Blog post

Skills-based assessment: How to make high-stakes talent decisions with confidence

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4 minutes

How Spotted Zebra’s approach to skills-based assessment allows HR leaders to make hiring, reskilling and promotion decisions with confidence.

Skills-based assessment

Decisions such as who to hire, who to promote and who to offer a reskilling opportunity to, have always been high-stakes. But against the backdrop of a global skills crisis, the stakes are higher than ever before. 

A growing number of organisations are now looking to skills-based decision-making to help guide their talent decisions and solve their skills shortages. 

However, even then, HR leaders are unable to make high-stakes decisions with complete confidence unless they trust the data - and that means trusting the skills assessment and the skills profile. 

Not all HR tech and skills tech providers deliver the same standard of data reliability, so when choosing which one to partner with, senior HR leaders need to thoroughly check the robustness and granularity of their skills assessments and profiles. 

Spotted Zebra’s solution offers unparalleled data reliability and robustness: 

  • Our industry-leading skills assessment uses the latest science to directly measure the technical and behavioural skills for the role - making it quicker to complete and more accurate than any other solution. 
  • We can assess candidates at the granular level of each skill related to the role, determining if a candidate is a good match, regardless of background, but also providing insight into candidates with adjacent or similar skills that can be trained into jobs - something traditional assessment providers are unable to do. 
  • Our proprietary framework uses multiple sources of data to validate the hard and soft skills required for success in a role and their proficiency level in people. 

To elaborate on why you will be able to confidently make high-stake people decisions with Spotted Zebra, let’s take a look under the hood of our approach to skills-based assessment. But first of all let’s provide a definition of skills-based assessment. 

What is skills-based assessment? 

Skills-based assessments allow enterprises to identify and measure the technical and behavioural skills that are important for success in roles.

Individuals are asked to complete one or more questionnaires/tests that help organisations to identify the candidates that are the best fit for recruitment into specific roles, as well as identify the current employees who are the best candidates for reskilling or have the right potential for upskilling. 

But to enable you to assess how well an individual’s skills match with a role, you first need to create a skills profile of the role in question.

How does Spotted Zebra create a skills profile?

One of the key USPs of Spotted Zebra is that we create a skills profile for each role, taking a multi-layered approach to defining the specific skill requirements of each and every role, and using a range of data sources to validate their accuracy. This includes:

  • Industry data and benchmarking from job descriptions and job adverts, which have been collated and analysed by our team using machine learning techniques.
  • Skills inference.
  • Hiring manager survey tools.
  • Employee survey tools.
  • Employee assessment data.

The skills are then organised using our proprietary framework. We’ve drawn on decades of experience building assessment solutions for the world’s largest employers to build our Right For framework, which allows the organisation to understand the individual’s alignment with organisations’ specific skill needs. 

The framework organises skills into those that are: 

  • Right For Us: This ensures that candidates align with the values and culture of the organisation.
  • Right For the Role: This ensures that candidates possess the skills (technical and behavioural) required to be successful in the role.
  • Right For the Future: We measure the individual’s ability to grow with the organisation over time, and to align with future organisational requirements.

The result is a skills profile that can be used by any of our applications (hiring, development and talent mobility/restructuring) - providing a unified, consistent, data-led view across the talent lifecycle.  

Spotted Zebra’s approach to skills-based assessment

For talent processes where the decisions are high stakes - such as hiring, restructure, or reskilling programmes - the Spotted Zebra platform uses the latest assessment science to instantly create a skills assessment that directly measures candidates in relation to each unique skills profile. The fact that the assessment content is matched specifically to the skills that have been chosen in the skills profile ensures that it is a faster, more predictive, and more engaging experience for candidates. 

Our assessment measures the skills defined within the skills profile, using a blend of personality, motivation, cognitive, and technical assessment content. This content measures only the skills in the profile, which means it is more accurate and quicker to complete.

The assessment is created using a blend of our assessment content, and examines:

  • Personality assessment.
  • Motivation.
  • Cognitive ability (logical thinking, numerical and verbal reasoning).
  • Situational judgement assessment.
  • Technical skills assessment (including IT tests, and other office skills such as Excel).
  • Self and manager skills assessment. 

Once an individual has completed their assessment in relation to the skills profile, the system provides an overall ‘match’ score as well as a score against each of the elements of the skills profile: Right For Us, Right For the Role, Right For the Future including any specific technical assessments. 

Other benefits of the Spotted Zebra approach

Because the individual also completes a skills self-assessment, organisations are able to surface any skills that we might otherwise not be aware of which we can also include in the evaluation process. This information can also be used to pool candidates for roles that they may be more suited to.

As the assessment content is always blended - i.e. it contains personality plus at least one other measure - the accuracy of our assessments is second-to-none. The blended approach has also been proven to reduce adverse impact, as this tends to be associated with making decisions from one data source (e.g. cognitive ability). 

Spotted Zebra’s assessment has been validated on more than 25,000 people globally, with industry-leading reliability and validity data. Furthermore, we are measuring in relation to skills required for success in the role, rather than an abstract model of performance, which provides further defensibility in relation to the application of the solution in a high stakes context.

Make high stakes talent decisions with confidence 

The global skills crisis makes talent management harder than ever. Skilled talent is harder to recruit, while new skills are emerging faster than ever before. This means organisations will increasingly need to hire people with adjacent or similar skills then train them up on the job.

To achieve this, businesses need a platform that enables them to identify and measure the skills needed for success, and that allows them to understand those adjacencies of skill so they can be much more agile in their selection process. Spotted Zebra’s approach to assessment enables this, unlike many traditional assessment providers. 

Our assessment science is industry-leading. Our approach is fair and defensible. And we can deliver this with unparalleled pace and precision. Ultimately, we provide the foundations for confidence and success. High stakes - no problem. 

To learn more about how Spotted Zebra can help you with skills-based decision-making, or to arrange a demo, contact us.