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What Is The Best Talent Assessment Strategy For Finance Roles?

Lauren O'Donoghue
Lauren O'Donoghue March 09, 2023
what is the best talent assessment strategy for finance roles?

The finance industry is fast-paced, dynamic, and competitive, and staying ahead of the competition means hiring the right talent is essential.

Savvy employers, recruiters, and HR managers are utilizing talent assessments early on in the recruitment process to ensure candidates are properly tested on various skills before they're invited to interview. In the long run, this saves time and money and can even improve staff retention and satisfaction.

This article will help you put together the best talent assessment strategy for the finance roles you're recruiting for.

what is the best talent assessment strategy for finance roles?

Why should you use talent assessments for finance roles?

Talent assessments and aptitude tests are always a good idea when you're recruiting for roles where a certain level of technical skill is required. In this case, you must ensure anyone you hire has the required level of mathematical and financial skills needed for the role.

Huge financial companies such as Citigroup, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, and Lloyds Banking Group employ a rigorous testing process to select candidates for hire. Candidates applying to any of these companies can expect to take multiple aptitude tests and talent assessments before even being asked to interview.

According to the Aberdeen Group Study, referenced on LinkedIn, businesses that use talent assessments report a 36% increase in satisfaction with their new hires.

As well as helping you get the right caliber of candidate, the tests can also help reduce unintentional bias, improve long-term retention rates, and ensure you don't waste time, energy, and money on the wrong person or people. This is why many recruiters will use talent assessments before screening resumes to enhance the efficiency of the process.

SHRM Foundation states that 25% of mission-critical positions remain vacant after five months, showing the need to invest time into a robust recruitment process for your business.

Key competencies and skills for finance roles

To succeed in the competitive world of finance, candidates will need a delicate balance of skills and competencies that you'll want to see evidence of in the recruitment process.

Aligning the assessments you use in the recruitment process with the key values and skills in the job description, and the organization as a whole, is essential for long-term hiring success — and that includes looking at soft skills, personality traits, and characteristics.

Broadly speaking, those who are successful in the financial industry tend to have: natural confidence, strong technical skills, and abilities, a solid understanding of different financial programs and software, commercial understanding, and strong communication and presentation skills.

The nuances of the importance of different skills and competencies will change depending on which role you're recruiting for. For example, if you're looking to hire an accountant it might be more important to find someone with strong communication skills and an understanding of auditing. Whereas it's more vital that stockbrokers have analytical thinking skills and commercial awareness and claims adjusters are versed in insurance knowledge.

Types of talent assessments for finance roles

Depending on the specifics of the role, there is a huge range of different assessments you can introduce into the hiring process to ensure candidates are put through their paces, and able to demonstrate the skills highlighted on their resume before you invest time and energy into interviews and further assessments.

the best talent assessment strategy for finance roles

Aptitude tests for finance roles

  • Numerical reasoning test — the numerical reasoning test focuses on how well a candidate can analyze and interpret data on tables, charts, and graphs. A basic level of mathematical skill is also required.

  • Diagrammatic reasoning test — designed to assess candidates on their problem-solving and logical reasoning skills, the diagrammatic reasoning testis commonly used in the recruitment of financial roles as it identifies applicants who think in the right way.

  • Abstract reasoning test — non-verbal and non-numerical, the abstract reasoning test uses shapes, patterns, and sequences to probe candidates on their ability to think logically and laterally. Candidates will need to demonstrate how they can use very little information to find the governing rule or pattern in a seemingly abstract sequence.

  • Error checking test — error checking tests are a good indicator of how strong someone's attention to detail is, and how able they are to spot inconsistencies in large volumes of data or text. This is incredibly useful in finance roles, where accuracy is so important.

Soft skills tests for finance roles

  • Problem solving test — often those that show evidence of strong problem solving skills are strong in technical roles such as finance. That's why the problem solving skills test is such a popular one with financial services recruiters. Against the clock, candidates will have to use their fluid intelligence and logical thinking skills to solve a series of challenges.

  • Accountability test — accountability is a really important, but often undervalued skill. It's the ability to take responsibility for your actions and show integrity in all that you do. The accountability skills testwill help you assess whether candidates have these crucial skills before you make any hiring decisions.

  • Interpersonal skills test — being able to work well with others, communicate effectively and bring added value to a team is very important. An interpersonal skills test can reassure you that a candidate has all the required social skills needed to work well within your business. This can be particularly important if the role involves lots of teamwork or is client-facing.

  • Time management test — time management is essential in most roles, but especially ones that come with a high level of responsibility like those in financial services. This test looks at a candidate's ability to effectively prioritize tasks against the clock.

Personality tests for finance roles

The HEXACO personality test evaluates each candidate's characteristics to give hiring managers and recruiters a clearer picture of personality and company fit.

As well as identifying strengths that may be of use to your business, the test can also help you pick up on areas that may need further questioning or traits that might not sit well within a particular team.

Software skills tests

Software skills tests help reassure you that a candidate is at the required level of proficiency in software such as Salesforce, Microsoft Excel, or any specific finance programs you may use.

Before starting the recruitment process, it's useful to make a list of the software candidates will be using in the day-to-day role, and how frequently, so you can judge whether to test them.

Adding software skills test to your recruitment battery is a great way to ensure a new hire can get up to speed quickly, and has the necessary skills and expertise to add value to the team.

How to select the right assessment methods for finance roles

First and foremost, it's important to reflect on the job description, business strategy, and organization's objectives. This will help you clearly articulate the skills and expertise you're looking for, so you know which tests you may wish to use. Don't forget the importance of soft skills and certain personality traits or characteristics as well.

You might even want to write out what a successful candidate would look like, so you're clear on where you're trying to get to.

Once you've defined what you're looking for, you can build the relevant tests into your recruitment process. Think about when you want to set tests, for example doing so before screening resumes can help save time and effort, but you might want to stagger a few tests throughout the process to save yourself having to sift through a lot of different results and data.

Key takeaways

The best strategy you can employ for hiring in the financial services industry is taking a prepared and proactive approach.

Analyzing the job description, the team needs, and the organization's goals will help you get a much clearer picture of the type of candidate you need to find. And as well as their level of experience and expertise, which soft skills and character traits would be most valuable.

Once you know this, you can put together a solid testing and recruitment plan that will save you time and money, and ultimately increase the quality of your hires.

Lauren O'Donoghue
Lauren O'Donoghue March 09, 2023

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