Employee Selection Tests: Meaning, Advantages and Limitations

22nd February 2021 1 By indiafreenotes

The selection tests aim at measuring such skills and abilities in a worker that are decided by job analysis to be essential for successful job performance. A test is an instrument designed to measure selected psychological factors.

The basic assumption underlies the use of tests in personnel selection is that the individuals are different in their job-related abilities and skills and that these skills can be adequately and accurately measured for comparison. A great number of human abilities are complex and interrelated. Hence, these have to be understood in association with each other.


(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.

(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.

(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.

Advantages of Test:

(i) Objective Assessment:

Tests provide better objective criteria than any other method. Subjectivity of every type is almost eliminated.

(ii) Proper Assessment:

Tests provide a basis for finding out the suitability of candidates for various jobs.

The mental capability, aptitude, liking and interests of the candidates enable the selectors to find out whether a person is suitable for the job for which he is a candidate.

(iii) Selection of Better Persons:

The aptitude, temperament and adjustability of candidates are determined with the help of tests. This enables their placement on the jobs where they will be most suitable. It will also improve their efficiency and job satisfaction.

(iv) Uniform Basis:

Tests provide a uniform basis for comparing the performance of applicants. Same tests are given to the candidates and their score will enable selectors to see their performance.

(v) Labour Turnover Reduced:

Proper selection of persons will also reduce labour turnover. If suitable persons are not selected, they may leave their job sooner or later. Tests are helpful in finding out the suitability of persons for the jobs. Interest tests will help in knowing the liking of applicants for different jobs. When a person gets a job according to his temperament and interest he would not leave it.


(A) 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.

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

(C) Fear of Exposure:

Some persons may not submit to the tests for fear of exposure. They may be competent but may not like to be assessed through the tests. The enterprise may be deprived of the services of such personnel who are not willing to appear for the tests but are otherwise suitable for the concern.

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

(E) Wrong Use: The tests may not be properly used by the employees. Those persons who are conducting these tests may be biased towards certain persons. This will falsify the results of tests. Tests may also give unreliable results if used by incompetent persons.