Testing a Candidate’s Cognitive Abilities – What We Can Learn

June 7, 2022 | Klein Consultants

Testing a Candidate's Cognitive Abilities - What We Can Learn

Testing a Candidate’s Cognitive Abilities – What We Can Learn
Klein Behavioral Science Consultants > Cognitive Assessment > Testing a Candidate’s Cognitive Abilities – What We Can Learn
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What can we learn from Cognitive Ability Testing?

Defining a cognitive ability test which type of cognitive testing platform you need and what they do is the first step towards finding out whether your company should be using them. A cognitive test is a way to see if you have any issues with your cognitive abilities (how your brain processes thoughts). The test consists of answering easy questions and conducting simple tasks. Cognitive screening or assessment are other names for the test.

What exactly is cognition at it relates to hiring?

Cognitive ability refers to a candidate’s ability to process all the data they receives from their senses has referred to as cognition. Thought processing takes place in the brain. Thinking and reasoning are two examples of cognition. Important factors include:

  • Thinking, reasoning, and learning.
  • Acquiring a command of the English language and communicating effectively.
  • Remembering important facts.
  • Paying attention to what is going on.
  • Critical reasoning.
  • Determining what to do.
  • Applying good judgment.
Why Use Cognitive Ability Testing in Your Hiring Process

What are the results of cognitive screenings?

Simple, quick, and basic cognitive assessments are available to gauge a candidate’s abilities. If there is an issue with a potential employees cognition, these tests can expose it.

No information is gleaned from cognitive screening tests about:

  • Reasons there might be a loss of cognitive ability.
  • The location of the cognitive impairment in your brain.
  • Cognitive impairment could be caused by this disorder.
  • The degree to which a person’s cognitive abilities have been impaired.

What does it signify when you get a low or high score on a cognitive test?

More information can be gleaned from bad (low) scores than excellent (high) results. A poor score is frequently a sign of a brain disorder. A high score, on the other hand, does not imply a lack of cognitive impairment. There may still be problems with brain function.

There are many different types of questions and exercises that are administered during a cognitive assessment. A variety of mental functions are assessed during cognitive screening tests.

Testing Cognitive Abilities

Tests of cognitive aptitude look at the skills required to think clearly (e.g., reasoning, perception, memory, verbal and mathematical ability, and problem solving). Such tests pose questions designed to estimate applicants’ potential to use mental processes to solve work-related problems or to acquire new job knowledge.

The term “mental intelligence” or “general mental ability.” refers to what cognitive ability tests often evaluate as a trait in people. An intelligence test, on the other hand, generally includes a variety of item types that measure a variety of different and more precise mental elements, known as “specific mental abilities.” Examples include arithmetic operations, verbal analogies, reading comprehension, number series completion, and spatial linkages (i.e., visualizing objects in three-dimensional space).

All of the right answers on some cognitive ability tests are added up to produce an overall score that measures general mental capacity. An individual score for each type of ability (e.g., quantitative, verbal or logical) is generated to indicate a measure of the particular mental capacities.

For example, traditional cognitive tests are well-standardized, contain items that can be accurately scored, and can be administered to large groups of people at once. Multiple choice, sentence completion, short answer, or true/false are examples of item formats. Many commercially accessible cognitive tests produced by professionals can be evaluated if a test tailored to a certain job or organization is not necessary.


  • General cognitive ability tests have strong criterion-related validity, which means they are reliable indicators of work performance and training success for a wide range of jobs. If the job or training requires a higher level of complexity, these assessments will be more effective. There may be only a tiny amount of validity added by other predictors compared to cognitive tests
  • Employer-Specific Tests – Tests produced for specific positions or types of jobs inside the recruiting organization may be perceived as more highly relevant (i.e., face validity) than commercially developed tests
  • Method of administration – computerized or paper and pencil are both acceptable methods of administration.
  • Other valid predictors of job success, such as biodata, personality tests, or structured interviews, tend to produce smaller racial and ethnic variations than cognitive ability testing. Cognitive ability tests should be paired with other evaluation methods (e.g., interviews, biodata instruments) in order to minimize any potential negative influence.

In general, administrative costs are low, requiring minimal resources and not necessitating administrators with specific expertise. Cost-effectiveness of building your own test over a commercial test is lower when face validity is not a problem; Utility/ROI – High return on investment if you need applicants who possess certain cognitive abilities or have high potential to acquire job knowledge or benefit from training The most common applications are in vocations that necessitate specific cognitive abilities in order to be successful, as well as in more difficult ones.

Klein Consultants
Author: Klein Consultants
Klein Consultants has been a thought leader in personality testing for careers for over 7 decades and continues to set the bar in our industry Our pre-employment testing suite enables hiring managers and decision makers to streamline the candidate selection process and hire better employees. We are one of the leading experts in hiring metrics and invite you to read our thoughts on variety of subjects pertaining to Pre-Employment Assessments.