7 min read

How Aptitude Tests Can Help You Find The Right Candidate

Jen Morris
Jen Morris April 09, 2021
 Find The Right Candidate

In today's competitive job market, a single vacancy can result in an exceptionally high volume of applications. As an employer, this makes it a time-consuming and challenging task to find the best candidate for a job.

Applicant tracking systems can help narrow down your candidate pool, but CV screening gives little indication of an individual's actual suitability. They may have the necessary qualifications, and use the right buzzwords in terms of experience, but does this translate into real world potential?

That's where a pre-employment aptitude test can help. By measuring specific skills and personal attributes, it's easier to find the right candidate for both your organisation and the role you're looking to fill.

Finding the right candidate - why is it important?

The right employee is a valuable asset to your business. Far from simply filling a vacant role, they'll bring commitment, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective. They'll fit seamlessly into your existing teams, working collaboratively to achieve organisational goals.

When you find the right candidate, everything falls into place. On the flip side, a wrong recruiting decision can be costly - a fact that's all too often overlooked.

According to research by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), a bad hire made for a middle management level position can incur business costs of over £132,000, based on an employee salary of £42,000.

This accumulates from the costs involved in the recruitment and onboarding process, loss of productivity throughout, and the expense of paying someone not suited to the post. When you take into account that the whole exercise then needs to be repeated, the true financial loss is likely to be much more.

That same research by the REC also reveals that 85% of the organisations surveyed had experienced a bad hire, and that 39% of employers attributed this to less than satisfactory recruitment procedures, including a lack of pre-employment assessments.

What does an aptitude test tell you about your applicant?

One of the major pitfalls of CV screening is that a candidate may appear ideal on paper, but in reality lack the key skills you require. It's also virtually impossible to differentiate between applicants of a similar background using this method.

A pre employment aptitude test helps you identify top quality candidates by measuring:

  • Natural ability - aptitude tests assess inherent strengths, like logical reasoning, problem solving and attention to detail. These are hard to measure through any other recruitment technique, including interview.

  • Soft skills - teamwork, effective communication, leadership and performance under pressure are all examples of soft skills that can't really be proven before selection. But they can all be assessed through aptitude tests.

  • Personality traits - it's not just skills and ability that make for the ideal candidate. With aptitude tests you can also uncover an applicant's values, work ethic and personal motivations, ensuring they're a good fit for your company culture.

  • Potential - aptitude tests are known for their reliability in predicting future work based performance, giving you valuable insight into a candidate's full potential.

A good hire is about more than identifying someone capable of fulfilling certain duties. It's about assessing a broad range of soft skills, natural talents and individual characteristics. Which is why pre employment aptitude tests are such a vital part of the recruitment process.

Useful aptitude tests for finding the best job candidates

One of the major benefits of aptitude tests is that they're versatile. There's an assessment for every kind of skill and competency, and you can pick and choose which ones to use in conjunction to meet the exact requirements of any given role.

Once applicants have completed their aptitude tests, you'll receive data on key performance metrics that allows you to easily compare candidates and their respective strengths.

Below are the most common types of aptitude tests used in the recruitment process. As well as measuring a particular skill set, these assessments are also timed, showing how well each candidate can perform under pressure.

Numerical reasoning test

Numerical reasoning tests measure a candidate's natural ability to evaluate and interpret data. They challenge both their numerical and analytical skills in a way representative of an actual working environment, with questions framed around typical business scenarios.

Estimates, fractions, percentages, ratios and complex data sets are all covered in a numerical reasoning test, with candidates required to use problem solving skills in response to multiple choice questions.

With data analysis an integral part of so many modern day job functions, these tests are used for recruitment in many fields, from finance to marketing.

Verbal reasoning test

Effective communication is a key skill in the professional world, making verbal reasoning tests universally beneficial.

In these assessments, candidates are presented with passages of text, which they need to critically evaluate in order to draw accurate conclusions. The nature of these tests requires that any preexisting knowledge or subconscious bias be put aside, and that candidates work only with the information provided to them.

Measuring comprehension, language proficiency and grammar, verbal reasoning tests help you identify the applicants most capable of communicating to the required standard.

Logical reasoning test

With a logical reasoning test, you're able to evaluate an applicant's powers of deduction, their understanding of cause and effect, and their ability to think systematically.

These are all valuable skills in the workplace. Candidates that excel in logical reasoning are likely to prove strategic decision makers and be adept at problem solving.

Logical reasoning skills are measured through a series of patterns and sequences, with candidates required to identify relationships and establish missing concepts. Logic is near on impossible to gauge without professional assessment, so these tests are a popular choice with many recruiting firms.

Situational judgement test

Predicting how an individual will act in any given workplace scenario is no easy feat. Behavioural based interview questions will give you deeper insight here, but you want to ensure those that make it that far already possess the soft skills you're looking for.

Situational judgement tests are a useful tool here. By presenting candidates with a range of hypothetical scenarios, and asking them to select the most and least favourable responses, you can develop an understanding of their behavioural characteristics.

Teamwork, customer service, conflict resolution and relationship management are all skills that can be determined through a situational judgement test.

Personality test

When you're looking to find the best candidate for a job, it's not just the skill set that counts. It's also culture fit.

Successful teams are made up of varying personalities that complement each other, and you need to be sure that whoever you employ brings the right set of character traits to the table.

A personality test can help you uncover an applicant's work ethic, values and motivations. It can indicate their level of integrity, emotional resilience and social preferences.

The personality tests offered by Test Candidates are based on the HEXACO model, covering over 20 character traits to help you make well informed hiring decisions.

Jen Morris
Jen Morris April 09, 2021

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