Category Archives: aptitude test online

How to pass Saville Aptitude tests

Saville Swift aptitude tests and others are becoming more and more common in the recruitment process, but remember: they are nothing to be afraid of.

Aptitude tests are something companies which want to get the very best employees resort to, and companies that use the Saville Swift aptitude tests include market giants such as Johnson & Johnson, NAB, Westpack, ANZ and Ramsted.

Considering how much of a very long and complex journey it is to be chosen and hired by any company of similar caliber, the Saville Swift aptitude tests are just another passing stone to weed out the weaker candidates and keep the ones who have what it takes. The aptitude test usually comes right after the initial interview part, making up the stage two of the recruitment process.

What is in the Saville Swift aptitude test?

An aptitude test is a test based on verbal, numerical and diagrammatic/abstract subtests. The difference between a Saville Swift Aptitude Test and your regular Aptitude test is that the Saville versions tends to have many different types of Aptitude tests rather than one major type. Time-wise, the Saville Swift tests are also shorter than others, but that does not make it any easier, so please make sure to be prepared and very confident.

The Swift Executive Aptitude is given to candidates who are aiming for high level roles. Applicants seeking positions like directors, managers, professionals are sure to face this variant. The test measures critical reasoning through short verbal, numerical and diagrammatic sub-tests. All of these subsections are applicable to all high-level positions. Altogether, the sections take six minutes each which will be more than enough to answer all questions correctly. Do not waste time though!

The Swift Analysis Aptitude is made for managers, professionals, technicians and graduates. It also goes through short verbal, numerical and diagrammatic sub-tests which are all six minutes long and are suitable for all high-level roles.

The Swift Comprehension Aptitude is taken by candidates going for operational, commercial, customer and administrative staff positions. The test is shorter than the other ones as it goes through short verbal and numerical which are 4 minutes long each and error checking which will only be 2 minutes long. This test is suitable for all entry-level roles, but it requires the same attention and preparation as the others.

The Swift Technical Aptitude test is given to those who wish to pursue production work, like apprentices, engineers, designers and scientists working in technical roles. The test measures practical reasoning through short spatial and mechanical which both take 3 minutes each and diagrammatic which takes 4 minutes. This Aptitude test goes for all practical roles.

The Swift  Apprentice Aptitude is designed for use with apprentices or entry level staff in operational, technical, engineering, manufacturing and construction roles. The test measures technical and general reasoning through short sub-tests which are verbal and numerical both taking 4 minutes each, checking which will take 90 seconds, spatial and mechanical which is 3 minutes, diagrammatic 4 minutes. This test is suitable for all practical roles.

How to crack the Saville Swift tests?

Considering the wide variety of tests you can face when applying for a company which uses the Saville Swift aptitude tests, it is hard to give a specific recipe to success for each one of them. That being said, the solution to all applicants in these fields is very simple and straightforward: be prepared, always. As a great general once said, hard training makes easy work.

 You can find a myriad of online variations of these tests. Study the aspects of the one which best apply to you, and run them through while keeping an eye out for your weaknesses. Work on them before the actual test, and you are set for success at what can be your new workplace.

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SHL vs Kenexa reasoning tests: what are the differences?

Kenexa (formerly PSL) and SHL are two very similar aptitude tests you are very likely to encounter if you apply for a graduate job, with more and more companies turning towards them to find the strongest candidates imaginable from the pool.

As an applicant there is nothing to be scared of, but it is always very important to be fully prepared for what lies ahead of you as your knowledge and skills will be put to test.

Generally, online aptitude tests come after the initial screening such as the application stage once the company weeds out the candidates which are surely not suitable, and aims to assess the individual’s maximum ability in the attributes that have been identified as important for a success role. Many companies are fielding SHL and Kenexa aptitude tests, and even if they have been created by different companies they have very few differences between each other.

Both SHL and Kenexa tests are, in practical terms, extremely similar as companies use them for the same purpose and using the same methods. They are relatively simple aptitude tests, which assess the necessary skills of an applicant.

