Are aptitude tests an accurate measure of a candidate's ability?
September 08, 2022
Two candidates applied for the same role at a tech company.
After getting through the recruitment process (CV checks, initial conversations and taking the GMA test), who do you think has a higher chance of getting selected?
You'd say candidate 1. But the second candidate has a higher chance of solid future performance.
Schmidt and Hunter, whose research on the validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology we analyze below, have published some of the most influential research on valid talent selection methods.
By the end of this blog, you'll have a solid understanding of the science behind GMA, what the research tells us about GMA tests in the hiring process and how to create efficient aptitude tests for your business.
First, let's start with understanding different layers of human intelligence.
The Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) model of intelligence (as shown in the picture below) explains how and why individuals differ in cognitive ability.
The diagram presents three levels of cognition:
The CHC theory of intelligence tells us that if you want a candidate with solid reasoning fundamentals (as in Stratus II or Stratum III), you should test their GMA.
General Mental Ability (GMA) predicts the level at which an individual learns, understands directions, and gets things done.
Typically, GMA tests measure the following dimensions:
Aptitude tests complement other recruitment methods. Once the primary stages (analyzing job requirements, preparing job descriptions, and sourcing) are completed, aptitude tests can be used to eliminate irrelevant applicants before the interview stage.
Because interviews are costly and time-consuming, testing applicants on aptitude tests before the interview stage can be cost-effective.
Aptitude test reports can help recruiters observe specific traits and behaviours in applicants to determine their suitability for a role. Moreover, when finalizing a candidate, employers can go back to assessment reports to differentiate between candidates that seem to be at par in education level, competence, etc.
The workforce and its working styles are evolving, further accelerated by the pandemic. Jobs are becoming more flexible, and employees now prefer jobs that offer a healthy work-life balance.
Therefore, businesses have started responding with a recruitment strategy that aligns with these market changes to avoid missing out on a competitive workforce.
Additionally, recruiters needs a strategy that offsets issues with current hiring methods:
The newly developed strategy is to complement traditional recruitment methods with aptitude tests. Aptitude tests are being implemented actively in industries like finance, marketing, legal, etc. According to an SHRM survey, 18% of companies use aptitude tests, which is growing by 10% to 15% annually.
Next, let's explore what scientific research reveals about General Mental Ability.
In the chart below, we break down 85 years of research in personnel psychology concerning the validity of 19 hiring methods.
Research data comparing various recruiting methods and their effectiveness in identifying suitable candidates. The greater the number, the better. It is worth noting that GMA surpasses everything, even in-person interviews.
Note: These coefficients vary from -1.0 to +1.0, and a value of 0.35 or above is considered highly favourable in selection tests.
The research was done by Schmidt and Hunter comparing different hiring techniques and their effectiveness as a predictor of long-term performance.
They found GMA to be a much better predictor of long-term performance, even when job knowledge is considered. They also concluded that employees with high GMA could build on prior knowledge and make decisions even in unfamiliar situations.
The overall data indicates that:
Schmidt and Hunter also discuss the ROI of candidate selection methods. They emphasize that organizations may transform a competitive disadvantage into a competitive advantage by implementing more valid recruiting methods.
Schmidt and Hunter further expanded their research into pairing different hiring techniques to find the best combination to predict long-term performance.
The same research combines GMA with other recruiting methods to determine predictive validity. The greater the number, the more effective it is in finding suitable candidates.
Predictive validity is the best measure of evaluating and predicting a candidate's future performance and on-the-job learning capabilities. Hiring strategies with higher predictive validity result in significant gains in employee performance.
GMA exams, integrity tests, and interviews outperform traditional resume-based recruiting methods by a huge margin! Pairing aptitude tests with any kind of hiring method vastly exceeds their validity compared to without aptitude tests.
3 key takeaways:
Recruiting managers must employ a variety of techniques to make hiring decisions. The validity of various approaches and combinations of methodologies for forecasting future work performance varies.
The two combinations with the highest validity are GMA and integrity tests (.65) and GMA and structured interviews (.63). Both methods are cost-efficient and can be used to hire experienced or inexperienced candidates.
So far, all we have covered seems like a lot to take in, right? Don't worry. The in-house team at Adaface boiled down the key findings from this research to create perfect aptitude tests at Adaface. Here's what we do that you can include in your aptitude tests as well:
Most recruiters think they can use the same off-the-shelf aptitude test for different roles.
Here's that doesn't get you optimal outcomes.
Every profession has unique requirements, and performing them takes a specialized skill set. Recruiters must understand which aptitude test is most suited to their testing needs.
We solve that problem by breaking aptitude into sub-categories (like numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, attention-to-detail, data analysis, etc.). Each role requires different proportions and difficulty levels of these sub-categories to get you the right candidates.
Let's understand why with examples:
Every aptitude test (including Adaface aptitude tests) gives you an overall number of how the candidate performs (like 55/100). But what you need is something far more granular. Candidate scores are broken down into key important sub-categories for each role.
Here's an example of comparative analysis and skills profile aptitude scorecards.
How will this help you?
Use a reliable aptitude testing platform that provides:
The strongest predictors of job performance are cognitive ability tests, work sample tests, integrity tests, and structured interviews.
Research repeatedly proves the devastating impacts of invalid selection methods (like resumes, job experience and education) on businesses and their overall efficiency.
And the answer to this is–aptitude tests that have existed all along.
80% of Fortune 500 companies and more than 75% of the Times Top 100 companies are already using aptitude tests for hiring.
If that doesn't convince you, then here's something that surely will–using aptitude tests for hiring gives a business just 1 in 50 bad hires vs. 1 in 5 if it doesn't use them!
They provide a better insight into a candidate's personality, integrity, ability to fit into an existing team, and additionally eliminate the possibility of unconscious bias from recruiters.
Check out our aptitude tests to experience and understand how enterprises worldwide are benefiting from science backed hiring processes.
Sharad is a growth marketer at Adaface, he works to make his mitochondria proud. He is the guy responsible for making sure that every recruiter knows how Adaface can help them hire better.