Lithuanian civil service is nowadays under reform. A new selection system has started beginning in June 2013 and it was a huge step toward modern human resource management. Based on proper practices in other countries, the current selection system consists of two parts: the centralized evaluation of general abilities at the Civil Service Department and the competition phase (interview) at each institution. A survey conducted in 2014 showed that Lithuanian civil servants evaluated the new system as more transparent, efficient and flexible as compared with the old one. However, in the society and among politicians, some sceptical attitudes are still common regarding the selection system itself and toward the content and value of the general ability test in particular. Thus, it was important to analyze this test from a wider perspective.
The career data of 17 821 candidates, who had passed the general ability test at the Civil Service Department, were analyzed in this study. Out of that number, 5 352 had started their careers as civil servants and worked from 3 to 46 months up until the beginning of the study. During that period, 1 159 civil servants were advanced in their career and 729 had resigned from civil service.
The analyzed general ability test consists of 2 parts. The first part is made up of 40 questions measuring cognitive abilities (verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, ability to learn) and the second part another is 20 questions measuring general competencies (analysis and communication) and the knowledge of legislate. The candidates must answer correctly not less than 20 questions in the first and not less than 10 questions in the second part. The candidates who had both scored more than 30 questions in the first part and 15 questions in the second part were attributed to the group of talented employees.
The results revealed that the general ability test can be valued not only as an instrument helping eliminate people who do not show the sufficient abilities and competencies to work in civil service. It could be seen as a reference point of effectiveness for career decisions as placement, advancement and retain of employees as well. Organizations, even without knowing the results of the general ability test, usually select and promote candidates who have taken the general ability test with greater results. In the sample of the talented civil servants, the results were even better: 48.9% of the talented candidates started their work in civil service as compared to the 34.9% of the remaining group; 26.8% of them were promoted as compared to the 21.4% of the non-talented civil servants. However, better results of the general ability test are related with the resignation of civil servants. Thus, more attention should be taken to human resource management, aiming that in the future, the field of civil service would accommodate brighter professionals.