SHL is a leading brand when it comes to not only aptitude tests but also different types of psychometric tests, and they are widely used by many different organisations. In terms of aptitude tests, SHL offers a wide range of different models but the main ones consist of numerical, verbal and logical abstract reasoning – the very same tests Kenexa offers. Kenexa on the other hand is a major provider focused on assessment tools which is also a very popular choice for a multitude of brands looking to hire new employees.

Both Kenexa and SHL are equally popular, yet have their differences which we will cover below.

A format overview

Generally speaking, both companies create tests split in three main categories. Others may be added  for specific jobs, but these are guaranteed to be there.

  • Numerical reasoning: This is designed to test your ability to understand and use numerical data, usually displayed in a graph or table. Here the candidate uses the information available to proceed and answer the questions. Kenexa gives its clients a bank of 174 different numerical type questions from which 20 are drawn and will be given to the candidate, who has a time margin of 20 minutes to answer all of them. SHL offers 18 questions which take 17 to 25 minutes to complete, as well as another 10 questions for verification purposes (at the Assessment Centre) which require another 14 to 15 minutes to complete.
  • Verbal reasoning: this is another type of test which both companies have to offer. Verbal reasoning tests evaluate the candidate’s ability to understand and critically evaluate passages of written information. Kenexa gives 20 minutes for the candidate to answer 24 questions, as there will be a paragraph of information followed by a statement. The statements will either be false, true or unable to say depending on the situation. SHL gives 30 questions first with 17 to 19 minutes to complete, then a second part of 18 questions with 11 minutes to complete.
  • Logical abstract reasoning: Here Kenexa gives applicants a series of shapes and symbols, where you will need to select the missing pattern in the sequence. They test a candidate’s ability to make correct conclusions and assumptions using the information which is provided. These are becoming more popular in the job application process. SHL also does these kind of tests, but theirs is made up of 24 questions with a total of 25 minutes to complete. Afterwards an additional 7 are given with a time limit of seven minutes.

The verdict

Although being extremely similar, you have probably noticed that Kenexa is fond of throwing an enormous amount of questions at its applicants. On top of that, the time given for applicants to answer Kenexa questions is markedly smaller. Having said that, if you face a Kenexa test, you will have the benefit of going back and forth as needed. Make use of this whenever possible to ensure all your answers are correct before moving on.

Numerous online tests are available from different sources including Kenexa and SHL themselves. However, if you want a proper test preparation packs with ebooks and tutorial videos then you can try Graduatemonkey.com. Graduates and professional job applicants recommend it.

What it takes to get a job with Investment Bank?

The true reality of bagging an investment banking job in the extremely competitive world is different and difficult.  Working with an investment bank is not like working in a technology startup wherein anyone can work and acquire skills over a period of time. These banks are traditional and conservative organizations thriving on values, passion and hunger for more money. Most top Wall Street investment banks want to recruit an intelligent, proactive, entrepreneurial and disciplined graduate. Excellent analytical and personal skills are a prerequisite for starting a prosperous career in a high paying investment banking job.

At investment banks, the candidate selection is a meticulously planned process. It includes application screening, online aptitude tests, initial telephone interview, assessment centre with further tests and even a senior partner interview. The whole selection process may last for several months. Practicing and preparing for aptitude tests such as SHL and Kenexa numerical reasoning tests will help you gain a better test score and pass the initial phase of the job recruitment process. Note that top academic degree is not enough. You should have an optimal combination of soft and technical skills. For example, significant programming background and experience will definitely help in securing your dream job at one of the top investment banks. Remember, you will be working in an extremely dynamic environment, with highly intelligent colleagues, high salary and commensurate responsibilities. Here are a few steps you can follow to get hired by an investment bank.

