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Technical Ability Test

Multiple choice tests may skew results, as they allow potential employees to guess.Multiple choice tests may skew results, as they allow potential employees to guess.

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If your small business is hiring employees who need technical skill competencies to adequately complete the job, a technical skills test can help you determine who to interview and who to hire. However, a technical skills test that does not adequately measure the skills needed for the job can lead you to hire or overlook the wrong people - a sometimes crucial mistake, especially in small business. A technical skills test should include demonstration of practical skills, content knowledge and application questions.

Technical Skills Test Services

Companies like Career Step, Criteria Corporation and eSkill provide technical skills tests that you can customize for your industry. When you build a technical skills test using these companies, you select the skills that you would like to test and the company creates the questions. Using a professional service to create your technical skills test gives you several advantages: You can have confidence that the questions accurately measure the skill; the tests can often be placed online with little hassle; and it is easier to ensure different applicants get different tests, minimizing cheating. However, some employers would prefer to create their own tests so that they can craft questions that directly relate to their businesses.

If you choose to write your own technical skills test, start by making a list of the skills for which you would like to test. Be as specific as possible. For example, don't just write "computer skills." Instead, write "ability to create professional documents using Microsoft Word and Publisher" or "knowledge of HTML." Create a series of questions that asks potential employees for common knowledge about these skills. For example, you might ask would-be employees to explain what different office software products are most useful for. Also include practical questions that require potential employees to participate in the skills being tested. For example, you might ask them to type a paragraph, create a spreadsheet or write some HTML code. Finally, include a section with practical questions about your industry. For example, you might ask employees to describe the kind of spreadsheet they would create to log employee hours.

Difficulty of Questions

Although questions should not be so simple that people without the skill area you are testing for can answer them, they should not be so difficult that they would stump most people who have that skill level. Instead, ask questions that are relevant to what your company does on a daily basis. For example, if you are a small hotel owner testing a potential employee about customer service, ask questions about key concepts the employee should remember in the case of a room booking mistake.

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