Say Hello to Good Hires w/ Our Proven Skill Test Template

Hiring someone new can feel like a gamble.

Gambling time, money… Crystal balls can’t predict how they’ll do. 

You kind of just have to cross your fingers.

However, there’s a great way to weed out potentially bad hires early on.

A well-developed skill test (AKA skill assessment) can shed ample light on a candidate’s…

  • Ability (what do they know and what are they able to do now)
  • Attitude (fit for your time)
  • Aptitude (ability to improve over time)

From interviewing and evaluating 10,000’s of applicants, the best hires I’ve found are the ones who do two things. 

  1. Show they can follow instructions and 
  2. Show they can think creatively & critically (i.e. display good judgement toward accomplishing a goal when the exact process of how to get there is left unclear)

A great skill test for this is combining the right exercises, questions, and tasks.

So stop with your old “resume” / “tell us where you went to school” system, because in today’s article I’m showing you a better way:

  • How to create a skill assessment with our skill test template that you can download and tailor to your business needs.
  • How education and experience alone is no guarantee that a candidate will be a great hire for your open job.
  • And how you can evaluate a candidate’s current skill set and true potential with a simple skill test template.

Candidates who are hired on merit, rather than background, tend to stay longer and perform better over the long term. 

So let’s get started finding those great hires. Dive into section #1 below……

In a rush? Want to download this article as a PDF so you can easily take action on it later? Click here to download this article as a PDF guide.

 

 

Skill Test Template Section #1: Set Up a Deadline—Test Applicants’ Responsibility & Punctuality (No Late Submissions)

Skill tests are standardized evaluations designed to measure potential hires’ skills, intellect, personality, responsiveness, and other important characteristics.

And according to Harvard Business Review, skill tests should come early in the hiring process.

And one of the first and most important skills to test in new applicants is responsibility and punctuality.

You want to avoid at all costs hiring someone who doesn’t make it on time for work.

In fact, in 2019, the average absence rate of U.S. employees was 2.8 days according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In addition, CareerBuilder revealed that 25% of employees showed up late to work at least once a month in 2018.

To test punctuality and reliability in applicants, set up deadlines for each skill test and/or on-spec project you assign to them.

And don’t accept applicants that take longer to complete your test or project.

You can always find ways to literally assess candidates in any way possible.

And a good starting point for your skill test is to set up a realistic but a bit tight of a deadline.

You see, candidates who are truly interested in making it onto your team, they’ll move heaven and Earth to make that happen.

So if they start pushing deadlines back because they have personal or other commitments, it could be a sign that the candidate isn’t willing to complete the work on time.

In fact, we consider this one huge red flag in our hiring process and we always look to stay away from that.

Testing for applicants’ responsibility in your skill test template will absolutely help you bring in more stellar results in your hiring process.

How Did Applicants Perform in This Section of the Skill Test Template?

Once candidates agree to submit the skill test by the established deadline, now it’s time to follow up with their punctuality.

Did they really submit the skill test on time?

Did they come up with excuses why they couldn’t submit their skill test?

If they didn’t meet the deadline, you know what to do (hint: dismiss them).

And if they did submit it on time, then let’s move to the next step or section in your skill test template.

Skill Test Template Section #2: Test Their Knowledge, Skills, & Ability to Complete Project(s) Related to Their Area of Expertise With Medium/Difficult Tasks

Knowledge is all the information an applicant must possess about his/her area of expertise.

Skills are learned or intrinsic behaviors needed to successfully perform a specific task or work. 

And abilities are observable behaviors or possession of the means or skill to do a specific assignment or task.

In this section of your skill test template, you’re going to be testing all of the above.

BUT you’re going to evaluate how applicants use all of their skills, abilities, and knowledge in one specific field: their area of expertise.

This is truly important because it will give you a better sense of how capable the applicant is in performing their job role and how potentially successful they can be.

