What is a cognitive test for employment?

Que représente un test cognitif pour l'emploi?

Certain aspects of a person’s character cannot be measured by trusting our instinct. For example, the next Albert Einstein could be sitting next to us on the bus looking down at their phone, and we would be none the wiser. The capacity an individual may have to learn, draw conclusions, or solve problems is imperceptible to the naked eye.

Working with the best people should be in every employer’s best interest. However, it can be tedious to assess a candidate’s ability for critical thinking and other valuable cognitive skills upon meeting with them or simply reading their resume.


What is a cognitive ability test?

A cognitive ability test is a type of exam that measures a person’s reasoning skills and cognitive ability. Cognitive ability assessments can describe several features of a person’s intelligence, including their knack for problem resolution and capacity to adapt to various situations and environments.

As a pre-employment test, a cognitive aptitude test can be performed to gauge the cognitive skills of a job applicant. Cognitive tests can be used to figure out if a person is suitable to occupy a certain position.

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What gets measured with cognitive tests?

Also known as a person’s general intelligence, cognitive skills are an individual’s capacity to reason and process thoughts. By measuring a person’s cognitive ability, one can calculate the speed at which someone can solve problems and arrive at conclusions regardless of life experience.


What kind of questions are on a cognitive test?

The types of questions an applicant will have to answer depend on the test being taken. This is because certain aspects of a person’s intelligence, such as their capacity for numerical or verbal reasoning, can’t be accurately measured using the same methods.


Why should recruiters use a cognitive ability assessment when hiring?

Cognitive ability assessments will let you know which job applicants can bring the best cognitive skill set to the workplace. These are the type of people who will not just get the job done, but can do it better than the vast majority of the population.

Cognitive assessment tests work at all levels of the hiring process

Cognitive tests provide HR professionals with a precise employee assessment tool, regardless of the position that must be filled. Gauging performance via cognitive ability testing can help during the recruitment process of entry-level employees, as well as that of managers and executives.

A person’s capacity to understand new technology can be measured by a cognitive aptitude test

In the current globalized job market, innovation is the name of the game. Technologies that were considered to be cutting edge just a decade ago are seen as obsolete by today’s standards, and the technological train just keeps gaining speed.

Research shows that the world is going digital. More than half of businesses have opted for a hybrid work model post-pandemic, and it is estimated that about 70% of the population is optimistic about the increase of technological processes in the workplace. It is expected that 97 million jobs related to AI augmentation will be created by 2025 (source).

While technological innovation brings many exciting new business opportunities, it also brings one crucial challenge. Technology changes fast and one must be able to quickly adapt to those changes to succeed in the 21st century. The presence of technological tools in the workplace has made soft skills such as conflict resolution, dependability, flexibility, interpersonal communication, and leadership much more valuable to employers.

Using a cognitive ability test to measure a person’s capacity to understand technology is advantageous for two main reasons:

  • It guarantees that an individual is capable of learning how to use new systems and applications fast. This helps that employee and their team stay competitive and efficient even in times when the workflow is being reorganized.
  • It determines if a person has skills that an AI will not be able to easily replicate. As dull and repetitive assignments are delegated to computers, these tasks are incapable of achieving a rise in value. Having a workforce with a strong and diverse cognitive skill set ensures a smooth transition into a future where technological advances create new job positions.

Tests for cognitive ability can help improve operational efficiency

Cognitive ability is a strong predictor of success. A study performed on the competencies of US Military personnel shows that cognitive ability was the best pre-training predictor of good academic grades and military GPA (source).

The HR department can be overwhelmed whenever they experience a high volume of applications for a particular position. If the applicants have performed cognitive ability assessments beforehand, then it is easier to differentiate those whose cognitive skills stand out from the rest.


Why are there so many types of cognitive ability tests?

Human cognition is an incredibly complex subject. The results of cognitive tests show how good a person is at the specific cognition function being tested for.

For example, abstract reasoning and mechanical reasoning are quite distinct. While the former requires someone to have complex thoughts about hypothetical situations, the latter is concerned with an individual’s understanding of mechanical principles. An individual who excels in one of these tests but gets a low result in another is in no way less intelligent than someone else, their intelligence is simply expressed through different means.

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Types of cognitive ability tests

Since intelligence is so variable, no single test can accurately gauge one’s overall cognitive abilities. The following tests are used to discover diverse aspects of a person’s cognitive capacity.

Problem solving

A person’s ability to solve problems is measured by their capacity to make smart choices with the information they received. This includes learning how fast someone can identify a problem, and how good they are at using logic to solve it.

A problem-solving test can be used to assess:

  • An individual’s competency at prioritizing tasks, including the creation and adjustment of schedules;
  • The use of logical reasoning in the interpretation of data, as well as in the decision-making process;
  • The capacity to analyze both textual and numerical data and draw conclusions;
  • The ability to come up with efficient ways to follow instructions, based on their interpretation of the rules given to them.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is someone’s ability to apply information meaningfully. Critical thinking skills include the capacity for inductive reasoning, or the ability to draw general conclusions from specific information. Someone’s capability to reach a specific conclusion from a general data set, known as deductive reasoning, is also a critical thinking skill.

Other information gathered by a critical skills test includes:

  • A person’s ability to recognize assumptions
  • Determining cause and effect
  • Being able to recognize patterns and reorganize items based on interpreted connections

Numerical reasoning

Numerical reasoning tests are used to recognize how efficient a person is at working with numbers. Working with numbers goes beyond arithmetic, as it also includes the drawing of conclusions from graphs, tables, number sequences, and numerical values represented as text. Data-driven positions rely heavily on this type of skill.

A numerical reading assessment can be used to learn more about how a person:

  • Identifies and interprets numbers as fractions or percentages;
  • Recognize and can follow numerical patterns;
  • Identify the main ideas of a text, table, chart, graph, diagram, and other representations of numbers.

Reading comprehension

In the same vein as numerical reasoning, reading comprehension tests calculate how quickly and accurately a person can read and interpret the essence of a text. This skill is indispensable in office environments, as it allows a person to properly send and understand communication, as well as learn new competencies.

Through a reading comprehension test, one can measure a person’s ability to:

  • Identify the main ideas in a piece of text;
  • Infer information from a passage.

Spatial reasoning

A person’s spatial ability is their capacity to understand the placement of objects in a given space. It is useful to people from all walks of life, from sportsmen to engineers. A person with a high affinity for spatial reasoning tasks can process visual information faster and nimbly act upon it.


What is the best cognitive ability test?

The ID-Cognitive (Cog) test has been designed to measure a wide variety of cognitive skills, helping employers get an accurate view of an individual’s general intelligence. This test can be used to observe how a person uses logical reasoning and performs verbal, numerical, and spatial mental operations.

There are as many ways to think as there are people in the world. For this reason, the ID-Cognitive test has been designed to calculate a person’s intelligence in diverse ways. This type of test evaluates the following criteria:

  • Quantitative reasoning;
  • General sequential reasoning;
  • Language development;
  • Written verbal language comprehension;
  • Spatial ability;
  • Perceptual speed.


Cognitive ability testing tools

If you need to hire the right people to handle complex work situations, then you can’t afford to just pick out a person on first impressions. HRID’s cognitive ability assessments offer employers the information they need to make solid hiring decisions and get the best person for the job.

HRID offers much more than just testing for cognition. Thanks to a wide variety of human capital testing processes, employers can use HRID tests to understand a person’s personality, motivation, and attitude towards their peers. Other perks of HRID tests are the prediction of job performance, the reduction of turnover, and the achievement of precise and reliable results.

Discover HRID’s test catalogue