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How to Conduct a Talent Assessment to Build Better Teams

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“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do”
– Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman, and Co-CEO of Salesforce

More than two-thirds of tech organizations worldwide experienced a talent shortage in 2021. 

Needless to say, the struggle is real!

Companies that wish to survive this dire situation must develop robust processes to attract and retain top talent. 

This is where a talent assessment strategy comes in.

Well-conducted assessments make it easy to hire best-fit candidates from inside or outside and promote high-potential employees to key leadership positions. 

In this blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know to develop and execute a winning talent assessment strategy. We’ll start by learning about what talent assessments are, their benefits, and the various methods to conduct them. 

Then, we’ll dive into the core of our discussion, where you’ll learn how to utilize talent assessments the right way to close your talent gaps and grow your business. 

Let’s go!

What Is Talent Assessment?

Talent assessment refers to how companies evaluate the skills, knowledge, cognitive abilities, and personality traits of job applicants and employees. You can conduct a talent assessment test for various purposes, such as:

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Popular talent assessment methods include online skill, personality & cognitive assessments, face-to-face or video interviews, work sample assessments, and more. 

Here are some examples of commonly-used online talent assessments:

Online assessments are key in identifying and grooming top talent, making them crucial for business growth. But, you must implement your assessments strategically.

In our next section, let’s learn more about the benefits of an impactful talent assessment strategy.

Why You Need an Effective Talent Assessment Strategy

Regardless of your industry or company size, talent assessments provide a tangible, positive business impact. Here’s how.

“Hiring is the most important people function you have, and most of us aren’t as good at it as we think. Refocusing your resources on hiring better will have a higher return than almost any training program you can develop”​
– Laszlo Bock, Co-founder and CEO of Humu

Hire the Best Talent 

You can set up a streamlined and data-driven hiring process with talent assessments. This lets you onboard people that accurately match the job requirements and have all the skills & personality traits needed to thrive in the role.

Establishing an assessment-centered hiring system that strongly focuses on candidates’ abilities and attitudes is also a great way to inspire trust, making it easier to compete for top talent. 

Avoid Hiring Mistakes

Bad hiring decisions are insanely expensive. In 2016, companies lost an average of $14,900 per bad hire

If that statistic seems shocking, consider this one: Undercover Recruiter estimates that hiring the wrong person for a second-level manager position might cost you as much as $840,000!

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Source

But if making a bad hire is so astronomically costly, why does it continue to happen?

The reasons are fairly obvious. According to a Career Builder survey, besides errors on the recruiters’ part and a lack of qualified candidates, the other top reasons for bad hiring include:

  • Candidates lying about their qualifications
  • Pressure to fill the role quickly 
  • Not focusing on personality and attitude 

Conducting online talent assessments makes it easy to steer clear of these hiring pitfalls and drastically reduce turnover. 

You can use online assessments to test skills and personality in a fast yet effective way and easily validate candidates’ claims about their abilities, experience, and behaviors. 

Reduce Hiring & Training Costs

Besides helping you avoid hiring miscues, online talent assessments also save money by reducing your hiring and training expenditure. Using an online assessment tool, you can assess hundreds of job candidates or employees in a streamlined way to make the entire process more efficient and cost-effective.

Establishing a streamlined assessment process is especially crucial for employee training since doing so enables you to pinpoint learning gaps & challenges and deliver training in a highly targeted way. 

Hire Easily at Scale

When you’re hiring at a low pace, you might be able to get by without a talent assessment process. But when you need to hire several employees every week over a sustained period, things can get pretty rough.

A well-executed talent assessment strategy ensures that you don’t have to make any compromises to close positions quickly. 

For example, you can use online skill tests to quickly and efficiently screen candidates, so you don’t waste time interviewing people who don’t even have the abilities to perform the job satisfactorily. 

Improve Workplace Diversity 

Besides being the right thing to do, embracing workplace diversity also offers many unique advantages to businesses. For example: 

But how do talent assessments factor into all this? 

It’s simple.

