Everyone knows that the COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic effect on the nation’s unemployment rate, which zoomed to 14.7% in April 2020. However, as businesses continue to ramp up to near pre-pandemic levels, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate has dropped to 6% in March 2021. While this rate is still 2.5 points higher than the rate for February 2020, the trend suggests that unemployment will continue to decline.

While this is good news for American workers, low unemployment puts significant strain on employers, who face increased competition when looking to fill new positions. In addition to creating a shallower hiring pool, this competition also makes it more difficult to retain workers, who feel free to follow opportunities at other companies.

As Leigh Buchanan notes in Inc., these challenges are especially palpable for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Not only are companies increasingly competing to hire the same individuals, but SMEs do so at a distinct disadvantage, lacking the capital or the time and money to invest in training compared to larger national brands.

With such tight competition, companies need to be flexible when it comes to filling open positions. But that does not mean they need to hire anyone who walks through the door. Instead, the key is to identify individuals who possess the potential to grow into the job. One of the best ways to make that assessment is to use pre-employment tests as part of your screening process.

Hiring the Right Person

With the combination of rapidly declining unemployment rates and the changes in the hiring process that persist in a post-COVID-19 business environment, pre-employment testing is more important than ever before. Hiring the right person is critical to keep your business running smoothly. Hiring the wrong employee can end up costing you much more than you might realize.

According to Lisa Frye of SHRM, the cost of bringing in a new employee can run up to $240,000 when all is said and done. If the new hire does not work out, that money is essentially lost. Replacing that worker can incur further costs, including:

  • Recruitment expenses
  • Disruption to the team
  • Direct impact on customers
  • Projects left incomplete
  • Potential litigation

All of these factors — and more — can end up taking a big bite out of your budget, based solely on one poor hire.

This makes hiring in a low-unemployment environment even more fraught with risk, since it elevates the chances of bringing in a bad fit. While patience and a clear understanding of the position you are filling go a long way toward enhancing your ability to choose the right candidate, pre-employment tests provide you with solid, empirical data that can prove invaluable to finding the right new hire.

Find the Skills You Need with Pre-Employment Testing

It is true that having the right skills for a given position is the most critical part of hiring the best candidate. However, it is also important to remember that soft skills are just as vital as hard skills. Pre-employment tests can help to identify a candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential for growth.

At eSkill, you can choose from over 800 standard tests. You can also build your own skills tests by pulling from existing material or supplying unique content. These tests are organized by job or by subject, which allows you to easily find the right material to assess the abilities of your candidates.

Hard Skills

Hard skills reflect a candidate’s technical knowledge. While new hires will always need to learn new skills as part of their position — and to continue acquiring and honing skills throughout their career — using skills tests to create a baseline snapshot of their hard skills can be a valuable resource that goes beyond description in a resume.

These pre-employment tests give you the opportunity to see where a potential employee excels and where there may be knowledge gaps. More than simply saying whether a candidate possesses a specific skill or not, this snapshot can help you to determine whether they have the potential to develop the necessary skills in a time frame that works for your company.

Soft Skills

One area that is often overlooked in pre-employment testing is an employee’s soft skills. While these skills are more difficult to quantify, they are especially important when the labor market is tight. Soft skills suggest how an employee will fit within the corporate culture, whether they will be effective leaders, whether they can multitask, and whether they can be effective problem-solvers.

At eSkill, there are a number of helpful tests. With our full-time testing experts, we can help you to design skills tests that will provide you with the precise assessment you need to find the right candidate for your position.

Interested in Learning How How Pre-Employment Tests Make Hiring Easier?

Learn more about eSkill’s full range of Skills Tests, and how they can help you to hire the right person during periods of low unemployment. Request a demo today.

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