4 Areas of Comprehensive Skills & Competency Assessment

Dive into 4 critical areas of the whole-person assessment strategy presented by Tony de Graaf, the Global Director of Hiring Success at Smart Recruiters.

Traditional hiring practices often fall short, which is why forward-thinking organisations are embracing a more global approach to skill-based assessments.

The main focus of skill-based assessment is evaluating skills and competencies throughout the hiring process, enabling companies to tap into a broader talent pool and optimise the candidate experience. 

Here’s how companies can best assess skills & competencies in a comprehensive way.

Comprehensive skill & competency assessment: whole-person strategy

Candidate selection should be based on assessments of three core areas: Interest, Ability, and Internal Need. Looking at these three together helps you go below the surface to truly understand what skills and competencies you need to look for that can’t be found on a CV. Tony refers to this as “whole-person assessment strategy”.

In this article, we delve into the 4 critical areas of the whole-person assessment strategy – progressive candidate profiling, assessments, structured interviews & scorecards, and collaborative approach, presented by Tony de Graaf, the Global Director of Hiring Success at Smart Recruiters, during the Breaking Bias Summit.

Area 1: Progressive candidate profiling

To truly discover the potential of candidates, it is essential to cast a wider net during the sourcing phase. Traditional methods that heavily rely on CVs and LinkedIn profiles often overlook valuable skills that might not be explicitly listed.  That’s where assessments can be of tremendous help.

Progressive profiling Pre-screening information gathered and updated over time

Area 2: Assessments

If you want to educate hiring managers about the need to look at talent and make hiring decisions differently, it can very quickly become “your opinion vs mine” and facilitate friction between the two stakeholders. 

Tony mentions that this is precisely where the use of assessments and their results can help guide the conversation, making the points brought up more objective and backing up claims with actual facts.

Psychometric assessments

Pyschometric assessments aligning to work styles Assessment of a candidate's motivators and work style preferences

Peering beneath the surface, psychometric behavioural assessments provide invaluable insights into candidate’s cognitive abilities, personality, and aptitude. These assessments go beyond what’s showcased on the CV, shedding light on the other, more important aspects of a candidate’s suitability for the role.

The most commonly used psychometric tests within HR processes used to assess a candidate’s work style preferences are behavioural tests. Behavioural tests(usually in the format of questionnaires) assess personal behaviour preferences. Basically, the way in which an individual prefers to work. In fact, behaviour has proven to be a significant predictor of work performance, with a correlation of 0.45.

Guide: Everything you need to know about psychometric testing

Implementing the right psychometric test to assess candidates allows you to start hiring with confidence instead of insecurity, and improve your hiring success.

Curious to learn more about psychometric testing in recruitment? Get your guide here!

Capability assessments aligning to key profiles

Moving away from the reliance on the CV alone, the implementation of practical skills tests truly has proven to revolutionise candidate evaluation. 

By subjecting candidates to specific skill & competency assessments, organisations gain unbiased and objective insights into their capabilities, such as learning ability, decision-making, adaptability, and many more. Moreover, allowing you to compare candidates fairly and make better-informed decisions.

Expert recommendation from Tony de Graaf

Tony argues that introducing objective assessments is not merely a recommendation but a necessary step for companies seeking to enhance their talent acquisition efforts. 

It’s important to remember that there are plenty of assessment types out there, Tony suggests carefully outweigh which type of assessment is best suited for your hiring needs. Moreover, the use of an assessment allows to at least objective some of the information we gathered during the hiring process.

Area 3: Structured Interviews & scorecards

When a hiring manager with years of experience has developed a certain level of expertise in identifying candidates for their team, it can be a challenging task to enter the picture and question their abilities, or provide suggestions on how they can do their job better. ¨Here is a scorecard, now do structured interviews, no small-talk please, this is how you make a good hiring decision”.

If a hiring manager says yes to this, an average recruitment team has probably between 200 and 500 hiring managers, especially in bigger companies. Tony mentions that “some larger organisations even have as many as 25,000+ hiring managers”. You cannot educate them all one by one, so you have to find ways to objective the date, otherwise you will, as Tony puts it – “die in the trenches trying to convince everyone”.

As a recruiter, you are responsible for creating a structure for these processes. The best way to do this is by creating structured interview guides and interview scorecards based on these. There is no other way to do it.

Structured interviews and scorecards

By adopting a standardised interview process focused on assessing skills, recruiters can align the expectations of hiring teams while minimising bias. In this method, all interviewers utilise identical questions and evaluation criteria, ensuring candidates are evaluated consistently and fairly. 

Tony says: “As a recruiter, it’s your job to make sure they [hiring managers] assess the talent the way that you want them to”.

Area 4: Collaborative approach of assessing skills and competencies

Collaborative approach to assessing skills and competencies

Skills in stakeholder management and the ability to foster teamwork become pivotal when hiring for talent acquisition roles. Rather than fixating solely on industry experience, recruiters should prioritise candidates who demonstrate a deep understanding of collaboration’s significance. 

Expert recommendation from Tony de Graaf

We (recruiters) are not operational order takers. It is our job to influence the hiring managers so that they make the right hiring decision. And with that mindset, you also need to show up. If you get a job and you directly post the open vacancy without talking to your hiring manager, you literally take an order. You should always go to your hiring manager and have a conversation together with them to align on the aspects that matter.

Some final words

By adopting a comprehensive assessment strategy encompassing broader sourcing, psychometric assessments, skills tests, structured interviews, and collaborative approaches, organisations can unlock untapped talent and build a more diverse workforce. It is imperative to acknowledge that skills and competencies extend beyond what is presented on paper. 

Through an inclusive, objective, and comprehensive assessment process, companies can make better-informed hiring decisions, drive innovation, and achieve sustainable success in today’s competitive market. 

The era of comprehensive candidate profiling has arrived, it is up to you whether to act on it.

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