Talent assessments make the recruitment process more skill-focused and data-driven. In doing so, they reduce the possibility of human error and bias (unconscious or otherwise). 

Ensure Culture Fit

An effective talent assessment strategy ensures that you consider every aspect of a job candidate’s suitability — not just their skills and work experience. 

For example, the best talent assessment strategies include pre-employment personality tests that help find out if the job candidate has the behavioral traits needed to thrive in the company’s work culture.

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Assessing for culture fit is crucial since bad-fit employees can quickly become disengaged. Worse, they can even get disillusioned to the point of trying to harm the company.

Improve Onboarding 

One of the key components of an employee onboarding process is aligning new employees with the roles and responsibilities they are best suited for. Talent assessments make this easy by providing deep insights into the new employee’s expertise and personality. 

Besides role alignment, conducting talent assessments during the onboarding process also provides other advantages. 

  • You can use assessments to personalize the onboarding process, making it smoother and more efficient. 
  • Using assessments, you can identify any training needs you need to address before putting the new employee on the job.
  • Conducting talent assessments during hiring and onboarding also helps predict and plan for future training needs. 

Succession Planning

You can use talent assessments for existing employees to empower your succession planning initiatives. Assessments can help you identify the employees that have the required level of hard & soft skills to be a leader along with leadership traits, such as accountability, adaptability, confidence, cognitive ability, etc. 

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For the employees that fare average on the assessment but show potential, you can conduct a training program to develop their leadership skills. For this, you can use an online learning management system, such as ProProfs Training Maker, which comes with ready-to-use and customizable leadership & management courses.  

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Pro Tip: Besides direct assessment methods, such as online tests and interviews, talent assessment for succession planning must include 360-degree feedback surveys to comprehensively assess an employee’s readiness for leadership roles. 

For this, you can use an online employee feedback tool, such as ProProfs Survey Maker, to seamlessly collect anonymous feedback from an employee’s peers, managers, and subordinates using engaging surveys.

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Ensure Customer Delight 

By helping you build effective teams and leaders, organizational talent assessments contribute toward customer satisfaction and delight in a major way. 

For example, you can conduct customer service assessments to create customer support teams that provide quick and effective resolutions to customer queries and grievances. 

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Your customer support talent assessments can also include:

Read More:  How to Conduct a Customer Service Assessment 

Besides customer service, talent assessments let you hire and train better for various other roles responsible for customer delight. For example, you can conduct assessments to hire sales professionals that deliver amazing buying experiences and product managers that come up with highly useful product enhancements. 

As you can see, talent assessments play a critical role in almost every aspect of a business’ success. With that said, let’s quickly look at the various assessment methods and then jump into how you can conduct talent assessments in a result-oriented way.

Enhance your talent assessment process with a powerful quiz tool. Start building smarter, data-driven hiring strategies today!

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Best Talent Assessment Methods

Here are the different ways to effectively assess candidates and employees.

Skill Tests 

You can use online skill tests to assess hard skills for any role, such as sales, customer service, operations, etc., as well as various soft skills, such as:

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Online skill tests provide an easy way to test candidates’ and employees’ skills & knowledge. They let you automate scoring & reporting and can be taken anytime, on any device. 

Personality Tests 

Personality tests assess candidates and employees on various personality traits, such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (in case you’re wondering – yes, those are the big five personality traits). 

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Source

Conducting personality tests helps in various ways, such as:

Important note: Personality assessments can effectively ensure role and culture fit when hiring. But you must always make sure your personality test is consistent with a business necessity and related to the role.

Also, you must never use personality assessments as a screening tool or as the sole hiring or succession criteria. Instead, you should use these to complement skill assessments and make interviews more insightful.

Cognitive Ability Tests 

Cognitive ability tests assess various mental abilities, such as: 

Cognitive abilities are an excellent predictor of job performance, so they’re a must for every talent evaluation process.

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Structured Interviews 

Structured interviews are a style of interviewing job applicants where you ask all candidates the same questions in the same order. Compared to unstructured interviews, where you simply have a discussion with the candidates, structured interviews make for easier candidate comparison. 

