When you are researching the jobs, you would often surely find something about aptitude listed among the requirements. For example, you may read that in order to work in any particular field you need to have an aptitude for science. Other occupations require having an aptitude for math, performing arts or visual arts, verbal or spatial abilities, or manual dexterity or motor coordination. So, what is meant by aptitude?
When a job description lists an aptitude test among the qualifications one needs to work in an occupation, it is referring to a natural talent or an ability an individual has acquired through life experience, study or training. The word may also pertain to one’s capacity to acquire a skill. Assessing aptitude can help you with career guidance. A career development professional who is helping a client choose a career may administer a multi-aptitude test battery to identify the client’s abilities and subsequently, occupations that require them. It is very vital to note that this type of instrument should never be used in isolation. There are many other factors to consider while choosing a career. They include an individual’s personality type, interests, and work-related values.
The process of assessing people is very complex and involves many different factors. So organizations are using aptitude testing increasingly frequently to improve their recruitment and development processes as they believe that when one can test people’s aptitudes, them they can look beyond what they’ve done in the past – and can assess what they have the potential to achieve in the future. However, interest and aptitude are not the same things. You could be interested in auto mechanics, but if you have low manual dexterity, then you are unlikely to show much aptitude for it, so you have a low potential for success.
On the other hand, a high aptitude for a certain job or profession also doesn’t guarantee success. A person generally has to be interested in something to be motivated to do it well. So companies during aptitude tests, ensure that both interest and aptitude are necessary conditions for successful performance, but neither is sufficient on its own.
Aptitude tests may also look for the presence of abilities that are specific to a particular occupation or area of study. Some college programs use these instruments to assess applicants to certain academic programs and employers use them to evaluate job candidates. Another main reason, the companies use aptitude testing is to improve the quality of their hiring and promoting as tests are often much more efficient than interviews for determining if a person has the potential to do a job well. And when designed properly, aptitude tests can fairly and objectively compare and contrast the potential of different candidates.
The content of an aptitude test and the way in which it is delivered needs to be considered very carefully. Not only should the tests be considered from both a cost and time point of view, but also in terms of appropriateness to the job being offered.
Types of this aptitude tests include:
Personality Tests: Many personality tests exist, but the most commonly used in employment screening measures five basic factors of personality
1) openness to experience,
4) conscientiousness, and
5) emotional stability. This test is often used for sales positions and there is evidence that personality testing can be used to predict performance.
Ability Tests: This test is used to measure the cognitive or mental ability. Ability tests have been related to performance levels and are based on presenting candidates with workplace scenarios and asking them to explain what they would do in a given situation.
Knowledge Tests: These are designed to measure how much a candidate knows about a particular aspect of the job. A knowledge test should be based on a particular topic that is relevant to the job to ensure a candidate has the required level of knowledge.
Skills Tests: These tests are easy tasks relating to an important function of the job, such as keyboard/typing speeds or data entry.