When looking to hire the best technical talent, most organizations will integrate an aptitude test into their recruitment process. Even though it gives you an idea of a candidate’s expertise, it also has its limitations which shouldn’t be overlooked.
So in this article, we’ll cover the following:
- The advantages and disadvantages of an aptitude test
- Whether or not it’s a reliable screening tool
- How to overcome its flaws
The purpose of using an aptitude test
Aptitude tests are used to assess an individual’s skills by seeing how well they can complete the task you give them.
Before hiring a candidate, you’ll want to know how they approach a problem and if they’re capable of succeeding in the role. So by using an aptitude test, it gives you an accurate picture of their ability since you’re evaluating them based on their job performance.
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More importantly, you’re testing for specific skill sets including how well they apply what they know to solve different problems.
Aside from identifying whether or not they have the expertise, it also reveals what some of their strengths and weaknesses are.
The advantages of using an aptitude test
We’ve listed 7 advantages that are gained from using an aptitude test. Each of these contributes to successful talent acquisition and building a list of qualified candidates.
Evaluate core competencies
With an aptitude test, you can see if the individual is competent and updated with the industry trends.
One of the most important factors is that they have the job skills to complete the work at a good standard. Another quality to look out for is that they’re someone you can rely on – someone that’s capable of getting results.
Hire based on data
Instead of hiring someone based on the information presented on their resume, you’re making a decision based on how they perform.
Meaning, you’re taking an objective approach by observing their skills in a working environment.
While a resume might tell you what they’ve done or achieved in the past, it’s not the best indicator of their true capabilities. But since you’re gathering data about them in regards to their expertise, it means taking a more unbiased approach to hiring.
Since each test is standardized, you can be assured that each result shown is valid.
That means the assessments you give depict a fair and accurate insight into their level of skill. A natural consequence of taking an objective hiring approach like this is that it can lead to workplace diversity and inclusion.
Recruit better quality candidates
Focus on making recruiting decisions using quality as the core principle.
What this means is focusing on quality over quantity by seeing who’s the best match for the job position based on competence. Plus, since you’re testing a variety of applicants, it’s more straightforward to see who’s the best fit for the role.
Over the long-term period, you’re saving a vast amount of time and money as aptitude tests can improve the recruitment process.
Instead of several back and forths, it’s more efficient when you’re able to get the information you need in less time. As opposed to doing several interviews or questioning, you get to see how they approach their work.
Get insight in the candidate’s potential
Aside from seeing where each candidate is currently at, you also get an insight into their potential by identifying their strengths and weaknesses. The advantage of this is that you can prepare for strategies to bridge those gaps or further reinforce the necessary skills.
Identify the skills gap
Using the results, identify the skills gap in your workplace to see what needs to be prioritized.
For instance, see what training is required and how they could improve in a particular area of work. Once you know what these are and if a candidate in the pipeline has the right competencies for your work environment, it helps with making a hiring decision.
The disadvantages of using an aptitude test
On the other hand, there are 4 disadvantages of using an employment aptitude test. Unless it’s minimized (which we’ll get to later in this article), each of these could pose a risk in your decision-making.
The focus on theoretical knowledge
There’s no problem with seeing how up-to-date an applicant is. But, it’s a flaw in an aptitude test because it’s in favor of assessing theoretical knowledge as opposed to how they use what they know to solve a problem.
In this case, there’s a risk of missing out on your ideal group of technical candidates.
And if the aptitude test is too difficult or easy, then it won’t provide much insight or value for the HR team.
Soft skills aren’t taken into account
The main focus of an aptitude test is the candidate’s hard skills.
Whereas, their soft skills aren’t really being assessed. Although hard skills determine whether or not they can carry out the job responsibilities, it doesn’t determine their character or how well they would operate as part of the team.
For example, it doesn’t accurately assess their:
- Leadership skills
- Communication skills
Lack of cultural fit assessment
On top of soft skills, the cultural fit aspect isn’t a core focus. This means you’re missing out on evaluating the job seeker based on their:
Unlike a psychometric test that assesses a candidate’s personality profile and their potential in your organization, it’s difficult to conclude who exactly it is that you’re hiring. One consequence of hiring without taking into account their cultural fit is that you’re prone to selecting those that are difficult to retain for the long-term.
Anxiety can affect the performance of a candidate, therefore leading to inaccurate data and not measuring their true cognitive abilities.
It’s understandable, especially for those new to the workforce. Employment pressure is common since they realize it’s a vital opportunity for them in their career. As a result, it could lead to easy slip-ups or mistakes, which would show in their final scores to the recruiter.
Are aptitude tests still reliable?
Overall, aptitude tests are valuable pre-employment screening tools when used appropriately.
Rather than reading each resume individually and trying to interpret what they know, you can narrow down the list of applicants based on their job skills.
In terms of whether or not it’s reliable – by itself, it doesn’t always represent a candidate’s true skill because there are other variables that can affect their performance. In other words, there are risks of leading to an inaccurate representation.
That’s why it’s important to integrate other types of candidate assessments.
The alternatives to using an aptitude test
The more data and context you have on a candidate, the better.
This is why Testlify offers a range of candidate assessments in their test library. Each of them enables you to get the insight you need to confirm the expertise of each person.
What’s more important is not just to see what they know.
But, how they use what they know to overcome roadblocks and unexpected challenges that come along the way. Otherwise, the knowledge isn’t as valuable as it’s perceived because it’s not being utilized to its full potential.
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After going over the advantages and disadvantages of an aptitude test, it’s clear that while it provides insight into a job seeker’s skills, it also has limitations and other variables which could affect the final results.
However, each flaw can be minimized by using a range of cognitive assessments.
With that being said, it’s effective to use them as a tool as opposed to making them the decisive factor. In this aspect, it’s a great solution for objective hiring and reducing unconscious bias.