After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Types of Employment Tests 2. Merits of Employment Tests 3. Limitations.

Types of Employment Tests:

The following tests are generally conducted to test the aptitude and intelligence of candidates:

(a) Ability or Intelligence tests:

These tests are conducted to judge the mental capacity (intelligence), sensory capacity (vision and hearing), mechanical and clerical abilities of the candidates. “Tests of verbal and numerical ability, with questions on vocabulary, similarities, opposites, arithmetical calculations, etc. are referred to as intelligence tests.” A questionnaire is prepared with objective type questions evaluated through computers.


Knowledge and proficiency in language (English or Hindi) can also be tested through ability tests. People who score high on these tests have the ability to absorb, interpret and analyse business information quickly and perform well at work.

Intelligence tests usually represent the candidate’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) which can be numerically expressed as follows:

IQ represents the mental ability of a person, with reference to his age. Higher the IQ, higher is the ability of the person to perform well on the job. If the organisation has employees with high IQ, it facilitates the training and learning process. These tests are conducted individually for each job activity as a particular test may be valid for a particular job activity only.


(b) Aptitude tests:

These tests judge the aptitude of a person to accept future jobs. They explore a person’s potential to perform present and potential organisational tasks. People differ in their ability to do certain tasks and aptitude tests measure this ability to explore their potential to work.

“Aptitude tests can measure specific abilities or aptitudes (for example, spatial ability, manual dexterity, numerical ability, verbal ability) and are used to gauge the person’s potential.” Every individual differs in his ability to perform organisational tasks and, therefore, these tests enable the manager to know the skills and competence of the candidates to work on the job.

(c) Personality tests:


Personality reflects emotional stability and competence to perform effectively at work. Personality tests judge personal traits of a person (their feelings, thought about work, risk taking, confidence etc.) and test his ability to perform the job.

Personality tests assume direct relationship between one or more of the personality factors and ability of a person to do certain jobs. After assessing personality, his personality profile is compared with standard profile relevant for the job.

The person who best fits the standard profile is selected for the job. Though personality and intelligence are closely related and even tend to overlap each other (intelligence is one of the personality traits), personality is different from intelligence.

“Personality is that part of us that is distinctive and concerned more with our emotional side and how it is reflected in our behaviour. By contrast, intelligence is concerned with the cognitive or thinking side of us,”


(d) Performance tests:

These are on-the-job tests. The candidates perform the job for which they are being considered. They are also known as “in-tray” tests as candidates work on a representative sample of the work. The data entry operator, for example, may be asked to type a page to judge his proficiency in typing. Though these tests are costly, they help in selecting the most suitable candidate for the job.

They measure the candidate’s competence in terms of accuracy and efficiency to carry out the specific tasks. However, since these tests are based on simulation (created work environment), certain factors and information that would be actually present on the job but are missing in the simulation models, may negatively affect the performance of the candidates.

Merits of Employment Tests:

Employment tests have the following merits:


(a) They help to find candidates suitable for the job. Various types of tests judge the present and potential ability of people to work. While performance tests judge the ability of people to perform present tasks, aptitude tests judge their ability to perform potential tasks.

(b) They judge ability to perform the job through practical and objective means. They are not based on personal judgment and bias. They are standardised and selection is totally unbiased. A person gets selected purely on the basis of performance in the tests.

(c) They match requirements of the job with practical knowledge of the candidates. This helps in discriminating amongst people purely on the basis of job-related factors.

(d) They save time and money in interviewing only those candidates who pass the test. In the absence of tests, all candidates have to be interviewed which is costly and time-consuming. These tests screen the candidates on the basis of cut-off marks and proceed with the selection process with the short-listed candidates.

Limitations of Employment Tests:


Employment tests suffer from the following limitations:

(a) Some tests like lie detection tests are not advisable as they demoralize the candidates.

(b) Tests are not always suitable measures of selection. A candidate may spoil his test but may still be suitable for the job.

(c) Tests cannot fully understand a candidate’s personality. At best, they can only differentiate between those who have scored above and below the cut off point. This limitation is, however, overcome by the proceedings of the further selection process.