Interviewing in a COVID World: Develop comprehensive aptitude tests

Interviewing is an art if not a science. The process involves judging the suitability of a job applicant using observation, past behaviour and body language within a short time. Moreover, interviewing involves evaluating humans who are subject to complex emotions an unpredictable decision making. Irrespective of the limitations, the stakes are very high. The cost of a wrong hire can impact customer deliverables, delay product launches and sometimes even cause financial losses.

Interviewing in itself was already complex but COVID has made it even tougher. For starters, there is an absence of face to face interactions. Detractors may say that why not use video calling. Well, it is not as simple it may seem! Sometimes it may be very difficult to decipher some of the complex body language parameters. Poor network makes even listening difficult and many interviews swich to telephonic after initial 5 minutes.

The question that arises is that in this new normal, how do we ensure the efficacy of the interviewing process to ensure that the quality of new hires is not impacted. The solution is to develop a robust evaluation process to ensure 360-degree comprehensive evaluation.

One of the tools of developing a comprehensive interview toolkit is an aptitude test. Aptitude test is one of the archaic tools to gauge candidate competence but it is still relevant in today’s world. Aptitude tests such as GMAT, CAT etc are used around the world to test users.

In this article let us discuss on the need for and best practices for developing aptitude test.

  • How to use: Aptitude tests should be used as the preliminary screening tool to filter job applicants.  It could be safely said that aptitude tests can help filter about almost 50-60% of job applicants
  • Duration: Aptitude tests should be for around 20 question in 20 to 30 minutes in a timed environment. It is not advisable to have longer aptitude test as it could lead to user fatigue.
  • Grading: Aptitude tests should be run over a diverse cohort to obtain a statically significant average and employers may choose to shortlist candidates in the 75th quartile. It would be better to have minimum 30 users give tests and obtain thee results (statistically significant)
  • Format: Format could be a multiple-choice questionnaire
  • Content: Aptitude test should cover a mix of logical reasoning and quantitative test. Certain roles (inside sales, content writing etc) may require strong written communication skills and may require questions that test grammatical, vocabulary and comprehension skills. These skills come handy irrespective of the function. A salesman may have to quickly calculate on whether he should accept a customer offer or a plant operator calculating the reorder level.

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