Step 4: Skills Testing
We use "Prove-It" for our skills testing for all of our applicants. Impressive and perhaps somewhat frightening, Prove-It offers a wide range of assessments on everything from Microsoft Office products to Portuguese healthcare assessments and VMWare ESX 4.1. We ask our administrative candidates to take Microsoft Office assessments, a basic office evaluation (which includes grammar and proofreading) and a typing evaluation. Our accountants take additional testing that cover Microsoft Excel and a general accounting evaluation.
Prove-It assessments have become the "standard" in staffing assessments. Their parent company, "Kinexa," has been doing business since the 1990's and have done well enough in the marketplace to have been recently purchased by IBM. While the assessments may not be 100% accurate in grading someone's ability with a software or skill-set, it does provide a good benchmark:
If a candidate scores in the 80's on say MS Excel, they know their way around the software pretty well.
If they score in the 40's they most likely do not.
Accounting assessments are somewhat more subjective because of the vast differences in book knowledge verses hands-on knowledge; however, the same benchmark theory can still be applied. If someone scores a 70 on the General Accounting evaluation, then they understand the intricacies of how everything reconciles out at the end of the cycle, if they score in the 30's… well let’s just say that could be rather problematic to an employer.
With the rise of "tablet" usage, we've seen some of the assessment scores drop the last couple of years, for example, typing scores among younger applicants plummeted. It might seem weird that a recent graduate with a liberal arts degree would type 30 words a minute; however, typing 30 words a minute on a 6 inch tablet screen is actually kind of impressive even if it is not too terribly productive!
While the assessments provide us with an approximation of a candidate's computer, typing and accounting skills, they also give us insight into some of the applicant’s soft skills. If they do the assessments before the interview, it's a good sign that they'll show up for the interview and are serious about finding work. If they ask for a tutorial beforehand because they are concerned that their PowerPoint skills could be rusty, it shows professional maturity. On the other hand, if they blow through the assessments in three or four minutes and score poorly, typically that's someone that we are not going to place. Often, these people do not bother to come in for the interview.
There are numerous subtleties in computerized assessments, if you have any questions please Contact us!
By: Garrison Lindsey, Managing Director – Temporary Staffing, Commercial & Government Services