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Cognitive Ability Assessments-The Key to Successful Hiring

Relying on your gut instincts to onboard new employees does not work anymore. The Hiring managers are intermittently deceived and misinterpreted by the candidates. The job titles and responsibilities are slightly well, significantly enhanced and exaggerated. Details about jumping from one job to another are often omitted. This process of deceit results in perfectly conducted interviews leading to bad hires.

During the recruitment process, employers need to assess the skills and abilities of candidates because these often reflect their capacity to do the job. Assessing important skills through an aptitude test can help highlight exemplary candidates who can make a valuable contribution to the future of a business.

The best innovations are derived from highly motivated and skilled employees. Finding a high caliber candidate during the recruitment process without the use of an aptitude test could prove challenging to say the least. An aptitude test can help a business differentiate the good from the great in an industry where employees need to generate ideas that are the best of the best.

In this article, we’ll tell you all about cognitive ability assessments: what they are, their role in the screening process and their pros and cons.

Cognitive Ability Assessments

The cognitive ability goes by many names including IQ, G or general intelligence reasoning or more simply being smart. The person can learn, adapt and understand instruction.

This ability is important because of learning, adapting, and understanding is required in nearly all aspects of a person’s lives-from early education through retirement. More cognitive ability means more effectiveness and efficiency in these areas and ultimately a greater likelihood of success.

Given this importance, the cognitive ability test was the first to be developed and ever since have been the most researched test. As a result of this research, it is now known that cognitive ability can be accurately measured through the presentation of a variety of questions at varying degrees of difficulty.

A cognitive ability assessment sometimes called a mental agility test, is a tool to measure aspects of general intelligence, such as mental agility and speed of thought, analytical thinking, the ability to learn quickly, and verbal reasoning skills. These attributes contribute to success in many different fields and types of jobs. The results of this kind of test will tell you how well someone can use mental processes to solve work-related problems and acquire new knowledge.

Questions often include

  • Problem-solving languages
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Verbal Knowledge

Read more about Game-based Assessments and Why you should use them in your next Hiring strategy!

Screening utilizing Cognitive Ability Assessments:

Studies show that cognitive ability tests are the best predictors by having the highest correlation to the job and educational performance. The test provides objective information about the examiners that are not easily measured by other selection methods like interviews reference check background checks or self-reports of school or job experience.

The good news is that the cognitive ability assessments are measuring something unique they provide incremental predictive value. When used in conjunction with interviews and other assessments, the combined information can provide a more holistic perspective of a person’s ability to perform.

An organization that makes good hiring decisions tends to have higher productivity and lower turnover, which positively affects the bottom line. Hiring the wrong people can harm employee morale and management time and can waste valuable training and development amounts. Pre-employment testing and new screening tools and technology can help HR professionals minimize hiring time and select the most qualified individual who best fits the organization.

Pros and cons of Cognitive Ability Assessments in Recruitment

Like with any selection tool, there are advantages and disadvantages to cognitive ability testing.

Job performance indicator

Cognitive ability assessments are proven to be the best predictors of job performance across various sectors. According to research conducted by Aberdeen Group, Recruitment process that involved cognitive ability assessments were 24% more likely to result in successful hiring. Candidates that were gone through the assessments exceeded the performance expectations and required less training time.

Accurate and reliable

As discussed earlier, the whole process of job interview leaves the recruiter to differentiate between the truth-teller and the truth stretcher. Cognitive ability tests are the best way to evaluate the actual aptitude and skills of a candidate.

Since the candidates are not allowed to retake the test over 12 months, the results are reliable and authentic. Data from assessments are collected and analyzed using the same psychometric tools and principles you trust, so you can be confident that you’re getting the same robust results you expect from a traditional psychometric assessment—and more.

 Easy to manage online

Gone are the days where you would hire an assessment organizing team and spend nights marking hundreds of tests.

In modern technology, you don’t have to organize assessment centers or bother with marking up papers. Digital pre-employment assessment tools make it easy for recruiters to administer tests online and simplify the selection process for candidates.

Economical and Inexpensive

Another advantage is the cost—cognitive ability testing is relatively inexpensive. Rather than shelling out a significant amount of money upfront, you can either pay per test or per package, depending on your needs. And as previously mentioned, you don’t have to invest money in organizing assessment centers because everything can be done digitally.

Cognitive Ability Assessments Are Predictive. If implemented and administered right, a cognitive skills assessment is an effective method to predict job success.


Risk of opposing impact

In some cases, cognitive ability assessments can be racially or ethnically discriminatory, which can harm your overall recruitment efforts. Non-minorities typically score one standard deviation above minorities, which can have a negative impact depending on how the assessment scores are used for candidate selection. For example, minorities can find it difficult to complete the assessment in English.

However, this can easily be solved by translating and localizing the game and helping candidates have a better experience.

Not ideal for Hiring Executives

In the corporate world, a top-performing Human resource assistant would likely be promoted to the position of the human resource manager.  However, it is not necessary that a good Assistant has good leadership and management skills. These skills can not be assessed through any cognitive ability test since leadership positions require hard and soft skills that extend beyond high cognitive skills. Management experience and interpersonal skills are important examples of other things to look for to hire the most effective leaders. As such, when hiring for higher-level positions you may want to consider using a more in-depth test.

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