As a pre-employment testing provider, we offer both general aptitude and personality tests, as well as micro-skills tests such as typing tests and computer skills assessments. We’ve written about some of the differences between general tests and more specific tests, and we’ve found that many people continue to have misconceptions about the profound differences between general and specific tests, both in terms of the science behind them and the types of results companies should expect from them.
Cognitive aptitude is one of the best predictors of job performance because it measures so many key drivers of work success – the ability to solve problems, think critically, and learn new skills. But does cognitive aptitude vary from state to state?
Different jobs call for different abilities. A well-known best practice for hiring people is to perform a thorough job requirements analysis that documents which skills and abilities are necessary for the job. But when it comes to discovering exactly which qualities best predict job success for a particular role at your organization, knowing where to start can be a challenge.
This Saturday is the NFL draft, which means that NFL scouts have spent the past months going over 40-yard dash times and college game tapes, and fans have debated which prospect would be the best fit for their team. It also means it's time for media and fans to recycle the usual punchlines about the folly of using an aptitude test like the Wonderlic on NFL prospects. Football, more than any other American team sport, is about physicality, and the idea that performance on an aptitude test could have much to do with success on the football field seems absurd. Skeptics point out that a low Wonderlic score didn't prevent Dan Marino from becoming one of the most prolific passers in history, or Vince Young from making the Pro Bowl in his rookie year. When Criteria works with customers to gather evidence for the validity of our employment tests at their organization, we sometimes hear similar anecdotes. I've often heard HR managers express concern that "one of our best performers did poorly on the test." (Criteria has an aptitude test, the CCAT, that is similar to the Wonderlic.) Such reactions are understandable, but the measure of a test's predictive validity can't be judged from one test score--the only meaningful way to measure a test's ability to predict productivity is to study the correlations between test scores and job performance across a broad sample of people. Based on this standard, the Wonderlic may be a better predictor of performance in the NFL than you might think.