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5 Reasons to Consider Cognitive Ability Assessments in Hiring

Erin Iafelice

Pre-employment assessments come in many flavors, from personality assessments to culture fit to job simulations to skills assessments. Forty-two percent of employers use cognitive ability assessments, which measure candidates’ mental abilities such as solving complex problems, managing priorities, and adapting to change, to provide standardized data on whether a candidate is a good job fit. Here are five reasons why recruiters, candidates, and hiring managers see value in these types of assessments. 

  • Cognitive ability tests validated for a specific role provide accurate data about candidates’ future success in the role. They help take the guesswork out of hiring. Some ability tests use advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, which makes them even more predictive. Recruiters can use this predictive data to advance qualified candidates and identify their shortlist; hiring managers can use these data points to make better hiring decisions.
  • Cognitive ability tests can be effective for cross-industry hiring. As the post-pandemic workforce shortage intensifies, recruiters can’t afford to limit a talent pool to only those candidates who have prior experience in the industry or the role. Cognitive ability tests help recruiters determine the potential of non-traditional candidates.Candidates appreciate this type of data, too, especially in the current employment environment in which people are quitting their jobs in near-record numbers to search for a better fit. Cognitive ability assessments help candidates know if they are truly suited for the position they’ve always considered their dream job.
  • They can be used early in the hiring process. When cognitive ability assessments are integrated into a virtual hiring platform, they can be administered easily to a candidate pool of any size. Recruiters gain important insights efficiently, at scale, across more of the candidate pool.
  • They can create positive, personal hiring experiences for candidates. Cognitive ability assessments are often integrated with other assessments such as job simulations and on-demand video interviews. Candidates participate in the virtual assessments from any location at a time that fits their schedule. The integrated assessments give them a better overall look at what the job and employment experience will be like and their potential for future success on the job.
  • Cognitive ability assessments provide an opportunity for recruiters to give candidates feedback. Talent Board’s 2020 Candidate Experience research indicates organizations see a 20% increase in the number of candidates who report a positive experience when recruiters give them feedback on the assessment. 

Ability Assessment with Modern Hire

Modern Hire’s award-winning Virtual Job Tryout™ is a multimethod ability assessment that evaluates candidates’ core competencies for the job. Candidates can demonstrate their skills, knowledge, aptitude, and interest during a multimedia assessment experience that is as informative for them as recruiters. 

Virtual Job Tryouts are available for more than 40 roles and hiring issues. These ability assessments can also be customized for a client’s organization and specific roles to predict performance and turnover in that organization. Walmart’s Retail Associate Assessment is one example. Walmart partnered with Modern Hire to customize the Virtual Job Tryout for its retail associate position. The mega-retailer aimed to fast-track hiring for these critical roles: Pre-COVID, Walmart’s recruiting team worked with more than 3 million applicants a year to hire its 470,000 stores. At the start of the pandemic shutdowns, Walmart made more than 400,000 new hires. The Retail Associate Assessment was essential for the recruiting team in quickly identifying and advancing candidates who would learn the job faster, be more productive, and was likely to stay on the job. Walmart earned the 2019-2020 HRM Impact Award for its Retail Associate Assessment initiative.

Is there a downside to cognitive ability assessments?

In some cases, cognitive ability assessments can be biased and have a resulting adverse impact on protected classes of candidates. It is essential with every pre-employment selection tool, including cognitive ability tests, to continually monitor for adverse impact.

Multimethod assessments like Modern Hire’s Virtual Job Tryout, which utilizes advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and industrial-organizational science, have the potential to elevate fairness in hiring and significantly reduce bias. If you want to learn more about evaluating pre-hire assessment solutions for your organization, read 7 Questions to Ask About Quality Pre-Hire Assessments.