  1. Understand the industry

A majority of banks are inflexible when it comes to hiring graduates and they usually prefer candidates from top schools or universities because if you are not from the elite schools, you will have to show something extra about you that should make up for the “shortcoming”. Note that you will have to sacrifice your social and personal life to work long late night hours (close to 100 hours per week) for the bank, especially during the first three years. Therefore, understanding the investment banking industry before facing the job recruitment process is essential. The industry requires you to put in extremely long working hours that should lead to strong results. Banks also look out for people who engage in extra-curricular activities to relieve stress and get a new perspective about problems and tasks. Strong logical reasoning, abstract reasoning and verbal reasoning are also required to work efficiently in a bank.

  1. Prepare for the initial phase

The initial phase is usually in the form of online aptitude test – an effort to filter out “undeserving” applicants at a minimal cost. The throttling trouble faced by applicants is the difficulty to clear the verbal reasoning, logical reasoning and numerical reasoning tests. These aptitude tests determine the analytical and logical ability of the candidate under high time pressure. The HR managers believe that a high score in these tests reflects the candidate ability to quickly learn and adapt to challenging conditions as one will have to use his analytical and logical skills to deal with real life problems. And, whether or not you have a mathematical background, make sure to prepare for the SHL, Kenexa reasoning tests to help you prepare better for the upcoming assessment day.

  1. Tell your story

A plethora of graduates wants to enter the investment banking field because of money. However, this cannot be explicitly told during an interview, even if it is the truth. Displaying the finance spark is essential to win an offer. Tell them why you want to enter the tough field of investment banking and how you are a good fit for the job. Craft your story in a way it is authentic. Start from the beginning and entail how you developed an interest in this field. And, once you have understood what the banks are looking for, you need to persuade them that you possess all the desired skills and quality. In the end, you should be able to communicate the message that you possess all the skills to excel in such a profile. The story should be genuine and not filled with unrealistic stuff such as “it was my childhood dream” because investment banking is not everyone’s cup of tea.

  1. Build your resume

Investment banks require a different kind of resume and if you apply using a resume meant for a marketing job, you are sure to get rejected within seconds. Never bank upon the resumes or cover letters available online. Craft your resume in a way it reflects the financial and numerical ability instead of simple words.

For example, a candidate applied with the following line:

Developed a software which reduced the manual hours of employees at an organization

These lines sound as if the person is tech nerd. You can change it to:

Reduced the manual hours of employees by 25% resulting in a 10% increase in the ROI.

Giving specific number and analyzing the financial returns will help you create an impression as the same is done in the real world. You only need to sound ‘finance savvy’ and you will be successful in leaving an impression.

  1. Crack the technical round

One of the most difficult parts of the recruitment process is clearing the technical round wherein you are bombarded with finance terminologies which tests your financial aptitude. Technical questions are tough and can be answered if the concepts are clear. Additionally, if you vomit whatever you have read in a book, the interviewer will know it within seconds. Therefore, it is essential to inject some flavor to every answer you give during the interview. While preparing focus on accounting, modeling and valuation as these three areas are often tested. Apart from the technical questions, you need to stay at par with the recent deals completed in the industry as an interviewer may want to know your passion and enthusiasm about this field.

Whether you land up with an offer or not, leave no stone unturned while preparing for the interview process because you never know which stone will lead to a lucrative job profile at an investment bank. Portray your strengths, spin your resume, show your passion and increase your enthusiasm to grab a job offer.

The Graduate Recruitment Processes at Major Companies

Our world is an ever-changing one, so the graduate recruitment process too has greatly changed from what it was known to be. It used to be that to secure a job in your company of choice, you only needed to finish with a good grade.  Oh, even before that, you only needed a degree; the grade was secondary.  Good companies went to campuses to poach the best of the best graduates, while the ordinary ones (companies) had to lobby for whatever they could get.  The competition was more on the side of the employers, while graduates chose companies they would work with.

But when did the game change?  I don’t know!  Just that the reality today is that in which graduates have to go through a schooling of some sort after their degree in order to get into their companies of choice, because gaining an employment into the giant companies is indeed a process. Yes, it is a process.  The competition is now more on the side of the job seekers, while the hard work on the side of companies is to get the best that they would not have to fire anytime soon.

