Being asked to take an aptitude test is becoming common as part of the interview process, especially with big organisations looking to make sure they hire the right person for the job. These tests are a proven way in which companies can assess candidate performance in a variety of skills such as numeracy, problem-solving and time management.
Typically, they come in a multiple choice format with a single correct answer and are formulated in a way that allows decision-makers to assess how candidates will deal with unique challenges in real-life work scenarios.
Types of aptitude tests
Depending on the position and the industry sector, different types of tests are used to assess competency in a specific aptitude meaning hirers can make the best decision based on the outcome of the exercise. Typical tests include:
Numerical reasoning – Numerical reasoning tests are there to test your ability with numbers, so you can expect these to be widely used for business and finance roles. These usually increase in difficulty as you progress, so it’s important to remain calm throughout and work through the exercises methodically.
Verbal reasoning – These exercises are designed to assess how you work through concepts and problems expressed in words. Here, you might be given a paragraph of text to read and then asked to answer whether a statement about that text is true or false.
In-Tray exercises – Candidates are presented with business-related scenarios, accompanied by a list of related tasks such as phone calls, emails, complaints, and reports. You’ll then be asked to make judgement calls on the best ways to handle the scenario. Here, the recruiter is looking for insights on your organisational skills and how you prioritise tasks.
Diagrammatic reasoning tests – These tests are used to assess your ability to think logically and analytically. These are somewhat complex to explain, but, typically, candidates are presented with a list of ‘operators’ and an input diagram, and asked to determine how the diagram will look after being affected by the operators.
Situational judgement test – Designed to test your capacity for understanding real-life situations and your problem-solving skills when it comes to solving those challenges.
Inductive reasoning – These test your ability to analyse data and patterns. Typically, you’ll be shown a sequence of objects and asked to predict the next stage in the sequence.
Cognitive ability assessment – A form of psychometric testing that measures intelligence through perception, memory, and reasoning.
Mechanical reasoning – Used in engineering to assess skills in technical roles and a candidate’s ability to deal with mechanical concepts.
Prepare and increase your chances of success.
It’s just as important to prepare for an aptitude test, as for a job interview. Fortunately, there are plenty of online aptitude tests out there where you can practice and get an idea of what to expect. If you’re expected to take an aptitude test as part of the recruitment process, it’s a good idea to clarify in advance what sort of format it will take. That way you can familiarise yourself with the format and practice at home.
On the day, make sure you thoroughly read through all the information and guidelines regarding the test, so you fully understand the questions and what’s required. Approach each exercise logically and calmly. Work accurately and allocate your time according to how difficult the question is. If it’s too difficult, move on. Your goal is to get as many correct answers as quickly as possible. If you do have time at the end, you can always revisit any you didn’t complete.