Table Of Contents
2. What is Aptitude Test?
3. The science behind the Aptitude Test
4. Type of Aptitude Tests
5. Effectiveness of Aptitude Tests
6. Business Outcomes/ Application of Aptitude Tests
7. Case Study
In a tumultuous business environment, most of the large and small-scale organizations are using Aptitude assessments to evaluate the specific capabilities of potential employees. The cognitive evaluation of the prospective candidates has become critical as the attrition rate of the workforce in organizations is dropping at a faster pace.
If you run an employee survey in the organization to check how happy the employees are, you may come across some surprising results. There will be several employees in the company who are not satisfied with their work, either due to the job role or the organizational culture, or the redundancy of work, etc. In such a scenario, companies must consider Aptitude Assessment in the recruitment process. It will certainly help them in yielding improved employee turnover.
2. What Is Aptitude Test?
Aptitude test refers to structured assessments that aim at evaluating job candidates or even existing employees’ talent or skill in completing particular tasks without any prior knowledge or training. Additionally, these tests are used to assess mental abilities that are required to perform tasks needed in any job role.
3. The Science Behind Aptitude Tests
3.1 Human Intelligence
It refers to the mental quality that consists of one’s ability to learn from experiences, adapting to new situations, understanding and handling abstract concepts and using knowledge to manipulate one’s environment.
Human Intelligence is Segregated into Two Parts:
i) Aptitude Intelligence
It is a combination of numerical, verbal, and spatial abilities, which consists of visualizing, word fluency, use of memory, verbal relations, induction, perceptual speed, induction, and deduction.
Under Aptitude intelligence, the central factor influencing our cognitive abilities is known as general intelligence. It is denoted by the letter ‘g’ which is responsible for achieving positive correlations among different cognitive tasks.
Besides that, the ‘G’ factor consists of 4 cognitive brain processes that directly impact cognitive intelligence. They are attention, speed, memory, and visualization.
G Factor Is Further Expanded into Two Parts -
Fluid Intelligence refers to the ability to solve unusual problems by making use of logical reasoning that is not subject to prior learning, education, or life experience.
The best use of Fluid Intelligence was exemplified by early men who used logical reasoning, instincts, and problem-solving skills for survival. They had no education or access to any form of knowledge that would guide them to meet their day-to-day needs of food, shelter, and protection from predators.
The exhibit below signifies two different scenarios - High and Low Cognitive Fluid intelligence.
b) Crystallized Intelligence
Crystallized Intelligence revolves around the ability to use learned knowledge and experience.
For example, when we use formulas to solve mathematical problems or apply rules of grammar to make sentences and write, we are making use of crystallized intelligence.
The exhibit below signifies two different scenarios - High and Low Crystallized Fluid Intelligence
ii) Emotional Intelligence
It is another form of Human Intelligence, where one can read one’s own and other’s emotions, and use this reading to manage one’s thoughts and behaviors.
It can be measured as:
Intelligence = Emotional Intelligence + Cognitive Intelligence
4. Types of Aptitude Tests
Numerical reasoning tests present the ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately. The questions involved in the tests may incorporate tables, graphs, or number sequences as well as written maths problems and are typically multiple-choice in format.
Verbal reasoning tests evaluate your comprehension and understanding skills. It deducts meaning, information, and implications from passages of the text without making assumptions. Additionally, it also examines the candidate’s ability to think critically, logically and accurately.
Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests evaluate your logical reasoning ability under stringent timelines. It is similar to abstract reasoning tests that are more likely to use letters and numbers rather than symbols or shapes.
Situational judgment tests assess your ability as to how you can approach situations encountered in the workplace. These tests present candidates with hypothetical work-related scenarios and analyze how you can rationally solve the problem.
Spatial Awareness Tests inform how well your mind can visualize and manipulate images and patterns. The candidate is given a range of 2D and 3D images to organize or visualize in the 3D format. Also, you may be asked to match rotated or reflected images.
Personality Tests are used by employers to ascertain whether a candidate has the right attitude and behaviors to fit in with the company culture and work ethic. Moreover, these tests usually are questionnaires that present statements and ask for ratings dependent on the level of your agreement.
Logical Reasoning Tests reveal how a candidate uses logic to interpret information. Under these tests, you might be given patterns, number sequences, or shapes, as well as text-based questions that require you to make a conclusion based on the evidence.
Abstract Reasoning Tests measure a candidate’s lateral thinking abilities that help in defining logical rules, trends, and patterns to present the right solution for solving problems. Candidates possessing strong abstract reasoning skills can solve complex problems creatively. They can integrate data logically to conclude.
Such tests can be effectively applied to test candidates’ aptitude to solve problems through logic and creative thinking.