Did I hear you say, ‘it’s unfair’?  No, it’s not fair, considering the sleepless nights, burning of your candles at both ends, taking the extra credits to graduate early, and the list goes on.  However, nothing is fair in love and war – you’ve heard that before, right?  And Job-seeking is a war of some sort.

So, talking about the process of recruitment, you will need this to prepare for the ‘battle’ ahead.  The process seems to be pretty standard with some slight modifications from company to company.  You have the initial online application, followed by an online psychometric test, a telephone interview and the assessment centre.  The order can be changed in some companies, but then, the journey always starts with the online application and most times ends at the assessment centre.

So, what should you expect at the different stages?

Online Application

A note of warning, never rush into the filling of the online application without knowing what you are getting into.  Or if you have started already, you don’t have to complete the filling of the application at a seating.  So, do some research about what to expect in the application of the particular company for which you are applying.

Then, get the requirements ready; your CV, your certificates and any other relevant documents.  The rule of thumb is to have your dates on your fingertips and then, check to be certain.  Your dates are very crucial and any mistake in the dates is a red flag to the recruiter that you are probably sloppy with your facts.  Fill the form accurately and completely.

It has now become the norm rather than an exception for companies to include competency based questions in their online application.  You need to use this to your advantage, because at this stage, this is more important than your grade and whatever work experience you might have.  The impression you give with your answers to the competency questions determines whether you will be invited for the next stage of the recruitment.

Competency questions can be behavioural, technical, or cognitive.  They are asked to ensure that an applicant have the requisite skills and personality that align with the mission and vision of the organisation.  Find here some examples of competency questions you can expect during your online application:

  • Why are you interested in working with our organisation?
  • Give an example of a project in which you were involved that require teamwork.
  • As a manager, do you direct the project or the people?

It is not a bad idea to have some standard answers to these questions, but you have to be flexible enough to adapt them to whichever situation you find yourself.  You will find STAR method of answering interview questions useful here.  And while crafting your answers, you should creatively work the core values of the organisation you are applying for into the answers.

For instance, if you are applying into Chevron, your competence answers should reflect words or ideas like Diversity, Integrity, Partnership, Ingenuity, Trust, High Performance, and Protecting people and the environment.  You don’t want to throw the words just anyhow; that will be counter-productive, of course.  So, you have to meaningfully and creatively use them in your answers. Remember, impression is what you want to make and it must be a very good and memorable one.

For most organisations, the next stage of the recruitment process is the psychometric testing. However, some can have the telephone interview come before the testing, while some very few may not use the testing at all. You can also find a company like Chevron omitting the telephone interview altogether.  Whichever way they come, you should find out the process for the specific organisation into which you are applying and work carefully with it.

Psychometric testing

The focus of every psychometric testing is to assess the personality and ability of the applicant.  So, for the personality test, you should be ready to fill questionnaires or sit for Situational Judgement Test (SJT).  But what is common now is SJT and you should expect to write one if you applying for Eon or Shell.

The ability test comes in different parts, which are; numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning, logical reasoning, abstract reasoning and some others.  You should not be surprised if you are asked to write a test of English by Baker Hughes, especially if you are not a native speaker.

Success in these aptitude tests have less to do with intelligence, given sufficient time, an average applicant will be very successful at them.  So, speed is a major factor and you have to be well practised to have it.  If possible, you should know about the grading system too, it will guide your decisions.  Some grading systems are not very interested in the number of questions you have answered but rather in the proportion answered correctly, while other grading systems penalise every unanswered question.  Though, whichever be the system, you are always safe with a good speed.

We have a number of psychometric testing companies around.  You should know which your company of choice employs.  This information is important, because you will be able to practise with the right materials.  You should also know the type of questions they administer too.  For instance, ExxonMobil administers only numerical tests provided by SHL, Chevron administers logical, mathematical and verbal reasoning provided by Onetest, Shell administers personality tests provided by Cubiks, Citigroup administers numerical and logical reasoning provided by Talent Q and the list goes on and on.

