Skills testing – What is it and why do I need it?

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Skill testing - Bank Partners

Taking any sort of pre-employment test can be a source of anxiety for a lot of people. But it doesn’t have to be! Skills tests, sometimes known as employment tests, talent assessments or pre-employment tests are a tool employers use to gain an insight into the level you are working at.

As much as they are there for the employer, they are also a brilliant way for you to showcase your skills and experience. They also give you the opportunity to see what level you are currently working at and areas you may be interested in working on in the future.

Through a series of different tests, you can be assessed on your level of knowledge in a particular area. For example, a common assessment used across the hiring process is to understand your competency using the Microsoft Office suite of products such as Word and Excel.

Different employers use the tests in different ways. Most are conducted online and can be carried out at home, in an assessment centre, or during an interview. The employer can decide when and what tests they want to use and this can vary depending on wards, role or hospital.

We are often asked “why do I need to take these assessments?” These tests can benefit both you and the employer and there are a number of reasons why taking them is a great opportunity for you.

They are not scary or meant to intimidate you

Although it’s easier said than done, try to avoid going into a blind panic if you are asked to complete a test. They are not there to catch you out but are designed to assess whether you have the necessary skills to do the job you’re applying for.

They will save you time

A job advert, and even a discussion with a recruiter can only give you so much information. How can you really tell if this is the perfect position for you? As we spend a third of our lives at work (never mind the travel time added on), most of us would agree we’d like to spend our time doing work we enjoy and will succeed at.

Skills testing helps filter out those who are unsuitable for the role they are applying for. If you are not selected following the tests, you can assume you’ve saved time. Perhaps that role was not best suited to you after all. The tests may also allow your recruiter to see somewhere that would be a better fit for you.

They allow you to focus on your skills

Depending on the company and position, you may be required to take one or more of these tests:

  •  Aptitude tests based on numerical and verbal reasoning. If you’re applying for non-clinical finance role, for example, where a recruiter needs to consider your numerical skills, you could be asked to complete a numerical reasoning test.
  • Core skills tests to suit the role you are applying for. As an example, if you are applying for a position which needs computer literacy, you may be asked to complete a Microsoft Word test.
  • Vocational tests to identify the required skills for your industry. For positions which require you to be able to audio or speed type, a test to assess your WPM (words per minute) speed could be used.
  • Personality tests to highlight your strengths, weaknesses and preferred working styles including your ability to work in a team environment which is of great importance when working within a hospital setting.
  • Situational Judgement tests to identify your values and behaviours whilst encountering complex situations within a healthcare environment.
  • These tests are an opportunity to see if you do have the skills and abilities you would need if you get the job. If you fail, you can move on to your next job application. That’s far better than being given a role you are unsuited to and wasting time in a job you dislike.

    What’s more, if you are unsuccessful due to your score in a test it allows you to consider whether you need to look at ways to improve that skill.

    They give you a head start

    Skills testing usually takes place before an interview or your first shift depending on the type of role. Therefore, if you get through the tests you are required to take, you know you have the skills the employer is looking for. This should give you confidence when you start.

    Before you attend an interview or your first shift, you should think about the tests you completed:

    • Which areas were focused on?
    • Which responses did you give?
    • What did the employer seem to be looking for in those tests?

    They allow you to shine

    If you sometimes struggle with selling yourself through your CV alone, job tests can help. They can present your knowledge to a recruiter in a clear and concise way and allow you to demonstrate your skills in a way you may not be able to otherwise express.

    If you have a skills test coming up, here are our top three tips:

    • Don’t panic, these assessments are not designed to catch you out
    • Look online to see if there are any practice tests available
    • Take your time and read the questions thoroughly

    If you would like to see more about the roles we have available across all our Trusts, click here.

    Denise Allen has been working in the marketing industry for over 15 years and is Head of Marketing at Skillsarena who provide Talent Tools which enable companies to select, develop and retain valued staff.

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