Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Skills tests - a vital part of the recruitment process as graduate vacancies rise

Employers are moving away from traditional recruitment methods as more firms report a growing ‘skills gap’ within their graduate workforce

Employers are moving away from traditional recruitment methods as more firms report a growing ‘skills gap’ within their graduate workforce.

A survey carried out by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) found that 44.8% of employers could not fill graduate roles in 2013/14, as applicants did not possess the right skills.

Graduate vacancies are at a decade high. But according to the AGR report,­­ 60% of employers want to improve the quality of graduates recruited. The figures indicate that many graduates are not meeting the expectations of their new employers.

For some companies, internships have served as a testing ground for new graduates. However, business leaders are increasingly aware that unpaid placements are not viable for many graduates. Director of Business Recruitment Solutions at Skills Arena, Jan Joslin, has observed this changing attitude: ‘Businesses that want employees from a range of backgrounds know that internships don’t attract graduates who can’t afford low or no pay.’ Added to this, although the number of applications per post is rising, recruitment budgets haven’t increased, so HR managers are looking for recruitment methods that are both fair and cost effective.

It is this set of pressures that has seen skills and psychometric tests supplementing and replacing traditional methods of recruitment. They ensure that employers only take forward people who meet the specific job requirements, while offering candidates a practical way to demonstrate their abilities. Skills Arena has developed assessment packages for a number of businesses, including Mothercare and Southern Housing Group. Their tests help employers get to know their candidates before they hire them. Jan continues: ‘Recruiters are often overwhelmed by the number of applications they receive and sometimes feel like they’ve ended up hiring the wrong person – the one whose CV said all the right things, but who didn’t turn out to match the description. We can provide training to fill in gaps, but it’s more efficient to filter out unsuitable candidates from the start.’

Skills Arena also offer psychometric evaluations of prospective employees. Jan explains: ‘These evaluations are really useful when hiring new graduates. You build up a more rounded picture of the candidate’s personality and see how they approach tasks involving problem-solving or ethical dilemmas. An interactive evaluation with instantly available results can show you how your candidate thinks before you’ve even met them. An old-fashioned CV just can’t give you that kind of insight.’ 

For more information and free helpful resources on how we can help your organisation with Graduate Recruitment Download Sample Skills Assessment Results and find out how they will help you find the right graduates for your business:

For more information on our skills tests and online assessments call and speak to Jan Joslin on - 0845 434 8959 or email Jan at -

Recruiters are often overwhelmed by the number of graduate applications they receive with no trusted way of finding out who is ideal for the role.