The Aptitude Test of a Three Year Old

Aug 07, 2013

A parent’s pride in their child’s ability can sometimes be based upon the flimsiest of talents and may also be subject to the highest level of exaggeration on the part of mum or dad. A confirmation that “our Britney is better than the real Britney” can mean one of two things – the real Britney is hopeless (possibility?) or the young Britney is able to remember most of the words to “Oops, I did it again” but not necessarily in the right order. (More likely!)

Either way, it is unusual for the child’s talent to be that prodigious, particularly at the tender age of three years old. Except that in the case of little Selena Janik, aged three, the fact that she has been accepted as a member of the international Mensa group for high IQ individuals is probably worthy of a warm glow at least on the part of her parents.

So, in order to verify this unlikely level of knowledge and intelligence in one so young, we sent our Qdos Foreign Correspondent across to the USA to meet with young Selena. The following extract from the transcript of their meeting helps us to understand the level of intelligence at work on both sides.

Qdos Foreign Correspondent (QFC) - “Hi Selena, I’ve brought you a present from Earl Shilton!”

Selena (S) – “Ok but I’ve checked you out on Google Earth and if it’s from that Factory Shop on New Street, I don’t want it. (Her mobile phone rings)  Hi, Morgan, … yes, sell the gold and derivatives, put all the funds into copper. Ciao for now.  Sorry about that, - would you like some breakfast?”

QFC – Just some toast, thank you”

S – No problem. I’m thinking of getting a better toaster. A toaster works by applying radiant heat directly to a bread slice. When the surface temperature of the bread reaches about 310 degrees Fahrenheit, the chemical change known as the Maillard reaction begins. Sugars and starches in the bread start to caramelise and, hey presto  - brown toast! This toaster is over caramelising the fibres in the bread and turning them to carbon and hey presto – burnt toast! No thanks!

QFC – That’s interesting but …

S – With radiant heat, the atoms and molecules in the bread exchange energy by sending thermal radiation back and forth. Thermal radiation is electromagnetic waves and includes infrared light. A hotter object sends more infrared light towards a colder object than vice versa and so the hotter object, the heating element, gives up thermal energy to the colder object, the slice of bread.

QFC – (Agitated) “That’s all very well but where’s my toast?!”

S – Bursts into tears “Mummy, don’t like this nasty man! Want my dolly now!”

Once again, our foreign correspondent has got the story but has upset the locals. However, his efforts do at least allow us to consider the usefulness of psychometric tests in recruitment situations.

Psychometric tests are used to identify a candidate's aptitudes, personality or specific ability.

Aptitude tests are usually timed when delivered and can include:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Numerical skills
  • Spatial reasoning;
  • Subject or job-specific  exercises.

Personality tests are also usually timed and aim to identify a general or detailed personality type.  Reliably verified and validated tests can indicate traits, preferences and tendencies towards individual  characteristics including:

  • Leadership
  • Compliance
  • Influencing others
  • Steadiness

Ability tests can be introduced to test specific skills and knowledge within the skill set required for a particular job e.g. computer skills, manual skills, telephone manner and interpersonal skills

Some or all of the above types of test may form part of an Assessment Centre approach towards recruitment where a mixture of the above elements form part of the selection process.  Such tests are however only normally used to supplement the information obtained from a prospective candidate at face to face interview and/ or via written communications.

So let Qdos help your business with your psychometric testing and assessment centres. It can be child’s play, as Selena would say, but, as our Foreign Correspondent knows to his cost, you can end up being toast if you are not careful!! It doesn’t take a genius to know that.

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