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Six Cognitive Ability Tests That Are Often Used In The Employment Process

Ability Tests

As a rule, the most important part of recruitment is being able to accurately forecast the performance of a candidate. It’s tough to work out how to do it. A candidate’s ability to make good judgments under pressure should be evaluated. Do they have the necessary problem-solving abilities? These questions may be answered by taking a cognitive ability exam.

You need to know that anybody you employ will be able to deliver on their promises. It might be difficult for many firms to quickly and accurately evaluate the abilities of potential employees because of the enormous number of candidates. 

The cognitive assessment comes to the rescue at this moment. A recruiter’s use of these tests has been shown to be a worthwhile investment of time and money. They are a very good predictor of work performance at any stage of a person’s career.

Here, we’ll go over the basics of cognitive ability tests used in the employment process and introduce you to six popular tests being utilized by recruiters right now. 

What is the purpose of a cognitive test?

Testing for cognitive ability (sometimes known as “mental agility”) is a kind of pre-employment screening that looks at a candidate’s ability to use a variety of cognitive abilities.

Consistent attention, understanding of the text, working with numbers, problem-solving, and the capacity to absorb and apply new knowledge are just a few examples of cognitive abilities that are routinely assessed.

Psychological tests used in the employment process

Recruiters have access to a variety of cognitive ability tests. Some personality types are more suited for certain jobs than others. It’s also common for recruiters to use a combination of cognitive tests to evaluate a candidate’s specialized talents. Recruiters utilize these six checks of aptitude exams when they’re looking for new employees:

1. Applied Numerical Analysis

These exams are all about gauging a person’s ability to handle numbers. Typical mathematics problems include sequences, fractions, ratios, and percentages, as well as a variety of other common concepts.

The applicant will be shown numerical data in the form of graphs and tables and asked to answer mathematical questions about this data. Those in financial and banking jobs, which often deal with numerical data, might benefit greatly from these kinds of evaluations.

2. Verbal Reasoning

It measures a candidate’s ability to comprehend what they read. Employers and recruiters may use this cognitive evaluation to determine how effectively a candidate can analyze and extract the most significant features from a piece of text.

True or false assertions will then be presented to the applicant, who will then have to choose whether or not the claims are true or untrue. The textual context must be taken into consideration by the applicant while evaluating the remarks.

For employers, these exams are an excellent means of determining whether or not an applicant is capable of understanding written instructions in the workplace.

3. Spatial Ability

An individual’s capacity to see and manipulate shapes, forms, or objects is tested in spatial ability tests. In the design industry, this is an essential cognitive exam that is used by recruiters. Success in the exam indicates that a candidate is capable of imagining a unified whole from its constituent pieces. 

On a computer screen, candidates will be presented with three-dimensional items and asked to determine what form or shape may be formed. Engineers, architects, and video game designers often administer this assessment as part of the hiring process.

4. Logical Reasoning

A candidate’s ability to recognize patterns, sequences, and forms will be tested via logical thinking examinations. Abstract thoughts, theories, and ideas may be tested with this cognitive exam. 

Good critical thinking skills and excellent risk-adjustment abilities are necessary for success. Such assessments are common in businesses that need good management of complicated and high-risk operations, such as the law.

5. Learning Agility 

Agility in learning refers to a person’s ability to take in new knowledge and put it to use in current conditions. It’s a matter of gaining wisdom from the event. It enables an employer to determine whether a candidate has the flexibility and adaptability to work in a dynamic setting.

Higher-level positions in which cognitive agility is critical tend to use such examinations. For junior positions that demand rapid skill development, they might be a beneficial tool.

6. Perceptual Speed and Accuracy

The ability to process information quickly and precisely is a valuable asset in the job. Recruiters are looking for applicants with a strong recall, the ability to swiftly absorb the material, and the ability to make sound judgments.

A candidate’s capacity to absorb, process, analyze, and re-articulate information is assessed by this exam. It assesses a person’s ability to process and complete new work in a certain period of time.

Candidates will be tested on their ability to memorize a series of random items in order to gauge their comprehension and retention of knowledge. After then, a series of questions will be asked on the items in question, with no way for the applicant to look back.

Also, Check – Flexibility And Productivity: The Many Benefits Of Working From Home

Off-the-shelf vs. Customized Tests

For cognitive ability tests, one important consideration is whether to use a standard assessment or work with an assessment design expert who can help you create an assessment that measures the specific cognitive skills required to succeed in your roles in the context of what people actually do at work. 

Depending on whether or not you think that context affects cognitive capacity, the technique that works best for you may differ. A person’s capacity to display cognitive competence in one field of employment, but not another, is an example of this. 

Testing individuals using generalist approaches may not be highly predictive of real work performance, since evidence of ecological validity implies that environmental circumstances have an influence on cognitive capacity.

Contextual vs non-contextual intelligence

When judging a candidate’s fitness for the position, contextual intelligence might be an important factor. Because every job and work environment is unique, standard evaluations are unable to capture this. In the context of the precise duties that an individual is expected to complete while in the profession, customized evaluations may evaluate cognitive capacity.


A cognitive ability evaluation is a must-have for every recruiter who wants to increase the quality of their hires and the efficiency of their recruiting efforts.

Decide on your evaluation type carefully based on the responsibilities of the work or prepare your own assessment to get the most out of it.

As long as they are used appropriately, they are a potent predictor of performance and may help you make educated and productive recruiting choices for your company.

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