Simple Scoring & Free Response Questions: Advanced Skills Testing Methods

When the pandemic changed life as we know it, HR professionals could no longer rely on business-as-usual approaches to screening candidates. So, talent acquisition professionals are turning to technology to evaluate prospective hires.

Although companies initially pivoted to “virtual” processes and systems to comply with physical distancing requirements, HR leaders have realized how essential tech-driven HR tools are to the hiring process. In fact, in a recent survey, 70% of HR executives reported that using technology more effectively is key to helping them mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their company’s bottom line.

How to Use Free Response Questions for Pre Employment Testing

Free-response questions enable hiring teams to evaluate candidates’ job-relevant skills, aptitude, and behavioral characteristics. When HR professionals use free response questions in the skills testing phase of the hiring process, they can obtain an in-depth understanding of how the candidate will perform on the job.

eSkill’s Free Response feature allows candidates to respond to pre-employment testing questions and complete tasks in many formats, including text, video, and voice response. The Free-Response feature also allows candidates to attach files, such as word documents, images, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, audio files, and PDF files.

Here are some examples of how companies can leverage eSkill’s Free Response feature.

Assess written English language skills: In our increasingly digital world, writing skills are essential to a growing number of positions across industries. Customer-facing positions like Live Chat Operators, Account Executives, and Sales Associates need to communicate via email, live chat, and text message. Administrative, clerical, human resources, healthcare, and hospitality positions all require a certain proficiency level when writing in the English language.

Evaluate the quality of language translations: As digital transformation continues to accelerate and our world continues to become more interconnected, hiring workers capable of speaking in multiple languages is now a business imperative.

Test verbal communication skills: The ability to communicate effectively with customers, colleagues, supervisors, and business partners is an essential skill for positions across industries. It can provide candidates with job-relevant prompts and evaluate their voice or video responses to identify job-seekers with clear and concise communication skills.

Candidate-uploaded documents: The best way to assess many types of skills is to see the product of candidates’ work. For example:

These examples are just a few ways eSkill’s Free Response feature can help recruiters and hiring teams identify top talent with job-relevant skills. Hiring teams can also use this feature to evaluate candidates’ problem-solving skills, situational awareness, and more.

Simple Scoring of Free Response Questions

Scoring the results of free-response questions does not have to be complicated. eSkill’s Simple Scoring feature enables any member of the hiring team with scoring access to rate responses with one to ten stars and add a comment for context. The response and corresponding score are available for the entire hiring team to see on the “Results by Question” page. With responses and scoring easily accessible, the hiring team can streamline scoring practices and reduce the time it takes to review free responses.

Team Scoring example

With the Team Scoring Feature, organizations can:

eSkill’s cloud-based skills testing solutions enable companies to develop and execute a modern and effective hiring approach. And with unlimited training and support from eSkill’s dedicated U.S.-based Customer Success Managers, configuring employment assessments and leveraging the results is easy. With eSkill’s Simple Scoring and Free Response features, HR professionals can make informed hiring decisions more easily.

Interested in Using Simple Scoring and Free Response Solutions for Skills Testing?

Learn more about the benefits of using eSkill’s Free Response and Simple Scoring features, pre-employment tests, and on-demand video interviews to find qualified candidates quickly.

Request a demo today.

If You Are Not Using Video Interviewing You May Lose Candidates: Here’s Why

video interviewing with

2020 was a year like no other. The Coronavirus pandemic brought economies to a halt worldwide and disrupted business-as-usual. As a result, many people lost their jobs, and hiring freezes became commonplace. Then we had social unrest. However, there is a silver lining because these events prompted HR's to re-evaluate and in many cases transform their hiring processes.

Place Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Efforts

Companies nationwide pledged to commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in their hiring practices. And while most organizations were already using video interviews to support remote hiring practices, HR leaders saw how they could help mitigate bias and discrimination.

Unlike traditional interviews, on-demand video interviews remove subjectivity from the hiring process by removing the interviewer from the equation. Instead of answering questions one-on-one with a live interviewer, candidates record responses to a predetermined set of questions that are presented in the same order to every candidate.

eSkill also offers a Team Scoring feature that allows multiple hiring team members to rate the same interviews independently based on pre-defined scoring criteria. eSkill’s on-demand video interviewing platform even enables administrators to hide candidates’ identifying information from hiring team members to further reduce the possibility of bias. Once approved, the scores are averaged to create an objective evaluation of the candidate.

