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What Is a Skills Assessment?

On-the-job training programs often require a series of hands-on assessments to gauge an employee's development.
Online skills assessment tests can be very useful to employers in various scenarios.
Skilled laborers, such as CNC operators, often must pass skills assessments before they are allowed to work unsupervised.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2014
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A skills assessment is a type of evaluation used to determine the skills, attitudes, and abilities a person has that can be marketable or advantageous. There are a number of ways this type of assessment can be presented and conducted, including self-applied and second-party assessments. Skills and qualities evaluated through this type of assessment include professional skills, social and communication skills, and leadership ability. A skills assessment can be used in various environments, though they are often developed for use in businesses and universities for career counseling.

Though a number of different methods can be used in conducting a skills assessment, they are typically performed as a self-test or a second-party test. A self-test is a form of assessment in which a person asks himself or herself questions and evaluates his or her own abilities, and then uses that information to determine where he or she can improve those skills. Second-party tests are administered by someone else, often asking questions of the person being tested or observing his or her work. Both types of skills assessment can be effective, though they both rely on the honesty of the person being tested for maximum success.

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Different types of skills can also be evaluated through a skills assessment, often depending on the purpose of the assessment. Most assessments are used to primarily evaluate and gauge professional skills and abilities, which can vary quite a bit depending on the type of industry in which a person wishes to work. Social skills and communications are also frequently evaluated through a skills assessment, which can include both oral and written communication skills and the ability to handle criticism constructively. Some assessments can also include analysis of leadership skills, often important for management evaluations, which can include conflict resolution, being able to listen, and the ability to make effective decisions in stressful situations.

A skills assessment is typically utilized in professional environments in which it is used to evaluate the productivity and professional potential of a person. This type of assessment can be used to analyze how well a possible new-hire might fit into a particular environment. Someone interested in promotion within a company may also need to undergo such an assessment to indicate to the company how well he or she can meet its management needs. Colleges and universities can also use a skills assessment to understand how well a student may understand professional expectations of him or her, and to identify areas in which he or she can improve upon professional skills.

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