Testing your character

Interviewers are more and more using psychometric and aptitude testing during interviews as tools to help them decide on the right candidate. This is because it is recognized today that the best worker is that who works along the lines his natural abilities lead him rather than against them. Hence, in other words, a worker who is faced with situations that are beyond his natural abilities will, in time, perform at a lower level than those who have the required abilities. So, why take chances?

What is an aptitude test?
An aptitude test is a means of measuring a person's fit to a certain type of job requirement by measuring specifically certain skills such as verbal or numerical - as applicable to the job. The aptitude test helps to the interviewer judge the level of adaptability of the candidate to the job, up and above his/her qualifications.

It is 'a test used to predict future performance in a given activity, 'intended to predict success in some occupation or training course'

Facts about the aptitude tests:

  • Some Aptitude tests are designed to test your logical reasoning.
  • The tests usually consist of multiple choice questions which have a 'right' or 'wrong' answer
  • Not known to many, you are not actually expected to finish the test - so do not get upset when you are unable to reach the end. The aptitude tests are normally measured in a relative context - either to the rest of the candidates or to the average obtained by the general cadre working in the job you are applying for
  • The instructions in the beginning of the test are the most crucial part of the test - many times they are worded such that if misunderstood or understood superficially, it will take the candidate on a totally wrong tangent
  • Computing jobs have specifically designed aptitude tests which normally use 'pseudocodes' or other similar language.
  • Aptitude tests are more and more conducted over computer.
  • Aptitude tests are mostly used to identify strengths and weakness areas which can pinpoint the right fit candidate for a particular type of job
  • Aptitude tests are increasingly used where skills are important in discharging certain duties (such as accuracy and numerical astuteness in banking) so as to measure the compatibility degree of the candidate
  • Aptitude test are also commonly used when the employer needs to choose the right personnel for certain type of training (for which the company pays) so the effort is not wasted on the wrong candidate
  • These tests are as vast as the variety of jobs that exist for filling - you have aptitude tests for verbal ability, numerical astuteness, manual dexterity, logical reasoning, abstract reasoning, speed, spatial awareness, mechanical ability, and so on
  • An aptitude test is never the only tool for measurement of fit of a candidate for a job. The results of the test are always added to the overall performance of the interviewee, though many times the score obtained in the test will have a cut-off qualifying value
  • Aptitude test are increasingly used as a tool for career counseling for students so they learn to choose what suits them most naturally
  • These tests are also increasingly used to guide teachers in schools, colleges and even universities on the inclination of the students so the curriculum can be drawn up and guided to enhance the natural aptitude of the student
  • Aptitude tests can be mastered by constant practice - though the change in score of an aptitude test does not really mean that the person has changed

The above facts will be helpful in clearing some myths about the so much talked about aptitude tests. When preparing for an inter view where you anticipate an aptitude test, it would be good if you remember these preparatory tips:

Practice: First and foremost, 'practice makes perfection' saying is totally apt here. The more you practice the better you will perform in aptitude tests. Concentrate not on the questions themselves but on the type of questions asked so your eyes and brain get used to the style of questioning. This is also particularly important if the upcoming test is likely to have numerical questions and you are rusty with your maths. Be sure you practice maths sufficiently to be comfortable with mental calculations (including tables, division, multiplications, etc) and at a glance judgment of graphs and tables, percentages, averages, and so on. This needs a lot of warming up - do not let it pending till the last moment.

  • Be attentive to details: Many candidates do horrible in their aptitude tests because they do not pay attention to the instructions given. Read or if verbal, listen carefully and do exactly as it is instructed. This is crucial.
  • Use the practice period to acquaint yourself to the style of the test: Many tests have a few minutes practice period. Make the best of it by practicing the examples and analyzing the logic they are trying to follow.
  • Be as accurate as you can: As in all tests accuracy is highly important here. The overall score has usually a very small margin for cut off and a small inaccuracy could mean your rejection.
  • Guess intelligently: When in doubt for the right answer, you make intelligent guesses by eliminating the obviously wrong answers and working it backwards. Do not get stuck on a question if you are not sure of the answer.
  • For those who would like to practice the Internet has a sea of opportunity. For your assistance the following free sites have been identified which will give you a good exposure. However, do not limit yourself only to these, but practice as much as possible.

    Practice and best of luck!