You can conduct your structured interviews in different ways, such as:

Watch: How to Create a Video Interview Question

Pro Tip: You can get started quickly with your video interviews for different roles, such as sales, customer service, etc., using customizable video interview quiz templates.

Assess candidates flexibly and widen your candidate pool with video quizzes

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Work Sample Assessment 

Asking candidates for work samples can be an excellent way to see if they match your company’s quality and efficiency standards. But there’s one important thing to keep in mind when you’re asking for work samples.

If you ask candidates to provide a sample of work they’d eventually be doing once hired, you must pay them for it. 

That’s because if you don’t do so, you’re asking them for free work, which can hurt your brand image and result in top candidates withdrawing their applications. 

Don’t wish to have paid work sampling and add to your recruitment costs? There’s another way you can go.

You can ask candidates for a sample of something closely related to the work they’ll be doing. 

For example, let’s say you’re a SaaS brand offering a customer relationship management tool, and you’re hiring for a content writing position. In this case, you can ask for a writing sample on a different SaaS topic than customer relationship management, such as popup marketing or LMS-based employee training.

Job Simulation 

Job simulation is similar to work sample assessment, the difference being that this talent assessment method is more situation-oriented. 

For example, let’s say the job involves a lot of multitasking. In this case, instead of providing the candidate with a single task to work on, you might provide them with a bunch of them and see how they juggle between the various tasks while performing each one effectively.

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Similarly, for customer service or sales reps, a job simulation could mean that they have a mock call with the hiring manager. 

Trial Day

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Job trials or trial days can be highly effective in validating your assessment of a job candidate once they’ve cleared all the rounds of your hiring process. Depending upon what makes the best sense for your requirements, you can ask candidates to go through a job trial for half a day or one full day. 

The only downside to this talent assessment method is that the potential reporting manager of the candidate will need to monitor them. This might hamper the team’s productivity. 

So, those were the various talent assessment methods you can employ for hiring and other purposes. Now let’s see how you can implement them the right way.

How to Develop & Implement an Effective Talent Assessment Process 

Here’s how you can develop your talent assessment strategy and nail its execution.

Step 1: Gain clarity on your requirements 

The first thing you need to do when creating your talent assessment strategy is to understand what organizational goals you hope to achieve. For example, your goals could be:

  • Reducing staff turnover 
  • Improving team performance 
  • Creating more innovation 

To identify your goals, you can conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) analysis. A SWOT analysis tells you how well your business performs against success benchmarks and lets you identify favorable and unfavorable factors for business growth.

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Once you’re clear on your goals, you must define what “talent” means in the context of said goals and your company’s work culture and performance standards. 

For this, you can conduct a brainstorming session involving all stakeholders. You’ll need to do this for each role you’re trying to fill to identify the required core competencies and decide on your hiring or succession criteria.

Step 2: Define the time frame and budget

Before you set off on your talent assessment journey, there are a couple of other things that you need to get familiar with besides your requirements: 

  • how much time you have to conduct your talent assessment process
  • how much money you can invest toward it

Understanding your time frame and budget will enable you to decide which assessment methods to include in your talent assessment strategy and which ones to leave out. 

Step 3: Choose the right talent assessment methods 

When selecting your assessment methods, ensure they are tailored to the role requirements and let you leverage the resources at your disposal. For example, if you’re short on budget, conducting job trials might not be feasible.

Similarly, conducting face-to-face interviews with each candidate isn’t the way to go if you don’t want to invest too much time in hiring.

This is something that John Baker, the owner of a leading Colorado paint booth provider, had been struggling with when he decided to change his talent assessment strategy. 

Case Study: John Baker Sales

John Baker, the owner of John Baker Sales, had been looking to implement a hiring process that would enable them to hire smart people that best matched their hiring criteria.

John set up a system where the candidates needed to come to the office and take a paper-based test and an interview. The process required John to block an hour of his time for each candidate, even if they performed poorly on the test.

To avoid wasting time this way, John set up a remote screening process using an online talent assessment tool. Now, John sends a link to the same test to each candidate. Candidates can take the online test anytime, anywhere, and if they don’t meet the minimum score requirements, they are eliminated from the hiring process.