In fact, the lack of skilled and high-quality candidates is the biggest challenge in hiring for 67% of recruiters according to Jobvite.

 

Source

You see, it’s not a secret that most successful people and/or multi-millionaires in the world didn’t have a specific level of education.

Some of them didn’t even go to school or didn’t graduate.

In fact, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all left college before getting their diplomas.

Here’s actually an image that illustrates some of the wealthiest men in the U.S. who dropped out of school…

Source

But what makes these people truly admirable is that they never let lack of a traditional education interfere with their future success.

So you shouldn’t base your hiring decisions only on the applicant’s schooling degree level or diploma.

Because candidates who are hired on merit, rather than background, tend to stay longer and perform better over the long term. 

But for some companies, GPA matters.

And in fact, 67.5% of employers surveyed said they screen candidates by GPA according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

And the strongest growth in demand by 2030 is predicted to be technological skills according to McKinsey & Company.

So even though some job positions do require applicants to have some sort of education degree, some others don’t.

Look instead for someone who really knows everything about the job role’s area of expertise and who can do great work regardless of their education background.

Ideas to Test Applicants’ Knowledge, Abilities, & Skills

In this part of your skill test template, you’ll add a section where you’ll test:

  • How well applicants know their stuff (even if they didn’t get a diploma).
  • How competent and diligent they are in completing a specific project or task related to the job position.
  • And their abilities to solve any problem that may pop up while completing the task(s).

Here are some ideas of what this section should look like.

Follow this simple formula to create this section of your skill test template.

1. Add Logo: To create more brand awareness, add your logo at the top of your skill test so applicants can easily recognize your brand and company.

2. Add Greetings: Welcome applicants to this step of your hiring system. Encourage them to complete the skill test with a short and simple message like the one below…

3. [Optional] Write a Short Overview of Your Company: At this point applicants should have a good idea of what your company’s services or products, vision, mission, and values are. But in case you want to create more brand awareness, this could be a good place to add an overview of your company.

4. Add Job Overview: You can add a brief overview of the job position’s responsibilities to remind applicants of what skills they must have for this job role.

5. Add Instructions: Be clear about your directions here. Instruct applicants to complete the tasks by following the guidelines you set up for them.

6. Create a Task: Ask your team what are the most common assignments the job position you’re looking to fill often has and create the tasks or exercises. 

a. Ideas of Tasks: Depending on the job position you’re looking to fill in, your tasks will vary. Here are a few ideas you can assign to your applicants:

i. For Copywriters: 

1. Copy for lead magnet landing pages

2. Copy for lead magnets

3. Write email sequences

4. Write long and short-form sales pages

5. Write ads copy

6. Write copy for exit pop-ups

7. Write products descriptions

8. Email newsletters copy

ii. For Content Writers:

1. Write a full article (2,500 min)

2. Write an outline for an article

3. Write an introduction and conclusion for a full article

iii. For Designers:

1. Create a landing page design

2. Create ads design

3. Create a PowerPoint presentation 

4. Create a lead magnet design

5. Create banners

6. Create flyers

7. Create illustrations or images

8. Create animations

9. Create logos

iv. For Editors:

1. Edit a full article

2. Edit landing pages copy

3. Edit email sequences or newsletters

4. Edit a lea magnet (an ebook, guide, checklist, etc.)

vi. For Web Developers:

1. Install a client’s site to WordPress on a local computer. Edit the current theme. Write a small code on the PHP that will select the data from the database and display it on the homepage.

vi. For Digital Marketing Strategists:

1, Create a funnel strategy diagram for a client.

2. Record a video walking a client through their account

vii. For Ads Managers:

1. Describe your thought process for setting up an ad campaign and targeting the people who are likely to want these services

Of course, you can combine 1 or more tasks for their skill test depending on the level of complexity.

For example, assigning the creation of one logo to a designer wouldn’t show a lot of what the person is capable of doing.

Instead, combine creating a logo with designing a long-form landing page and a header image.

