Types of Assessments That Test Job Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 26, 2021 | Published November 5, 2020

Updated February 26, 2021

Published November 5, 2020

When applying for jobs, you may need to take an aptitude test as part of the application process. Aptitude assessments test job skills that you'll need to succeed in the role. Additionally, you can find many similar skills tests online to take to gain insight into your skills and expertise related to a wide variety of topics, subjects and career fields. In this article, we'll discuss what job skills tests are, what they measure and what some of the most common types of assessments are that test job skills.

What is a job skills test?

A job skills test is a type of career aptitude assessment that employers commonly use to evaluate a candidate's skills and abilities. Some career aptitude tests that are also available online can help you determine the types of career paths that your skills and abilities are best suited for. You can use both types of assessments to demonstrate your skill level and proficiency within various areas of your professional experience.

Related: Skill Assessment Tests: Definition and Examples

What do job skill tests evaluate?

Job skill tests evaluate a range of capabilities and skills, including hard and soft skills and skills that are specific to jobs that you apply for. For instance, online aptitude tests will evaluate different skill sets like your communication and writing abilities, math skills, leadership skills, time management and additional transferable skills that can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Job skill tests that employers use to assess candidates' proficiency and expertise may often evaluate how well a candidate's personality, skills and work ethic match with the job requirements. Additionally, these types of aptitude tests can give you insight into how to improve different aspects of your skill sets.

Related: 8 Free Career Aptitude Tests for Adults

Assessments that test job skills

The following list includes different types of skills tests and what they evaluate:

Critical thinking skills assessments

Aptitude tests for critical thinking evaluate your cognitive abilities and approach to solving problems. Employers may look at critical thinking assessments to evaluate your ability to grasp concepts, resolve challenging issues and applying creativity to complete tasks. Critical thinking skills test that you take independently can also give you insight into your strengths and weaknesses that relate to your cognitive abilities. Here are some other topics that may be on a critical thinking skills test:

  • Identifying factors affecting situations

  • Analyzing data and evaluating results

  • Researching and recording information to find patterns

  • Testing theories and approaches to achieve the best outcomes

Problem-solving tests

Problem-solving tests can sometimes cover critical thinking skills, however, these types of assessments can also cover actual technical or mathematical problems that you must solve. Employers who use problem-solving assessments may be looking for specific mathematical or technical skills and proficiency, and the self-assessments you can take to test these skills may cover math and technical topics as well.

Additionally, some problem-solving skills tests give you situational questions that evaluate your ability to resolve a conflict, implement a specific strategy or give an example of how you would improve an outcome. The following examples highlight what you might encounter on a problem-solving job skills test:

  • Approaches for handling conflicts in a professional settings

  • Methods and formulas for solving probability questions

  • Techniques for solving a series of steps or challenges

Time management and organization tests

Your time management and organization are essential skills for any job. Employees may take these aptitude tests as a way for employers to evaluate their abilities to manage their schedules, their work tasks, projects and other work responsibilities. Organizational skills tests may also cover topics that evaluate your ability to prioritize work, manage documents, follow protocols and other topics that you may encounter in the workplace. Here are some more examples of what organizational and time management skills tests can focus on:

  • Managing files and documents in a computer database

  • Applying specific time management techniques

  • Using specific methods to organize workflow, projects and tasks

Related: Find out About Useful Time Management Tips and Advice

Technical skills assessments

These aptitude tests evaluate hard skills like computer applications, carrying out tasks in an online network and even job-specific technical skills. For instance, an employer seeking a software engineer will look for specific technician skills like designing applications, programming with computer code or designing mobile applications. You can find online aptitude tests for a range of technician skill sets, from computer coding to using Excel to showcasing data entry skills. Here are some more examples of technical skills that these types of aptitude tests often cover:

  • Navigating online application, such as social media, interactive media and websites

  • Using computer functions and software commands to complete projects and tasks

  • Applying skills and expertise to demonstrate qualifications in a specific technical field

Leadership capabilities assessments

Many employers who use leadership assessments do so to test the skills of prospective managers, supervisors and other leadership roles. Situational and behavioral topics are generally the focus of these types of assessments, where you would answer questions based on hypothetical situations and how you've led others in the past. Additionally, you'll likely find questions on applying leadership strategies, collaborating with teams, delegating, strategic planning and other important aspects of working in a leadership position. Some additional topics that leadership skills tests include may be:

