Some Applications of Employment-Related Tests
Measures personality or temperament (executives, nuclear power, security)
Measures personality or temperament (executives, managers, supervisors)
Measures personality or temperament (sales personnel)
Measures logic and reasoning ability (executives, managers, supervisors)
Measures creativity and judgement ability (engineers)
Measures personality components (managers)
Measures knowledge of leadership practices (managers and supervisors)
Measures verbal, spatial, numeric and other aptitudes and manual dexterity (job seekers at
unemployment offices)
Measures physical coordination (shop workers)
Measures spatial visualization (draughtsmen and draughtswomen)
Measures ability to work with numbers and names (clerks)
Measures a sample of “on-the-job” demands (managers, professionals)
Measures physiological responses to questions (police, retail store workers)
Measures attitudes about theft and related subjects (retail workers, security personnel, bank staff).
Measures attitudes about work and values (entry level, low income workers)
Measures the presence of illegal or performance-affecting drugs (government employees, equipment
operators). Identifies genetic predispositions to specific medical problems. Measures and monitors
exposure to hazardous chemicals (miners, factory workers, researchers)
Computer Aided Interview
Advances in technology, coupled with increased access to the World Wide Web, are changing the face of recruitment and selection as we know it. Apply for a graduate post with KPMG, for example, and the first stage is an on-line self assessment test designed to help candidates decide if they match the company specifics. Shell International and Marks & Spencer are among other big names using this D.I.Y. approach to help weed out unsuitable applicants at an early stage. A growing number of organisations — Boeing and the BBC for example — actively encourage on-line application, providing a form
that can be filled in on-screen. `Electronic’ applications of this kind are typically sifted with the help of computer software which searches for key words or phrases and singles out candidates worth investigating further. Job-seekers who successfully negotiate this hurdle might subsequently find
themselves facing a more detailed, on-line assessment — perhaps in the form of a live, interactive, simulated exercise.
The use of IT in selection encourages candidates to respond more honestly and openly to questions. Job-seekers can use material freely available on the Internet to prepare for assessment by employers. There are sites that offer a free practice run of the type of
aptitude tests and personality profiles commonly used in industry.
Psychometric tests appear to be undergoing a transformation too. An increased emphasis on softer skills, such as leadership and teamwork, has led to a glut of new tests designed to find out not just where candidates are likely to excel — but also what might make them go off the rails. In the same way creativity can lead to eccentricity, conscientiousness can turn into obsessive perfectionism and charm can cross the barrier into manipulation. Knowing how somebody behaves when they’re under pressure is important because it
has a direct impact on the team. Another test dreamed up by psychologists aims to assess a candidate’s integrity. Called Giotto, it is designed to reveal those traits — such as carelessness, tardiness and intolerance — that an employer might want to avoid.
Recruitment agencies have been conducting basic aptitude and skills tests as standard procedure for some time. But Addeco Alfred Marks has taken the concept further with its Expert testing and matching system. The system allows recruitment consultants to evaluate applicants in three core areas — skills, motivation and attitude and preferred working environment. Under the first stage, `Can do’, applicants are tested for basic
numeracy, literacy and job-related skills. The next step, `will do’, assesses areas such as reliability, stress tolerance, motivation and energy. The final part of the evaluation, `will
fit’, compares information about the employer’s working environment with details of the candidate’s preferences. The results are then compared to ensure an optimum `fit’ for
job-seekers and employers alike.
There is now a wide menu of alternative assessment techniques that organisations can experiment with if they feel so inclined. The interview, references and that important
first impression still have their place. Tests don’t do the whole job. They’re just a way of enabling you to make your decision in the best possible light with the best available information.

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