Facing An Aptitude Test Before Landing A Coveted Job? How Can You Improve Your Score?

Although past generations of job seekers could often land a promising gig with just a handshake, today's job market often requires a battery of interviews and tests before an offer can be extended. Drug tests and criminal background checks are fairly standard in many industries, but if you're breaking into a new career, you may be surprised to learn that your first job interview comes along with an aptitude test that can make or break your job opportunity. What can you do to improve your odds of doing well on this test, and what should you know about how these tests are used in the hiring process? Read on to learn more about improving your aptitude test scores.

How do businesses use aptitude tests? 

Aptitude tests can test a wide range of skills and knowledge, and may be broad or focus on a specific industry or subject (like math or engineering principles). These tests are often used by hiring managers in industries where a large number of qualified-on-paper applicants exist and weeding through the list with personal interviews can be too time-consuming. Requiring applicants to take a test that demonstrates they know the calculations and thought processes they'll need to be successful in the position being filled can be a quick and relatively inexpensive way for businesses to narrow an applicant pool.

Businesses in sensitive or data-heavy industries (like the medical, legal, or financial fields) may also want to require prospective employees to take an aptitude test for liability purposes. If there is a data breach, evidence that not all employees were knowledgeable about data confidentiality requirements or handling procedures could make it much easier for those affected to prove liability. 

What can you do to improve your odds of a passing score on an aptitude test?

If you're given prior notice that you'll be taking an aptitude test, there are a few things you can do to improve your overall testing performance and increase your odds of a passing score.

You'll first want to find out as much information about the test as possible. One common test, the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE), tests basic reading, English, and math skills. You can purchase practice test booklets that will give you a good idea of what to expect from questions (as well as help you guess your score based on your practice test performance before you take the actual test). 

On the other hand, if the aptitude questions you're facing is more industry-specific, you may want to look recent trade publications and press releases to ensure you're aware of any recent changes in the industry or news you need to know. You may also want to inquire about a practice test to give you a better idea of what you'll be expected to know.