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The Power of Cognitive Assessment Tests in Recruiting Talent


Recruiting can be a nail-biting experience, with the wrong hire potentially costing companies a fortune.

Can you avoid this fate? Absolutely!

Cognitive assessment tests can help recruiters find a needle in a haystack, ensuring that candidates possess the necessary skills to succeed.

Gone are the days of guesswork and gut-feeling hiring decisions. With cognitive assessment tests, recruiters can level up their recruitment game and make data-driven choices. 

After all, why settle for less when you can have the best?

If you’re a recruiter looking to bring top talent on board, it’s time to take the guesswork out of the recruitment process. 

Let cognitive assessment tests do the heavy lifting and say hello to success.

Let’s dive in!

What Is a Cognitive Assessment Test?

A cognitive assessment test is a tool used to measure a person’s mental abilities, such as memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and attention span. It helps identify candidates’ cognitive strengths and weaknesses and can be used to diagnose cognitive impairments or disorders. You can also use cognitive ability tests for your remote hiring process.

Here’s an example of a cognitive assessment test


Use This Cognitive Assessment Test Template

Why Are Cognitive Assessment Tests Important?

Cognitive assessments can immensely improve your hiring and recruiting process, enabling you to hire top talent.

By using cognitive assessments in the hiring process, employers can make more informed decisions about which candidates are most likely to succeed.

For example, a job that requires problem-solving skills, such as an engineer or a software developer, would benefit from candidates who score high on cognitive assessments that measure logical reasoning and critical thinking. 

Similarly, a job that requires attention to detail, such as a financial analyst or medical professional, would benefit from candidates who score high on assessments that measure visual and auditory processing abilities.

Bonus Read: Employee Training Assessment Guide: Train Smarter to Boost ROI

Here are a few benefits of employing cognitive assessment tests online for your business.

Accurate and Reliable

Cognitive assessment tests for adults are reliable and precise measurements of cognitive abilities. They achieve this through standardized procedures, validation processes, and normative data.

These tests are deemed reliable because they offer consistent and accurate results even if candidates take them again after some time.

Easy to Administer Online

Unlike traditional assessments, online cognitive assessments don’t require a lot of resources and time. You can leverage powerful online assessment software like ProProfs Quiz Maker and choose the assessment template that best suits your needs.

Bonus Read: How to Use Online Testing to Change Your Recruitment Game

Gives You a Competitive Advantage

Cognitive assessment should be a key part of your talent management strategy since your team’s collective learning potential can give you an edge over your competitors regarding performance.

With highly predictive cognitive testing tools, you can quickly identify candidates with the best potential for success, increasing the chances of your business growth and minimizing the risk of poor hiring.

This tool can help you find talent that’s adaptable, quick to learn, and skilled at problem-solving- setting you up for success in the long run. But there’s a catch: you need to use cognitive assessments strategically to build a strong benchmark for the future.

Types of Cognitive Ability Assessments

There are several types of cognitive ability tests you can leverage. They are:

Verbal Reasoning


As the name suggests, verbal reasoning cognitive tests evaluate an individual’s proficiency in understanding and interpreting written information.

In verbal reasoning cognitive assessment, candidates are presented with a textual passage, followed by true or false statements in a multiple-choice format or other variations.

Businesses across industries leverage this cognitive assessment to assess candidates’ ability to grasp and communicate intricate and crucial details effectively. 

It helps them predict the effectiveness of candidates in working as a team player and communicating with others.

For instance, a financial services firm might use a verbal reasoning test to evaluate a candidate’s capacity to grasp complex financial reports and communicate the findings to clients.

Numerical Reasoning


A numerical reasoning test assesses an individual’s ability to work with numbers and interpret data presented in tables, ratios, number sequences, charts, and percentages. 

This cognitive ability assessment helps businesses predict a candidate’s potential to perform well in jobs that require numerical competence such as accountancy.

Here’s a cognitive ability test example: In a data analyst position, individuals must make sense of technical data and formulate strategies accordingly.

Read More:  What Are Pre-Employment Assessments and Tests? 

Spatial Reasoning Test


Spatial ability assessments measure a person’s visual and spatial perception and ability to mentally manipulate objects in 3D space.