Rather than relying on subjective measures such as education credentials or work history, leading companies use an objective approach to identifying candidates with the skills needed to succeed in a position. Google, Apple, and IBM are just some of the big names that have dropped college degree requirements from job postings. Instead, these industry giants have turned to skills-based hiring to provide a fair, unbiased, and consistent basis for employee selection.

As businesses begin to lay the groundwork for increased diversity and inclusion efforts within their workforce, they must consciously eliminate subjective employee selection criteria. Using eSkill’s on-demand video interviews and employment skills tests provides an unbiased and objective approach to hire top talent.

Digital Transformation Improves the Candidate Experience

When employees were sequestered in their homes and offices went dark in an effort to contain the virus, the world of work changed rapidly, and hiring processes were no exception. HR leaders quickly adopted video interviewing technology and workflow collaboration tools to keep pace. By October 2020, the majority of HR's said they were using or planning to use video interviewing.

Talent acquisition leaders initially used video interviewing solutions to comply with social distancing guidelines. However, the impact of video interviews on candidate experience will spur further adoption in HR departments because organizations know their most valuable asset is human capital.

Despite recruiters and HR professionals having access to a large pool of available talent, they still believe fostering a positive relationship with candidates is important.

As HR leaders work to develop the “new normal” for hiring, the candidate experience must be a top consideration. eSkill’s on-demand video interviewing platform facilitates an exceptional candidate experience by: 

A Company That Cares?

Employers cannot hide from a negative candidate experience because social media and employer review sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Glassdoor all provide a medium for candidates to share their experience publicly. It might not seem possible that negative reviews from one or two dissatisfied candidates could tarnish your brand, but poor candidate experiences can have a profound effect on a business’s public image, and, as a result, its attractiveness as a potential employer.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, asking candidates to meet for a face-to-face interview does not demonstrate that an employer cares about its workforce. Whether the position interacts with the general public does not matter. Employers need to send the message that they care about the health and well-being of their workforce, and that includes hiring managers and potential new-hires. If candidates feel that a company is not taking adequate precautions, they may develop a negative opinion of the employer.

While technology is always an integral piece of the hiring puzzle, its role in HR has never been more prominent than it is now because on-demand video interviews minimize administration, mitigate bias in hiring decisions, and improve the overall candidate experience.

Interested in On-Demand Video Interviews for Hiring?

Learn more about the benefits of using eSkill’s on-demand video interviewing platform, skills tests, and behavioral assessments to find qualified candidates quickly.

Request a demo today.

Happy With Your Current Skills Testing Supplier But Sometimes Wonder If There's A Better Option Out There For You?

Good, better, best skills assessment option

The short answer is that there probably is a better alternative!

  • Have they kept pace with software changes?
  • Are they offering MS Office 2016 or still stuck at 2010?
  • Do they keep upping their prices because they think that you won’t notice?
  • Are they charging for training and support?
  • Do they limit the subjects that are in your subscription?
  • Are the number of tests and candidates limited?
  • Can you link the test to your corporate Facebook, Instagram or Linked in accounts?

We all know that software changes over time. In the area of skills testing, this is certainly true. New features are being added or refined as vendors attempt to keep ahead of the competition.

As users of the software, it is very difficult to keep track of the changes from your current provider, let alone what alternative providers offer.

We all review staff performance on a regular basis. This should also apply to "service providers", including your skills testing software.

But, when we speak to clients about this they are sometimes reluctant to go through a review. They are not sure what eSkill offers and whether it will be any better than what they are currently using.

These are understandable concerns. This is why we recommend trialling our eSkill software alongside your current provider.

We are very confident that Eskill compares positively with other providers. So confident, that we are offering a free no obligation trial.

To take this free trial please email or call me, Warren, on 0845 8400123.

Does Your Pre-Employment Testing Software Have All The Tools That You Need In Today's Recruiting Market

Pre employment testing tools

More and more companies realise the benefits of using pre-employment screening tests to compare candidates’ critical competencies. However, some pre-employment testing companies do not offer all the tools necessary to create a streamlined approach to finding the best match for the job and the organisation.

Do you want to improve your existing pre-employment testing process, or are you new to pre-employment screening tests and evaluating providers?

Using a pre-employment test that evaluates the unique requirements of a position is more legally defensible than not using a pre-employment test at all. However, giving employers the ability to customise pre-employment screening tests that evaluate the specific requirements of positions within their organisation is where most pre-employment testing companies fall flat.

Some pre-employment testing companies give employers very limited test customisation options, while others do not allow for any degree of customisation. eSkill, on the other hand, gives hiring teams and recruiters the ability to select and tailor pre-employment screening tests that evaluate the specific skills needed for any position.

