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Criteria Corp Blog

The Latest in HR Technology and Pre-Employment Testing

Hiring for Soft Skills? Test for Them.

Written by Emily Peirce

Recently, employers have become increasingly interested in evaluating their candidates’ soft skills.  Soft skills are those somewhat indefinable personal attributes that enable people to work with others and perform their jobs effectively.  Qualities like flexibility, problem-solving ability, and overall work ethic are just a few examples of soft skills, and it intuitively makes sense that employers are interested in them. 

Unfortunately, traditional hiring metrics aren’t always the best way to assess soft skills because they can be unreliable sources of candidate information.  For instance, a candidate may claim to be a cooperative team player in a resume or interview, but you won’t know whether or not that’s true until after you hire them.  However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to learn about these skills or traits before you start hiring.

One way to assess important soft skills in your candidates is through pre-employment testing.  Pre-employment testing provides you with a way to directly measure these skills through aptitude, personality, and skill tests. The results from these tests provide you with predictive, scientific data points that enable you to make more informed hiring decisions.

For instance, years of data have shown that cognitive aptitude is one of the most predictive measures of future success in a job.  Tests that measure cognitive aptitude assess attention to detail, critical thinking skills, and problem solving abilities in candidates.  These are all important soft skills that can be broken out and evaluated under the larger umbrella of cognitive aptitude. And while it’s easy for a candidate to say on their resume, for example, that they have good attention to detail, it’s a lot harder to fake it on a test.

Personality tests are another great way to measure a candidate’s soft skills.  These tests cover a broad spectrum of behavioral traits, particularly the traits associated with people skills and work ethic that are critical to job success.  Traits like patience, honesty, cooperativeness, and openness are all soft skills that are correlated to success in a number of jobs and can be measured through personality tests. And while interviews can provide you with a window into a candidate’s personality, a one-time interaction with someone doesn’t necessarily provide ironclad evidence of their future or long-term behavior in a role.

Soft skills are often difficult to glean from interviews and resumes alone, and that’s why pre-employment tests are such a great tool for evaluating candidates.  By incorporating pre-employment testing into your hiring process, you get a glimpse into an applicant’s relevant soft skills before you hire, so you can be more confident in your hiring decisions.

Emily Peirce

Written by Emily Peirce

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