How to Encourage Candidates to Complete Skills Assessment Tests

BY Kathy Crosett
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Skills assessments are a routine part of hiring these days. Unless you encourage candidates to complete their skills assessment test, you may not get the profile you want. You can avoid that outcome by advising candidates about why you’re asking them to take an assessment and informing them about how you’ll use the information. While there is plenty of competition for great talent, managers should reduce hiring risk by using assessment data to help them make the right decisions.

The Competition for Great Talent

Our current economic downturn is quite unlike anything we’ve seen before. Sectors that had been struggling to achieve meaningful growth are suddenly dealing with a huge increase in business volume once the pandemic started. Other sectors were quickly shuttered, and those businesses laid off millions of workers. In this environment, sales managers hope that they’ll be able to pick up A‑level talent.

As you search for candidates, you may find yourself competing with other employers. A recent Wall Street Journal article indicates that “the home-​mortgage market” is booming. That’s because consumers are refinancing to lock in record-​low interest rates on mortgages and they’re often buying properties in geographic regions that aren’t tied to the same zip codes as their employers now that the work-​from-​home era seems firmly established.

Similarly, businesses in the other sectors of the financial services industries have gone on a hiring spree. Specifically, organizations need more customer service agents. These jobs are part of the sales organization and you can ensure that you’ll hiring the best person for the position by asking top candidates to take a sales skills assessment test.

Candidate Reluctance about Assessments

As you prepare your candidates to take an assessment, think about their experience. They will be taking these assessments in a remote environment, perhaps at home. They haven’t met you or anyone in your organization personally. And now they’ve been told their personality and their behavioral tendencies will be judged and graded by a computer.

Researchers have detected that some candidates immediately back away from employers who plan to give them ‘personality tests.’ And those candidates might not be the ones you should hire.

But other candidates seem perfectly willing to take an assessment. Except, halfway through a test, these candidates stop. This behavior led researchers to conclude that the assessments were too long. This conclusion wasn’t welcome news to assessment designers, especially those that wanted to measure multiple aspects of a candidate’s skills and tendencies. New research now shows that when employers prepare the candidate for what to expect, they have a much higher completion rate. Better completion rates are key in order to give hiring managers a complete analysis of the candidate.

Encourage Candidates to Complete Sales Assessment Tests

If you’re operating in a vertical with steady economic growth, you'll be competing with other organizations for quality talent. It can be tempting to skip a few critical steps and make a quick hire. But, without the in-​depth information provided by a sales skills assessment test, you won’t know enough about the candidate. Prepare your candidate for what the assessment experience will entail. This means explaining how long the assessment takes and exactly what it measures. Stay positive and communicate frequently to keep the candidate interested in your organization. Our research shows that 59% of sales managers use some type of sales skills assessment when hiring. When you do the same, you will make your best hire yet.