Technical Aptitude: What You Need to Know

by Victoria Mckee

One of the challenges many recruiters face is hiring the best tech talent possessing high technical aptitude skills. Obviously, candidates must have hands-on experience in at least one programming language, along with a basic understanding of the rest as concepts. Such skills can’t be measured through an interview alone, and that’s where technical aptitude tests come along.

Read on as we talk about technical aptitude tests and how such tests benefit the company’s decision-making.


What are Technical Aptitude Tests?

Aptitude tests are structured assessments that will help evaluate a candidate or current employee’s talents and skills when completing certain tasks. There are different kinds of aptitude tests to assess various core skills, like comprehension and technical knowledge.

Technical aptitude tests are just one of the many! These tests would cover various topics, from manipulating 3D objects and data interpretation down to an understanding of how to repair machinery and electrical circuits. This is a key assessment for specific professional roles, like technicians, mechanics, and engineers. Such aptitude tests are designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge or mechanical processes and aptitude for quantitative reasoning and spatial awareness.


What Technical Aptitude Tests Measure

technical aptitude

Technical aptitude tests would assess a candidate’s:

  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Logical reasonability
  • Numerical reasoning and computation skills
  • Attention to detail and nuances
  • Their inclination to digest, learn and apply information
  • Interest in keeping up with fast-paced and ever-changing tech space
  • Standing in the market
  • Concentration and ability to focus on tasks amid distractions
  • Specific cognitive functions testing one’s attention, reasoning ability, working memory, and the like


The Different Technical Aptitude Tests

There are various areas where technical aptitude tests can be applicable in. You can customize such assessments depending on your organization’s industry and specific job requirements. You can apply technical aptitude tests to all job applicants from industries like finance, design, tech, among others.

Here are the typical types of aptitude tests:

  • Numerical Reasoning – This would gauge how well a candidate interprets data, charts, graphs, and statistics.
  • Verbal Reasoning – This would help hiring managers identify whether a candidate can understand written information and text passages.
  • Diagrammatic Reasoning – This evaluates a candidate’s ability to follow diagrams, synthesize data, solve problems, and identify patterns logically.
  • Logical Reasoning – This would gauge a candidate’s ability to follow situations through to a conclusion based on the information given.
  • Inductive Reasoning – This would measure one’s ability to solve problems based on unfamiliar information.


How Accurate are Aptitude Tests?

When talking about technical aptitude tests that were specifically designed to assess candidates, they can paint an accurate picture of how successful a candidate can be in the open position. The right technical aptitude assessments can give hiring managers more valuable information they can’t get from traditional interviews or pen-and-paper tests alone.

And as mentioned, hiring managers can customize these tests based on the specific job position and requirements. There are assessment platforms managers can take advantage of to receive and interpret results easily, too!


The Importance of Aptitude Tests

We’re aware that aptitude tests can improve hiring quality as hiring managers receive more detailed insights! Here are the other benefits aptitude tests can provide to organizations:


Efficient and Objective Comparisons

The major reason organizations use aptitude tests is to improve their quality in hiring and promotion processes. These tests are more efficient than interviews when determining if a candidate or current employee has great potential to perform the job excellently.

When you have a well-designed aptitude test, it can fairly and objectively compare and contrast the potentials of various candidates. You will focus more on core competencies than just one skill, giving hiring managers more of an idea of how candidates’ skills and how they can perform at the job.


Go Beyond Resumes

technical aptitude

Even the best resumes might not be able to capture a candidate’s diverse qualities well. The same goes for interviews. Aptitude tests would help assess candidates and make sure that applicants can fulfill a role’s needs. Since some candidates exaggerate their skills in resumes, you can further cross-check them with the tests’ reliability!


They are Standardized

Standardized tests mean that they are valid and reliable, so you’re more assured of fair processes. If the organization’s recruitment practices are legally challenged, these tests can help prove equal opportunities are provided.

That said, before you use any tests for your hiring and promoting process, we recommend consulting an expert in labor and employment laws in your state and country. You must meet all the legal requirements for testing and research the validation studies of tests before adding them to your hiring process.


You Can Screen In Aptitudes

For instance, in retail settings, customer service aptitude is vital, along with the numerical ability for those running cash registers. Aptitude tests can help you identify your staff and candidates’ training needs, determining the success of that training. Furthermore, it will help you determine if the training program is too difficult or suitable for applicants.

Furthermore, employees planning to switch to different job positions can utilize aptitude tests as a way to re-evaluate their decision.


They’re Easy and Cost-Effective

Pencil-and-paper tests are now scored via computers, so they are an efficient testing resource! You also get to save time (and hiring costs) during the screening process because you can filter out incompetent candidates during the initial stages when giving everyone an aptitude test.

This is especially helpful when organizations have hundreds to thousands of applicants for only a handful of open positions! Since organizations use remote systems to evaluate and rank candidates based on their test results, it reduces the need for human intervention, taking time and resources.

With all that in mind, you have to make sure you choose and customize the appropriate aptitude tests. The content requires careful thought and consideration, especially in the tech and innovation industries. That way, you can accurately assess candidates based on their knowledge, abilities, personalities, and skills.

Furthermore, you’ll get to predict a candidate’s potential contribution and success in the organization. You can’t always get that from interviews and reviewing resumes alone.


Potential Issues of Aptitude Tests

Of course, there are a few potential problems aptitude tests may bring to an organization. While the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, it’s best to be aware of them to prepare for preventative measures.


Cultural Bias

We would develop our achievements and abilities through experiences, which are influenced by our backgrounds, education, opportunities, and even our home environment. These factors can affect aptitude test results.

For example, because aptitude tests would involve reading, those who lack experience in that would have a disadvantage. Or, if the test is in English, those who speak English as their second language would be at a disadvantage!


Impacts Performance

For instance, those who have helped their mothers sew at a young age would have more aptitude for handling small objects compared to those lacking that experience. Or for those who do crossword puzzles during their free time, they would likely perform better on verbal aptitude tests than others.


No Perfect Connection Between Performance and Aptitude

Having an aptitude for certain skills won’t guarantee that a person would perform that skill well in the long run. Other factors affect performance, such as motivation, interest, and training. Fortunately, other relevant pre-employment assessments can measure those factors, so hiring managers can determine one’s suitability for the job and organization.


Wrapping It Up

More and more employers are using aptitude tests to assess the specific skills and capabilities of candidates and current employees. They’re usually done as a screening method to identify top talents, and with technical jobs, it’s important to include a technical aptitude test to determine who’s best suited for the organization!

Hopefully, you learned more about what technical aptitude tests are and their importance in organizations. If you’re having trouble with your hiring and recruitment processes, do contact us here at HireNest and we can discuss how we can help you!

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