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Talent Hub   | 9 Min Read

Cognitive Test/Assessment

Written By Ankur Tandon

Cognitive Theory is a way to deal with brain science that endeavors to clarify the human conduct by understanding the manners of thinking.

It won’t come as a shock if I say, low unemployment and growing skills gap have led to the creation of a talent deficit. In the most recent ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey, more than 40 percent of worldwide employers delineated confronting talent shortages.

So, when it comes to discussing talent shortage, we talk about not having the capacity to discover the talent necessary to run the business. This results in the situation where organizations should need to consider recruiting candidates who either are newcomers or have a little understanding.

Be that as it may, the inquiry turns out to be, how does the organization know they are taking the correct risk with the correct hire?

This develops the need for incorporating assessments which focuses primarily on what a candidate is capable of learning, and not assessing their current skills. Well, to be precise, cognitive assessments are the ones which suffice the need. Hiring managers are beginning to mind increasingly about an applicant’s cognitive aptitude.

But what precisely is it, and why are organizations getting so keen on it?

What is Cognitive Assessment?

Cognitive Assessment alludes to a person’s capacity to process data, learn quickly, and apply new data to take care of issues. In fact, cognitive aptitude is really a pack of various intellectual abilities twisted together. These intellectual skills incorporate observation, consideration, memory, visual and spatial processing, and a huge number of other cerebrum capacities like mental flexibility, critical thinking, and decision making.

In a layman’s dialect, Cognition refers to thinking. Thinking is required at relatively every minute aspect of day-to-day routine, be it doing estimations or learning any musical instruments.

Technically, cognition is the procedure by which the tangible info recognized by the human brain is adjusted, concentrated, broadened, enhanced and utilized.

All things considered, this intellectual prowess is the thing that aides the decisions we make throughout everyday life, however big or small it may be. Right from picking between two sorts of outfits (comparing their sizes, the color, the length, and so forth), to choosing what sort of job we want to have (deciding whether we’d appreciate it, potential compensation, on the off chance that we’d need to move, what sort of career mobility exists, etc.), we rely upon our cognitive abilities.

Assessing cognitive abilities might not be the most important or the only criteria to gauge when considering a vacant position, but undoubtedly, it is the significant one. After all, having the high level of cognitive abilities, not only means you are the most intelligent one in the room but also indicates:

  • Perform tasks all the more precisely and proficiently
  • Settle on decisions more effectively
  • Utilize reasoning skills
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • React shrewdly to new or complex situations

While you read this piece, you’ll get to know more about what these tests indicate and also the use cases of cognitive assessments among different aspects of an organization.

But, do you know the theory of cognitive science?

I hope not.

Let’s start from there itself.

Spearman’s Theory of General Intelligence

The concept behind cognitive abilities starts from the term “General Intelligence”. To give a clear-cut idea, comparing general intelligence with athleticism would be better.

A person might be an exceptionally gifted runner, yet this does not really imply that he will likewise be an amazing figure skater. However, in light of the fact that this individual is an athlete or say fit, he will most likely perform much better on other physical errands comparatively.

In the early 1990s, Charles Spearman used a numerical way to deal with the subject of estimating human intelligence. He was the one who helped develop a statistical technique known as factor analysis, which allows researchers to a variety of test items that can actually measure cognitive abilities.

For instance, researchers might get the findings that people who score well on vocabulary measurable questions also perform better on questions regarding reading comprehension.

So, he contrived factor analysis to gauge the connections between apparently changed cognitive abilities and record the correlations he saw between scores on various tests.

Along with the alternatives came from one of his students, Raymond Cattell, he concluded that intelligence could be understood as two main categories:

  • Crystallized Intelligence (Gc)

It is a kind of established knowledge obtained after some time, that comes from prior learning and past experiences. This type of intelligence depends upon certainties and established in experiences. Reading comprehension and vocabulary exams are some situations which require crystallized intelligence.

  • Fluid Intelligence (Gf)

Cattell defined this as, “ ...the ability to perceive relationships independent of previous specific practice or instruction concerning those relationships.” This includes having the capacity to think and reason dynamically and take care of issues. Cases of utilization of fluid intelligence incorporate unraveling riddles and coming up with problem-solving strategies.

Crystallized Intelligence and Fluid Intelligence

Why Your Organization Should Care About Cognitive Assessment?

According to Aberdeen’s research, companies that have implemented pre-hire testing programs appropriately and effectively have seen terrific returns on their investment.

statistics of companies which use pre-employment testing vs. those which do not

Josh Millet, CEO of Criteria Corp on asking about where should assessments come in the hiring process says, “We recommend administering tests earlier in the hiring process. Administering them too late to the already interviewed people tends to miss out those high-potential but low-experience applicants who didn’t pass the resume-screening stage.”

Cognitive tests are a type of pre-employment assessment that helps measure an individual’s aptitude or ability to solve problems. A major piece of its significance comes from research that has demonstrated on numerous occasions that cognitive aptitude is the absolute best predictor of job performance, short of really doing the job.

