4 Reasons You Should Use Skills Assessments at the Top of the Hiring Funnel


In the wake of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have the ability to efficiently identify the best candidates for your open roles. If you’re swamped with resumes whenever you post a new job opening, you might consider using skills assessments at the top of the hiring funnel.

Before coronavirus tore its way through the economy, job postings received an average of 250 applicants. This number could conceivably be much higher as laid-off people look to re-enter the job market.

Most recruiters and HR teams have too many responsibilities to give these resumes as much attention as they’d like. So they may rely on resume screening tools or just do their best, spending an average of six seconds on each resume.

The Challenge for Hiring Teams

Receiving a large volume of resumes presents hiring teams with a difficult decision. Will you:

  1. Spend more time evaluating as many resumes as possible and throw the rest in the trash.
  2. Spend less time on each resume, but consider every single applicant.
  3. Use a resume screening tool to narrow down your candidate pool.

Each of these options runs the risk of missing the perfect applicant. With option 1, you may never even see the resume of the best candidate because you didn’t have time to get to it. With option 2, you might miss the perfect hire because you were moving so quickly. 

And with resume screening tools, you’re just finding the candidates who know what words to put in their resume. An experienced candidate may feel like their resume stands on its own without running it through one of the many resume scanning tools designed to help candidates make sure hiring managers see their resumes—and these tools make it just as easy for someone without the skills for the job to slip past your resume screening software.

With the constantly changing job market, recruiters can’t afford to pass up a top performer. But when your company must hire the best talent, and your employees can’t afford the time to vet every resume, where does that leave you?

A Better Way to Shortlist Candidates

Fortunately, there’s a fourth option. As the HR tech landscape evolves, companies are increasingly turning to better, more efficient means of candidate selection: pre-employment skills tests.

By using an online skills assessment at the top of your hiring funnel, you can evaluate each and every candidate who’s interested in your job opening without even looking for a resume. These assessments will test candidates for the specific skills you are looking for right off the bat, so that you are able to screen the process much more efficiently.

What is a Skills Test?

A skills test allows you to evaluate and screen prospective job candidates based on a skill needed to succeed in their role. Often, these tests are combined into an assessment that tests multiple skills.

These skills generally fall under seven categories: 

  1. Cognitive ability
  2. Language proficiency
  3. Personality & culture add (also known as culture fit)
  4. Programming skills
  5. Role-specific skills
  6. Situational judgment skills
  7. Software skills

Data presented to the Personnel Testing Council of Metropolitan Washington (PTCMW) by Frank L. Schmidt, a psychology professor known for his work in personnel selection and employment testing, shows that multi-measure assessments are the most predictive of on-the-job success. In other words, to identify the top candidates, you should combine different test types in a multi-measure assessment administered to applicants.

Using multi-measure assessments like this, you can objectively evaluate a candidate on relevant skills while reducing the unconscious bias that can come into play when screening candidates manually or interviewing them. 

The Benefits of Skills Testing at the Top of the Funnel

There are several reasons to consider skills tests for candidates instead of going through resumes manually or using resume screening software. The four primary advantages are that skills tests administered at the top of the hiring funnel are more efficient, less error-prone, fairer, and more effective.


One of the most obvious benefits of skills testing is that it makes the shortlisting process much faster. 

These tests identify truly interested candidates and reduce applications from resume spammers, while also quantifying the skills of each applicant so you can see which candidates are truly qualified at a glance. 

By taking the time to complete the assessment, candidates demonstrate that they are serious about the job. This leaves you with a pool of candidates who are motivated to make it through your hiring process. From there, you can look at each candidates’ test scores and further narrow your pool to the most qualified candidates for the job. 


It’s no secret that people lie or embellish the truth on their resumes. These lies can range anywhere from fabricating experience to exaggerating skills, and there’s not a lot of time to investigate during the candidate selection process. Some candidates go through the entire vetting process and may even be hired before the company realizes they are underqualified for the position. 

A skills test eliminates that issue. It is the best way to find candidates who possess the skills you are looking for. In the long run, this will save your company time and money because you won’t waste resources on unqualified candidates during the hiring process. More importantly, you won’t spend the time and money needed to train a new hire, only to find that they’re not a good fit.


Unconscious bias impacts every hiring decision, for better or worse. Humans are wired to like people who are similar to themprefer people they find  attractive, and even to draw conclusions about a person based on their name

So while reading resumes can give you more insight into a candidate, all of that information can also trigger biases that you might not even be aware of. And though the interview process is a great way to get to know a candidate, a number of irrelevant factors (e.g., appearance or accent) can affect your assessment of the interviewee.

Aside from the fact that decisions biased by irrelevant attributes are inherently unfair, they can also lead you to eliminate the best candidate for the job.

A skills assessment test doesn’t eliminate the impact of hiring bias, but it goes a long way towards reducing it. If the first step of your hiring process is to objectively rank each candidate based on their skills, you are more likely to end up with a diverse candidate pool to choose from. And everyone on your team can hold each other accountable, by going back to the data if it seems that someone is letting bias affect their decision making.


As mentioned earlier in this article, research shows that multi-measure assessments are a better indicator of job success than alternatives like reference checks. It allows a recruiter or HR representative to determine a potential candidate’s level of expertise without relying on  their own subjective assessments or the opinion of past employers whom the candidate selected because they knew they could depend on them for a recommendation. 

This leads to better hires that are more efficient in the workplace. 

It also creates a culture of excellence, because if a candidate displays attributes that they need to work on, a performance improvement plan can be implemented immediately, and they can receive the training that is most important to their professional development. 

Discover Which Candidates Are Truly Qualified

If you’re looking for a way to improve your hiring process to become more efficient and make better hires, there’s never been a better time to begin skills testing your applicants. The human resources technology landscape has exploded with countless options you can use to identify top talent, weed out resume spammers, and reduce bias. All you have to do now is find the platform that meets your needs to start making hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Article by:
CEO and Co-founder of Matchr
CEO and Co-founder of Matchr
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