There is a Right Way (and a wrong way) to Use Skills Assessments When Hiring

Everyone puts their best foot forward in an interview. They will usually research the company and the role, prepare thoughtful answers to common interview questions, and show off their most impressive achievements. Of course, face-to-face interviews are essential in the hiring process, especially for many hospitality roles. But what else can hiring managers do to uncover what makes a candidate tick or what skills they truly possess?

Skills assessments are an excellent tool for providing these insights. But often companies use them just to make themselves feel like they have covered their bases, without using the results to make smart hiring decisions. A poorly administered and interpreted assessment can actually cause problems for a company’s talent acquisition. Here are some ways to properly use skills assessments to avoid making hiring mistakes.

Assess Your Company’s Needs

Say you are looking for a hotel General Manager. What skills does the role require at your particular property? What values does the company culture represent? Are you expecting them to grow into a higher-level role soon? What are the “need to have” skills and what are “nice to have” skills? Asking these questions before you even choose what kind of assessment to use will help you focus on the relevant data. You want to be able to look at the results without letting irrelevant information distract you. Otherwise, you may end up trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Use them Consistently

Erratically administered assessments can cause truly qualified talent to get overlooked. Before you even begin interviewing candidates, plan out how you will administer testing. Establish what level of preparation you will give all candidates who take it. Above all, measure all results against the same benchmarks. If not, the results could be easily skewed to simply confirm unconscious bias or even perpetuate discrimination.

Check Your Current Team Dynamic

Most hospitality work environments are fast-paced and require a solid team dynamic to function. A candidate can have all the skills in the world, but their personality needs to fit with the rest of the team’s. You should use these assessments to find a balance of personalities, driving forces, and skills. If you keep hiring “leaders” for every role, you will end up with too many cooks in the kitchen. If the company’s management style is very hands-off and unstructured, a procedurally oriented candidate would get frustrated very quickly.


Not every company uses skills tests, and many of your candidates may have never taken one before. Be sure to give your candidates a heads up. Let them know the general format to expect and how much time they should expect to set aside. Is it online or in-person? If it’s online, make sure they know what device is most compatible with the testing platform. If candidates are not given adequate preparation, the results from their assessments may not be reliable.

Also, give the candidate a brief summary of their results. How much detail you provide is up to you, but if a candidate did not get the job, they will want to know why. Not communicating any feedback creates a poor hiring experience, reflecting poorly on your reputation as an employer.

Don’t Forget about Your Existing Team

While skills assessments are valuable tools when hiring, they are most useful when a hiring manager has a clear understanding of their current team. Consider having key members of your current team take the same type of skills assessment. Then you will have a better understanding of what motivates them and their strengths and weaknesses. This data will help you zero in on exactly what qualities you need in your next hire.

Find a Skills Assessment Partner

Skills assessments can bring an immense amount of insight into your employees and the candidates you are interviewing. They provide large amounts of data that can be overwhelming to sort through and decipher. Partner with an expert who understands the right way to administer these assessments. Recruiting teams like Horizon Hospitality have years of experience in strategically using assessments. Contact us to learn how we can help.



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