Aptitude tests can provide insights into a person's talents and strengths, as well as highlighting some of their weaknesses. Aptitude tests not only focus on an employee's past experience, but also shed light on a candidate's ability to perform a given task.
Great vision without great people is irrelevant. - Jim Collins
Aptitude tests can evaluate many areas of competence. For example, some tests can focus on spatial awareness and manual dexterity while others focus on numeracy and literacy skills. Other tests will focus on abstract reasoning and judgement, two important elements for candidates who are looking for management positions. The aptitude test that an employer wishes to use for a candidate should be focused on the characteristics required to successfully accomplished the tasks associated with a job position. For instance, when hiring a French to English translator, an employer would benefit from using a lexicon-focused aptitude test, but would benefit less from using a logic-focused test, as the task description of a translator does not include a constant need to solve problems through out-of-the-box solutions.
Aptitude tests have the advantage of decreasing cultural bias and effects, as these tests focus on solving various problems over explaining how to solve the problems. They also allow recruiters to make objective comparisons between their candidates. As opposed to semi-structured interviews, aptitude tests will provide reliable results about the performance and productivity of a candidate in completing tasks similar to the tasks the candidate is expected to do as part of their employment. The standardization of aptitude tests ensures that the results are reliable, valid, and if used in correct conditions, will act as a strong predictor of a candidate's work performance.:
As with any tests, aptitude tests also have their own drawbacks. Although aptitude tests can be effective tools when used correctly, using the wrong aptitude test can have various consequences. For instance, including an aptitude test focusing on the typing speed on a computer to a potential employee who will not be using a computer as part of their job would be considered unfair towards the candidate's recruitment process. It is also important to accommodate certain candidates. For instance, including an aptitude test with a French lexicon component when hiring employees for a position where French is an asset but not a necessity would be unfair towards candidates not fluent in French. It is also possible that some candidates may benefit from a time extension when completing an aptitude test to accommodate any disabilities.
In most cases, aptitude tests are a great way of assessing candidates' abilities to perform specific tasks similar to tasks associated with the employment position. Recruiters should, however, be aware of the potential drawbacks of aptitude tests and should ensure that the right test is used under the right conditions. In case of doubts, never hesitate to contact your assessments supplier.