Types of staff selection tests and questionnaires

Recruiters and personnel selection experts use different tests and questionnaires to select suitable candidates for the job they offer.

The job interview can be a good tool for getting to know the candidate and ultimately deciding whether or not they are qualified to perform the duties of the job. But only applying for an interview to determine whether or not the candidate is the person you are looking for may not be entirely reliable.

Today, many selection processes include performing different tests (for example, role-playing) or psycho-technical tests to determine candidates’ professional suitability, to know their personality and to assess their motivation. Combining these tools is the best option if we want the selection process to be as precise as possible.

Recommended article: “Job interviews: the 10 most common mistakes”

The concept of competition

The origin of these tests lies in the concept of competence, which arises from the need to assess not only the set of knowledge, skills and abilities that a person may possess, but also appreciate their ability to use them in specific situations and to solve problems that may arise in a specific work environment. Likewise, the concept of competence refers to the attitude, motivation and conditions of the individual and his behaviors.

The various tests or questionnaires used in the personnel selection process are intended to assess the overall performance of four different dimensions present in the concept of competition. These are:

  • know-how: Refers to the personal dimension, attitudes and values ​​that guide the candidate’s behavior.
  • Know: It is the technical component, that is to say the academic data or knowledge.
  • expertise: This is the methodological component, the ability to apply knowledge: capacities, skills, methods of action, etc.
  • know-how: This is the participatory component. It refers to skills related to interpersonal communication and teamwork

You can learn more about the concept of competence in our article: “How to face a competence interview: 4 keys to getting the job”

Types of staff selection tests and questionnaires

But, What tests or questionnaires do personnel selection experts use? What do these tools aim to measure? here’s how

Professional or knowledge tests

Professional tests simulate real-life situations and conditions that can be found in a particular workplace. Therefore, these tests are aimed at knowing the degree of mastery of a candidate to fill the position to which he aspires and are used to obtain information about the specific training, experience and knowledge of the candidate.

There are two types of occupational tests: knowledge tests, which assess job-related content; and skills tests, which assess specific skills related to the job. Among these tests, we can find: language tests, typing test, computer tool proficiency test, device repair or assembly tests, etc.

Personality questionnaires

The personality questionnaires try to extract through different items the main traits of an individual’s character. be able to deduce the suitability and adaptability to the job to which the person aspires. For example, if a subject is participating in a selection process for the commercial role, one of the personality traits that recruiters will appreciate is extroversion.

Recruiters can use different personality tests, but two of the most used are: the Big Five questionnaire, which measures sociability, responsibility, openness, kindness and neuroticism; or the EPQ-R questionnaire, based on Eysenck’s PEN model. Regarding these questionnaires, the answers are neither bad nor good, they simply reflect the candidate’s personality or the way he thinks and acts in certain situations.

In addition, for some jobs it is essential to pass certain personality tests related to mental health. For example, one of the most widely used tests is the MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory). Its use is focused on identifying the personality profile and detecting psychopathologies, so that it can be used, for example, in the selection process of police personnel.

psychotechnical questionnaires

Psychotechnical questionnaires are intelligence tests or aptitude tests which are usually presented with a deadline to perform them. These are tests which assess the intellectual capacities of aspirants for the good performance of certain jobs, and allow to value the cognitive capacities of the person, such as general intelligence, memory, perception or attention.

Such questionnaires are also used to learn more about more specific aspects of the candidate’s intelligence, for example verbal ability, numerical ability, spatial ability, ability to abstract or concentrate.

situation test

Situational testing is also known as group dynamics and allows candidates to assess their skills and abilities., In addition to predicting their performance in a given position. When performing this type of testing, a situation is recreated that simulates the conditions and requirements posed by the site, which subjects will face by implementing a series of skills necessary to perform the task effectively.

Situational testing is increasingly used because they have proven to be one of the most useful and accurate tools for skills assessment, Since its realization the candidates put into practice the knowledge, the skills and the attitudes necessary to solve the situation-problem or the concrete task.

The situational tests most used by personnel selection experts are:

  • Write a report: Evaluate the capacity for analysis, reasoning and written expression.
  • Make a presentation: Evaluate the ability to structure a presentation, the ability to express oneself orally, the ability to speak in public.
  • Plateau exercise: Assesses ability to plan, time management, problem solving, verbal and written communication.
  • Play a role: Evaluate different skills according to the role played. For example, leadership or teamwork

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