The aptitude interview is nothing more than a simple job interview: you meet the recruiter who will conduct the interview and answer his or her questions. The only difference is in the questions you will be asked.

In this type of interview, the interviewer’s questions are aimed at investigating the behavior you have had in past situations in the workplace. The purpose of the recruiter is to understand, based on how you have acted before, how you will behave if you are hired for the position offered.

The rationale behind these questions is in fact that your previous performance may suggest to the recruiter what your future performance will be in the new company.

In the aptitude interview, you won’t just be asked these questions. The recruiter will also ask you the typical questions of a cognitive interview, such as: what are your strengths and weaknesses? What challenges did you face in the workplace? Why do you want to work here?

The recruiter, depending on the most important skills that the company is looking for in the candidate to be hired, will ask you questions to find out if you have these skills. And instead of asking how you would behave in a given situation, it asks you how you have behaved in the past in a similar circumstance.

Let’s see how you can prepare yourself for the aptitude interview in the best way. In this article, you will also find out what the most frequently asked questions are, how to answer them, and how to make a good impression on the recruiter.


Preparation for the aptitude interview

How do you prepare for an aptitude interview?

Keep in mind that you don’t know what kind of interview you will be held until the recruiter asks you his questions – unless the recruiter has already informed you about the type of interview you will be taking. Either way, be prepared exactly as you would for a traditional job interview.

You will need to know what to expect at a cognitive interview, know the most frequently asked questions and how to respond effectively, for this, you can continue reading this cognitive interview article and then come back here.

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Here’s how to prepare for an aptitude interview:

Read the job advertisement carefully and focus on the most requested skills and abilities.

This way, if you find yourself having to answer some aptitude questions, you will know which skills the recruiter.

The recruiter will want to know whether you have all the characteristics that are essential to perform the role at its best. In your answers, you will have to create a match between your skills and those that the company is looking for.

Search the internet about your role and the company.

Collect as much information as possible about the position you are applying for. Find out what your responsibilities are and what are the requirements for whoever is in charge of that role. Based on the research you conducted and the job posting, you will be able to understand which skills are most appreciated by the company.

Also, you will need to collect as much information as about the company: the company culture, the employees, who are comprised of the management, how the company works, the future goals. Keep up to date by following the company website and recent news and search for employees on LinkedIn, in this way you can understand who they are, what career path they have followed, and see if they publish updates about the company on their profiles.

 Prepare your examples.

Since you don’t know, exactly, what the recruiter’s aptitude questions will focus on, refresh your memory and remember some situations you faced, or projects you took on the part, in which you have shown that you have your best qualities.

Based on what you read in the announcement, be sure to talk about episodes in which you used those features that the company prefers. You will use these examples to construct your answers.

Get ready to share concrete episodes in which you have successfully solved problems or in which you have excelled particularly in the workplace. The recruiter will not take your word for it if you tell them that you are a great problem solver, you will have to bring examples to demonstrate what you say.

Below you will find more tips and techniques you can use to respond convincingly to the recruiter.

The most frequent aptitude questions

The aptitude questions can emphasize the candidate’s different characteristics and skills.

Although these vary depending on the proposed role, the recruiter is usually looking for examples of circumstances in which you have demonstrated one or more of these qualities:

  • problem-solving skills, initiative, evaluation skills
  • stress management, resilience, adaptability
  • negotiation and persuasion skills
  • creativity, analytical ability
  • attention to detail, organization and management
  • integrity, reliability, motivation
  • ability to work in a team, leadership skills

To answer the aptitude questions, talk about the experiences you have had that can give the recruiter concrete proof of your skills. Let’s see the most frequently asked questions of an aptitude interview.

Questions about your problem-solving skills

These questions are intended to find out how you analyze a situation to resolve a problem or conflict. To answer these questions you must explain in detail the steps you have taken to manage and overcome the problem or unexpected event.

Here are the most frequently asked questions:

  • How do you handle the most challenging situations?
  • Have you ever had to make a risky decision? How did you decide?
  • Tell me about a time when you achieved an important goal.
  • Tell me about a time when you didn’t reach the goal you set. How did you handle the situation?
  • If you find yourself with several projects to pursue, how do you prioritize?

