The key to pre-employment testing
The key with any test, be they aptitudinal, attitudinal or technical is that you have some experience with it and the results don’t stand alone. A test is not only a useful way to gain a different perspective on a person but also as a management tool once the person is in the job. A strong caveat of a test is that they should never be used as a reason to (or not to) hire. We advocate that a test is best used either before the final interview or pre-reference check - this way if any concerns or indeed strengths are identified in the test, you can drill down on these further.
Psychometric profiling (also known as attitudinal or Personality Tests)
Simply stated, these tests will do their best to tell you what an individual’s personality is like. They can also predict how an individual will behave in a set of circumstances based on posing a range of situational based questions.
e.g.: I prefer the company of people: (please circle) Rarely, sometimes, I don’t mind, often, always.
The answers are then fed into a software program which will predict how the person will react to situations in future (or at least that’s the idea!).
There are over 500 tests available in New Zealand alone, so when you include the internet there is a huge amount out there. The worthwhile tests vary in price from $75 to over $3000. What you’ll find is that the higher priced tests will include a full (and hopefully trained) psychologists report. This will allow you to take certain climatic considerations into account and relating the suitability of person back to the role. These reports will also include role profiling, which compares the candidate's results to the ideal candidate identified by the profile. This type of testing may sound great, however; you need to be aware that when it comes to testing, more expensive does not necessarily mean it is better. We also offer a testing tool here at Potentia, please contact us to find out more.
Aptitudinal / Intelligence Tests
These tests involve a combination of verbal and numerical reasoning and are normally multi-choice. They are usually time restricted and it's likely the use of a calculator will be restricted. Some of the more advanced tests will provide an indicator of the candidate's IQ level although the accuracy of that result varies widely.
For roles of a ‘technical’ nature, i.e. software development, mechanical engineer and so on, these are of value to get a comparative idea of the candidate's ability. There are a range of tests available online but, as specific technical environments have their own idiosyncrasies, they are limited in assessing the person's ability to be effective in your environment. So the best thing to do is have a senior employee create a test with escalating difficulty and then ask candidates to complete.
Which test to use?
The ideal scenario is to find a reasonably priced test that suits your need and then try out the test on a couple of people from your current team. You should try to find a range of test subject, such as i) an over-performer, ii) a solid employee and iii) someone who the company can do without. At Potentia, we have our own customised testing tool.