Home News With a degree no longer enough, job candidates are told to prove their skills in tests – The Hechinger Report

With a degree no longer enough, job candidates are told to prove their skills in tests – The Hechinger Report

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Instead of relying on credentials, more employers want applicants to show their stuff

Among the many frustrations ahead for millions of Americans thrown out of work by the pandemic is one that may surprise them: To get a new job, it’s increasingly likely they will have to take a test.

As the number of candidates balloons while health risks make it hard for hiring managers to meet with them in person, a trend toward “pre-hiring assessments” — already under way before Covid-19 — is getting a huge new push.

With so many applicants, “you need filters,” said Richard Price, a research fellow at the Christensen Institute, which studies innovation. “You’re creating a quasi-audition for jobs.”

The recession and health crisis is speeding momentum for job tests that, before the pandemic, was being driven by more than just logistical considerations.

Skeptical that university degrees are the best measure of whether candidates have the skills they need, employers were already looking for ways that applicants could prove it — including in fields where that was not previously required.

“It’s like try before you buy,” said Price.

Growing equity concerns resulting from the explosion of racial justice protests now are also playing a role in this. They give companies another reason to stop relying principally on academic degrees when hiring, since candidates who are Black are less likely than white candidates to have one, according to the U.S. Department of Education, for reasons including cost and access.

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