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Hard Skills Assessment

Hard skills aren’t limited to tech, engineering, and other STEM-related roles. Whether you’re hiring for marketing, customer service, UX, photo editing, graphic design, or something else, there are often some key hard skills that your candidates need to excel in their roles. 

And if you want to gauge an applicant’s hard skills, you’re going to need some insights beyond the resume. Fortunately, you can integrate and curate a hard skill assessment that will give you an idea of how prepared a candidate is for the role. 

Read on to learn more about how to leverage hard skills assessments in your pre-hiring process. 

What Is a Hard Skills Assessment 

Hard skills are measurable skills needed to perform the duties associated with a role. Hard skills are generally objective, tangible, and strictly role-related skills gained through training, experience, or education. Unlike soft skills, which focus more on communication or interpersonal skills, hard skills relate to the technical competencies that candidates do or do not have. 

Hard skill tests are generally easier to test for than soft skills because there are definite right and wrong answers to hard skills assessments, whereas soft skill competency can be subjective. 

With hard skills, you can test for experience, knowledge, software and tool competencies, cognitive capabilities, technical skills, computer skills, writing skills, coding, risk management, and more. 

How to use hard skills assessments

How you use a hard skills assessment will depend on the needs of your role. If you’re hiring for a technical-heavy role, you may consider introducing the assessment before your interview (as part of the screening process). If the technical aspect is less important, you could use it after the interview as a final assessment. 

Here are a few things to consider when using hard skills assessments:

  1. Write an accurate job description so you don’t unintentionally mislead candidates who aren’t qualified (or who might be overqualified). 
  2. Explain why the questions and the assessment are relevant to the role and hiring process. 
  3. Couple your assessment test with a 360 reference check to get an idea of how closely a candidate’s self-assessment aligns with their test results (as well as their other references’ evaluations). 
  4. Use a hard-skill assessment specific to the role. You have the opportunity to curate a set of questions to fit the needs of your role, so you should tailor them to your specific needs. 
  5. Don’t overdo it with hard-skill assessments. Assessments are one more barrier to entry, and although they might be required for some roles, requiring too many tests may deter quality hires. 

Why you should use a hard skills assessment

Depending on the role you’re hiring for, there won’t be a question of whether or not a candidate needs certain technical and performance-based skills. Certain skills, experiences, and knowledge points will be necessary for certain roles.

Other advantages of using a hard skills assessment include: 

  • Hard skills assessments are usually more objective than soft skills assessments, which makes them generally easier to test for. 
  • Confirming hard skill competencies allows you to test for soft skills. Soft skills are often just as important, if not more important, than hard skills. By confirming a candidate has the minimum hard candidate quality indicators, you can free up space for soft skills assessments. 
  • You can get a sense of a candidate’s potential. Even if a candidate doesn’t answer questions correctly, you could gain some insight into their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills by evaluating their answers and logic. 
  • You can expect your quality of hire to improve when you’re landing candidates with the right experiences and skill base for the role. 

What to Test for in Your Hard Skills Assessments

You don’t want to take a risk on a candidate, regardless of their background, if you’re hiring for a highly technical role. Identify your core competencies for the role, and find an assessment that evaluates those skills. 

Here are a few things you can test for in your hard skills assessment:

  • Cognitive capabilities
  • Technical skills
  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Computer skills
  • Software familiarity 
  • Data analysis
  • Programming language familiarity
  • Job-specific tasks
  • Job-specific skills
  • Bilingual or multilingual requirements
  • Verification of hard skills as specified on a candidate’s resume or self-reference score

If you’re still unsure what to test for or how to integrate a skill assessment, check out our ultimate skills-based hiring guide.

Hard Skills Assessment Example Template Questions

You can test for a variety of skills with the following test template structures. Keep in mind that there are plenty of hard-skill assessment services out there, so be sure to try a few to find the best fit for your hiring needs. 

Hard skills questions



Strongly agree




Strongly disagree

I have a strong understanding of the specified programming languages (Java, Python, Perl, Ruby)


I understand the technical requirements as specified in the job description 


I am fluent in both English and _____, as listed in the job description


I have at least _____ years of experience in _____. 


I am proficient in _____ software. 



Short Answer Responses

  1. You’ve reached your deadline on a marketing campaign and you need to make a decision on what ads to keep and which to drop. The data suggests you drop one set of ads, but you have a good feeling about them. What would you do?
  2. Completing the following problem: Insert relevant tech-related or role-related problems. 
  3. What were your responsibilities and duties in your most recent role?
  4. If you were given a task you didn’t know how to complete, what would you do?
  5. What is a CRM, and how have you used it in your previous roles?
  6. What are some limitations of the programming languages you use most?
  7. What is the first thing you would do after a bugged software update?
  8. What content management systems are you most familiar with? 

Final Thoughts: Hard Skills Assessment Test

Whether you’re testing for hard skills or soft skills, you need a reliable performance-based learning system to help you connect the dots between hard skill competencies and quality hires. Crosschq’s proprietary machine-learning technology will streamline that process for you, providing you with easy-to-read analytics and reports that will give you the best chance at landing a quality hire. 

Benefit from hard skill assessments with ease, and sign up for a Crosschq demo today.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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