Which by the way, if you’re looking to have any design or copy-related digital marketing tasks, check out our Marketplace to order any task you want to get done for you.

So anyway, the idea to assign more complex tasks to your applicants is to set the bar higher for them to see if they can reach it. 

If the bar is too low, then anyone will be more likely to pass it and you don’t want that.

You want to retain applicants who are able to diligently complete their work without even being trained yet for the job role.

How Did Applicants Perform in This Section of the Skill Test Template?

In this section, you’ll evaluate a candidate’s performance, their talent, and whether or not they reached out to you if they had any questions throughout the process.

As you can see, evaluating them via written and oral tasks lets you assess their knowledge, abilities, and skills all in one place.

For this, when going through this section of your skill test, ask yourself:

  • Did the applicant meet expectations? And if he/she didn’t, how far away from those expectations were they?
  • Did they show they know their ”stuff”? Or does it look like the applicant has no knowledge in the field?
  • Were they able to solve any issue, problem, or question that popped out throughout the process? Or did they ask you how to solve the problem after submitting the task?

Knowledge, abilities, and skills will be great predictors of your candidate’s success.

Want to say hello to good hires w/ our proven Skill Test Template and avoid hiring bad applicants? Click here to download your template.

Skill Test Template Section #3: Test Applicants’ Ability to Solve Any Problem (Not Necessarily Related to Their Job Position)—You Need Thinkers, Not Soldiers

Wow, how many times have I said that.

I like working with thinkers, not soldiers.

But problem-solvers are hard to find. 

In fact, the top missing soft skills that companies look for are problem-solving and critical thinking according to SHRM.

Source

But those are exactly the skills in team members that’ll help your business scale.

Why?

Because as much as you have all your processes and systems documented, there’ll always be problems or unexpected situations popping out.

And for this, you need team members who are capable of stepping up and solving those issues on their own (or at least look for the solutions).

You need critical thinkers.

People who you don’t have to push to go do their job.

In fact, 83% of companies require both social and analytical skills according to The State of the American Job Report Pew Research.

Source

And it’s no wonder that the top traits or skills employers look for according to NACE are:

  • Critical thinking / problem-solving (80.9%)
  • Teamwork / collaboration (78.7%)
  • Professionalism / work ethic (70.8%)
  • Oral / written communications (67.4%)

Ideas to Test Applicants’ Ability to Solve Problems 

For this section of your skill test template, create a task where candidates need to solve a problem not directly related to their field.

For example, for a content writer, ask them to edit a blog post, article, or some sort of long-form content.

Because even if they don’t have experience as an editor, they’ll face a different challenge related to their area of expertise that will make them think outside the box.

And this is great because it makes them not only deal with a different area of your business than the one they initially applied for. But it’ll also give you a good idea of how much they’re willing to be involved in other areas of the company.

Of course, you won’t ask a designer to complete a task about web development. Or a project manager to write a copy.

But something where they can prove to you how worthy they are of being flexible and willing to face new challenges.

Another idea of a task for this section is to create hypothetical situations where applicants must react to a specific situation.

This will let you see how they deal with the situation, if they struggle to handle it, and how they react to it.

How Did Applicants Perform in This Section of the Skill Test Template?

Did the applicant show signs that he/she is a problem solver?

Did they actually solve the problem without any help?

Great! You’re very close to hiring someone who could potentially be a great great fit for your business!

Skill Test Template Section #4: Evaluate Candidates’ Verbal & Written Communication Skills (How Well Do They Communicate With Anyone)

Ok so in any business you need team members that are capable of clearly communicating.

No questions asked.

Impeccable communication isn’t only for members of your team who work with clients.

Everyone on your team needs to properly communicate both written and verbally.

Otherwise lots of things could get lost in translation. 

And as a result, this could bring misunderstanding and miscommunications.

So always look to test for this important ability.

