Pre-employment aptitude testing.

Aptitude tests are a type of pre-employment assessment that help employers gather information. They measure cognitive aptitudes such as logical reasoning, problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision making that apply to every type of job.

Aptitudes impact job performance in that they determine how quickly employees can learn on the job, improve over time in a role, and solve problems in novel situations. Therefore, aptitude tests are better than many other selection criteria (such as biographical data measures) at predicting long-term job success. The need for employees with high aptitudes in the modern workplace has even been accentuated in response to the continually changing business environment.

Despite the extensive use of aptitude tests in personnel selection, many people have confusions about aptitudes and aptitude tests. We address two common misconceptions in this article.

Misconceptions about aptitude tests.

1. Aptitude vs. Achievement

Aptitude tests measure one’s cognitive capabilities and learning potential. People differ in their aptitudes, and such differences are useful in predicting future learning achievements. Therefore, the primary goal of aptitudes tests is prediction. A commonly used aptitude test in the US is the SAT, which gauges students’ academic ability and is designed to make a general evaluation of candidates’ potential to succeed at the next level of education. Achievement tests, on the other hand, assess the knowledge already obtained in a specific field. They are designed to diagnose the extent to which a person has learned a specific body of knowledge or developed a particular skill, typically after going through a training program. A good example of achievement tests is the final exam administered at the end of the semester to determine how much the student has learned from the course. Therefore, the primary purpose of achievement tests is diagnosis.

Because of such differences, aptitude tests are used widely in business and selection settings, whereas achievement tests are primarily used in academic contexts.

It is important to recognize that these two types of tests are related. A good score on an achievement test implies aptitude, and a good score on an aptitude test is a result of innate talents and environmental factors (such as previous learning activities).

2. General vs. Specific

General aptitude tests are similar to intelligence tests in that they measure a broad range of cognitive abilities (e.g., general reasoning, verbal knowledge, spatial visualization, numerical operations). Researchers found that although general aptitude is a valid and effective indicator of job performance across many occupations, specific aptitudes add more predictive power, especially for narrower subject domains. For example, verbal knowledge is a more useful predictor of job performance for writers than for mechanical workers (whose performance could be predicted by spatial and mechanical aptitudes).

Both general and specific aptitude tests are useful in selection practices. General aptitude tests evaluate a candidate’s general potential to learn and adapt, and specific aptitude tests are suited for more focused assessment and predictions.

Advantages to pre-employment aptitude tests.

Because it is difficult to assess a person’s psychological traits effectively through resumes and interviews, aptitude tests are useful additions to the hiring process. Aptitude testing is beneficial throughout the employment lifecycle. It not only offers greater insight into a candidate’s aptitudes before hiring, but also helps with team building, employee development, and future workforce planning.

Whether you are using aptitude tests to assess future or current employees, there are many ways in which aptitude tests are beneficial. Some of these include:

  1. Measure what you can’t see - People differ in their knowledge and competencies, but these traits cannot be seen or heard, so aptitude tests provide a means of measurement.
  2. Objective comparisons - Personal feelings influence your perception of an interview or resume. Aptitude tests provide objective data to balance the subjective measures.
  3. Recognize potential – Aptitude tests help you gauge a person’s ability to succeed in a given role.
  4. Reduce turnover – Pre-employment aptitude assessments help organizations screen out individuals whose talents are not aligned with the job.

Read more about the benefits of pre-employment aptitude tests.

Berke aptitude tests.

Berke measures four aptitudes including Logical Reasoning, Rapid Problem-Solving, Spatial Visualization, and Vocabulary. Berke Logical Reasoning is a general aptitude test that measures logical reasoning and analytical thinking among other qualities related to general intelligence including critical thinking, decision making and problem-solving. Berke also offers specific aptitude tests designed to assess aptitudes more relevant to job performance.

By combining general and specific aptitudes, Berke pre-employment aptitude tests allow for rank-ordering candidates based on their general aptitude levels as well as comparing each candidate’s relative strengths and weaknesses. Using Berke helps you better understand and identify the best talent.

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