the time to work without dropping out of your hiring funnel.

Finally, a candidate’s cultural fit is an important part of any interviewing process. A talent assessment test is a great way to get a sense of not just the quality of someone’s work, but also how they work. Are they a procrastinator? Are they a team player or a lone wolf? Do they work best working on their own initiative or do they need lots of collaboration and management? Here, you could use psychometric and personality tests to gather objective data that gives you a good sense how a candidate will operate once they’re within the role.

Ready to start assessing? Finding it hard to start?

By now, you can probably see just how crucial a talent assessment test is to finding the right candidate for your company! But of course, it can be hard to find the time, effort and expertise to fit the right tests into your own recruiting process.

Luckily, HiPeople have got your back. Book a demo with us to start implementing customizable talent assessment tests into your hiring funnel today.