Mechanical Reasoning Ability Test measures the person’s ability to solve complex problems based on the knowledge, comprehension, and application of mechanical concepts. The assessment evaluates a candidate’s command on fundamental physical laws and mechanical operations.
It also examines whether the candidate has a knack for learning mechanical processes that include the understanding of mechanical set-up preparation.
5. Effectiveness of Aptitude Tests
For an effective Aptitude assessment to choose the right talent for a job role, it must accurately identify candidates from the talent pool, who are likely to succeed at performing that job role. Once the assessment has been created for a particular job role, its effectiveness in selecting the right talent in an organization needs to be tested.
To have a cognitive assessment adept in identifying the right talent, we fine-tune the three defined parameters: the Assessment Mean score, Difficulty index, and Discrimination index.
What Is Mean Score?
Assessment Mean Score
Mean Score is the average score achieved by the candidate pool, giving the same cognitive assessment.
A low mean score signifies that fewer candidates were able to score high on the aptitude test from the talent pool.
A medium mean score means that a moderate number of candidates were able to score high on the aptitude test.
A high mean score means that a majority of candidates from the talent pool were able to score high on the aptitude test.
The ideal mean score for you depends upon the desired levels of candidates.
For instance, if you intend to select candidates with the highest cognitive intelligence out of your talent pool, your cognitive assessment should have a meager mean score.
This is how you can adjust your mean score to control the number and intelligence level of candidates selected:
Please note that you can adjust the mean score to modify the numbers and IQ levels of candidates. For example, if you want to choose the top five percentile of the talent pool, you should aim for an aptitude test with a mean score of 5 percent. It is a tool used for benchmarking an aptitude test as per an organization’s requirement.
Disclaimer: The quality of talent acquired usually depends on the quality of the talent pool. If the quality of your talent pool, in general, is poor, selecting even the top one percentile may not provide you with high IQ candidates. Consequently, if your talent pool quality is too high, even lower percentile candidates may turn out to be high in IQ, as the average IQ of the talent pool is high.
The Difficulty Index is the probability of candidates correctly answering a test question. Every question included in an Aptitude assessment is benchmarked via its difficulty index.
For example, if 20 out of 100 students were able to answer a particular question correctly, the difficulty index for that question would be 20/100 = 0.5.
Its index range determines the difficulty level of a question. Lower the difficulty index, the higher is the difficulty level of the question. It is a tool used for benchmarking an aptitude test as per an organization’s requirement.
Besides that, the difficulty index is inversely correlated with a mean score. A high difficulty index signifies that a majority of the candidates fared poorly or failed the test, whereas a high mean score signifies that most candidates were able to score high and hence passed the test.
This is how you can adjust your difficulty level to control the number and the intelligence levels of the selected candidates:
If the average difficulty level of all the questions in an Aptitude assessment is high, it means that on average, the questions included in the assessment are difficult. This means that candidates, on average, will fail the test. However, those few who pass will have high IQ as they were able to clear a test deemed difficult by most. So, a cognitive assessment with high difficulty level questions will churn out a smaller pool of candidates, high in intelligence.
If the average difficulty-level of all the questions in a cognitive assessment is low, it means that, on average, the questions included in the assessment are easy. This means that candidates, on average, will pass the test. However, the IQ of these candidates will not necessarily be very high as they were able to clear a test deemed easy by most. So a cognitive assessment with low difficulty level questions will churn out a larger pool of candidates who are low in intelligence.
Discrimination is the degree to which candidates answered a particular question correctly, with a high overall score in a cognitive assessment. It is an index of a question’s effectiveness in discriminating against those who performed well in the test, from those who did not. It determines whether an Aptitude assessment is valid.
Simply put, if a question is answered correctly by the same proportion of high intelligence and low intelligence candidates, then that question is not valid as it is unable to discriminate between the two candidates.
Note: Unlike the mean score and difficulty index, the discrimination index is not a benchmarking tool. It's a critical validation tool to determine the usability of an aptitude test.
Ideal discriminatory index: The ideal discriminatory index for a question should be 0.4 and above. A cognitive assessment, with each question having a discriminatory index of 0.4 or above, would effectively filter our undesirable talent and select desirable talent accurately suited for a job role.
6. Application of Aptitude Tests For Employees
The correlation between cognitive intelligence and work performance is a minimum of 51 percent and can go as high as 84 percent.
High intelligence is an indicator of success on the job which is measured on:
- The evaluation of performance on tasks similar to those encountered on the job
- Performance ratings by supervisors
- Position in the occupational hierarchy
How can measuring Cognitive intelligence help in predicting success at work?
Cognitive intelligence mainly influences performance through the rate at which people learn knowledge relevant to the job – people with higher cognitive intelligence learn faster.
But cognitive intelligence predicts success even when you take account of the job knowledge. With high cognitive intelligence, people are better placed to go beyond existing job knowledge and make judgments in unfamiliar situations.
