The importance of Cognitive Ability Tests in Hiring

March 20, 2023
Claire Stachniewska
The importance of Cognitive Ability Tests in Hiring

Hiring the right person for the job is crucial, and the recruitment process involves multiple stages of evaluation to ensure that the candidate possesses the required skills and qualifications. One of the most reliable and effective methods for assessing a candidate's potential is by using cognitive ability tests.


Did you know that more than 76% of organizations with over 100 employees rely on these cognitive ability tests during the recruitment process? They have gained significant popularity over the years as they provide valuable insights into a candidate's mental abilities, including problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities.


Ready to take your recruitment process to the next level? In this article, you will discover how cognitive ability tests can help you find the best talent and improve your hiring decisions. 

Keep reading to explore the advantages of using these tests and learn practical tips for conducting them successfully.

Use our assessment library to make better hiring decisions with automated reference checks and in-depth candidate insights.  

What is a cognitive ability test?

Cognitive ability tests are a valuable tool for assessing a candidate’s mental aptitude in logical and critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making. By including these into the recruitment process, companies can effectively identify candidates with the potential to excel in a particular role.

Recruiters are constantly searching for ways to improve their hiring process and find the right candidate for the job. While there may not be a perfect formula for hiring success, utilizing tools such as the cognitive tests can aid significantly in the process.

Around two-thirds of US companies use these assessments to identify top talent that not only assist recruiters but also provide insights into a candidate's abilities, allowing them to better understand their potential and inform their professional development plans.

Using cognitive ability tests can help recruiters:

  • Predict job-fit and identify employees who are more likely to succeed in their roles
  • Weed out applicants who are not a good fit, reducing the risk of costly mis-hires
  • Provide objective data to reduce hiring bias and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace
  • Improve overall job performance and reduce employee turnover

Some examples of cognitive ability assessments include the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, and the Raven's Progressive Matrices. These tests evaluate various cognitive abilities, such as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, spatial reasoning, and abstract reasoning.

Cognitive ability tests predict job-fit

Employers face a daunting challenge of selecting the best-suited candidates from a pool of applicants. However, cognitive ability tests offer an effective way to identify individuals who possess the cognitive abilities required to excel in a particular role and recruiters can reduce the risk of hiring someone who is not a good fit for the role, which can lead to costly mis-hires.

Additionally, employees who are well-suited for their roles are more likely to perform better and stay longer with the company, resulting in improved job performance and reduced turnover. 

Cognitive ability tests save time and money

Cognitive ability tests are not only effective in predicting job-fit, but they can also save time and money for hiring teams. By incorporating these tests as part of the pre-screening procedure, recruiters can disqualify unsuitable candidates early on in the hiring process. This eliminates the need to interview and assess a large pool of candidates, ultimately reducing the cost and time investment required for hiring. 

Additionally, research has shown that cognitive ability tests have high validity and reliability in predicting job performance, making them a valuable investment for companies looking to build high-performing teams. 

Cognitive ability tests measure how candidates learn

Conducting these tests during the recruitment process can also provide valuable insights into the candidate's potential performance in the role. According to Dr. Jantje H. de Vries, a cognitive ability test can help recruiters identify candidates who are more likely to learn quickly, adapt to new situations, and solve complex problems efficiently.

Furthermore, cognitive ability tests can help recruiters determine the amount of support a candidate may need during the onboarding process. For instance, if a candidate scores low in problem-solving skills, the recruiter may need to provide additional support and resources to help the candidate develop these skills.

Cognitive ability tests avoid bias

Studies have shown that traditional recruiting methods can result in significant bias against certain groups, with the percentage of bias in recruiting being as high as 70%. Cognitive ability tests, when used correctly, can help reduce this bias by providing objective data for recruiters to evaluate candidates fairly. To ensure a fair process, recruiters should standardize their approach and offer clear instructions to all candidates. By incorporating cognitive ability tests, recruiters can create a level playing field for all candidates and make better-informed hiring decisions.

Cognitive ability tests identify hidden potential

Cognitive ability tests provide a unique advantage in the hiring process by identifying a candidate's hidden potential. Unlike a CV that primarily showcases a candidate's work history, cognitive ability tests evaluate their cognitive skills such as analytical and critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities. By testing these skills, you can assess a candidate's potential for success in the role, even if their resume may not immediately suggest it.

Leading companies like Amazon, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte recognize the value of cognitive ability testing and use it extensively in their hiring processes. By using these tests, these companies can identify the best candidates, make informed hiring decisions, and ensure a fair and unbiased process.

In a nutshell, these cognitive ability tests are a useful tool for recruiters seeking to identify the best talent for their organizations. They provide insights into a candidate's potential and are an effective way to standardize the hiring process while minimizing bias. At HiPeople, we offer fast, easy, and bias-free cognitive ability assessments that help you find the candidates who fit the job the best. Our assessments are designed to provide objective data and help you make informed hiring decisions, ensuring that your organization builds a strong and talented team.

Fast, easy, and bias-free. Our job-specific candidate assessments help you find the candidates who fit the job the best.

Want to implement cognitive ability tests in your organization today? Not sure where to start? Let us help you.