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Standardised aptitude tests: What are they actually for?

How relevant are your test results? Are they ever considered after the online stage of the application? Do graduate employers ever use their screening testing and assessment results as a predictor of success within the organisation? Most importantly, do the testing benchmarks they use to screen graduates actually correlate to success within the organisation over the course of the candidates’ employment? 

We anonymously interviewed 96 HR specialists from 62 top graduate employers to find out. Over 60% of the recruiters admitted to never look at the test results after the screening process. The passing grades are not fixed either. Employers set benchmarks for applicants, which are arbitrarily lowered or raised depending on the number of applications. 

Importantly, none of the interviewed recruiters considered the benchmark an accurate indicator of graduate’s future success in the job. In fact, 47 of the 62 companies researched have never done or ordered a research exploring the correlation to success in their organisation. 5 Companies, notably, had performed such research themselves. 4 found no correlation at all, however one claimed to have found a strong correlation. 3 companies have stopped using aptitude tests altogether, basing their decision on the ineffectiveness of candidate performance to test result correlation measurement. Seemingly, online testing is merely a tool to screen out candidates. 

However, there is one notable use of the test results that does apply to future stages. The results of the candidates can be used as a guide for post-hire development. Factually, however, very few employers do that. Only 3 of 62 that participated in our survey admitted that any kind of training needs are revealed through standardised testing. The expected test result now is essentially almost ideal, due to the popularity of training platforms, including gradbootcamp, which lead to candidates scoring over 80% in everything. The ‘training needs evaluation’ is more popular among continental European and continental Asian businesses. Partly due to lesser popularity of both aptitude tests and training platforms in those regions, compared to the UK, USA, Japan or Singapore. 

So it seems that most graduate employers mainly use online aptitude testing for internal hiring efficiency – to get rid of some applicants before having to talk to them. The ‘re-test’ stage at the assessment centre is similar. Although it is claimed that paper based tests merely ensure the candidates took the online test themselves, this does not explain why the paper-based test has more questions and the same duration, or the next room of assessment centre typically has less seats than the first one. 

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Last Modified: Sunday 11 September 2016 04:10
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