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  • Writer's pictureAJ Cheponis

6 reasons to use cognitive tests for hiring

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

If you have ever hired a new employee, you know that success can be a game of chance. Get it right and everyone is happy. Get it wrong, and disaster can ensue. Financially, various estimates put the costs from one to five times salary, and that doesn’t even take into account all the other problems, like upsetting team morale or damaging client relationships. All talent decisions are important, and while there is no one silver bullet to get it right every time, there is definitely one weapon worth putting in your talent management arsenal that will help you hit the bullseye more often than not: cognitive ability tests.

Below are six reasons you should consider making cognitive ability a part of your talent strategy:

1. Cognitive ability assessments are extremely predictive of job performance

In fact, they are among the most well-researched assessments in the social sciences. Recently, Frank L. Schmidt found that cognitive ability explains, on average, a whopping 42% of job performance! In the right hands, that kind of predictive power will make hitting talent Blackjack a regular thing in both hiring and promotion decisions.

6 reasons to use cognitive tests for hiring

2. Many cognitive ability assessments are relatively short

For example, the PI Cognitive Assessment only takes 12 minutes. What this means is that in 12 minute’s time you have more information about someone’s likelihood of success than a 1-hour interview (in most cases!). So if used correctly, you are asking for very little of your candidates’ time, and you are saving hours of managers’ time by not interviewing the wrong people. What a victory!

Use cognitive assessments to make sure your talent is able to learn fast and adapt to change    

3. Cognitive ability assessments help you find people who are terrific learners. 

In fact, the heart of cognitive ability’s relationship with job performance is rapid knowledge acquisition (AKA learning fast). Schmidt’s work showed that cognitive ability predicts training performance, and after the formal learning is done, people with higher cognitive scores are those who outperform others because they can quickly absorb all of the incoming information and knowledge. In other words, they figure things out fast, and that translates into huge performance gains.

6 reasons to use cognitive tests for hiring

4. If change is a constant (and let’s face it, it probably is), then cognitive ability measurement should be on your radar.  

People with higher cognitive ability have a greater potential to adapt, and that’s because they can keep up with the change better than others. So in a business world of constant change, wouldn’t it be nice to find those people who process all of that new information fast and get it incorporated into their daily work routines even faster?

5. Cognitive assessments can help your organization win in the future.

That’s because cognitive ability data is powerful information to consider when building your organization’s bench strength. Really successful companies do a great job of building from within. But in order to do this right, they have to focus on hiring for beyond what they need today—they have to hire for potential. Again, this is where cognitive ability is a powerful ally in organization success. By assessing whether new hires have the mental ability to be successful beyond their current roles, your company will be in great talent shape for the challenges of the future.

The collective learning ability or your entire workforce can be a real competitive advantage

6. Using Cognitive Ability will make your organization better in the long run.

The collective learning ability or your entire workforce can be a real competitive advantage and something that should be part of your strategic talent management philosophy.

Cognitive ability tests are highly predictive tools that don’t take a lot of time to complete. You can save your managers valuable time by making sure they are interviewing those candidates with the best potential for success, and you can reduce the chances of making bad hiring decisions. In today’s rapidly changing environment, you can use cognitive assessments to make sure your talent is able to learn fast and adapt to change. And if used strategically, they can be used to build bench strength for future workforce planning and ultimately help you develop an organization where continuous learning is at the core of your competitive advantage.

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