John gets instant results for each candidate since his chosen assessment platform supports automated scoring and grading. Using easy-to-use online software for talent assessment has enabled John to make his hiring process much more efficient. As a result, he can now spend much more time on revenue-producing activities than in the past.

Encouraged by his success with the online talent testing service, John plans to use this assessment method to hire for other roles as well and is confident he’ll get the same satisfying results.

As you can see from John Baker’s case, using online skill assessment tests to screen candidates can greatly reduce the time you need to invest in hiring. But this is only possible if you use the right skill assessment tool.

When deciding on your talent acquisition assessment tool, here are some features you must look for:

  • Ease of use and cost-effectiveness
  • Automated scoring and grading 
  • Compatibility with mobile devices
  • Security and anti-cheating settings 
  • Diverse question types
  • Ability to create insightful and complex personality tests in addition to skill/knowledge tests
  • Advanced reporting functionalities 
  • Ready-to-use questions and tests 

Watch: How to Choose the Best Assessment Software

Step 4: Focus on internal candidates

Whether you’re looking to fill a regular role or a key leadership position, hiring from within is always preferable. Some of the advantages of hiring internally include the following:

  • In-house hiring lets you save on recruiting costs
  • It also takes less time since candidates are easy to find
  • The candidates are already familiar with your company
  • They’ve already proven to be a good fit for your company’s culture and values
  • Internal hiring and promotion boost employee loyalty and engagement

Step 5: Keep candidates updated 

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According to a recent study by CareerArc, 55% of job candidates ditch their applications after reading negative reviews of a company online. This highlights just how crucial it is to provide an excellent candidate experience. 

You don’t want the candidates you reject or put on hold to discourage others from joining your company. 

Also, you must ensure that you update candidates as soon as possible since the ones who don’t hear from you in time may assume that they’re out of the running and move on. 

Further, even if everything goes well and the candidate joins the company, you don’t want them to have started on the wrong foot with a subpar hiring experience.

Step 6: Thoroughly analyze the results 

You must thoroughly analyze your talent assessment results to compare candidates accurately. 

While this reason alone is enough to justify focusing heavily on result analysis, there is another great benefit you get from doing so.

A good results analysis also lets you find out what worked in your talent assessment strategy and what didn’t and use this information to improve your assessment process. 

Results analysis becomes seamless if you conduct your assessments using online tests created with top software. That’s because the best online testing tools provide automated and advanced reporting with insightful statistics.

Unlock powerful insights into candidate performance with advanced reporting & analytics!

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Online testing software may also integrate with applicant tracking systems, such as BambooHR, that have powerful analytics capabilities that you can leverage to draw actionable conclusions.

By now, you must have noticed that online tests hold a certain edge over other assessment methods. So, let’s look at how you can quickly create an online skill or personality test and optimize it for effective talent assessment.

How to Conduct an Online Talent Assessment Test

Here’s the process for creating online technical assessments in five simple steps.

Step 1: Pick a ready-made assessment or start building one from scratch

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Step 2: Add questions or import them from the library

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Step 3: Automate scoring and results

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Step 4: Configure security, notification, and other settings

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Step 5: Customize and brand your test

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To know more about the test creation process, check out our ultimate test-making guide or watch the video tutorial below.

Watch: How to Create an Online Assessment Test

Tips to Create the Best Talent Assessment Tests 

Here are some best practices you must remember when creating talent assessment tests for hiring or training.

Ask the Right Questions

Make sure that you tailor the questions you ask to your assessment requirements and highly relevant to the role you’re hiring for. Your questions must help you create a clear picture of candidates’ abilities relative to the role requirements, your goals, and the company’s performance standards.

For this, it’s best if a higher-up in the department you’re hiring for is deeply involved in creating or selecting the questions. 

Decide Test Length as per the Role

Deciding how many questions to ask in a talent assessment can be tricky. Here’s what you need to remember to set the perfect test length. 

