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Recruitment Insights

Candidate Skills – Are you just rolling the dice?

candidate assessment

Organisations that don’t conduct candidate assessments before employing staff, run the risk of having under-skilled staff that jeopardise productivity levels and can end up costing the enterprise dearly in time and money.

There is a positive correlation between poor hiring decisions, staff morale, employee turnover, and the bottom line results of an organisation.
From many years of recruiting, I have seen just how crucial pre-employment skills assessments are to all types and sized organisations.

In the dim dark past, skills testing was a ‘nice to have’. Fast forward to today and we simply wouldn’t do without them! Assessing candidate’s skills provides a better understanding of their true capabilities and assists in more accurately determining their long-term suitability to perform and excel in any given role.

The buzz words now in employee assessment circles are the differentiation between ‘hard skills’ and soft skills’. What on earth is the difference – are not skills just skills?

Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured, such as typing, writing, math, reading and the ability to use software programs, often referred to as technical skills. By contrast, soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify, such as self-awareness, self-management, adaptability, problem solving and social skills to name just a few.

Longitudinal research carried out by Amanda Gale et.al surveying 260 employers in the Interior Design sector clearly identified soft skills including attitude, communication and interpersonal skills more frequently as positive and important traits.1

The findings above included that soft skills can not only improve employee performance and satisfaction but can also prepare technical workers for promotion into supervisory roles.

In addition to hard skill testing, soft skill testing can be just as crucial in assessing and identifying levels of emotionally intelligent (EQ) in candidates providing an employer with valuable information about ‘fit’ for their organisation’s culture. This can be particularly important where certain cultural sensitivities are a pre-requisite.

At McCormack Employment Services we recognise how important it is to offer our clients the very best skilled candidates we can and incorporating both hard and soft skills assessments as part of our service offering sets us apart from those agencies that don’t.

Cheryl McCormack – Principal Recruiter & Business Consultant holds a Graduate Diploma in Psychology combined with her 20 plus years as a recruitment expert. Cheryl reviews all assessment results.


1 Gale, A., Duffey, M., Park‐Gates, S., & Peek, P. (2017). Soft Skills versus Hard Skills: Practitioners’ Perspectives on Interior Design Interns. Journal of Interior Design, 42(4), 45-63.

What others are saying

Cheryl, I just love how professional you are, every step of the way you ace it! A big thank you for your help and guidance.

Nicky Pellegriti - TAS Assistant, MSBC

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for the valuable assistance you’ve given me during my job search, you have generously shared your expertise.

Zoe, P - EA, CAS

I can’t thank you enough for your support in helping me secure the SJOG role, working with you is always such a positive experience!

Lynn Devitt - Casa Venegas, St John of God

I would just like to extend my gratitude for walking alongside me on this journey, thank you a hundred fold.

Abbel Gaspi - Project Officer, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

We really enjoyed your time with our team, there was much learned about ourselves and each other, thanks again for your wise guidance.

Megan, S - MBTI Workshop

You have been the best recruiter I have met, committed, caring and with a strong work ethic.

Natalie Centoira - Placed candidate

Thanks for your professionalism, support and assistance.

Sonia Perez - Human Resources Manager, Oakhill College

Thank you so much for the opportunity to win the role with Envy Jewellery, I am enjoying it so much that I hope to be here for years to come!

Raewyn Wilson - Customer Service Coordinator, Envy Jewellery

Thanks to Cheryl and the team at McCormack’s for yet again sourcing an appropriate applicant and successfully filling an unusual vacancy at our College.  I would not hesitate to recommend their services.

Joanne Kessey - Secretary to Mr Michael Blake, College Principal, Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood

I want to take a moment to thank you for all the support you’ve shown me throughout my job search process. I am so appreciative of not only the way you made me feel at our first meeting but your generosity with your time and resources.

Donna Laney - Senior Administration Officer – Student Services, Mt St Benedict College

Once again Cheryl, you have found a great position that suits my needs and skills. I will be forever grateful to you.

Kerrie Scarpellino - Placed Candidate

I am absolutely thrilled to be offered permanency. I wish to greatly thank you for all the effort in securing this position and for believing in me and encouraging me to move forward.

Nancy M - Placed Candidate, Catholic Cemeteries & Crematoria

I am most grateful for the employment opportunities McCormack Employment gave me while I was studying and between jobs. Please pass on my kind regards to Cheryl, I am indebted to her for finding me such great jobs when I needed them.

Elizabeth Killey - Placed Candidate

Thank you for assigning great staff to our office, always helpful and proactive.

Mary Harrison - Sydney Catholic Schools, Southern Region

Thank you for your very kind donation to the Catholic Education Foundation Indigenous Bursary Program, it is greatly appreciated and we value your support of the Catholic Education Foundation.

Kathy Campbell - Head: Policy & Corporate Services, Catholic Education Foundation