The 5 Advantages of Using Cognitive Ability Tests in the Hiring Process


Recruiters can’t rely on resumes and interviews alone to assess candidates. Cognitive ability tests are scientifically proven to predict job performance strongly.

Logical reasoning assessments predict success in jobs that require pattern recognition, visual comparisons, and rational decision-making. Verbal reasoning assessments indicate success in jobs that involve analytical problem-solving and inferences.

1They Predict Job-Fit

Recruiters can use cognitive ability tests to evaluate whether candidates have the right skills for a role. These tests assess a candidate’s ability to solve complex problems, think independently, and make quick decisions. Combined with other assessments, interviews, and reference checks, these tests can help recruiters find the best talent for their business.

However, recruiters must be aware of the limitations of using cognitive ability tests. They must ensure they do not support systematic bias in the assessment process, mainly if they use standardized off-the-shelf tests. They should also be vigilant to avoid adverse impacts on protected groups based on race, gender, religion, age, or disability status.

Cognitive ability tests speed up the screening process, mainly when used with a job-specific test. They can be evaluated relative to a benchmark set, making it easier for recruiters to select the best candidates for an interview. For example, if a candidate is far below the standard, it’s worth considering eliminating them from contention and inviting the highest-scoring candidates.

2They Prevent Bias

Cognitive ability tests are an objective tool to help recruiters avoid biased decisions. This is because they allow them to eliminate candidates unsuitable for a role, saving time and resources in the long run. In addition, they can also help prevent hiring an employee who isn’t a good fit for the company’s culture.

Unlike references and job experience, cognitive ability tests or cogAT test are reliable for future job performance. This is because they measure inherent strengths rather than learned skills. Moreover, they can be administered to a large number of candidates at the same time, which makes them scalable.

However, it is essential to use a variety of selection criteria to reduce the likelihood of bias. Additionally, it is a good idea to communicate with candidates about the tests and how they will be used. This will make them more comfortable and avoid any legal issues down the road. It will also ensure that the process doesn’t intimidate or discourage candidates.

3They Save Time

Cognitive ability tests are designed to be quick and easy for candidates to complete. Recruiters can use these assessments to narrow their candidate pool and arrive at the best-fit candidates sooner. This allows them to save time in the long run by reducing their interview times and eliminating applicants unlikely to succeed.

Additionally, these assessments can measure a candidate’s cognitive skills against the job requirements to determine if the candidate is a strong fit for the position. This also helps prevent bias and discrimination by allowing recruiters to analyze the selection rates for each applicant subgroup and identify any groups not being hired at an appropriate pace.

When using cognitive ability tests to hire, it’s essential that they are tailored to each job role and used early on in the process. This ensures that the results are valid and accurate and that candidates are evaluated somewhat based on their skill set rather than assumptions like race, gender, or educational background. This objectivity can significantly reduce the likelihood of high employee turnover.

4They Help You Hire Great Learners

Cognitive ability tests reliably predict how agile your candidates are in the workplace. They can uncover the “diamond in the rough” applicants whose resumes may have thinned but who possess all the skills necessary to thrive in your organization.

This is important because the work environment is rapidly changing, and hiring employees who can quickly adapt to new challenges is essential. Cognitive ability testing identifies this talent, and it helps recruiters make better decisions when selecting the best candidate for a role.

Adding cognitive ability tests to your hiring process allows you to create a benchmark that will enable you to evaluate candidates fairly and eliminate biased assumptions. You’ll be able to see how candidates compare with the top performers in the role and identify any gaps. This will save you time interviewing candidates who won’t be fit and prevent costly mis-hires. It will also ensure that you’re hiring the best people for your roles, and it will help you reduce employee turnover, which is expensive. The best part is that these tests are easy to add to your hiring workflow.

5They Are Cost-Effective

At a time when recruiters are constantly looking to reduce the amount of time it takes to hire, cognitive ability tests are an efficient way to help candidates make it to the interview stage. They’re also cost-effective in measuring candidate performance and ensuring that the right skills align with the role.

However, it’s essential to remember that a candidate’s ability to perform on a cognitive ability test doesn’t guarantee success on the job. Recruiters should use various selection criteria to assess their applicants, including non-cognitive qualities like soft skills and personality.

It’s also a good idea to avoid adverse impacts by ensuring that assessments don’t discriminate against protected groups, such as race, gender, sex, religion, and age. This can be done using a bespoke test or comparing candidates to an appropriate norm group. For example, using a logical reasoning assessment that compares candidates to an established cohort of managers from similar industries is much less likely to lead to adverse impact than using a generalized standard population of all candidates.