Quick question: Have you ever faced the challenge of sifting through a mountain of applications, wondering how to spot that standout candidate? 

Aptitude tests might just be the answer you’re looking for. 

They go beyond the usual resume scan, digging deep to uncover hidden talent that can align seamlessly with your company’s culture.

Let’s peel back the layers of aptitude tests, revealing how they can fine-tune your hiring process and connect you with candidates who truly fit the bill.

Key takeaways:

  • Aptitude tests offer deep insights into candidates’ skills and abilities beyond what resumes reveal.
  • From verbal and numerical reasoning to abstract and spatial tests, each aptitude test type serves a unique purpose in evaluating different candidate skills.
  • Successfully conducting an aptitude test involves understanding the test format, providing candidates with preparation resources, and ensuring smooth administration, whether remotely or in-person.
  • It’s vital to administer aptitude tests fairly, maintain a standardized process, and make accommodations for all candidates to ensure inclusivity and compliance with legal standards.

What are aptitude tests, and why are they key for recruiters? 

Aptitude tests are more than just a series of questions; they’re critical for assessing a candidate’s fit for a role. 

While resumes tell you what candidates have done, aptitude testing shows you what they can do.

These structured assessments objectively evaluate a candidate’s abilities in specific skill areas relevant to the job. 

In fact, 76% of companies with more than 100 employees rely on aptitude tests for prescreening new hires. 

Here’s a breakdown of what they bring to the table:

  • Cognitive abilities: These tests evaluate how candidates process information, solve problems, and think critically.
  • Problem-solving skills: They measure a candidate’s approach to tackling challenges and finding solutions.
  • Adaptability: Aptitude tests can indicate how well a candidate might adjust to new situations or tasks.

For job seekers, understanding these tests is key. 

It’s not just about achieving a score; it’s about showcasing your strengths and skills and how they align with the job.

By assessing essential skills, aptitude testing helps recruiters make choices based on data, not just gut feelings, creating a more skill-based hiring approach. 

You might also like: Recruitment data analytics for perfect candidate selection

What are the different types of aptitude tests? 

An infographic about the different types of aptitude tests recruiters can conduct.

So you’ve found your solution to effective candidate screening, but which aptitude test suits your hiring needs?

With a variety of types to choose from, each test offers unique insights. Here are some of the most common tests recruiters use:

1. Verbal reasoning tests: Best for exploring language and comprehension 

Verbal reasoning tests assess a candidate’s ability to understand, interpret, and logically evaluate written information. 

They delve into language comprehension, grammar accuracy, and the candidate’s capacity to deduce logical conclusions from textual data, making them essential for critical language and communication roles.

Industry relevance: Law, journalism, and communications fields.  

2. Numerical reasoning tests: Best for assessing data interpretation

Focused on evaluating a candidate’s ability to analyze and draw conclusions from numerical data, these tests measure arithmetic proficiency, statistical analysis, and data interpretation skills. 

Industry relevance: Roles in finance, accounting, and any sector where numerical data is vital to decision-making.

3. Abstract reasoning tests: Best for evaluating conceptual and innovative thinking

Abstract reasoning tests measure a candidate’s ability to identify patterns, logical rules, and trends in new data independent of acquired knowledge. 

Recruiters can use these tests to assess pattern recognition, conceptual thinking, and strategic problem-solving abilities, making them ideal for roles that demand innovative and abstract thinking.

Industry relevance: Ideal for roles in technology, design, and engineering. 

4. Logical reasoning tests: Best for testing deductive and inductive reasoning abilities 

Logical reasoning tests assess a candidate’s ability to understand and critically evaluate arguments or propositions. 

If you want to measure a candidate’s deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, and overall logical thinking, consider conducting this type of aptitude test. 

Industry relevance: Roles in IT, analytics, and research where logical processing is key.

5. Spatial reasoning tests

These tests are best for understanding spatial relationships and visualization. They are designed to assess how well a candidate can think about objects in three dimensions and visualize patterns. 

Industry relevance: Essential for architecture, engineering, and design roles where spatial understanding is fundamental.

6. Mechanical reasoning tests: Best for clarity on mechanical concepts 

This type of aptitude test evaluates a candidate’s understanding of physical and mechanical principles. 

It measures the knowledge of machinery, physical concepts, and tool proficiency, making them key for roles in mechanical engineering, automotive industries, and technical trades.

7. Situational judgement tests (SJTs): Best for assessing professional decision-making

SJTs present hypothetical, job-related scenarios to assess a candidate’s judgment and decision-making in professional contexts. 

It’s the perfect way to measure problem-solving, prioritization, ethical judgment, and interpersonal skills, and are broadly applicable across various industries, especially in managerial and customer service roles.

8. Emotional intelligence tests: Best for measuring emotional perception and management

Emotional intelligence tests assess a candidate’s ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions. 

If you want to evaluate a candidate’s self-awareness, empathy, emotional regulation, and social skills, give this type of test a go. 

Industry relevance: Crucial for leadership roles, positions requiring teamwork and client interaction, or for educational and healthcare-based jobs. 

With all these aptitude tests to choose from, how do you know if they are fit for your hiring needs? 

It’s like choosing the right tool for a job – you need to weigh the pros and cons. 

To help you decide, here’s a table breaking down when to use these tests and what to watch out for. 

A table presenting the advantages, disadvantages and different uses of aptitude tests.


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How to conduct a successful aptitude test in 5 easy steps

When executed correctly, aptitude testing offers a window into a candidate’s potential beyond what resumes and interviews can reveal. 