Are you interested in Learning More About eSkill’s Innovative Hiring Solution? Call 0845-8400123 or email

Conscious And Unconscious Bias - And How To Avoid It

hiring discrimination

Unconscious bias is very real – and we all possess this to some extent. The need is to recognise the bias we bring both consciously and unconsciously when we review candidates. Anything we can put in place to mitigate such bias will help. Objective skills assessments in which the presentation, explanation, timing, scoring and interpretation of the results is the same for every candidate makes comparisons made between applicants more impartial.

eSkill is an industry award-winning provider of comprehensive bias and discrimination removal recruitment technology.  

4 Ways to Eliminate Discrimination in Hiring

  1. Name-blind applications Name-blind applications involve removing a candidate’s name from a resume, CV, or any other documents needed for a job application (e.g. letter of intent). This reduces both intentional or unconscious bias and discrimination from the beginning stages of the hiring process. Hiring managers and HR personnel can work to eliminate their own biases, but it may seem impossible to overcome the institutional bias that is built into many industries and individual companies.
  2. Add skills testing to the hiring process While removing names from resumes and applications can significantly reduce the potential for initial discrimination, it can cause the entire process to seem impersonal and make comparing the data difficult, especially when dealing with multiple candidates with equal qualifications. By giving your hiring team a set of objective criteria to make decisions from, you can still maintain your dedication to reducing discrimination. The factors involved in hiring discrimination are complex and varied. Minority and gender bias is often based on the idea that those being discriminated against may not be able to perform at the required level. While, logically, performance is an individual and not a class metric, this idea can be hard for many to set aside. Skills testing can demonstrate that candidates outside of the “normal” talent pool may provide a higher level of performance and competency.
  3. Include objective data in the hiring and evaluation process Biases and emotions are reduced through the use of objective data, without the need for “retraining” or potentially shaming bad actors. Explanations, anecdotal evidence, and statistics can only somewhat correct a deeply held bias. Skills testing sets up an empirical mechanism that allows a direct comparison between candidates that, coupled with name-blind applications, allows hiring managers to make the most objective decisions possible.
  4. Include multiple managers as part of an applicant interview process While interviews will eventually reveal the identity of each candidate, which can allow biases to re-enter the process, collecting skills testing data each candidate’s capability and knowledge base enables interviews to become more objective. As long as humans remain a vital part of the hiring process, discrimination will always be a factor on some level. Include multiple hiring managers in the interview process with job seekers to provide multiple perspectives on each candidate. Facilitating a broader, less-biased approach to hiring lessens the impact of an individual hiring manager’s influence and reduces the risk of conscious and unconscious discrimination.

As HR and recruiting professionals, we have a responsibility to lessen and eliminate as much bias from the hiring process as possible by creating a level field for all candidates. Name-blind applications along with skills testing, objective data, and a standard interview process can promote equal hiring practices.

As eSkill is an industry award-winning provider (see resources) of bias and discrimination removal recruitment technology, if you would like to find out more, you can arrange a quick consultation here.

Useful links:

Subjects and topics that you can test here.

KPMG Jamaica Uses Brain Teaser Skills Tests and Pre-Employment Assessments on Social Media to Attract Top Accounting & Financial Talent

financial services and accountancy skills testing

The Situation

When companies face unique challenges, they implement innovative solutions. KPMG Jamaica Extended Support Services (JESS) is a shared-services affiliate of KPMG in Jamaica and a top audit, tax and advisory firm in Jamaica. It needed a way to attract candidates who had the accounting and financial reasoning skills required for some newly created accounting and financial positions and required to hire qualified candidates by a specific deadline.

Management was finding it hard to attract candidates to the company website and apply for these positions. They also found that only getting the word out on social media was not enough; So, they needed a way to up their game.

The Solution

Hiring managers were aware that social media is one of the best vehicles to reach potential candidates, but their challenge was how to get their message to stand out above all the "noise." KPMG was already working with eSkill, a Massachusetts-based skills and behavioural assessment company, to administer pre-employment assessments to evaluate candidates' accounting skills. So, the team decided to develop a skills test challenge and post the link on KPMG Jamaica's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

The challenge included five brain teaser questions from the eSkill validated test library that were pertinent to the skill set required for the accounting and financial positions. Anyone who completed the test was entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card, regardless of their score. Participants were encouraged to share the test with friends and followers, compare results and challenge each other.