In fact, 82% of employers seek proof of solid written communication skills on a candidate’s resume and it’s the #1 skill they look for in candidates according to NACE.

Source

And on top of that, a survey by SHRM showed that of 400 companies with 100,000 employees, each stated an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of poor communication to and between employees.

Ideas to Test Applicants’ Verbal & Written Communication Skills 

So for testing applicants’ ability to properly communicate verbally, and most importantly, written, create a task in your skill test template to assess this.

For this, you’ll ask the candidate to write a message to another team member or a client with a hypothetical situation.

Ask them too to record a video communicating about a different situation to another team member.

The situation can be anything so be creative here.

How Did Applicants Perform in This Section of the Skill Test Template?

How were the applicant’s communication skills?

Did he/she clearly communicate through writing and audio?

Was his/her communication free of typos and grammatical errors?

Are they still a good fit for the position you were considering hiring them for?

Remember, if someone cannot clearly communicate because they simply don’t have the skills or don’t speak the same language, that may be a red flag to watch out for.

Skill Test Template Section #5: Test Their Reliability & Personality to See If They’re a Cultural Fit

There are some other important aspects in your hiring process you need to test besides responsibility, punctuality, skills, talent, and knowledge.

As a matter of fact, some other soft skills employers want the most are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management. This according to LinkedIn.

And they also state that 92% of professionals say soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills when they hire. 

Source

So getting a better sense of applicants’ personalities and reliability are key factors when hiring someone.

It’s happened to us that after hiring some people on a trial basis, we later on found out that they weren’t really a fit.

And this happened because we didn’t test their personalities or how reliable they were.

And in case you’re wondering “What the heck does someone’s personality have to do with filling in a job role?”…

Well, the answer is it has a lot to do with it.

You see, skill tests that assess or measure specific aspects of a candidate’s personality will determine if that person will be beneficial for a role that requires a particular demeanor.

Because for example, a highly extroverted person would be a great fit for a role that has a lot of customer interaction like sales.

Ideas to Test Applicants’ Personality & Reliability

Be creative here.

We always ask our applicants some fun questions to get a better sense of their personalities.

Here are some examples of the questions we ask…

For instance, try to make them talk about their likes, hobbies, and dislikes but without being pushy or annoying.

They won’t appreciate that.

Conclusion

Want to say hello to good hires w/ our proven Skill Test Template and avoid hiring bad applicants? Click here to download your template.

That’s it.

The goal of your skill test template is to help you filter bad applicants in your hiring process and retain only the good ones.

Your skill test template will help you ask a variety of questions in different formats to see how candidates perform on each task.

And relying too much on a score? That isn’t a good idea. 

That’s why the best hiring decisions actually consider many aspects of a candidate’s personality like their knowledge, skills, abilities, behavior, and reliability. Not based on a systemized scoring.

For instance, use the data gathered by the skill test you’ll create with this template to embark upon the next round of your screening process.

Here are the sections for your skill test template for your reference:

  • Skill Test Template Section #1: Set Up a Deadline—Test Applicants’ Responsibility & Punctuality (No Late Submissions)
  • Skill Test Template Section #2: Test Their Knowledge, Skills, & Ability to Complete Project(s) Related to Their Area of Expertise With Medium/Difficult Tasks
  • Skill Test Template Section #3: Test Applicants’ Ability to Solve Any Problem (Not Necessarily Related to Their Job Position)—You Need Thinkers, Not Soldiers
  • Skill Test Template Section #4: Evaluate Candidates’ Verbal & Written Communication Skills (How Well Do They Communicate With Anyone)
  • Skill Test Template Section #5: Test Their Reliability & Personality to See If They’re a Cultural Fit

And if a candidate meets every criteria you’re looking for, then that could mean stellar results will lead you to a final hiring decision. 

Now tell me something, what other sections from your skill tests did I leave out?

Do you often struggle with hiring, skill tests, interviews, etc.?

Let me know in the comments below.

Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.

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