If you are currently applying for a job then the chances
are that you will need to sit a recruitment and selection test as
part of the process. These tests aim to provide a potential
employer with an insight into how well you work with other people,
how well you handle stress, and whether you will be able to cope
with the intellectual demands of the job.
Recruitment and selection tests are only part of the selection process and you will still be asked to complete an application form, send in a copy of your resume and attend at least one interview. All of these things will tell the employer something about you and help them to choose the most appropriate candidate for the vacancy. Recruitment and selection tests can be split into personality tests and aptitude/ability tests.
The principle behind personality tests is that it is possible to quantify your personality characteristics by asking you about your feelings, thoughts and behavior. Personality has a significant role to play in deciding whether you have the enthusiasm and motivation that the employer is looking for and whether you going to fit in to the organization, in terms of your personality, attitude and general work style? Personality tests can be applied in a straightforward way at the early stages of selection to screen-out candidates who are likely to be unsuitable for the job.
Aptitude and ability tests are designed to assess your intellectual performance. These types of test can be broadly classified onto the groups shown and you may be asked to sit a test which consists only of ‘numerical’ questions or these may form part of a test which consists of questions of different types.
This will depend very much on the job you are applying for. For example, jobs that require you to handle figures on a day to day basis may have a higher proportion of numerical reasoning questions, whereas tests used for information technology jobs tend to have a higher proportion of abstract reasoning questions.
You may be asked to answer the questions either on paper or using
a PC or palm-top, as online testing is becoming increasingly
popular. The advantage of online testing is that once the test is
completed, an analysis of the results can be calculated straight
away. This means that the organization can continue with the
selection process with the results ‘in hand’ rather than keep you
waiting or send you home and call you back in at a later date.
Another advantage is that you can take the test at a recruitment
agency or even in your own home. Online testing is particularly
suitable for initial screening as it is very cost-effective.
Whichever type of test you are given, the questions are almost always presented in multiple-choice format and have definite correct and incorrect answers. As you proceed through the test, the questions may become more difficult and you will usually find that there are more questions than you can comfortably complete in the time allowed. Very few people manage to finish these tests and the object is simply to give as many correct answers as you can.
Your test score is then compared with the results of a control
group which has taken the tests in the past. This control group
could consist of other graduates, current job holders or a sample
of the population as a whole. Your reasoning skills can then be
assessed in relation to this control group and judgments made
about your ability.
Remember, recruitment and selection tests are only part of the overall assessment procedure. Employers will use them alongside interviews, application forms, academic results and other selection methods, so your your test result won't be the only information looked at.