6.1 The Significance of the Aptitude Test Across the Employee Life Cycle
Hiring managers across the globe are facing an acute shortage of talent in the market. Thus, they have started taking an applicant’s aptitude for learning/training into consideration. Unlike most recruitment practices that include merely evaluating a candidate on his/her current skill sets, hiring candidates based on Aptitude ability tests helps in yielding the best pool of candidates with higher IQ and analytical skills.
The aptitude test is the best way to predict the employee’s work performance and understanding the positive impact of the training. It can effectively predict employees’ success at every level in their career. An increase in job performance is directly linked to high cognitive ability.
Employers across industries and geographies use IQ and aptitude tests during the recruitment process. Assessing candidates’ aptitude skills, and selecting people aligned with the company’s goals and strategies, can help in building winning teams. Aligning the assessment results with curated competencies for each job role will assist in churning out high performers.
Aptitude assessment is also pivotal in creating an organization’s learning and development strategy. Such tests address the loopholes faced by businesses in identifying training needs, high potential individuals, worthy successors, and fast learners. Research consistently indicates that aptitude ability tests predict hiring success across job roles, types, and industries, with the utmost ease.
Nowadays, many employers are considering aptitude assessments to improve the quality of hires. These aptitude tests help in filtering out irrelevant candidates from a vast talent pool, whether it be for coaching institutes, colleges/universities, or corporations.
6.2 Application of Aptitude Tests Across Industries
The use of aptitude tests has increased by an overall 29 percent in the IT sector. Its usage during hiring has increased by 28 percent and during L&D by 101 percent. The increased usage during the L&D is driven by the fact that high cognitive intelligence equals high learning agility. And, as the IT sector is continually evolving, employees in this field must be highly agile in learning to keep up with new technologies.
The use of aptitude assessments has increased by 411 percent in L&D.
Aptitude tests are the most commonly used assessments in the pharma industry, with 40 percent usage among all assessment tools. They have taken precedence over technical and psychometric assessments with companies focusing more on subject matter knowledge and pharma manufacturing skills, which requires candidates/employees to possess high cognitive abilities.
The usage of Aptitude tests has increased by an overall 207 percent.
The increasing demand for financial analysts and wealth managers in the insurance industry has led to a sudden rise in the usage of cognitive assessments/aptitude tests during hiring and L&D. These roles require high data processing power and analytic skills, which can be assessed through cognitive assessments.
The usage of cognitive Aptitude tests has increased by an overall 99 percent in the Consulting Industry.
An increase leads to the surge in the demand for consultants who can work across various industries and learn the tricks of the trade fast. This requires high brain processing power, which can be easily tested through cognitive assessments.
A Blueprint for Developing Future-Ready Workforce
How A Telecom Behemoth was Able to Build Better Teams through Mettl’s Cognitive Ability Assessments
The client was struggling with a low-quality talent inflow, poor learning and development, and leadership development programs.
Some of the other challenges are listed below:
Hiring: the hiring process followed by the client did not identify the top talent needed for a job role
Learning and development: The company was struggling with poor ROI yielding training programs
Leadership development: The company was not able to identify promising high potentials that they could use to create a succession pipeline
The client company was facing issues mentioned-above, along with identifying skill proficiency and skill gaps in potential hires as well as existing employees. The company was not making judicious use of Aptitude assessments.
To tackle the challenge, Mettl had devised a 4-step process to create effective Aptitude assessments, specifically suited to meet the client’s talent needs to make their hiring, L&D, and Leadership development processes more effective.
The client was able to create a ‘future-ready workforce’ and was successful in delivering the planned organizational goals and achieving high learning agility by:
✔ Hiring the right quality talent
✔ Accurately identifying skill gaps among employees that can be filled with appropriate training
✔ Successfully identifying high potentials that can be used to create the succession pipeline
Employee knowledge and skills are the backbones of an organization. The ability to learn and apply knowledge and skills to succeed in any job role is what is measured through Aptitude assessments. The more accurately they can measure a candidate’s cognitive intelligence, the better quality talent an organization will end up with.
The top quality of talent is spoiled for choice. They are limited in numbers and in high demand. Identifying and onboarding them faster is better, as they are not available in the market for a prolonged period.
Effective cognitive assessments enable organizations to quickly and effectively differentiate between real and fake talent.
A leading magazine has rolled out a survey that Aptitude assessments are quite accurate for successful companies in estimating the potential for success. A majority of employees working in established companies are happy and feel motivated to work for them.
Now, every company wants to ensure that the candidates have a basic level of aptitude. It’s not always about the qualified and experienced workforce, but it's about the abilities, skills, and knowledge. Thus, having a business aptitude exam in your recruitment process is undoubtedly effective for your business.