PRE-EMPLOYMENT APTITUDE TESTING

MECHANICAL APTITUDE

1. What is mechanical aptitude?

Mechanical aptitude is usually thought of as an intrinsic mental ability that makes a person capable of understanding how things work.

2. How do you measure mechanical aptitude?

Traditional tests, such as the Bennett Test of Mechanical Comprehension, attempt to measure mechanical aptitude by using small puzzles about levers, pulleys, etc.

3. Can you identify good workers by using tests of mechanical aptitude?

Almost any kind of test will disqualify the least intelligent job applicants. Unfortunately, many traditional tests of mechanical aptitude also disqualify people with excellent skills in mechanical repair, because many of these people do poorly on questions about levers and pulleys!

4. What is the "SkillsProfiler" test of mechanical aptitude?

In 1995, Benchmark Testware began devolping a new series of tests to measure mechanical aptitude. These tests, which eventually became the "SkillsProfler" series, are based on the simple idea that you can measure mechanical aptitude not by asking questions about levers and pulleys, but by asking questions about household plumbing and carpentry! The idea is that the people with mechanical aptitude are the ones who have been to the hardware store to buy a washer for a leaky faucet....so ask them questions about washers and faucets, not levers and pulleys.

5. Do Mechanical Aptitude tests discriminate against minorities?

Some test vendors say that their tests are designed by industrial psychologists specifically to minimize adverse impact against minorities. The SkillsProfiler series is designed by industrial engineers for the specific purpose of identifying the best workers. SkillsProfiler tests of mechanical knowledge have been throughly validated to comply with all EEOC requirements for pre-employment testing. You can the results of some of our validation studies here on our website.

6. Where can I learn more about pre-employment testing?

Pre-employment testing is regulated in the United States under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The applicable regulations can be found at the following website:

Uniform Guidelines for Employee Selection Procedures, CFR 1607 (1978); The EEOC guidelines for use and validation of pre-employment tests.

An informative article reviewing the legal history of the concept of validity can be found at:

When is a test valid "enough"? by Martin Green, M.Sc.

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