The KPMG Jamaica and eSkill teams partnered to choose the questions. Since eSkill offers an extensive test library, the pre-employment assessment was simple to develop, deploy and manage. The skills test was called the "Accounting Challenge" and included a total of five critical reasoning, accounting and financial questions. Using a public link enabled the test to be shared in social media posts and advertisements.

eSkill developed and added contest rules that were listed on the candidate login page and included an acceptance checkbox so the participants could confirm they had read and understood them. Once participants finished the test, they were shown their score and encouraged to share the link. The login page collected the names and email addresses of each participant, and recruiters could access test scores and results on-demand using the eSkill platform they already used for sourcing candidates.

The Results

Recruiters sent a follow-up email message to all participants that provided information about KPMG Jamaica and invited them to explore current career opportunities. As a result, recruiters built a pool of hundreds of qualified candidates to evaluate as potential employees.

"We were expecting maybe 100 to 200 responses, but we ended up receiving close to 1,000 responses," said Teri Vigneux Executive Director. "eSkill provided the content and flexibility we needed to hire the right candidates for our accounting and financial positions."

KPMG Jamaica was able to recruit the qualified candidates they needed to fill the new positions, candidates, and many candidates who took the skills test also applied to other open areas. Managers declared the promotion to be a massive success because it helped KPMG Jamaica build a well-qualified team that will help the company accomplish its goals and objectives.

To learn more call eSkill UK Tests today on 0845 8400123

Continuous Personal Development Assessment – in the world of Home Working

The way we work and the way people work with us is dramatically changed, suddenly what was best practice possibly no longer applies. For regulated businesses amongst these challenges are how to conduct the Annual Appraisals for Personal Development when face to face or a test centre is no longer an option. 

eSkill is a long-established leader in the world of online assessment with class-leading solutions across more than 600 topics. Combine the 59,000 questions in any way that you want, have different tests for every role or seniority. The detailed results are instantly emailed to you, showing overall score, marks achieved for every topic and how each question was answered and even how long they took to answer each one. 

What makes eSkill special is the ability for our clients to self-create their questions taking ANY of their existing resources and within minutes transpose them to a Private Catalogue of their own Industry/Business. 

Bespoke questions can be Multiple Choice, Free Response, True False, Fill in the blank, Typing and include: 





A question can also be assigned a choice of difficulty level. 

Your eSkill test centre can be active within two hours with your dedicated Support Manager ready to help you. eSkill also offers Voice and Video Interviewing and the Collegiate Assessment tool Team Review. 

Assess precisely the way you want: Rapid, Affordable, Comprehensive, Flexible, Dependable, Business Ability Assessments from eSkill 

Case Study: English Police - Utilising eSkill When Downsizing

The ICT manager at an English Police H.Q. urgently needed to use eSkill. He was required to reduce the number of staff in his department. He had identified that a critical element of the process was to accurately identify the skill levels of every member of his team, he was particularly keen to ensure those team members who had a strong knowledge of niche solutions such as NPR software, (Number Plate Recognition). His concern was that using a  last-in / first-out approach. would have a harmful effect in the long term

The ICT manager had established that eSkill had the range of subjects he needed, but that also that it had a structure with the flexibility to configure the tests in precisely the way he required. A key element was also that he would be able to create questions for bespoke Police software. The tests comprised were targeted at the appropriate skill levels needed for the specific roles and questions were a combination of multiple-choice, free-response and true/false, selected from both the eSkill library and bespoke ones created by this client. 

In addition to providing the software, we also provided consultancy advice and resources:

·         Creating the tests required.

·         Developing bespoke tests.

·         Advising on the testing process.

·         Independent test monitoring.

·         Result analysis.

1.       45 Different tests were created 

2.       32 Candidates took tests (Some individuals chose not to take part in the process)  

3.       335 Test scores were recorded

4.       220 Bespoke questions were created

5.       7644 Questions were answered by candidates

The project was delivered on time against a tight schedule (less than 3 weeks from start to finish)

The total expenditure was less than £5,000 including 12 month unlimited use subscription to the test centre.

Talk to us now on 0845 8400123 or email us to discuss how we can help you assess job applicants or your existing staff, faster, reliably, more accurately, less expensively.

Planning for the future

The current global health crisis is having an impact on economic activity and, for some sectors, the need to review costs has moved to the top of the priority list. And inevitably, labour costs will come under scrutiny. In some cases, it may involve companies making certain positions redundant which creates the dilemma of who to keep. This process has to be done with fairness and with an objective review of which members of staff have the skills that you need most in the current trading climate.

There is no easy way to do this, but there is a transparent and objective approach. eSkill UK Tests used by businesses in the past who have faced this scenario, and you can see a great case study here of how a particular project delivered against a tight schedule, less than three weeks from start to finish.