They are 24% more likely to have a high percentage of employees who exceed performance expectations, 17 percent more likely to have employees who rate themselves as highly engaged, and 36 percent more likely to be satisfied with new hires than businesses that do not use pre-employment testing.

Truth be told, cognitive skill is twice as great at foreseeing job performance than are interviews, three times in the same class as job experience, four times on a par with education level.

Hiring managers go for fruitful and successful hires above whatever else, which makes cognitive tests float towards the variables that are destined to anticipate that success.

Cognitive Assessments in Recruitments

Clearly, a person having just the required qualification and experience isn’t sufficient in this day and age. For assessing the fitment of the candidate in a job role, recruiters have to evaluate the intelligence, critical reasoning and all those abilities which can be effectively measured via cognitive assessment.

While one could contend that the test is used as an approach to filter out applicants, i.e. the individuals who scored low on the test have a way out. Another approach to see it is that the assessment enables the organization to expand their candidates’ pipeline with individuals who scored high on the test.

There is no denying the fact that there come certain key questions that simply can’t be answered in single one-to-one interview. So, to know whether the candidate is an effective decision maker, a skilled problem solver, or adaptable to the changing pace of role offered, you should consider adding cognitive tests into your hiring criteria.

How does JP Morgan Hire

These viewpoints incorporate mental agility (or speed of thought), quick learning, analytical thinking and unrivaled verbal reasoning skills. The applicant’s execution of these measures will disclose how well they’ll have the capacity to apply their mental capacities to tackling business related issues or to acquire new knowledge.

Work experience is a sure thing to consider while recruitments. But in case of campus hiring or when it comes to providing internships and cooperative education program, candidates’ experience in that job role is something redundant. Notwithstanding a candidate’s work experience, cognitive aptitude tests are one of the best ways to demonstrate the potential for candidate success.

Know how top companies recruit using tests

Well, cognitive ability tests are precise indicators of an applicant’s future performance in a new job role. Investing in cognitive assessment enables you, empowers you, as a hiring manager, recruiter, entrepreneur or a business owner, to settle on cunning choices when filling vacancies.

This implies your business will have a more prominent possibility of expanding overall performance and diminishing involuntary employee turnover.

Cognitive Assessment in Training

Organizations benefit from well-trained and fully engaged employees. When it comes to organization’s formal training program, employee development helps workers step toward their professional objectives lined up with the organization’s objectives.

As companies confront more sophisticated competitors, meet the aspirations of a more youthful workforce, and adapt to the progress of industry, continuous employee development turns out to be progressively essential with a specific to hold top talent and to remain agile.

A candidate with good cognitive skills resembles someone who can learn quickly, manage multiple complex tasks parallelly and be productive enough to meet organization’s goal in a way expected.

76% of employees are looking for Career Growth Opportunities

For those who are in search for career growth, for instance, an employee in IT department who works in a sophisticated manner is seen by the employers as a good resource and the higher managers want him to manage the works of higher responsibility. Here comes the role of cognitive tests which include assessing abilities like remembering, reasoning, problem-solving and imagining.

This could depict the status of the employee that at what skills or area do they need training. Even, to what extent do they need to be trained in order to get to the level of the expertise, or for that matter to the level of expectation.

Artboard 24-100

There are cases when there comes the need of employees’ bandwidth in the work, not of their domain. Hiring or outsourcing someone, in that case, might prove to be costly or not of proper usage. Hence, in an organization, there must be a well-structured training program where each employee is taught and trained about at least the basics of all the works performed there in the organization.

Additionally, cross training result in improved employee awareness of organization’s roles and functions. And with more knowledgeable employees, there comes the opportunity to strengthen customer support. Interestingly, cross-training enables to keep the employees motivated and engaged with the help of this concept of assignment rotation.

To gauge the training needs in this very scenario, assessing cognitive skills required for the job role proves beneficial.


It is anything but difficult to perceive any reason why cognitive ability is frequently utilized synonymously with the term ‘intelligence’ and why it has for some time been a vital construct for industrial and organizational analysts.

When it comes to measuring the suitability of a candidate for a particular job role in a company, then by reading so far you have got the idea of why cognitive assessment is the major thing.

Just consider, if tests to assess personality and behavior of a person is mingled with cognitive tests, hiring would become so easier. Psychometric Tests include the cognitive tests which tell if the candidate can do the job and personality assessments which depicts whether the candidate fits in the job role.

Everything you need to know about psychometric tests

The intent of this piece is to reach readers far and wide, regardless of one’s educational and professional background; aware of the importance of cognition for everyone. After all, as far human body is considered, nothing is as mystifying as for how one’s brain works.

This also includes business implications of cognitive assessments in terms of some of the major decisions taken in an organization. In a system as mind blogging as that of the assessments space, it is basic for all the organizations to stay on their toes, adjust and recalibrate.

You currently have the data you look for.

What are you going to do with this information?


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