Telephone interview

What should you expect here?  More competency questions and the discussion of your CV.  The answers you supplied to the competency questions in your applications will also be examined for consistency.  So, in the process of going through your CV, don’t forget; always have your dates on your fingertips.

You should choose a location that is suitable for this interview.  In fact, you should block out some personal time for it.  The idea is to ensure that you are not interrupted in any way.  Moreover, ensure that your phone battery is sufficiently charged; any form of break in transmission is undesirable.

Here are some interview questions used by Shell.  While you shouldn’t necessarily expect these questions, if you have applied for Shell, they should serve as pointer of some sort to what you need to focus on.  So, get your mind prepared:

  • Tell me about your biggest achievement.
  • Tell me about a time you have worked in a diverse team with many contrasting opinions and personalities; how have you solved the issue?
  • Why have you chosen to work with us?

Again remember, your STAR method will be very handy in systematically tackling these questions.

The Assessment Centre

The call to the assessment centre leads to the final lapse of this journey.  However, you may have some event like face-to-face interview, just before the assessment centre day.  Eon does this, especially for their engineering applicant and the focus of this interview is on technical stuff.  So, at the assessment centre, what should you expect?  Firstly, the assessment  is usually for a whole day, except in rare cases when you have it for two, and you should be aware that senior executives of the company will be present; not only to observe and assess, but to also entertain any question from the applicants.

The line-up events for the day usually include all or some of the following; in-person interview, panel interview, group exercises, role play exercises, presentation and case studies.  Every aspect of this day is very important and you should give it your all, because it is probably the last opportunity you will get to make an impression before you are given your offer letter.  And don’t forget, your success here determines if you get the offer or not.

Mind you, it is not unusual for a company like Jaguar Land Rover to demand that you resit, at the assessment centre, the aptitude test you had taken earlier in the recruitment process.  And sometimes it turns out to be a more difficult version of the one taken earlier.  So, if you have gotten rusty, get ‘cleaned up’ and shining before going for the event.  It is your big day.  Make it count.

It will be my pleasure to hear the tale of how you made it to your company of choice and I do hope I am of some help along the way. Please, feel free to leave comments on my Blog or Forum on www.graduatemonkey.com.

Psychometric Test Categories (Types) and Formats

shl reasoning test, kenexa reasoning test, cubiks test, abstract reasoning, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning

Psychometric tests are used to measure suitability of a candidate for a specific job or academic course. Some organizations also use them for transparency and accountability in decision-making on various aspects of career development for example in promoting individuals to a higher job rung or assessing training needs. The leading companies in financial, transport, energy and engineering businesses employ these tests in searching for talent, underscoring the prominence that these tests have assumed globally. Examples of these groups include Deutsche bank, Deloitte, Fidelity, EDF Energy, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Jaguar Land Rover, ICAP, Kimberly Clark, Johnson and Johnson, and KPMG, to name a few big employers.

Since these candidates are usually considered for specialized skills, the aptitude tests are tailored to the job requirements. The most common abilities measured are the verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning abilities or aptitudes.

Verbal tests

It measures candidate’s ability to understand verbal description or arguments according to their meaning and draw conclusions. The examination involves reading a passage, and then answering a series of multiple choice questions with “True”, “False”, or “Don’t Know”, based on the information contained in the passage. “Don’t Know” implies that further information is needed to choose the correct answer. A verbal comprehension test (http://www.verbalreasoningtest.org/) focuses more on spelling, grammar, and syntax. It is therefore important that a candidate understands the language in which, a verbal test is offered.