So, what benefits do they bring to businesses during the hiring process?

Well, imagine a company that manufactures complex machinery. In this scenario, spatial ability is a key skill for understanding how the different parts fit together and function as a whole.

Using spatial ability tests during the hiring process, the company can identify candidates who possess this skill and are likely to excel in the role. Spatial ability tests can also be useful in architecture, engineering, and design, where spatial reasoning is critical for success.

Read More:  Guide to Technical Assessment Tests: Hire the Best Talent Easily 

Logical Reasoning


Logical reasoning tests are a great tool employers use to assess candidates’ ability to comprehend and handle complex and abstract ideas.

They measure a person’s ability to analyze information and draw reasonable conclusions. For instance, a question might present a scenario and then ask you to identify the most appropriate solution or conclusion.

Logical reasoning tests are useful during the hiring process because they give insight into a candidate’s potential to make sound decisions on the job.

Learning Agility Test

Learning agility is the ability and willingness to learn from experiences, adapt to new situations, and perform efficiently in new work conditions.

Individuals with high learning agility are likely to be successful in leadership positions as they respond well to unfamiliar situations and learn experientially.

And that’s what this test helps employers assess. While hiring for roles requiring learning agility, they can conduct this test and also recognize existing employees for challenging assignments.

Attention to Detail

The attention to detail tests assess a candidate’s ability to complete tasks on time while giving attention to detail and ensuring quality. The test helps organizations identify candidates who can provide high-quality and detail-oriented results.

It is particularly useful for screening and recruiting entry-level administrative and clerical positions. The test measures candidates on speed-based comparison questions using numbers, text, images, and visuals.

For example, let’s say a company is looking to hire a data entry clerk and wants to ensure that the person they hire can capture every detail accurately and on time.

They use an attention-to-detail test to assess candidates’ ability to identify errors in a data set and their capacity to quickly manage large amounts of information.

Language Test


Effective communication is one of the essential skills a company expects in its employees. Fluency in both oral and written communication is considered a professional standard and a strength. 

That’s why employers use language cognitive tests and communication assessments to evaluate candidates’ understanding of grammar, spelling, and other language-related concepts such as parts of speech, common words and abbreviations, and punctuation. 

Generally, these tests are designed to measure a candidate’s English language skills for various professional roles such as sales, customer support, marketing, etc.

Read More:  Sales Assessment Guide: Hire & Train Smarter to Build Winning Sales Teams 

Watch: How to Create a Vocabulary Quiz

Limitations and Criticisms of Cognitive Assessment Testing

Since we are discussing the benefits of conducting cognitive tests, it’s only logical to look at the other side of the coin too to get the full picture.

Limited Scope of Assessment

Cognitive assessment tests only analyze specific aspects of cognitive functioning, such as memory and processing speed. As useful as they are, they don’t provide the full picture of an individual’s cognitive or intellectual potential.

For example, IQ tests primarily measure intellectual abilities such as academic performance, math, language, and problem-solving skills. But that’s it; they don’t reflect effectively other important cognitive abilities such as creativity, emotional intelligence, or practical intelligence.

Not as Effective for Hiring Leadership Roles

While cognitive assessment tests gauge the cognitive abilities of leaders, they may not be the sole indicator of job performance. 

Leadership roles require fundamental skills, such as soft and hard skills, which certainly lie outside the cognitive paradigm.

For example, a leader should have excellent management experience and interpersonal skills to lead a team of professionals. 

And so, it’s best to leverage other employee assessments such as personality assessments, skills assessments, and more when hiring for higher-level positions.

Read More: What Is a Leadership Assessment & How to Conduct One for Business Success?

Best Practices for Cognitive Ability Assessments

Now that you know a thing or two about cognitive assessments, let’s discuss the best practices you can leverage to optimize your hiring effort.

Watch: How to Choose the Best Assessment Software

It’s never a good idea to conduct cognitive ability tests for employment just for testing or because it’s what many businesses do. Before implementing these tests, it’s best to assess your business needs.

For example, you might require a learning agility test rather than a numerical reasoning assessment for a particular job position.

