11 Problems With Numerical Reasoning Tests

Aptitude Tests consist of a number of different other pre-employment assessments measuring industry or role related skills and attributes, from personality and behaviour to numeracy and literacy proficiency. Numerical Reasoning Tests are one of those, designed for inexperienced candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and potential when it comes to working with numbers. However, despite being one of the most commonly used, they have their own pros and cons.

Below are 11 possible problems with Numerical Reasoning Tests.

Numerical Reasoning Tests issues
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1. Biases towards those who have had previous experiences

Anyone who has had experiences doing Aptitude Tests before, and Numerical Reasoning Tests in particular, will get the upper hand with this; as they are much more familiar with the type of questions and the pace of these assessments.

2. Biases towards those studying Mathematics

This is obvious, as for those who specialise in Mathematics for their degree or other qualifications, will have no problem solving numerical problems with admirable speed and accuracy. That might mean they are perfect for the job, but it could also mean they simply possess just that one skill and are not compatible for the role in other ways.

3. Biases against certain backgrounds

Certain cultural backgrounds and education systems have an influence on how mathematically intelligent an individual is; but again, similar to the previous point, having the right skill to pass this test does not always mean they will make the best employee.

4. Biases against disabilities

Numerical Reasoning Tests questions often put arithmetic and other initially basic concepts into professional context, via graph interpretation and data analysis. This can make things difficult for someone with a disability. Employers often try to provide alternatives and equal opportunities for everyone, however, making Numerical Reasoning Tests a standardised assessment will exclude many at the beginning and make the recruitment process longer and more intimidating for them.

5. Limitations in the skills that can be measured

As the name suggests, Numerical Reasoning Tests are created to measure analytical and logical thinking ability as well as numeracy skills. Surely there are other Aptitude Tests to assess other required attributes, however, the nature of this type of tests does put a cap on to what a candidate can show to employers.

6. Limitations in the types of questions

The main topics in Numerical Reasoning Tests revolve around arithmetic, number sequences, percentages and ratios, incorporated with industrial contexts via graphs or other data. However, there is so much more to analytical and logical thinking needed in the workplace that these questions can explore.

Taking Aptitude Tests

7. Limitations as a technology

With many advanced and clever technologies being invented in the past year, like AR, VR and AI, the traditional Aptitude Tests, including Numerical Reasoning Tests, are lagging behind. Updating their technology can help make things more engaging and perhaps, more accurate.

8. Relevance to real life situations

Following the earlier points, Numerical Reasoning Assessments’ limitations mean they are no longer always relevant to real life situations encountered in a profession. One can be a mathematical genius, but without other soft skills and the ability to see both numbers and other ‘human’ circumstances, it will be hard for them to thrive.

9. Relevance to society’s development

Not only technologies but society is also changing, fast and drastically. A deeper understanding of the upcoming generations of workforce is crucial, to help re-design and upgrade these tests to ensure their objectivity.

10. Relevance to modern company culture

Companies are all striving to improve and change the way people work and collaborate as well as how their businesses operate; to adapt with new trends, new customer demands, new employees and new technologies. Numerical Reasoning Tests, in the near future, will need to be more versatile and perhaps, personalised to each type of company culture.

11. The lack of a personal touch

At the end of the day, recruitment is a human-centric field that is filled with interpersonal and intrapersonal elements. Automated tests and assessments might be a quick solution to the huge pool of applicants, only people-people and their good instinct can figure out the best fit for their team.