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First Hurdle Before the Interview - Aptitude Tests

by Aptitude Tests on 15 Apr 2014 permalink
In this world people unashamedly lie about their qualifications and work history. Aptitude tests are being used to screen candidates worth calling for an interview.

Psychometric tests can be taken online wherever you can log onto the internet. Make sure you are not being distracted and that your laptop battery will not run out.

On the positive side you can see that it is a fairer system where all candidates are judged on the same criteria. On the negative side it can be a humbling experience to fail a set of 50 or 100 questions administered by some computer out there in cyberspace.

Young adults would be accustomed with the practice as IQ tests or others are being routinely administered on campuses. Mature workers can stand at a disadvantage for being exposed to this type of selection. Do not despair. There is hope. Like everything else in life, you can prepare yourself for such an encounter.

We live in an increasingly categorised world where even the most mundane of tasks have been documented and it won't be long before you can apply to study at the Advanced Tertiary Institution of Performing Janitors.

Aptitude tests are here to stay - so just get over it! It is a game of mental gymnastics and with the appropriate preparation you will be able to demonstrate your aptitude - no more no less.

A well written test will get cheats undone by repeating the same question in slightly different ways to cancel out random right answers.

Tests can be used to assess your problem solving skills, your behaviour under pressure (tests must be completed within a given amount of time). Other tests can check your knowledge of procedure manuals and regulations. Tests can check your fluency in a foreign language, your grasp of computer programming, your math skills and a whole range of abilities.

Tests are only as good as the person who wrote the test in the first place. Of itself a test can be questionable but when the performance of many candidates is rated the results are obvious. You can tell those who understood the questions from those who fudged their answers. You can tell those who have a relevant background from those who stumble along.

Whether you get the job or not you should ask for the results of your test if possible. How you rated across the batch of other candidates that day can also be helpful information.

Aptitude Tests is an online service to prepare yourself for aptitude, knowledge and IQ tests.

Resume Digest is an online service to customize your application for each job you are responding to.


Internal Recruitment Can Save Your Company Money

by Aptitude Tests on 08 Apr 2014 permalink
Here comes the age of the recruitment agency. Was it some flamboyant head of human resources in a Fortune 500 company who recycled herself into the slave trade?

Both employers and candidates have a lot of gripe about these services and there are ways to do without them. If you dare to advertise a position for your company you run the risk of being ignored or else being flooded with irrelevant applicants. Who will sort out this mess?

Remember that advertising a vacant position for your company does not need to be done under hand but can be turned into a valuable public relations exercise. Your suppliers and customers alike will notice and say: "So and so is hiring... they must be doing alright!"

If you are the one who is going to supervise that new entrant, doesn't it stand to reason that you should also be the one to make the selection? But how do you thin down a pile of 100 resumes to a shortlist of 10 or 5 people to interview?

The answer might be in using a set of aptitude tests. People have no shame in stretching and fudging things on their resume just to get a foot in the door. Others have quite a charismatic personality but collapse when under stress. Knowledge and time-limited IQ tests can screen those people out. You don't have to call all these people to your office to sit for the tests. They can do that online and you get a report to call in only those with the best scores.

You can even write your own set of questions and devise a test specific for your industry. You can reverse engineer your procedures manual and see if your current staff is up to speed on your current directives.

You should consider your job advertisement like a prime piece of self-marketing. Remember that one of the people you attract will become your people.

If people cared about the position they are applying for they would take the trouble to customise their resume to address all the requirements called for in the ad. If they have some motivation in working for you they would have done some basic research to gather information about your firm before fronting for the interview.


How To Be Fair In The Recruiting Process

by Aptitude Tests on 01 Apr 2014 permalink
If you are hiring staff and have chosen not to use a recruitment agency brace yourself for the onslaught. A job interview can be an emotionally charged affair. How can you bring objectivity in the equation?

Some small business owners have resorted to the grapevine to hire staff. It can have mixed results. Yes it saves on advertising costs and recruitment agency fees but the fact that someone is a member of your church or the relative of someone you play golf with isn't in itself a qualification for anything.

Introducing aptitude tests. How could you ever devise a test to see if someone is qualified to fill your vacant position? How do you find out how someone performs under stress? Is there a way to see if someone is fit to represent your company in face to face contacts with customers?

The internet has somewhat answered most of those questions. You can subscribe to an aptitude tests website and ask candidates to sit for the tests you see relevant to your selection process. When you call people for interviews you have some hard evidence of what they can do relative to other people who passed the same tests too.

Sounds too good to be true. How can a computer decide who is fit for the job? Should I hire computers instead of people? Tests are good to evaluate somebody's problem solving skills, to ascertain someone's ability to obey orders and work under discipline, to check how fluent the person is in a foreign language, to gauge a worker's industry knowledge, etc...