  • Limit your test to 10-15 questions if you’re hiring for junior roles
  • When hiring for complex positions, try to create a longer, in-depth test (around 20 questions) 
  • Try to ensure that all questions and answer options are to the point and use concise language

Enable Security & Anti-Cheating Settings

No matter how insightful an online talent assessment test you create, it’ll amount to nothing if its integrity and credibility get compromised. Before you deploy an assessment test, you must configure certain privacy and cheating prevention settings, such as:

  • Make your tests private and password protected 
  • Enable question and answer option shuffling 
  • Enable remote proctoring 
  • Prevent candidates from switching tabs during the test 
  • Create a question pool to present each candidate with a different set of questions 
  • Prevent copying and printing of assessment content 

Make Your Tests Visually Engaging

Here are some things you can do to make your talent assessment tests visually engaging: 

While talent assessment tests are used to assess and not help in their learning, they still can’t be dull. Whether you’re assessing external or internal job candidates, you should aim to provide an engaging experience to encourage candidates to accept the role if they’re selected. 

  • Try to include images or videos in questions and answer options. 
  • Feature a video talking about the test and your company on the welcome screen
  • Add a beautiful custom or pre-built theme that matches your branding 
  • Add an attractive background along with your company logo 

Watch: How to Design Beautiful Quizzes

Use Various Question Formats

Another excellent way to provide an engaging assessment experience is to use a mix of different question types, such as multiple-choice, checkbox, fill-in-the-blanks, order-the-list, matching, video-response, etc. 

Using different question types also makes the test more insightful. It gives you the flexibility to ask any questions your way. 

Include Situational Questions

Watch: 15+ Question Types for Online Learning & Assessment

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Besides being a highly engaging way to ask questions, situational or case study-based questions are also great for testing practical knowledge. Plus, they let you accurately assess a key competency – judgment. Assessing judgment can be crucial if you’re hiring for a senior or leadership role. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do talent assessments really work?

Yes, they do. Talent assessments are the ideal way to ensure you have effective hiring and training processes in place. They provide actionable data and insights you can leverage to achieve your business goals. Plus, if you’re using an online assessment tool, your assessments will also help you make your hiring & training processes faster and more cost-effective. You can also use talent assessment tools for succession planning.

How can I ensure that a talent assessment strategy is unbiased?

The best and most effective way to de-bias your talent assessment strategy is to make it as data-driven as possible. For this, you must comprehensively assess the candidates’ skills using a battery of assessments measuring hard skills, soft skills, and cognitive abilities. 

How can talent assessments improve a hiring process?

Talent assessments executed strategically improve the hiring process in several ways, such as:

  • They let you quickly and accurately assess candidates’ expertise and abilities 
  • Help you ensure a work culture fit and reduce turnover stemming from disengagement 
  • Make it easy to align new employees with the right roles 
  • Online talent assessments can be conducted anytime, anywhere, enabling you to hire from any time zone 
  • They serve as an excellent screening tool to avoid wasting your and the candidates’ time 
  • Help provide a good recruitment experience to the candidates 

Build a Talented Workforce With Online Assessments 

An excellent talent assessment strategy can empower your hiring, onboarding, training, and leadership development processes and optimize your ROI. While you can use various assessment methods, skill and personality tests are essential for creating an efficient and comprehensive talent assessment strategy.

What you need is a powerful testing solution to ensure that you implement your online tests in the best possible way. ProProfs Quiz Maker is the ideal choice for this. It offers top-of-the-line features, such as: 

  • 15+ engaging question types, including video-response for conducting interviews 
  • A resources library with 100+ professionally designed tests & over a million ready questions
  • 100+ smart settings for security, customization, branding, and more 
  • Advanced reporting system with visual statistics and the best part – you get all this packaged in the simplest testing interface!

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About the author

Vipul Bhagia is an e-learning expert and content creator, specializing in instructional design. He excels in crafting compelling e-learning modules and designing effective employee training assessments. He is passionate about leveraging digital solutions to transform work culture and boost productivity. Vipul enjoys exploring emerging tech innovations and sharing his insights with fellow industry professionals.