  • Methodologies and leadership style

  • Application of leadership strategies

  • Leadership and management theories

Writing and typing tests

Much like technician skills, typing is another hard skill that employers might evaluate candidates for. You can also find many free online typing tests that assess your words-per-minute and error rates. Writing tests nay cover topics that test your ability to take notes, communicate in business letters and emails, write out directions and other writing tasks that showcase your ability to disseminate information using the written word. Other writing topics these assessments may cover include:

  • Transcribing recorded conversations via typing into word processing software

  • Transcribing written documents to computer databases

Language skills tests

Language skills tests typically evaluate your proficiency with a specific language. For instance, if you're applying for a job that requires you to speak French, the employer may use a language skills test to evaluate your proficiency level with the language. In other instances, language skills tests may also focus on things like how you use and understand grammar, vocabulary, structure and other concepts of language. Two other concepts that you may find in language skills tests include:

  • Pragmatics and the ability to understand colloquialisms, nuances and conversational approaches

  • Strategies for improving language usage, especially for skills related to transitioning between languages

Related: Effective Language Skills in the Workplace

Personal development tests

These types of skills tests evaluate your ability to demonstrate your understanding of planning for improvement and achieving mastery of different skill sets. Employers may use these assessments as a way to gauge candidates' abilities to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and apply self-development techniques to improve these areas. Additionally, you can find many online skills tests that focus on topics related to your mastery of pragmatic skills and other life skills you need to be successful. Several more examples of personal mastery skills covered by these types of tests include:

  • Strategies and methods for setting and achieving goals, such as the steps in the SMART goals technique

  • Approaches to setting plans, making commitments and accomplishing daily objectives

  • Methods of defining purpose and vision as relates to planning and organizing your responsibilities

Personality tests

Many employers use personality tests as a way to evaluate candidates' values, interests and work ethic to gauge their fit for the job. Personality tests are also one of the most popular online tests you can find, with many tests covering everything from your Meyers-Briggs personality type to your leadership style. You'll also find plenty of other types of personality tests, many of which can give you valuable insight into your strengths, skills and other innate capabilities, including these two types:

  • Color personality tests that assess different traits on color scales

  • Numbered trait tests that categorize personality types into different numbered groups, such as the 16 personality types

Intelligence tests

Intelligence tests ultimately fall under two categories: the common IQ test and the EI test. An IQ (short for intelligence quotient) test evaluates your intelligence average on a scale, where 100 is considered average. An EI (short for emotional intelligence) test will evaluate your ability to empathize, show compassion and find understanding with others and with your own emotions. Several topics these two types of intelligence tests can cover include:

  • Emotional awareness, both of your own emotions and the emotions of those around you

  • Your intuition ability to read others' feelings through body language

  • Empathy and your ability to understand others

  • Your ability to think creatively and apply innovative approaches to solving problems (IQ test)

Work-specific assessments

Work-specific assessments are almost always aptitude tests that employers use as part of the screening process when you apply for a job. These assessments will usually be directly related to the job you're applying for, and many employers may implement skills tests that combine many of the types of skills tests on this list. Several types of job skills tests you may take when applying for jobs include:

  • Customer service job skills tests

  • Office organization and management skills tests

  • Technical roles that require specific hard skills

  • Communication and teamwork skills tests

  • Leadership and management assessments

Related: Your Guide To Understanding Career Assessments

Tips for taking a work skills test

If you have applied for a position that requires you to take a job skills test, the following tips are helpful before and during your assessment:

  • Refresh yourself. Do a quick study session to refresh yourself on the skills that the test will cover. While you should be able to demonstrate your skills as they are, ensuring you're up to date on all aspects of what you're testing for is extremely important for succeeding.

  • Give yourself time. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for and take the actual assessment. Even if the skills test is only 15 to 30 minutes long, make sure you set aside the time you'll need to get ready and complete your assessment.

  • Get any materials you will need. Have all pencils, pens, scratch paper and any other materials for your skills test. For instance, if you're doing anything assessment that involves math, having scrap paper and a pencil would be ideal for moving through problems quickly.

  • Eliminate distractions. Make sure you have space where you can concentrate. If you're in a separate room, shut the door for a few minutes while you complete your test. Reduce outside noise or potential distractions. Likewise, relaxing music for focus is another excellent option for softening background noise and aiding concentration.

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