The aims describe the purposes of a course based on this syllabus. The aims are to enable students to:
There are only three questions the employer really has to answer during the selection process: Firstly, do you have the right skills and experience? Secondly, do you have the required enthusiasm and motivation? Finally, are you going to fit in, in terms of your personality, attitude and general work style?
Personality has a significant role to play in providing answers to the second and third of these questions. In most working situations it’s the personality of your co-workers and managers that affect the day-to-day success of the organization. If the team doesn't work well together or a manager can’t motivate their staff, then productivity and quality of service will suffer.
The way that most organizations operate has also changed in the last 30 years. There are usually fewer levels of management than there were and management styles tend to be less autocratic. In addition, the move in the western world at least, towards more knowledge based and customer focused jobs means that individuals have more autonomy even at fairly low levels within organizations. The effects of these changes means that your personality is seen by a potential employer as more important now than it was in the past.
Cognitive ability tests have become a crucial part of many companies’ recruitment processes. They are a form of psychometric test designed to measure intelligence through logic, reasoning and problem-solving exercises.
A Brief History of Cognitive Ability Tests
Cognitive ability tests began to develop at the end of the 19th century as a way to measure ‘general mental ability’. Initially such tests were highly inaccurate, leading to psychologists developing standardized methods of qualitatively scoring intelligence and comparing test results.
For example, psychologist William Stern coined the term ‘Intelligence Quotient’ in 1912, as a means of finding the difference between a child’s mental age and their chronological age.
In 1904, psychologist Charles Spearman recognized that individuals who demonstrated the ability to complete one task, such as identifying patterns, would also do well at other tasks, such as solving arithmetic problems. Spearman theorized that individuals possess a ‘general mental ability’ similar to intelligence. Thus, the concept of a test to assess cognitive ability began to develop.
Since the groundbreaking work of psychologists such as Spearman and Stern, cognitive ability tests have become common recruitment tools across multiple industries.
It is therefore highly likely that you will be asked to take a cognitive ability test by a prospective employer.
How Do Cognitive Ability Tests Work?
The classic cognitive ability test uses the following types of questions:
Most tests can be completed using a computer. Typically the test will be made up of multiple-choice questions of varying difficulty; the results will present an accurate profile of your intellectual capabilities.
You should always familiarize yourself with how your particular test will be timed during your preparation. Be aware that the length of time it takes you to complete the test may be taken into account in your results.
Why Do Employers Use Cognitive Ability Tests?
Psychologists tout cognitive ability tests as being an excellent predictor of a prospective employee’s future performance at work. The tests measure abilities such as:
Demonstrating a high cognitive ability indicates that a candidate is good at adapting to new work environments, making intelligent decisions and learning new skills quickly – essential skills for excelling at a new job.
Candidates with higher test scores tend to be more productive and require less training than their lower-scoring counterparts. This can equate to significant financial benefits for the employer.
For these reasons, cognitive ability tests are a crucial and sometimes deciding factor in many employers' recruitment processes.