Numerical reasoning tests

It evaluates a candidate’s numerical acumen using facts and figures presented in data tables or graphs. Candidates are assessed for their knowledge of ratios, percentage, costs analyses, trends, currency conversion, etc. Their focus is anchored on the fact that organizations always monitor their performance and need timely decisions as to whether they should change tact through increasing, decreasing or maintaining current practices for optimum productivity, efficiency and minimal losses. What do these graphs tell us? What is the logic behind some number series? Speed and accuracy are important in all the psychometric tests, most users identify numerical reasoning as particularly demanding. Developers of aptitude tests preparation packages such as Graduate Monkey with their premium Aptutorial technique- have therefore identified various strategies, tips and shortcuts that candidates can employ to do the real tests in the shortest time. A key advantage of numerical tests is that unlike the Verbal tests which require deeper comprehension of language, mathematical symbols are universal and can be done with basic understanding of test instructions.

Abstract reasoning tests (Available at: http://www.psychometricinstitute.com.au/Free-Aptitude-Tests.asp)

It is also known as the conceptual reasoning test where, it only needs one to observe a range of diagrams/symbols, identify an emergent pattern and based on this, predict what the next pattern would be. It is based on logic and does not exert language demands on the candidates.

Abstract reasoning test tutorial offered by Graduate Monkey is really a good source to strengthen your skills because it uses different diagrams, shapes and symbols to enable test takers determine their intelligence. They have to compare different images in order to find the logic behind their creation and then have to give their solution. Just because of these features, Abstract reasoning test is also referred to as Non-verbal reasoning, logical reasoning or inductive reasoning test.

Formats of Psychometric tests

Aptitude tests come with different levels of difficulty depending on the education/knowledge of an individual in the organization e.g. a senior management level would have to take more advanced test compared to a junior, clerical officer.  Common formats are SHL, Kenexa, Saville, TalentLens, Cubiks and TalentQ. The key difference in the formats is based on the fact that some test for only one ability e.g. numeric while other combine the tests.

A document providing an overview of SHL tests summarizes the range of tests according to organizational roles (http://ceb.shl.com/assets/SHL_Overview_of_Ability_Tests.pdf). These tests are offered to (in ascending order) Semi-skilled, Technical staff, Administrative and clerical staff, information technology, sales, customer and call centre, Junior managers and supervisors, managers, professionals and graduates and finally, directors and senior managers. The tests offered include Work Skills series- (Transport and production, manual dexterity and finger dexterity); applied technology series, personnel test battery, Customer Contact Aptitude, Critical Reasoning, Management and Graduate item bank and Advanced managerial tests. SHL offers all the aforementioned abilities (verbal, abstract and numerical reasoning abilities). Different tests may combine evaluation of these abilities, so for example, the Advanced Managerial Test (senior managers) evaluates only verbal and numerical skills, and is offered only online. On the other hand, the Critical Reasoning Test Battery (junior managers and supervisors) test is used for all the 3 abilities. Semi-skilled workers do have some tests offered as pencil and paper formats. Kenexa tests also evaluate verbal, cognitive and inductive reasoning skills.

Saville reasoning test

This is a package developed by Saville consultants, containing different tests that broadly measure comprehension and technical analysis. In addition to the tests highlighted in SHL section, Saville also includes a technical aptitude test package that contains spatial, mechanical and diagrammatic reasoning.

TalentLens test

It measures an individual’s capabilities using 4 key dimensions which are crucial to improve organizational performance. These are critical thinking, problem-solving, collaborator and team playing.  Critical thinking is appraised using the RED model. A critical thinker will therefore Recognize assumptions in any situation, Evaluate arguments, and Draw solutions (the bold letters form RED). Critical thinking (http://us.talentlens.com/online-testing) is one of the strongest predictors of job success and overall performance.  Problem solving skills are analyzed using Raven’s Progressive Matrices (http://www.raventest.net/). They assess professionals abilities of individuals, “including advanced observation and clear-thinking skills, efficient problem solving, abstract reasoning, and the ability to learn”. Collaborator and team playing skills measure one’s personality and key motivation aspects that enable individuals to fit into their job roles as well as organization’s culture.