The assumptions to stay well clear of are results from personality tests. These tests where there are no right or wrong answer aim to fit people into pigeonholes insofar as their temperament and mood. In a business like in a family life would be hell if everyone processes the world in the same way. Some fresh blood will always balance the status-quo. Yes hiring is a risky process. Suffocating yourself in the same mental stale air is even more dangerous.

What if you spent a few hours to devise a list of 50 to 100 questions that would profile the applicant in relation to your work procedures, market segment and customer relations style? Wouldn't that be time well spent where you now have a tool to compare objectively both utter strangers from people who have been introduced to you as a favour?


Test me if you can!

by Aptitude Tests on 25 Mar 2014 permalink
Have you ever been angry at yourself for flunking a test you know was well within your grasp?

What happened? Did you get thrown out by the effect of surprise? Did you have a memory lapse? Did you drink alcohol or smoked pot the night before?

Knowledge appraisals are to the mind what aerobics are to the body. But unlike physical exercise you never know when aptitude tests are going to be sprung on you in the workplace or some other selection process. Even to get your driving licence you now have to undergo a knowledge test.

Remember the saying: "practice makes perfect"? Well practice then. What a better place to do that than this website.

How can you prepare for tests? Is it as stupid as some contest TV show where participants have to cram their head with useless information about movie stars or sporting athletes in order to come up with the right name or the right date to some unexpected question? (Ah, what people would be prepared to do to win some extra cash, and furthermore what a gullible audience would put up with - just to dream about a quick breakthrough in their lives. Maybe watching more TV will just be the ticket to be clued-up in all that razzamatazz!)

Some recruitment agency may send you a link to take an online test in the privacy of your own home. Thought that was cool? Wait, there is more! What you didn't know was that there is a countdown in the corner of the page. With limited time available to answer all questions, you won't have the luxury of googling up the answers across the net.

Thought you might guess your way through multiple choice questions? They get you by asking the same question again and again couched in slightly different words. Random answers are exposed and you quickly run out of luck.

Besides sheer knowledge of a subject some tests try to evaluate your integrity and see how you would solve problem in the workplace, whether or not you would cut corners to get by under pressure, whether or not you would manage your anger...

Well if a computer administered test could really appraise that it would be worth a lot of money - still some venders keep trying and the amazing thing is that they do get clients prepared to give it a go. As a candidate you have no choice but to go with the flow, hoping that others will do worse than you did so can you can get the nod for the job.


The Recruitment Process - Finding the Needle in a Haystack

by Aptitude Tests on 18 Mar 2014 permalink
Advertising and filling a vacant position in your organisation can be straightforward if you follow these guidelines. New tools are available.

You run a business and that enterprise is made up of people. Ultimately how you treat your people is how in turn they are going to treat and respect you. The recruitment process is an ongoing affair. By now you should be an expert at it. People move, relocate, get married, have children, whatever. Furthermore the good people seem to move on while the problematic ones seem to hang on...

You run a business, not a church or a philanthropic organisation. If there is no profit made there are no wages to be paid. Why do you have to always be on their back for accountability and productivity? How can you attract the right crowd that will make your business fly?

Raise the bar - be specific in writing the job description
If you want someone with skills A, B and C spell it out even if you think it is improbable someone will have a grasp of them all. The job description is also an internal document to be added to your procedures manual. It details the job specification, the responsibilities and the chain of reporting. Advertising a job is also a public relations exercise. Suppliers and competitors alike will notice so-and-so is hiring now!

Use psychometric tests before the interview
People have no shame in lying and fudging things. Foreign qualifications are an unknown quantity. Other folks have done stuff in the past but they have forgotten it or don't want to do it again. How can you be fair and assess everybody on a plain level field? How can you check how people perform under stress?

Setup a selection panel
There is wisdom in the counsel of many. It pays to open up the process with members of your team. You might not pick up on a technical incongruence. You might miss some non verbal clues. There could be some gender issues. Discuss the results of the aptitude tests with the candidate. See how they feel about their performance. Were the tests relevant?

Contract or permanent?
If you need to train somebody on the job can you get them to commit to stay with you for two years in return? Is a no-strings-attached deal better than all the trappings of workplace regulations? Can you throw in some extras like medical insurance, a canteen, gym facilities, child minding? What does it take to make people feel comfortable and give you their best?

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RECENT ARTICLES

Internal Recruitment Can Save Your Company Money
How To Be Fair In The Recruiting Process
Test me if you can!
The Recruitment Process - Finding the Needle in a Haystack
The Four Personality Types
The bad taste of flunking an aptitude test
Aptitude tests are here to stay - get over it!
Fair candidates screening process
Are aptitude tests inept?
Professional aptitude tests now online
How to ace an aptitude or IQ test
Job sniffer to the rescue
The mental gymnastic of aptitude tests

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