As more companies incorporate aptitude testing into their hiring processes, particularly for management and customer-facing positions, it is prudent to consider whether aptitude testing is useful for interviews.
According to the Harvard Business Review, nearly 90% of employers use some form of testing on job candidates, and a plethora of publishers are developing various types of tests, software, and even assessment games to assist recruitment teams in making better hiring decisions.
To fully understand whether these types of tests are useful for interviews, it is necessary to first understand the fundamentals.
An aptitude test is a method of assessing a prospective employee’s cognitive ability or intelligence. Aptitude tests will assess candidates’ soft skills, which will indicate how successful they will be in the role, as well as their competencies required for the job they are applying for.
The content of aptitude tests is not always difficult. The added pressure of a time limit, the anxiety of the test, and the application of skills to correctly answer are the difficulties.
Human intelligence is made up of various types of intelligence; cognitive intelligence is one facet, and emotional intelligence is another. Measurements of learned skills as well as more fluid abilities can be taken in cognitive intelligence.
Aptitude tests are useful for interviews because they allow for data-driven assessment of suitability rather than relying on human judgment.
Many employers use aptitude tests early in the recruitment process, usually after a preliminary paper shift of application forms and CVs but before the interview. This timing is one of the most important aspects of testing because it allows candidates to demonstrate their suitability through competency and ensures that only applicants with the necessary skills are invited to interview.
It is unfortunate and difficult to avoid the fact that even when we try to be objective, unconscious bias can influence our decisions. This is also true in hiring, and perhaps the most important aspect of the aptitude test is that it is entirely objective and fair.
Every applicant takes the same standardized test, which has no regard for social, economic, or educational background. The recruitment team is given only scores or percentiles, which provide a snapshot of the applicants’ abilities at the time of the test. As a result, there is no possibility of making subjective decisions.
These standardized results are compared to a predetermined ideal range, and candidates who match (or exceed) that are given additional consideration.
The use of aptitude tests as screening tools early in the recruitment process has many advantages, one of the most important of which is reduced hiring costs.
Aptitude tests are cost-effective because they can be scaled up to accommodate the number of applicants, they reduce the time required to make decisions, and they also reduce the time required for human and manual interaction.
Aptitude tests for recruitment provide several data points that can be used to evaluate candidates overall. This enables a recruiter to see beyond the CV and ensure that the applicant possesses the necessary skills for success.
When thousands of applicants have similar educational backgrounds and experiences, demonstrating cognitive abilities can be critical.
Aptitude tests that are effective are based on occupational psychology. This means they have a scientifically validated testing method and are constantly and consistently validated to ensure relevance and success.
Aptitude tests are rigorously studied to ensure their reliability and validity; job success prediction is based on a combination of psychology and selecting the appropriate competencies to assess. Assessing mechanical reasoning for a role that does not require that ability, for example, is pointless.
It is well understood that high intelligence is a reliable predictor of job success, based not only on an employee’s performance as rated by supervisors, but also on objective criteria such as comparison to others.
There are numerous types of aptitude tests available, each assessing different aspects of cognitive intelligence in a unique way. The most common types used in recruitment are as follows.
Numerical reasoning is not a math test; rather, it assesses a candidate’s ability to read, comprehend, and apply numerical data in a logical manner.
Numerical reasoning questions present data in the form of a graph or table, and the candidate must extract the necessary information before performing basic mathematical functions to find the answer.
In most cases, the required math skills are GCSE level operators, percentages, fractions, and ratios.
Verbal reasoning tests assess a candidate by presenting them with a paragraph of information and then asking them a question about it. In most cases, the text is relevant to the role for which they have applied, but this is not required. Because the answer is in the text, there is no need for prior knowledge to answer the question.
To be successful, a candidate must read the information quickly and accurately, comprehend it, and then apply that knowledge to the question.
Logical reasoning tests are frequently the most difficult for candidates because they are often presented in an unfamiliar format. Logical reasoning tests the applicant’s ability to use logic to reach a conclusion based on the information provided in the question.
This can be based on statements in some cases, and finding a rule that creates a pattern in others.
Logical reasoning tests require the candidate to make decisions by thinking clearly and logically.
Situational judgment tests are scenario-based questions with multiple choice answers that are used to assess a candidate’s decision-making abilities.
Typically, the candidate is presented with a challenge and several possible actions to take based on a real-life scenario. Dealing with a difficult customer or making a mistake are examples of this.
The goal of the test is to see how they react to this while under pressure to demonstrate how they make decisions in the workplace. Situational judgment tests are commonly used in supervisory role applications, but they are also useful in a variety of customer-facing roles or when quick but deliberate decisions are required.
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