Cubiks test

It is an international assessment and development consultancy (http://www.cubiks.com/), with great importance throughout Europe, the United Arabs Emirates, Malaysia and the USA. They pride themselves in offering “culturally sensitive, competency-driven business psychological solutions in over 30 languages”.  Here, three broad test formats are offered: Reasoning for Business ability tests (RfB series) these test Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, and Diagrammatic Reasoning and assessments have been designed for two key levels of applications; Managerial & Graduate and Business Support. The RfB suite includes supervised and unsupervised versions and assessments are available in many languages.

The Problem-Solving test series has been designed to assess how quickly and accurately an individual can solve new problems. It, however, only tests one’s ability to solve numerical and verbal problems. Verbal questions assess knowledge Antonyms (candidates have to choose which word from a group of five has the opposite meaning to another word); Deviation from category (one must decide which one of five words has a different meaning from the others); pair of concepts (Do two words considered have the same meaning, the opposite meaning, or neither the same nor the opposite meaning?); Verbal analogy (the candidate has to decide whether the underlying meaning or idea in two statements is the same, the opposite, or neither the same nor the opposite). Finally, Logical reasoning involves the participant deciding whether three considered statements have correct/incorrect logics).

Numerical problems on the other hand cover a series of numbers, simple calculations and complex calculations. In some situations, companies will choose to test clients more than once, and for this reason,

The last test, Logiks General, is an online test that measures an individual’s general cognitive ability. This twelve minute assessment measures a participant’s ability to solve verbal, numerical and abstract problems.

Talent Q is yet another consultancy firm that prides itself with over 50 countries’ coverage and has a huge network of clientele companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Royal Mail Groupo, JT Global, Lloyds Banking Group, Ford, and AstraZeneca. Graduate Monkey can even help you in successfully applying for any of such companies. All you have to do is to take this exam.

TalentQ tests

It focuses on 4 key broad aspects: “personality and motivation”; “Ability”; “Competency-based sifting” and “360-degree feedback”. Personality and motivation tests (https://www.trytalentq.com/) measure an individual’s behavioral preference at work, with a focus on “how staff prefer to manage relationships with others, their approach to work and their sources of energy and motivation”. This is captured through “Dimensions”. Drives, on the other hand, is an online questionnaire focusing on individual’s values and motivations in the work place, and focuses on factors that “stimulate and energize individuals in their daily working lives” (https://www.talentqgroup.com/assessments/).

Ability is measured with the help of two tests: “Aspects ability” and “Elements”. Aspects ability measures verbal, numerical and checking skills and is useful for recruiting frontline, customer service and sales staff. On the other hand, “Elements” measure verbal, numerical and logical reasoning and is suitable primarily for graduate, professional, managerial and executive level roles.

Competency-based sifting measures behavioral preferences at work in relation to the most relevant competencies for the job, through “aspects styles”. Lastly, 360-degree feedback is a “MultiView (http://m.mcn.com.au/multiview/)”, competency-based feedback questionnaire that identifies strengths and development needs of employees. It aims to facilitate performance improvement.

Psychometric interviews can be done in different ways, depending on how the tests are designed.  Some tests can only be done online while others are pen and paper based. This, therefore, means that in some instances, one can get instant feedback on performance while in others, candidates have to wait for their results. Requirements differ too- whereas some tests allow use of tools such as calculators, in others, these are prohibited. Since they are primarily meant to objectively identify the most suitable candidates from many competitors, these tests usually give lesser time to answer all of the questions and some candidates complained about this factor. Optimum conditions for gauging one’s prowess are set during this examination- quiet, well lighted rooms and clear instructions to avoid ambiguity. Overall it is assumed that candidates sitting in these tests are in good health.  The evaluators have the discretion to define a pass mark, and in some instances, use other criteria when none of the candidates achieve the set threshold. Numerous sites such as Graduate Monkey, SHL online and Psychometric institute have developed resources that applicants of aptitude tests can use to prepare for the real test.  Some packages are accessed at a fee e.g. £19 while others are offered free of charge.

