The high unemployment rate caused by COVID-19 means thousands who were once employed are now searching for jobs of all kinds. This means human resource departments have been inundated with online applications and unsolicited resumes. The competition is fierce, and HR cannot and never has been able to interview every good candidate. Some applicants simply don't make the cutoff, no matter how good they are or could have been in the job. The problem is in the timing. While great candidates may not be included, candidates who are just acceptable due to their keywords may pass through.
An efficient way to weed through the candidates who made the pass is through preemployment testing. Ken Crowell of the website EmployTest says: "Education is not enough, nor is a degree in in a specific field, nor is a license to practice in a particular field. Many people have formal educations but cannot do the work. Whether it's simple math, accounting knowledge, reading comprehension, grammar or just plain common sense, testing is the most efficient way to screen for candidates whose educations are backed up with skills, abilities and practical knowledge."
EmployTest has hundreds of tests for any size company to use in the hiring process. One benefit of preemployment testing is to save a company from the losses experienced by bad hires. A company can lose 2.5 times an annual salary from a bad hire. Testing used to be limited to Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies due to the expense. This is no longer the case. EmployTest has made it possible for the smallest of companies to purchase a minimum package of five tests of any kind for a cost every company can afford: $149. The digital tests are administered online, so HR no longer needs applicants to take tests in person. This method helps eliminate applicants who were counting on charm and smiles to help them through the process.
Tests are grouped into five overall areas, with subcategories as well: Behavioral and Aptitude, Software Skills, Basic Administrative Skills, PsyMetrics, and Industry Knowledge.
"Behavioral and Aptitude" has 11 tests focusing on cognitive and reasoning; workplace success; professional success; behavioral profile; integrity; management; sales; health care aptitude; customer service profile; and building your own test.
"Software Skills" offers 134 tests covering areas such as general computer; Microsoft and Excel; Microsoft Word; Windows; PowerPoint; and Outlook.
"Basic Administrative Skills" includes 44 individual tests for general work; typing; attention to detail; grammar and spelling; reading comprehension; and workplace math.
Companies can also choose from 23 tests by industry knowledge. For example, the legal field offers 18 tests; nursing has 16; the medical field has 29; and accounting knowledge offers 31. There is also a category for PsyMetrics, which tests for elite skills and supervisor aptitude.
When HR is searching for a sales representative to succeed, the desirable character traits are a person who is results-oriented and competitive. It's easy to see that most hiring professionals would not have the background or the skills needed to choose candidates with the exact traits, knowledge and skills for a specific position.
Despite the numerous tests a company can choose, Crowell says the most common desired skills are written communications. One comment he often hears is, "They can text, but they can't write grammatically correct sentences." Basic math skills also seem to be lacking, along with the ability everyone wants in a person — common sense. Knowing these tests are available may scare off the applicants who know they lack the abilities, which would increase the chances for the right job-seekers to get hired.
Email career and life coach: [email protected] with your workplace problems and issues. Ms. Novak responds to all emails. For more information, visit www.lindseynovak.com, and for past columns, see https://www.creators.com/features/at-work-lindsey-novak.
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