A successful aptitude test involves well-thought-out steps, each contributing to a holistic understanding of the candidate’s abilities.

Here’s how you can go about this: 

Step 1: Understand the job requirements

First things first, you’ve got to know what you’re looking for. This means diving deep into the job description and figuring out the must-have skills. 

Say you’re hiring a remote project manager; you’ll want someone who’s not just great at organizing but also a pro at remote communication. 

Understanding these key requirements allows you to tailor your test to assess must-have candidate skills. 

You’ll also be able to identify the perfect type of aptitude test with the right knowledge for each job role, leading us to our next step. 

Step 2: Picking the right test provider

Now, onto choosing your test provider. 

This is like picking your teammate in a relay race – you need someone reliable.

You want a provider that’s flexible and has a solid track record. Providers like TestGorilla and Equip are great because they offer online aptitude tests, ideal for remote hiring

Step 3: Ensuring smooth test administration

The test environment must be spot on, whether online or in a quiet office. 

For remote tests, this means ensuring candidates have all the necessary tech info and know who to call if they hit a glitch. 

If the test is being conducted in person, make sure there is a person on standby in the room in case anyone has queries. 

Step 4: Keeping candidates in the loop

You’ve got to maintain clear candidate communication about what the test involves and why it’s important – especially in a remote setting. 

Offering practice tests or prep material helps ease those test jitters and sets your candidates up for success.

Apart from helping your candidates understand how to prepare for an aptitude test, be sure to update them on when they can expect their results. 

Step 5: Reading between the lines of aptitude test results

Last but not least, it’s time to make sense of those test results. 

This isn’t just about who scored the highest; it’s about seeing how these scores tie into the job and the work environment.

It’s crucial to interpret these results in the context of the job role and the work environment.

For instance, a high score in abstract reasoning might be crucial for a creative role but less for a process-driven position.

Step 6: Provide feedback to candidates

Providing candidates with feedback on their test performance can enhance their experience and your employer brand

It shows that you value their effort and are invested in their professional growth.

Constructive feedback can also encourage candidates to engage with your company in the future, even if they’re not selected for the current role.

Also read: How to come up with the right interview feedback + Free examples & templates

4 best practices for fair and effective aptitude test administration

recruiters conducting aptitude tests for hiring

Administering aptitude tests in the recruitment process is a delicate balance of fairness, effectiveness, and legal compliance. 

To ensure that these tests serve their intended purpose without any hiring bias or unfair disadvantage, here are some best practices to follow:

1. Standardize the testing process

Ensure every candidate is given the same instructions, time limits, and test conditions.

This standardization is crucial for fairness and accurately comparing results across different candidates.

For remote tests, provide clear guidelines on the technical setup and ensure all candidates have access to the necessary technology.

2. Ensure inclusivity while conducting tests

Select tests that are culturally neutral to ensure they are fair for a diverse candidate pipeline

It’s also important to consider language barriers or cultural references that might disadvantage non-native speakers or candidates from different cultural backgrounds.

Apart from cultural and linguistic diversity, don’t forget to make necessary accommodations for candidates with disabilities

Provide extra time, accessible test formats, or assistive technologies for those with special needs.

This not only ensures compliance with laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but also promotes diverse hiring practices. 

3. Go beyond the test scores

Aptitude test results should be one factor among many in the hiring decision. 

They should be combined with interviews, practical assessments, and reference checks for a well-rounded view of each candidate.

Avoid making decisions based solely on test scores, as this can overlook important qualities like experience, cultural fit, and soft skills.

For example, if a candidate scores highly on a leadership aptitude test, asking the right reference check questions can confirm their skills in a real-world context.

4. Evolving the testing process

Regularly review and update your testing process based on feedback, outcomes, and advancements in screening methodologies.

Don’t just execute the same processes; stay abreast of new research and trends in aptitude to continually refine and improve your approach.


Here’s the deal: aptitude tests are going nowhere. 

They’re a staple in finding top talent today and will likely stay that way. 

As recruitment technology advances, we can expect these tests to become even more nuanced and tailored, diving deeper into the unique qualities of each candidate.

But remember, the true art of recruitment lies in blending these tests with your intuition and recruiting experience. 

Frequently asked questions

1. What do aptitude tests measure?

Aptitude tests measure a range of cognitive abilities and specific skill sets relevant to the job. 

Typically, they assess numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills. 

These tests are designed to predict a candidate’s potential to perform tasks and solve challenges they might encounter in the workplace.

2. What are aptitude tests used for?

Aptitude tests evaluate a candidate’s suitability for a specific role based on their cognitive abilities and skills. 

They are a crucial part of the recruitment process, helping employers make informed hiring decisions by providing objective data on a candidate’s potential job performance.

3. How accurate are aptitude tests in predicting job performance?

Aptitude tests are generally considered good predictors of job performance, especially when well-aligned with the job requirements. 

Research indicates that these tests, combined with other assessment methods like interviews, can significantly enhance the accuracy of predicting a candidate’s success in a role.

4. Can aptitude tests be customized for different job roles?

Yes, aptitude tests can be customized to suit specific job roles. 

Customization involves selecting or designing tests focusing on the skills and abilities most relevant to the job. 

This ensures that the tests are more effective in assessing the qualities that matter most for the position in question.

5. Are aptitude tests fair to all candidates?

When designed and administered correctly, aptitude tests can be fair to all candidates. 

It’s important to choose tests free from cultural or language bias and to make accommodations for candidates with disabilities. 

Regular review and updating of test content also help maintain fairness and relevance.