Questions concerning teamwork

When the recruiter asks you questions about teamwork, it means that for the position you are applying for, team player skills and the ability to collaborate are essential to perform the role effectively. Be prepared to demonstrate how you have used your leadership and collaboration skills in the past.

Here are the most frequently asked questions:

  • Tell me about a time you worked on a project with your team.
  • Have you ever found yourself having to follow a company policy with which you did not agree? What did he do?
  • Have you ever had to convince your team to work on a project they weren’t thrilled with? How did he do it?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a conflict with a colleague?
  • How do you usually deal with a disagreement with the boss?

Questions regarding stress management

Like questions about teamwork, questions about your ability to manage stress also let you know what to expect if you are hired to fill the position. Be honest in describing how you have handled and solved difficult past situations in the workplace.

Here are the most frequently asked questions:

  • Tell me about a stressful situation you have had to deal with in the workplace.
  • Have you ever had to work under pressure? How did you find it?
  • Tell me about a time when you made a decision not shared by others, how did you handle the situation? Did you pursue your idea?
  • Have you ever found yourself having to meet a very tight deadline?
  • Have you ever experienced a conflict situation with your colleagues/managers/bosses?

Questions about your awareness

Beware of these kinds of questions, many could be tricky, how you answer is as important as the things you say.
The interviewer is interested in how you see yourself, your points of strengths and weaknesses, and how you have remedied and learned from past mistakes.

The best strategy to answer these questions is to take responsibility for your mistakes. You need to show the recruiter how you tried to correct your mistakes and what you learned from your experiences.

Here are the most frequently asked questions:

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t have enough work to do?
  • Have you ever made a mistake in the workplace? How did you manage it?
  • Have you ever been unable to reach a goal? Why?
  • Did he ever postpone a decision he needed to make? Why?
  • Has it ever happened to you that you have not listened to the directions given and decided as you see fit?

How to answer questions

To answer aptitude questions, one of the most appropriate methods to follow is the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Results). According to this technique, to formulate your answers to the aptitude questions you have to touch 4 important points:

  • Situation = Situation: Describe specifically what the situation you were in was.
  • Task = Task: Talk about the task you had to complete. If there was a problem or unforeseen event to be solved, explain in detail what it consisted of.
  • Action = Action: Tell the recruiter what action you took to accomplish your task or fix the problem.
  • Results = Results: talk about the result you got in completing your task or solving the problem/conflict. Explain how your result has benefited not only you but also the company.

As you practice answering the aptitude questions, make sure you use the STAR technique. By following these 4 steps you will be able to give a complete, direct, and convincing answer.

Remember that there is no right or wrong: you must understand that there are no right or wrong answers. The recruiter, with these kinds of questions, is just trying to figure out how you behave given a certain situation. The way you answer will make him understand if there is the right match between your skills and those that the company deems essential to best fill the position.

When the interviewer asks you questions, listen carefully, be clear and detailed when you answer them, and most importantly, be honest. If your answers aren’t in line with what the recruiter is looking for, that role probably isn’t the best for you.

Be positive: often, attitudinal questions investigate unpleasant or problematic situations. They can focus on your failure, on a particularly stressful event, on a conflict in the workplace. Describe these circumstances in detail in your answers, but make sure not to emphasize the negative. Instead, talk about how you handled the situation in the best possible way and achieved a good result.

Ask for clarification: if during the interview you are not sure how to answer, ask for clarification regarding the question.

Take your time: it is right that, before answering the interviewer’s questions, you take your time to formulate a complete answer. This will help you calm your nerves and think about the most appropriate anecdote to answer the recruiter.

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Once you’ve answered the recruiter’s questions, expect some follow-up questions where the recruiter may ask for some clarification and more details about the situation you described.

For example:

  • How did you manage the situation in which the unexpected upset your plans?
  • Have you ever worked on multiple projects at the same time? How do you prioritize?
  • If he couldn’t finish that task what would he do?
  • Would he have told his boss about that confrontation with his colleague if it hadn’t been resolved?

Think of these questions as a perfect opportunity to tell the most important incidents that occurred in the workplace. Now you know what the most frequent aptitude questions in a job interview are and how to prepare yourself to answer them best.

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