An introduction to cognitive ability tests for employment
When it comes to selecting candidates for hire, a prime concern is identifying those who are best suited for the role. This can present a daunting challenge if there’s a large number of candidates. Hiring just anyone only to find out that they don’t have what it takes is exhausting. Cognitive ability tests for hiring help you deal with this issue.
Dig in to find out what cognitive ability tests are and why recruiters should use them.
What is a cognitive ability test?
Also termed a mental agility test, a cognitive ability assessment is a scientifically and methodically composed pre-employment assessment that gauges candidates’ capacity in various cognitive functions. It tests how well a candidate uses their mental and cognitive abilities, thereby predicting the candidate’s capacity to handle different job tasks and acquire new skills.
Usually, these tests are short and speedy, driving the candidates to be swift with their reasoning. Since most job tasks involve the use of any of the various cognitive functions, these psychometric tests are reliable indicators of a candidate’s future performance in a role. The tests measure a candidate’s focus, memory, pattern identification, ordering and sorting skills, speed of information processing and more.
Assessing cognitive ability has become a necessity for recruiters. Statistically, at least 75% of Fortune 500 companies use it to examine their candidates.
Types of cognitive ability tests
Below are the different types of cognitive ability tests recruiters can use to assess their candidates.
Logical reasoning test
Certain job roles require critical thinking and risk analysis. Such positions demand that the employee solves complex problems. It’s necessary to examine candidates for such a position to find out whether they possess the coherence and precision necessary to observe minute details, identify patterns and correlations and also analyse and prioritise risks.
A logical reasoning test finds out whether the candidate has what it takes. They indicate how well a candidate grasps theories, ideas and hypotheses using patterns, shapes and sequences. Logical reasoning tests measure how well candidates can apply their rationality to concrete situations.
Some questions require that the candidates spot sequential rules necessary to complete the various patterns. Other questions present a set of facts to the candidates, asking them to determine the accuracy of some other statements within that context. Logical reasoning tests are crucial in industries where sound judgement is indispensable, like in the fields of analysis, law, investigation, science etc.
Verbal comprehension test
Words are one of the chief vehicles of communication for the human race. It’s safe to say that any candidate who can’t make sense of words won’t be of much use in the workplace. Thus, it’s necessary to test a candidate’s ability to gather and process information from text.
Verbal comprehension tests check candidates’ language-based reasoning skills to determine how well they will understand written material at work. It also unravels their adeptness at identifying the main idea of a body of text and at drawing connections among different elements within the text.
Verbal comprehension tests can take any of the following forms
- Matching words with their synonyms or antonyms
- Listening or reading and explaining a body of text
- Reading passages and answering questions based on those passages
- Answering literary language-based questions
This type of cognitive ability test is relevant for practically every job.
Numerical reasoning test
The numerical cognitive ability test checks a candidate’s proficiency when dealing with numerical data. It gauges how well they can handle both basic, intermediate and advanced mathematical tasks.
A typical numerical cognitive ability test presents numerical data in the form of percentages, ratios, sequences, graphs, charts and tables. The candidate is then tasked with the extrapolation, interpretation, calculation or estimation of such data as the case may be.
Numerical comprehension tests are mandatory for roles and industries that are heavily dependent on numerical
Learning agility test
Some roles can be dynamic, requiring brisk adaptability. Such jobs demand nimbleness in learning and responding to situations. The learning agility test gauges a candidate’s ability to learn and apply new information on the go. It also measures how well the candidate can learn from experience and implement such lessons in present and future scenarios.
The perception test assesses employees’ ability to understand, organise information, memorise details, work and make the right decisions even when under pressure. It checks a candidate’s competence in handling new responsibilities and completing the task within the deadline.
It usually involves candidates maintaining their concentration on particular objects regardless of surrounding distractions. Also, the candidates might have to answer questions on the nature of images presented to them for a brief moment or even reconstruct models shown to them. This weighs their ability to observe and memorise relevant details.
Spatial ability test
The spatial ability test concentrates on a candidate’s visualising skills. Candidates have to understand how the various parts of an object or image make the whole. The capacity to manipulate shapes, forms or objects is needed to sail through this test.
To assess this cognitive ability, candidates
- Have to identify shapes or forms that can be constructed from images of objects shown
- Will interact with images of shapes to ascertain their appearance after certain alterations
Examining spatial ability is mandatory for jobs that involve designing such as graphic designing, engineering, game designing etc.
The essence of cognitive ability tests for hiring
Below are reasons why cognitive ability tests matter.
Cognitive ability assessments help save resources
One major reason why cognitive assessment is important is that it saves time and money. These tests usually last anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes. They can also be hosted and taken online and remotely by all the candidates. This makes it easy to identify those who fit the bill without hassle.
Cognitive ability tests are versatile and easy to use
The practicality of cognitive tests makes them vital. They are applicable to a vast range of jobs across virtually every industry. This is due to the fact that they gauge all cognitive functions, one of which, at least, is required in every role. Naturally, these tests are written in regular, clear language. This makes it easy for candidates to understand them.
They support better hiring decisions
Measuring your candidates’ cognitive functions help you make better hiring decisions. To begin with, they nip discrimination in the bud. It’s a known fact that unconscious bias in recruitment regularly rears its ugly head, regardless of the various efforts made to combat it. Cognitive ability assessments ensure that candidates are evaluated strictly based on their skills and performance instead of irrelevant factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation etc.
Also, these tests help identify the cream of the crop among a multitude of candidates. While shiny CVs and glowing testimonials are impressive, cognitive ability assessments take it a step further by putting candidates on the spot. Those who excel at those tests are certainly promising; they’re the kind of employees you need in your team. Adding them to the ranks will definitely enhance your workforce performance.
What’s more, examining candidates’ cognitive skills ensures that you get it right the first time. With each employee having the skill set needed to perform optimally in their position, there’ll be no need to search frantically for a replacement. The outcome is greater employee retention and reduced employee turnover which costs up to one-third of an employee’s annual salary.
They strengthen your brand
Cognitive ability assessments ensure that your organisation has what it takes to hold its own in the long run. They ensure that your employees have the necessary skills for the completion of tasks and to cope with evolution and other forms of advancement in the business space.
An examination process that factors in the present needs, as well as those of tomorrow, will help build a lasting brand. Your company will enjoy a solid foundation characterised by efficiency, adaptability and sagacity. As a result, it won’t be toppled by changes in the business landscape nor will it fall short in high-pressure situations.
Cognitive ability tests for employment are potent recruitment tools that determine the efficiency of any potential hire. By predicting the performance of each candidate, they give profound insight into who will make a better hire as well as what to expect from them.