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Typically, each corporate job posting attracts around 250 applicants, while only one or two applicants are hired. Companies are now implementing skill-based hiring, which focuses on technical, foundational and transferable skills, to find the right qualified candidate for the position and company. Hence, popular job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed invented Skill Assessments Quizzes to help job seekers get their skills noticed easier by recruiters while reducing recruiters’ time spent on outbound recruiting. While this may be a great way to bridge job seekers and recruiters, this may not be the best solution in recruitment.

These assessments are not created by the company or employer but by job boards’ in-house subject-matter experts. LinkedIn and Indeed, two major job boards, provide these assessments to let applicants “pre-interview” for the job position on top of their resumes or cover letters. This feature also allows recruiters to find skilled candidates closely aligned to the desired or required skill listed in the job description before deciding to speak with the applicant. Let’s use LinkedIn as an example in this article.

What Do LinkedIn’s Skills Assessments Do?  

  • Allows users to demonstrate the skills they have added to their profile through these specific skill assessments 
  • LinkedIn subject-matter experts create them
  • LinkedIn will send a skill assessment to the applicant when a skill that is listed as a “Desired skill” (Not a required assessment)
  • LinkedIn users who score within the top 30% will earn a badge. Users who are below 30% may retake the assessment in three months. 
  • LinkedIn users may showcase their badges on their profiles
  • Skill assessments are timed and range around 15 multiple-choice questions 
  • The LinkedIn algorithm favors users with badges and allows recruiters to find them more easily (increase chances of getting noticed)

From a candidate’s perspective, this sounds like a great way to showcase their skills and expertise for a particular skill. Alternatively, from a recruiter’s perspective, it is an open gate to learn more about the applicant and test their foundational and technical skills before hopping on a phone screen.

Some Advantages of Skill Assessments: 

  • Increase recruitment productivity by filtering out applicants who took the assessment and are experienced in a specific skill 
  • Easily find these applicants as the LinkedIn algorithm favors users who have taken skill assessments. (Great from a recruiter’s perspective, but not the best for hiring managers). 

Now, the question to ask is – how are these skill assessments created, and in what context? Indeed, it is nice to see applicants participate in skill assessments, but what about transferable skills and industry knowledge? Many variables may contribute to why skill assessments are not the best way to hire them. Perhaps, recruiters may even lose a well-qualified candidate who may have the skill but simply did not take this assessment. 

Different companies look for their employees differently; some value industry knowledge skills, while others may strongly value technical skills. Hence, skill assessments should not be the ultimate deciding factor on whether the candidate moves on to the next stage of the hiring process. Here’s why:

Some Disadvantages of Skill Assessments: 

  • Skill assessments may be too generic and consist of basic knowledge only. For example, if a recruiter is looking for a potential employee who knows Adobe Photoshop, skill assessments may only assess the tool’s functionality, but not creativity. 
  • Lengthy applications. Job applications are a lengthy process. In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 60% of job seekers drop off in the middle of the job application due to the complexity and lengthiness of the application. These skill assessments might only add to more applicant drop off in this lengthy process. 
  • Skill assessments participants may “cheat.” Answers could be found easily on the web. Therefore, it makes the skill assessments less accurate as recruiters hope to be. 
  • Skill assessments might be outdated. Many of these assessments are not up-to-date, hence, making them irrelevant. 

Skill assessment questions may be an additional resource to help recruiters understand applicants’ skills, experience, and expertise. However, they should not be the ultimate factor in disqualifying or qualifying an applicant, as they are not as important when making a hiring decision.

The main question is – do skill assessments disqualify a good candidate?

The answer is – debatable. While skill assessments might be an additional resource to discover hidden talents, it becomes unnecessary when making a hiring decision. Comparing the advantages and disadvantages and depending on the company’s needs and hiring process, they are highly likely to be overlooked with other documents like resumes, cover letters, and portfolios. 


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Rene Cheng
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