Saturday, June 25, 2011

Project Management Institute Asia-Pacific events July-Sep 2011

For more details, please visit

PMINZ National Conference
5-7 Jul-11
Auckland, New Zealand
PMI Japan Forum
16-17 Jul-11
Tokyo, Japan
PMI India National Conference
8-10 Sep-11
Bangalore, India
PMI China Congress
16-17 Sep-11
Beijing, China
Hong Kong

Monday, May 16, 2011

Developing an aptitude test for recruitment - a Basic Primer

It’s fun to create an aptitude test for new hires. All that you have to do is to add some subjective, some ‘IQ’ types, some technical question and get those hapless candidates to take the test. Your organization will be thankful to you for the test that you have created and those hapless candidates will rarely complain if you, in an unlikely case, make any mistake!
Right? Wrong! Are you sure that your new test
1.       meets the requirement given in role or job description?
2.       weighs the different questions in scorecard appropriately based on their difficulty and criticality levels?
3.       conforms to equal opportunity employment requirement?
4.       does not give undue importance to a skill or attitude that are not that critical in the job, and vice versa?
5.       is not too easy or too difficult to make results useless in screening candidates?
6.       has adequate, not more nor less, number and variety of questions to assess the desired skills and behavior.

Creating an aptitude test for new hires is not really difficult but it’s easy to make mistakes and a wrong hiring decision can be very expensive. The above check list was useful when I created or administered tests to thousands of employees for my employers.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Supervised versus Unsupervised Online test

Unsupervised or unproctored online tests are cost effective and saves time for assessed as well as assessor. If you are looking to hone your skills, these unsupervised tests provide you all the flexibility that you need at a very little cost as I believe that you will be honest to yourself. For behavioral assessments, where there is no clear right or wrong answer, unsupervised tests provide very reliable results.
However, as you would have guessed easily, unsupervised tests expecting specific answers are prone to identity fraud and can be compromised. Many organizations hesitate to use unsupervised test for this reason. But organizations can gain from the flexibility provided by unsupervised tests without losing the integrity of assessment by using one or more of the following methods.
1.       Post-test Validation:
Follow up with questions based on the test during the interview for the shortlisted candidates. This can be very effective if planned right.
2.       Unsupervised screening followed by supervised test for shortlisted candidates
By comparing the scores achieved in different modules of the two tests, one can filter out majority, nut not all, of identity frauds. Assessor also has a choice of using only the latest test score or a suitably weighted average of two tests.
3.        Access control
Allow only previously validated users (student or job candidates) to take the test at a specified time, possibly in conjunction with extra identity validation features like keylogging or webcam snapshot recording.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

6 things to keep in mind while administering written tests to job applicants

1.       Make it short and snappy. Unless, you are hiring IBM’s new CEO or new Secretary General of UN, your written test for almost any job applicant should never go beyond an hour or 40 questions.
2.       Make your tests before the actual need arise and pre-stress them.
3.       If you need to administer tests to a large pool of candidates, take advantage of technology to
a.       Auto-randomize questions  or use Computer Adaptive Testing to improve test results quality and reduce possibility of cheating.
b.      Allow tests to be taken at different times and locations.
c.       Provides quick result and statistical analysis
4.       Don’t forget to explain the scope and objective of the test before the start and then make sure that you provide feedback to test-takers on their performance
5.       Provide a comfortable, secure and quite place to test-takers to minimize extraneous factors affecting results
6.       Keep refreshing your test contents at regular intervals.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ease of doing business in India!

Just read that in the latest economic freedom index report, India ranks among the last in the world, behind even Pakistan and  Afganistan!  And I am not surprised. It took us more than 40 days to get a company registered and I am told by my chartered accountant friends that it’s almost impossible to exit a company, even if you have never done a single transaction in its name.  

I shudder to think that there are countries that are worse than India in ease of doing business.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hiring employees in a startup during these crazy times

Just read in papers that Bangalore technology companies including my ex-employer, Infosys, are facing employee attrition levels of 15-18%. But don’t believe the newspapers.  My friends tell me that in many large companies, the actual attrition is touching almost 25-30% per year. 

And less than 30% of those who are made a job offer, actually take up that offer. You can call it unprofessional behavior or sign of an overheated job market, but this is what we are facing at present.  And even high-paying product companies are not doing any better.

That brings me to our predicament. If hiring and retention for Infosys and Microsoft is so difficult, for a startup company, that too a self-funded one, it’s well nigh impossible to attract good employees from the market. In India, except for a very small minority of enlightened self-confident young people, most are looking for a ‘branded’ organization that can give them job security, a zero point five percent discount on home loan and a nod from prospective father-in-law, even if it means working in an equivalent of a coal pit, ask anyone in code-maintenance or graveyard (no pun intended as this is the official name for night shift). 
So how do we hire employees?  

Well, we don’t!  We, at SkillSign, only look for partners in business.

More on this later!!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Need for an assessment platform like SkillSign

India produces over 3 million new graduates every year.  Research shows that over 25% of the new graduates are utterly unemployable in organized sector; not due to any hypothetical innate inability but because these young hopefuls have not been provided with employable skills during their years in the formal academic life. And I am quite sure that the same is true for almost all emerging nations whether China, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa or Bangladesh.

So we are faced with a crazy situation of high unemployment rate while organizations are facing a severe shortage of skilled resources, due to antiquated syllabus in educational institutes that focus on rote learning rather than practical skills and poor teaching infrastructure. But if India has to take advantage of its much-touted demographic dividend,; we need to align the individual skills with the jobs at hand. And we cannot be satisfied with just one-time training, as the skills needed to perform a task, and sometimes the task itself, keep changing. 

At SkillSign, our aim is to build a platform that allows individuals, academic institutes and employers to assess skills of any kind and then benchmark them against the peer group.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

About SkillSign

SkillSign is a leading provider of online assessment tests. our innovative solution ensures that you have right skills for the required job.

SkillSign enables individuals to MoveUpTM their skill level and achieve higher career goals.

Some of the best companies approach us because we provide a one-stop solution for very effective, scalable, measurable and usable skill assessment solutions for a diverse set of requirements. We provide a skill assessment solution for new applicants as well as existing employees by leveraging winning combination of cutting edge technology, backed by exceptional and dedicated professionals. By helping you identify the right people who have the skills and attitude required for the success in the given role, we ensure higher productivity and profitability for the organizations.

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