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A recruitment process cannot be earnestly undertaken until recruiters have reliable insights into the candidates’ abilities and skills. Often, recruiters’ most significant struggle is to validate their decision on the candidates’ final selection. The hiring process demands time and effort, and organizations put a premium on them by choosing the best possible hiring methods. However, this process entails several challenges.
A survey suggests that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has impacted 38% of hiring professionals’ acquisition plans. Conversely, after completing the hiring process, most organizations struggle to create a quality team despite having a predefined talent journey. The skills gap indicates a loophole in the hiring process.
Different types of aptitude tests can help considerably in mitigating the scenario. And organizations are extensively using pre-employment aptitude tests to overcome the issues above-mentioned and find high-potential candidates. Traditionally, employers analyze the candidates’ resumes to evaluate their standing by scanning their educational backgrounds, work experiences, etc. However, several aspects don’t get reflected adequately in a candidate’s resume. For instance, resumes don’t inform whether the candidate is good at decision-making. It is possible to overcome such limitations by using different types of aptitude tests.
Before delving into the types of aptitude tests, it is essential to understand what aptitude is and how aptitude tests help measure it.
Aptitude refers to an individual’s inherent competence to undertake specific tasks. It is his/her natural ability to learn and reason and includes components such as:
Recruiters need to understand that distinct job roles require specific kinds of aptitude. For instance, a statistician must have a knack for numbers, and a computer programmer should have a talent for logic.
An aptitude test is a widely accepted medium for employers to evaluate a candidate’s intelligence and ability. It can have different types of testing formats, depending on the required skills for the job role. These tests are designed with questions to gauge how candidates react to a specific situation besides their ability to perform tasks or solve problems.
Human intelligence is an intriguing and vast subject, which psychologists broadly divide into two major types: fluid and crystallized.
Raymond Cattell developed the theory of intelligence in 1963. It suggests that human intelligence is a composition of different abilities that coexist in an individual.
While fluid intelligence is about possessing the ability to reason and think flexibly, crystallized intelligence is about using an individual’s accumulated knowledge. It includes acquired skills, information and facts throughout learned throughout one’s lifetime.
Solving problems and possessing a sound abstract reasoning ability are examples of fluid intelligence. It is the ability to analyze a given situation and devise a solution. While using fluid intelligence, we don’t rely on acquired knowledge. It is about the human wit that works in spontaneity.Fluid intelligence involves using logic to solve new problems. Hence, pattern recognition and abstract reasoning are the core of fluid reasoning tests. Moreover, non-verbal problems such as those related to mathematics and puzzles also come under fluid intelligence.
Measuring Crystallized Intelligence
Knowledge acquired through experiences and education forms the base of crystallized intelligence – everything one has learned in school and college builds his/her crystallized intelligence.
As a recruiter, you need data to understand a candidate. And data in the form of test scores is ideal as it provides comprehensive insights into the job applicants. These insights indicate their logical abilities, decision-making skills, grasp of the language, depth of comprehension and the ability to deal with problems. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of aptitude tests that evaluate specific abilities.
Tests that measure abstract reasoning assess a candidate’s ability to think laterally and from a unique perspective. Abstract reasoning tests also assess an individual’s ability to make logical connections between the available sets of information. A high level of abstract reasoning is related to creativity and helps solve novel problems. Therefore, learning new skills is easy for people with strong abstract reasoning abilities as they can process ambiguous information effectively.
Tools to measure the competency- Raven’s Progressive Matrices.
Spatial reasoning defines a candidate’s ability to understand and visualize two-dimensional and three-dimensional patterns and shapes. Spatial reasoning tests help identify people who can easily understand an object’s spatial distribution and movement.
Tools to measure the competency are mirror and water image questions.
This type of aptitude test evaluates how well an individual can use words. Excellent command of language is one of the critical aspects for ensuring good communication. Recruiters can ensure the candidates’ job readiness and measure their working skills using language and comprehension evaluation.
Tools to measure competency are sentence correction, sentence completion, reading comprehension, essay writing and email writing.
These tests help evaluate the candidates on their logic inference irrespective of the job roles. It’s about drawing sensible conclusions based on given information and statements. Logical thinking is critical in daily life and various business scenarios. Likewise, critical thinking is a creative way to approach a problem, as it involves validations using comprehensive judgment and assumptions.
Tools to measure the competency are Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, Critical Reasoning.
Individuals’ visual reasoning abilities are directly related to their intelligence. It is about creating a mental image of an object to find a conclusion. Visual reasoning is also an effective tool for making technological designs. Hence, a visual reasoning test helps evaluate the candidates’ non-verbal abilities.
Tools to measure the competency are Letters and Symbol Series.
This particular test assesses how an individual effectively processes every aspect of a situation and finds a viable solution. It helps evaluate his/her ability to use the available data and information to deal with a problem. Problem-solving involves four basic steps: defining the problem statement, generating alternatives, evaluating alternatives and implementing solutions.
Tools to measure the competency are Arrangements (Ranking, Circular, Linear), Analogies (Verbal, Semantic, Number and Letters).
