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Types of tests and personnel selection questionnaires

Types of tests and personnel selection questionnaires

May 7, 2021

Recruiters and selection experts use different tests and questionnaires to select the best candidates for the jobs they offer.

The job interview can be a good tool to know the applicant and to decide, ultimately, if he is qualified or not to perform the functions that the position requires. But applying only the interview to determine whether the candidate is the person being searched may not be entirely reliable.

Nowadays, many selection processes include the performance of different tests (for example, role-playing games) or psycho-technical tests, in order to determine the professional aptitude of the candidates, to know their personality and to evaluate their motivation. The combination of these tools is the best option if we want the selection process to be as accurate as possible.


Recommended article: "Job interviews: The 10 most frequent errors"

The concept of competence

The origin of these tests is found in the concept of competition, which arises from the need to assess not only the set of knowledge, skills and abilities that a person can possess, but also appreciate their ability to use them in specific situations and solve problems that may arise in a specific work environment. Likewise, the concept of competence refers to the attitude, motivation and conditions of the individual and their behaviors.

The different tests or questionnaires that are used in the personnel selection processes have as their mission to assess as a whole the four different dimensions present in the concept of competence . These are:


  • Knowing how to be : refers to the personal dimension, the attitudes and values ‚Äč‚Äčthat guide the behavior of the candidate.
  • To know : it is the technical component, that is, the academic data or knowledge.
  • Know to do : is the methodological component, the ability to apply knowledge: skills, skills, methods of action, etc.
  • Know to be : is the participatory component. It refers to the abilities related to interpersonal communication and teamwork
You can learn more about the concept of competence in our article: "How to face an interview by competences: 4 keys to get the job"

Types of tests and personnel selection questionnaires

But, What are the tests or questionnaires employed by the personnel selection experts? What do you intend to measure these tools? Next we explain it to you


Professional or knowledge tests

The professional tests simulate real situations and conditions that can be found in a specific job . Therefore, these tests are intended to know the degree of mastery of an applicant to perform the job to which they aspire and are used to obtain information on the training, experience and specific knowledge of the applicant.

There are two types of professional tests: knowledge tests, that evaluate the contents related to the occupation; and the skill tests, that evaluate the specific competences related to the occupation. Among these tests, we can find: language tests, typing test, domino test of computer tools, tests to repair or assemble a device, etc.

Personality questionnaires

The personality questionnaires try to extract, through different items, the main character traits of an individual to be able to deduce the suitability and adaptability to the job to which the individual aspires. For example, if a subject participates in a selection process for the commercial position, one of the personality traits that recruiters will value is extraversion.

Recruiters can use different personality tests, but two of the most used are: the Big Five questionnaire, which measures sociability, responsibility, openness, kindness and neuroticism; or the EPQ-R questionnaire, based on the Einsenck PEN model. Regarding these questionnaires, the answers are not bad or good, they simply reflect the personality of the candidate or his way of thinking and acting in certain situations .

In addition, for some jobs it is a prerequisite to pass some personality tests related to mental health. For example, one of the most used tests is the MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). Its use is focused on the identification of the personality profile and the detection of psychopathologies, so it can be used, for example, in processes of selection of police personnel.

Psychotechnical questionnaires

Psychotechnical questionnaires are intelligence tests or aptitude tests that usually appear with a time limit to perform them. They are tests that evaluate the intellectual capacities of the aspirants for the correct performance of certain jobs, and allow assessing the person's cognitive abilities, such as general intelligence, memory, perception or attention.

This type of questionnaire is also used to know more specific aspects of the aspirant's intelligence, for example, verbal aptitude, numerical aptitude, spatial aptitude, capacity for abstraction or concentration.

Situational tests

Situational tests are also known as group dynamics, and allow to assess the skills and abilities of candidates , as well as predict their performance in a given job. During the realization of this type of tests, a situation is recreated that simulates the conditions and demands posed by the position, which the subjects will have to face by putting into practice a series of competencies necessary to perform the task efficiently.

Situational tests are increasingly used because have proven to be one of the most useful and accurate tools for competency assessment , because during its implementation candidates put into practice the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to solve the situation-problem or specific task.

The most used situational tests by the personnel selection experts are:

  • Write a report : Evaluates the ability of analysis, reasoning and written expression.
  • Make a presentation : Evaluates the ability to structure a presentation, oral expression ability, ability to speak in public.
  • Exercise of the tray : Evaluates the planning capacity, time management, problem solving capacity, verbal and written communication.
  • Role playing (role play) : Evaluates different competences depending on the role that is carried out. For example, leadership or teamwork

08 common Interview question and answers - Job Interview Skills (May 2021).


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