Types and formats of aptitude tests

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Aptitude tests are administered to successful job applicants as part of pre-employment psychometric assessments to determine if they are intelligently fit for a given job. Most of the world’s top employers use aptitude tests as part of their recruitment process especially for high ranking job positions. When you know you are likely to be subjected to an aptitude test, then you can prepare for one well before you face it. This article describes what aptitude tests are and the types and formats of these tests. Having an aptitude for something means you have a talent or a flair for it. It means you have the ability to perform a given task at a certain level. The task may be mental or physical. Perhaps you may have a mental aptitude for mental arithmetic or a physical aptitude for accurately shooting a football. Generally, aptitudes are not related in any way and are therefore completely independent from one another. This goes without saying that being highly skilled in one area does not guarantee an automatic high aptitude for another. Therefore someone who is extremely good at arithmetic is not necessarily good at football. We can therefore conclude that aptitude is actually a natural talent for the performance of a given mental or physical task. To a certain extent, aptitude cannot be gained through knowledge or training of any kind. The concept of aptitudes closely related to the concept of intellectual Quotient (IQ) although these are two completely different concepts. The intelligence quotient views intelligence as a measurable characteristic consisting of combined results of various independent aptitudes while aptitude tests on the other hand aim at assessing the capability or aptitude of any given person in a systematic, structured and objective way. Aptitude tests use standardized methods and the score for each candidate is compared with those of a given reference group or control. Since there are many different skills, there many aptitude tests as well. Most of them can be found online but only particular types are popular with recruitment agencies. Verbal reasoning test is one example of an aptitude test used by employers during the recruitment process. This type of test gives an indication of one’s ability to analyze and understand written information. This is important as employers want to know how well you can communicate. On the other hand numerical reasoning tests evaluate ones elementary arithmetic skills. These skills are an integral part of almost every assessment. Numerical tests provide employers with an indication of candidate’s ability to work with numbers. These tests are done by use of a series of numbers and simple mental arithmetic tests. They may also include graphs and tables which must to be interpreted. A numerical reasoning test assesses your ability to analyze your mental capacity with regard to numbers and figures. Another type of aptitude test is the abstract reasoning test. This test measures candidate’s ability to discover patterns in abstract data and make the right choice by extrapolating these logical patterns. This test is considered to be the best gauge of one’s ability to solve problems in new situations without prior experience or acquired knowledge. It is also known as fluid intelligence and uses both deductive and inductive reasoning. Logical reasoning test as the name suggests gives an employee an idea of how the candidate is able to make a logical conclusion when presented with a problem. Often the Logical Reasoning test is a form of Abstract reasoning test – as it also consists of sequences or groups of diagrams, shapes, patterns, etc.  Most of the time, the problems presented in this test are often illogical or contradictory. The candidate is not required to solve them based upon their knowledge but to rely entirely on what is in front of them. As a rule, spatial reasoning tests are given if the candidate is required to have a good spatial awareness. It is would be relevant to candidates who are required to think in three dimension such as engineers, architects, designers and pilots. Aptitude tests are usually part of psychometric tests.  Psychometric tests can be defined as the “science of the soul” and are an intricate part of the job application process. Leading companies use psychometric tests in the recruitment process. Psychometric tests consist of two parts. The first one is aptitude tests. As discussed above aptitude tests are used to measure one’s ability to perform a given task at a particular level. The second part of psychometric tests is the personality questionnaires which are used to measure candidates personal attitude towards their environment, personal characteristics and assets. This gives the employer an insight into how well the candidate will work with other people, stress management skills and your intellectual ability to cope with intellectual requirements of the task. Psychometric tests give a complete idea of the kind of a person you are and a set of characteristics you possess. It therefore goes beyond determining whether you have a talent in a given area. Many candidates are afraid of these tests but there is really no need. You should bear in mind that no test is perfect and the client does not rely solely on the test result. Employers will use them together with other selection methods such as experience, study results and application letters.