How useful is aptitude testing?
As we see peak employment in 2019, it’s interesting to watch the recruitment process of companies and note how different they are in terms of effectiveness, effort and duration. Take for example a company that conducts one interview and hires people on the spot, versus a company with multi-week, multiple day interviews, including aptitude and personality assessments and in-depth reference checking. What is the most effective process when the competition for talent is so steep, and some companies are seeing vacancies that last months or even years?
According to Google—who has hired tens of thousands of people in recent years—the multiple person interview, or multiple interviews with four people in total is one of the most accurate predictors of success. For Red Seal, aptitude and personality assessments play a small role, but mostly they help to uncover things we might not have seen clearly in an interview. For example, we do a math test for all potential employees, and it helped us identify candidates who lied about an MBA and or about receiving a business diploma. For others, it helped us identify their willingness to follow rules or innovate.
But having a pass or fail mark for pre-employment assessment can be a dangerous game in a period of peak employment. A candidate who is stressed by testing and has been out of school for years will often score lower than recent graduates or even current students. So if a professional with decades of solid work experience is being removed from a process due to an assessment, one has to question their effectiveness.
One also has to ensure the tests each have a standardized method of administration and scoring, in which the results quantified and compared with all other test takers, hopefully including a representative sample of top performers from your company. If your pre-employment testing includes skills, knowledge, personality and ability, then they need to be well designed and implemented.
We have 15 years’ experience implementing and using pre-employment assessments, and we are hesitant to recommend them to clients as they were often reluctant to make the necessary investment in validating and verifying what they add to the process.
Kael Campbell is President and Lead Recruiter of Red Seal Recruiting Solutions, a company providing recruitment services in mining, equipment and plant maintenance, utilities, manufacturing, construction, and transportation. When he is not recruiting, Kael spends as much time as possible with family in the great outdoors and on the water. He volunteers his time as a Board Member of the Entrepreneurs Organization of Vancouver Island. You are invited to subscribe to our employer newsletter or submit your resume.