Human Resource Management – Selection Testing

You will recall that recruitment and selection is essentially about accuracy in prediction. The aim is to take on board a candidate who is going to succeed and perform well. The table at the start of this chapter showed that several forms of selection testing had much higher predictive success than conventional recruitment methods. Internal assessment centers are top of the league, while ability tests, assessment centers for external candidates and personality tests all do better than the traditional interview.

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There are more than 1000 tests available on the market today which can be divided up into the categories of measuring ability, aptitude, performance and personality. Each of these will be dealt with in turn, together with common features of what makes up a good test and the correct way to use them. Then the benefits of using tests will be examined, followed by criticisms and difficulties involved in their use. Assessment centers follows the section on interviewing as they utilize a number of techniques involved in the selection process: personality tests, exercises and interviews.

Ability Test: - These are tests that measure a candidate's existing ability, both mental and physical. They can measure a variety of areas such as verbal reasoning, numerical ability, sensory or motor skills, spatial or mechanical ability.

Such tests can be constructed entirely related to the job concerned, such as wiring, assembling, and bricklaying, typing or even lecturing. These are sometimes called performance tests or, in the case of the performing arts, auditions; alternatively, they can be general paper and pencil tests of mental or numerical skills.

Aptitude Test: - These are also measures of ability that examine whether a candidate is likely to be able to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to perform he job. Again, they can be set up as strictly job-related tests or a battery of published tests can be administered

Personality Test: - Personality tests are a type of psychological questionnaire that are designed to measure the more permanent emotional tendencies people have that make up their personality. Basic assumptions on which the validity of personality testing ultimately rests:

  • Human personality is measurable or ‘mappable’.
  • Our underlying human personality remains stable over time and across different situations.
  • Individual jobs can be usefully analyzed in terms of their personality traits that would be most desirable for the job-holder to possess.
  • A personality questionnaire, completed in 30–60 minutes, provides sufficient information about an individual’s personality to make meaningful inferences about their suitability for a job.

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