The first part of this series dealt with the first pioneers of aptitude testing. Now follows the further course of history up to the present. 

After the development of the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) and the CPI (California Psychological Inventory), the use of personality tests increased steadily until the early 1960s, then peaked and slowly declined. More than 80% of all large companies used personality tests to select sales personnel. In 1984, it was barely more than a quarter of the companies. The reasons for this were the interactionism advocated by Walter Mischel (interaction of person and situation traits) and the growing public resistance to tests. This led to an intensive political discussion about these procedures, in which above all aspects of test fairness were in the foreground. 

It was not until 1980, starting in the United States, that the topic was revived and became more and more important. The scientific as well as practical interest awoke anew. From the original merely translated tests to self-developed procedures, a change can be seen that confirms a further increase in interest until today. 

It is interesting to see that the occurrence of the terms "personality test" and "aptitude diagnostics" in the German-language literature between 1900 and 2008 from the corpus "German" shows some differences, although there is a similar meaning of the two terms. This is illustrated by the following figure from the book "Eignungsdiagnostik im Praxiseinsatz - Ingenieur bleibt Ingenieur": 

While the term "personality test" gained popularity relatively early, as early as 1930, the term "aptitude testing" only became really popular after the Second World War in 1945. Since 1957, after a strong slump, "aptitude diagnostics" has recorded a steady increase, which has several times shown smaller fluctuations. On the other hand, the "personality test" has repeatedly recorded major drops in its incidence. There is, however, one thing in common. Both terms show a clear increase from 1996 onwards, which will continue to increase steadily. This means that both terms have arrived in the 21st century and continue to increase in popularity. 

Nowadays, aptitude diagnostics is a collective term for occupation-related procedures for measuring competences and behavioural tendencies. In principle, aptitude diagnostics should provide the most accurate possible prediction of a person's likelihood of success or professional aptitude. 

It should be noted that aptitude testing can look back on an impressive past, with further development to come. 

Outlook: Our next article in this topic area refers to the book "Eignungsdiagnostik im Praxiseinsatz - Ingenieur bleibt Ingenieur" by Armin Betz. Do you know which important and typical characteristics make up an engineer? You will learn about these and many other aspects, such as the importance of the development areas, in the following article. 

About the author

Dr Armin Betz

After graduating as an automotive engineer and industrial engineer, he began his career in the automotive industry in the areas of sales, development and marketing and also spent a year in Japan with one of the largest automotive suppliers.

He then moved to a world-renowned premium car manufacturer, where he was responsible for product marketing in Japan and South America and marketing strategy in North and South America.

In 1994 he decided to become self-employed and founded a personnel consultancy in Munich, where he has been driving development and expansion for over 20 years. As managing director, his industry focus is naturally on the automotive world as well as mechanical and plant engineering.

With his doctorate in the field of aptitude diagnostics, he ideally rounds off his fields of competence, especially with regard to personnel and management consultancy. The dissertation deals with the identification and proof of typical personality traits of engineers as well as the definition of development areas for a successful professional career.

These are scientifically derived and presented in the book "Eignungsdiagnostik im Praxiseinsatz".

At the same time, his focus is on building networks and cooperation models as well as the continuous further development of systems and processes in HR consulting.

Within the last 20 years in personnel consulting, he has developed several brands that are still successful on the market today.


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