More so, some jobs only require basic testing, while others may require a more comprehensive assessment to make accurate performance predictions.

Consistently Track the Adverse Impact

Adverse impact refers to the biased outcome of a prejudiced selection process on a particular protected group (intentional or otherwise). 

Such instances arise when the selection procedure, such as hiring or promotion decisions, discriminates against a protected class, i.e., different races, genders, ages (over 40), religions, disability status, etc.

So, it’s best to keep track of this phenomenon to ensure that you hire the best talent through an unbiased process.

Lay All Your Cards on the Table

Some candidates may feel confused and uneasy when presented with assessment tests. You can make the experience less intense for the candidates by explaining the purpose of the tests, how you’ll approach the results, and how they’ll impact their chances of selection.

Use the Score as Guidance

Instead of entirely depending on the cognitive quiz test scores, you can treat them as a guide to help you navigate the sea of candidates and shortlist the ones who resonate with your brand, its culture, and its needs.

Make Your Assessments Fun

Just like most online surveys, assessment tests should be fun. For candidates to engage fully with your assessments, you must ensure they are engaging and fun. One best practice is to gamify your assessments and make them diverse.

Here’s a cognitive assessment test example: You can conduct a Roblox cognitive skills assessment that tests candidates using games.

Read More:  How to Create Interactive Video Quizzes 

Use various question forms like matching and MCQs, and employ visual aids to make the tests fun.

Watch: 15+ Question Types for Online Learning & Assessment

Attributes of a Superior Cognitive Assessment Tool

Here are a few key features you should always remember while choosing cognitive assessment test software.


The administration and scoring procedures of the tool should be well-defined and consistent across users, settings, and time.

Watch: How to Automate Quiz Scoring & Grading


The tool should be easy to administer, score, interpret, and be available in different formats and languages to accommodate different populations and their needs.

Diverse Assessments

Make sure that the online assessment tools supports different types of cognitive assessments so you can test candidates on different fronts and abilities.

How to Create a Cognitive Assessment Test

You can create cognitive assessments for your business in simple steps as shown below:

Step 1: The first step to creating engaging assessments is questions. So, add diverse questions from verbal reasoning to spatial ability and learning agility questions.


Watch: How to Create a Quiz Using Question Bank & Templates

Step 2: Add diverse answer options to make the cognitive ability assessment challenging. Include question types like MCQs, true/false, open-ended, and image/audio-based.


Watch: How to Create a Scored Quiz

Step 3: Customize and personalize your cognitive assessments with your company branding. You can add your brand logo, customize font style, size, etc.

Step 4: Configure assessment settings including the cognitive ability test duration, scoring, proctoring, pass/fail threshold, etc.


Step 5: All that’s left for you to do now is to launch your carefully-designed cognitive assessment and start selecting the best candidates.

Hire Top-Tier Talent With the Right Assessment

To sum it up, cognitive assessment tests are powerful weapons businesses can use to find the best job candidates and gain a competitive edge.

With cognitive assessment tests, you can reduce the risk of a bad hire and set your business up for success. In addition, you can reduce the impact of biases in the hiring process and get a more diverse workforce. That’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Cognitive assessment tests are worth considering if you’re serious about optimizing your hiring and recruiting process.

But here’s the catch: you need to implement these tests effectively. In other words, you need to leverage the right tools and strategies to optimize your process and find the best candidates for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare for a cognitive assessment test?

 Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Get familiar with the test format in advance.
  • Understand the different sections and types of questions you can expect.
  • Practice cognitive exercises available online to sharpen your skills.
  • Get enough sleep and rest before the test.
  • Stay calm and focused during the test.

Is a cognitive test the same as an IQ test?

Both IQ tests and cognitive tests measure cognitive abilities. The difference is that IQ tests specifically analyze a person’s intelligence quotient or IQ. On the other hand, cognitive tests are more general and may focus on specific areas of functioning.

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About the author

Michael Laithangbam is the senior writer & editor at ProProfs with 12 years of experience in enterprise software and eLearning. Michael's expertise encompasses online training, web-based learning, quizzes & assessments, LMS, and more. Michael’s work has been published in G2, Software Advice, Capterra, and eLearning Industry.