Decision-making is a person’s ability to visualize various aspects of a problem and decide on a solution using skills and acquired knowledge. An individual thinking logically about a situation is expected to be good at decision-making. Decision-making tests have situational questions that seek sound judgment from the candidate. A candidate with good decision-making skills can analyze various alternatives to a problem. Analytical thinking with a lateral approach toward an issue is evaluated in decision-making tests.
Tools to measure the competency are Statement Conclusion and Statement-Course of Action.
Aptitude tests evaluate and validate the candidates’ specific abilities. If we analyze the aptitude tests mentioned above, all of them assess different mental abilities. These tests are effective mediums to help recruiters make data-driven and reliable decisions during hiring. Some of the most apparent uses of aptitude tests for recruiters are mentioned below:
Recruiters must know the types of aptitude tests that best suit their assessment needs. Every job comes with particular tasks, and completing them requires specific competencies. Hence, the type of test you choose should ideally be a custom battery that assesses all the relevant aptitudes. This section will help you understand the factors mentioned above through an elaborate framework.
Organizations can easily assess targeted work competencies using different types of aptitude tests, depending on the job’s nature. However, three core competencies work everywhere irrespective of the industry:
Depending on the difficulty level and the quantum of desirability, a particular competency defines an individual’s overall performance. For example, a business analyst’s job role regularly involves information processing and decision-making. In the absence of these two factors, it’s challenging for a person to take up a job irrespective of its difficulty level.
Mercer | Mettl’s job categorization framework offers recommendations about the types of aptitude tests that help assess candidates for specific job roles.
It is apt for managerial roles, corporate communication and PR-related jobs. It is one of the tests that can be used for all kinds of recruitment because verbal ability ensures that individuals can convey and communicate their thoughts easily and effectively.
It is related to strategic thinking and visualization. Therefore, it is highly effective in recruiting graphic designers, computer programmers, advertising professionals, system designers and system analysts.
It is related to quick decision-making and concluding using facts and available information. It can be used to recruit HR professionals, people managers, computer programmers, etc.
It helps recruit for roles such as management professionals, HR professionals, senior-level executives, project managers, business analysts, etc. It is an effective way to evaluate candidates for the jobs that have decision-making as a part of the daily work.
It involves identifying patterns and analyzing complex problems. It is suited for assessing mechanical engineers, design engineers, product designers, architects, system designers and others.
It is about visualizing two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes and objects. Such tests are apt for recruiting designers, engineers and architects dealing with shapes, patterns and objects.
At Mercer | Mettl, we design competency-specific assessment solutions driven by statistical data insights. Various tests are available to evaluate the candidates’ aptitude, but not every test provides reliable results. Only a well-crafted aptitude test that includes all the essential human intelligence elements can deliver the intended outcome.
We understand the importance of identifying the key competencies to evaluate fluid and crystallized intelligence – why we have meticulously designed aptitude tests that ensure a thorough evaluation with insightful results. Mercer | Mettl’s aptitude tests also measure core cognitive skills, such as attention, memory and speed.
The major types of aptitude tests are a proven way to measure a person’s abilities and his/her potential to improve those abilities with appropriate training. Since people differ in their abilities and are fit for different tasks, an aptitude test is a method to understand and gauge such abilities. It helps the recruiters gain predictive insights into the candidates for various job roles. This article elaborates the purpose of different types of aptitude tests and highlights how recruiters can use them for recruitment, L&D initiatives, leadership planning, etc.
There are different types and names of aptitude tests, and recruiters need to be aware of the most suitable ones. Here are a few examples of the questions asked in aptitude tests.Question 1: The daily income of two persons is in the ratio of 4:7. If each receives an increment of USD10 in the daily income, the ratio is altered to 3:5, find their daily salaries. (Choose the right option) --a. USD120 and USD210,b. USD180 and USD315,c. USD80 and USD140,d. USD200 & USD350.Question 2: In a certain coding system, ‘APRIL’ is written as ‘CSVNR.’ How will you code ‘AUGUST’? (Choose the right option) --a. CXKZXZ,b. CXKZYA,c. CWIWUV,d. CXZKZ.
There are mainly three parts to an aptitude test. They are:Numerical reasoning,Logical ability,Verbal ability.But based on the job’s needs, other kinds of aptitude tests are also used for specific roles. For example, visual reasoning is used to assess designers.
It depends on the particular job requirement and the kind of abilities needed to do the related tasks. Recruiters must know the corresponding tests and put the candidates through them for respective roles. For example, while recruiting for a designer's role, he/she (the candidate) must be assessed for his/her spatial and abstract reasoning skills.
A variety of aptitude tests cover the candidates’ specific abilities and ensure fair and unbiased assessments. These types of aptitude tests also provide thorough reports on their specific abilities.
Originally published August 18 2020, Updated October 4 2021
D’ipanjenah is a writer and marketing professional associated with Mercer Mettl since 2020. Her working style thrives on a balanced approach towards standard insights and novel trends. She utilizes creative content and digital strategies to help brands start important conversations. When not reading/writing, she enjoys art and parents a calico.
Aptitude tests, also known as cognitive tests, are assessments to measure the cognitive acumen of a person. Aptitude tests measure skills such as abstract reasoning, visual reasoning, logical reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, numerical ability, verbal ability, etc.
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