Can Skills Assessments Mean Death to the Resume?

Assessing for Skills and Growth Potential.

We recently attended Talent Table’s Talentpalooza, where  Bas van de Haterd gave a compelling talk that mentioned the irradiation of the resume in the pursuit of removing bias from the recruitment process and how utilising screening tools is crucial to achieving this. In addition to removing bias, removing the need for a resume allows hiring managers to focus on candidates’ ability to perform well in a role (with the right tools of course).

In Bas van de Haterd’s words: “A resume tells me what you have done, for who and for how long. Not how well“.

But how can you determine how well a candidate will perform in a role ahead of time? This article will look at some of the pressure the current low unemployment rate is putting on Australian organisations and share some tactics you can use to look beyond the resume.

The Skills Shortage isn’t Going Away Any Time Soon.

The Australian Financial Review recently broke the news that although 159,500 international students, skilled workers, and tourists arrived in Australia in February, the skills shortage in Australia is not being resolved any time soon. Hiring managers are having to cut down job ads and let previously key criteria slide down the priority list. In fact, a recent survey of 300 hiring managers at the end of last year, found that 84% were willing to compromise on key criteria.

The most popular criteria among these criteria were:

– Education qualifications
– Technical certifications
– Years of experience

So with these criteria out of the running, how are businesses recruiting? Firstly, these criteria slipping is not the worst thing in the world. Why? Because they are not indicators of on-the-job performance. To quote Organisational Psychologist and Member of our Advisory Board, Dina Ward:

“This is the biggest challenge I put to organisations: ‘your job ad says five years experience in industry X. Why?’ That five years’ experience may not have led to their developing more skills or insights. Yet someone with two years experience may have grown and developed in meaningful ways.”

Evaluating on-the-job performance takes more than looking at qualifications or years of experience. It’s a mixture of elements that can be identified ahead of the interview with some simple steps.

Let’s take a look at a live example.  

We currently have a Sales Operations role live. We know that as you read this article, the unemployment rate is 4% in Australia (expected to be 3.35% later in the year). We know that we may get fewer candidates applying for this role than normal and that the candidate pool will be more varied than usual. The applications will be mixed in previous experience and industry while boasting transferable skills that may allow them to thrive in the role.

So how will we be approaching filling this role? Let’s split this into 2 simplified methods (we will go into more detail during our upcoming webinar).

1. Hiring for culture add with behavioural assessments
2. Hiring for on-the-job performance with cognitive and skills assessments

In the first process, we can determine whether candidates may add to Testgrid’s culture by ensuring they have the appropriate behavioral traits to succeed in the role.

In the second, we can predict on-the-job performance by assessing applicants’ skills and cognitive ability to perform the role. Take Excel for instance; the role is data-heavy, so this is a crucial hard skill that candidates must bring to the role. As a result, we won’t be knocking back anyone because they don’t have 5 years of sales experience if they show the ability to perform such a crucial part of the role and have the cognitive ability to learn as they go..

So where does that leave resumes? 

We aren’t the first to say it but relying, particularly solely, on resumes should be a big no-no in your organisation. A quote from ERE Media’s blog WAY back in 2012 summarises the challenges with resumes perfectly:  “Resumes are, at best, self-reported descriptions of historical events.” and that “Resumes frequently contain untruths and half-truths…as many as 80% of resumes contain misleading statements. And on average, 53% contain actual lies.”

10 years later the “upload your resume” button is all too prominent on job ads, so for now, the old-fashioned way seems to be the preferred method for some. But in an increasingly competitive job market, where the cost of staff turnover continues to rise, can you really afford to take the chance by not focussing on the requirements of your role and assessing your candidates’ on-the-job performance.

If you would like to learn more about how you can implement skills-based hiring into your process, check out our recent guide on Skills-Based Hiring here.

Register for our Upcoming Webinar on Validating on-the-Job Performance

You can learn more about skills-based hiring and assessing on-the-job performance in our upcoming webinar with our Assessment Lead, Josie Miller who will be joined by Testgrid’s Talent Assessment Consultant, Amber Deague-Hall, where they will be discussing how organisations are using skills assessments to predict on-the-job performance and just why the method is critical in today’s market.

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