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Decoding Skills Verification: How to Ensure Your New Hires Live Up To Their Hype

Are your new hires not performing as expected? Did the skills they claimed to have not live up to the hype on their resume? Hiring the wrong person can frustrate your hiring managers, cost your organization the big bucks and put you back in the recruitment loop fast. Here’s what you need to know about skills verification and getting hiring right the first time.

What is skills verification?

Skills- and competencies-based hiring is now the norm, and applicants are setting up their resumes to highlight the skills that are relevant to the job they are applying for. This can include their hard skills, like coding or Excel use, as well as soft skills like de-escalation in the workplace or customer handling.

Skills verifications means addressing each of these skills and evaluating the candidate’s actual competency when it comes to utilizing these skills and achieving positive outcomes. There are several different ways you can go about skills verification. 

Skills verification vs other assessments

When it comes to being able to verify skill claims from a candidate’s resume, you have several options.

Skill verification vs pre-hire aptitude tests

Pre-hire aptitude tests can tell you a little bit about a candidate's potential. The most common pre-employment tests consist of questions designed to measure a candidate’s cognitive function.  

These assessments simply measure specific cognitive abilities such as verbal, numerical, or logical reasoning. The scores are aggregated to estimate the applicant’s general cognitive ability.

These are not true skill verifications. They are far more generalized and usually don’t touch on specific skills needed to be successful in a particular role. However, they can be useful in assessing an applicant's cognitive reasoning aptitude, which in turn can be a critical attribute. 

Depending on your candidate pool size, you may choose to conduct pre-hire aptitude tests to surface logical thinkers or candidates with great verbal or numerical skills.

Skill verification vs resume verification

Resume verification is again a more generalized process that won’t really verify specific skills. You can confirm that a candidate achieved x degree or worked at y company. However, without questions geared towards specific skills and competencies, you just aren’t going to get good, hard data you can duplicate across candidates to find the ones with the right skills for the job. 

Skill verification vs traditional phone reference checks

Traditional reference checks aren’t much better than resume verifications. Unless specifically designed and targeted to verify skill sets the candidate claims to have, they aren’t going to give you much data to go on. 

Skills verifications need to be targeted and surveys designed to remove unconscious bias for even-handed results across your candidate pool.

Skill verification vs skills assessment tests

Skills assessments are one way to verify skills, but usually only work if you are trying to verify hard skills. It’s much harder to verify soft skills and competencies using basic skill assessment tests. 

You can verify word-per-minute typing speed, proficiency in a programming language, or the ability to crunch numbers across an Excel spreadsheet, but it is much more difficult to assess if your candidate has the competency required to leverage those skills for consistent positive outcomes. 

Why skills verification is needed for employment

Candidate fraud is rising at an unprecedented rate. According to data gathered by Resume Builder about dishonesty in the hiring process, 1250 US-based applicants revealed their dirty secrets:

  • 35% have lied in the hiring process
  • 72% lied on their resume
  • 68% lied during an interview

On job applications, fraud is focused on lies that applicants think will give them an edge in hiring:

  • 30% lied about their race/ethnicity
  • 27% lied about their veteran status
  • 23% lied about their disability status

According to the data, lies are working in favor of fraudsters:

  • 73% have gotten a job using a fraudulent application
  • 55% got their current job this way
  • 65% of respondents say lying in the hiring process helped them land a higher salary.

Many candidates don’t feel bad about their actions:

  • 20% who’ve previously lied are currently applying for jobs using a deceitful resume
  • 42% say their current resume contains lies
  • 41% say they have no regrets about lying

Linkedin is now offering “verified skills” badges using skill evaluation. According to LinkedIn, candidates who complete skill assessments are 30% more likely to get hired. But are these skills actually “verified” in a meaningful way?

How to conduct skill verification with Crosschq 360

A better way to verify skills and competencies in candidates who seem promising is to use a customizable tool like Crosschq 360. A powerful method for intelligent reference checking, 360 is also the ideal tool for skills verification. 

Step one: Create a survey that focuses on the specific skills and competencies needed in candidates for your role.

Step two: Have your candidates take the survey themselves, scoring their skills levels and adding commentary to highlight what they think are their best attributes.

Step three: The candidate’s references (former peers and managers) take the same survey, scoring your candidates on those same skills and adding their own commentary.

Step four: All scores are collected and a final report prepared on each candidate. These skills verification reports allow you to compare candidates even-handedly. 

When to use Skill Assessments to verify skills

When you choose to start doing your skill verification process depends on how your recruitment funnel is set up. Many companies leave reference checking and skills assessments to the very end when they are narrowing in on their finalists.

However, it’s worth considering moving these processes up to the top of the funnel instead. With Crosschq, there’s very little labor involved, and you’ll get a ton of data you can use to help surface top talent fast and guide interviews. 

360 doesn’t have to replace all of your pre-hire assessments, but it can consolidate them. You’ll be able to do away with the traditional reference check, and have more time to get background checks out of the way before the process goes too far. 

How much should a skill assessment test matter for skill verification in potential employees?

If you’re using skills assessment tests in tandem with Crosschq 360 digital reference checks, you’re less likely to make hiring mistakes. Skill verification tests are typically good measures, but need to be carefully weighed, because testing can be abstracted from the actual skill. 

When you utilize 360 Reports along with the results of your actual skills assessment results, you gather more data points from multiple sources (not just the candidate), and thus can build a clearer picture of each candidate’s actual potential. 

Skills Verification for a Digital Age

Emerging technologies make it an exciting time to be a recruiter. Will AI-driven skills assessments improve or erode the hiring process? So far, AI hasn’t yet reached a level of accuracy needed in hiring - the human connection is missing. 

However, technology has a lot to offer for hiring companies. Workers can complete virtual reality-based skill tests, streamlining the process and removing the need for scheduling and travel to an on-site location. 

Remote work can also have a potential impact on skills verification. When your entire team is working independently, you might fear some individuals will lose their connection and engagement with their peers. Will this affect the assessment process?

Communication tools can help keep teams cohesive, and these skills actually become another point of assessment and verification. Managers in particular are learning how to manage a distributed workforce, and can use tools like 360 to assess their new hire’s ability to communicate and offer assistance where necessary. 

Improve Quality of Hire with Crosschq’s reference checks and skills verification

When you verify skill levels of your incoming hires using accurate, non-biased tools, including human input, and you do this early in the hiring process, you stand a much better chance of hiring the right person for the job and employing a top performer.

With Quality of Hire being a main driver for organizational success and a robust bottom line, tools like Crosschq deliver exceptional opportunities to gather data on your candidates that can help drive hiring decisions. 

Use Crosschq’s digital reference checking solution and skills and competencies hiring intelligence to transform your recruitment pipeline, change how you hire and who you hire, and take your entire company to the next level when it comes to employee engagement and performance.

To learn more, schedule a demo with our team today.


Katie Kennedy

by Katie Kennedy

Talent Consulting Lead

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