What Is an Online Skills Assessment?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

An online skills assessment is a test administered over the Internet to help gauge the skill level of the test taker in a given area of knowledge. Online skills assessment tests are frequently used by employers to help determine whether job candidates possess adequate skill levels for a particular position. Skills assessments can also be used by individuals to test their own knowledge and find areas that need improvement. Many different companies offer online skills assessment programs; it may be best to do some research on the reputation of the company before signing up for the service.

Employers often use online skills assessment tests to pare down a list of potential candidates.
Employers often use online skills assessment tests to pare down a list of potential candidates.

Depending on the company, there are often hundreds of different skill assessment tests that can be tailored to a specific job. Many tests measure an applicant's level of familiarity and aptitude with specific computer programs, such as spreadsheet programs, graphics software, or different operating systems. Language assessments that include comprehension, translation, and vocabulary are also a popular type of test. Other assessments can reveal important information about an applicant's comprehension of basic concepts in a particular field, such as human resources, systems analysis, or sales. More general tests, such as typing speed, spelling, grammar, and reading comprehension, are also sometimes available.

Online skills assessment tests can be very useful to employers in a variety of situations. For jobs that receive hundreds of applications, skills assessment can be a good way to discover the top candidates in a vast field. In addition, employers may also find skills assessment useful when reviewing company performance or determining promotions for existing employees. Since skills tests are objective measurements of ability, they can help break down relative skills in a clear and consistent manner.

Individuals may greatly benefit through the use of an online skills assessment. If a person is preparing to enter or re-enter the job market, doing a skill assessment can help him or her determine areas of strength and weaknesses. Some skills assessment companies also provide training guides and study programs for each test, so that job candidates can bone up in any areas that have become a little rusty with time. If a person has learned a new skill, such as using a new computer program or finishing a language class, taking an online skills assessment test can help determine comprehension in an objective way.

There are many different online skills assessment companies geared toward employers and individuals. Since most skill tests do require an upfront fee, it may help to read consumer reviews of the company and its testing procedures before choosing an assessment provider. Even after a good company has been chosen, it is important to remember that skills assessment is far from the only way to analyze abilities and talent. Employers may benefit from incorporating these tests into a hiring or performance improvement program, but can still gain great insight about a candidate or employee from interviews and other forms of assessment.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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