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How to assess numerical reasoning skills in candidates


In a candidate-driven labor market that’s overflowing with remote working opportunities and demand for skilled candidates, most hiring managers have three key objectives:

  1. Hiring the best candidates for every open role 

  2. Reducing the time spent sourcing and screening candidates

  3. Keeping recruiting and hiring costs down

But in the race to find and hire skilled candidates, you can’t lose sight of the importance of the more “basic” capabilities required for many positions – one of those being numerical reasoning skills. 

Numerical reasoning skills are essential across most industries and many job roles, not just those that are traditionally “math based.”

So, regardless of whether you’re looking for your next great accountant, architect, finance manager, or sales rep, you need to know how to assess numerical reasoning skills accurately. 

Stay with us as we explain why you should test candidates’ numerical reasoning skills and how best to assess them.

What are numerical reasoning skills?

Before we dive in, let’s recap what numerical reasoning skills encompass. 

Numerical reasoning skills fall within the sphere of cognitive ability skills and are the capabilities needed to interpret numerical data. 

Rather than pure mathematical skills, numerical reasoning skills represent an individual’s ability to interpret numerical information correctly and solve problems.

Reading graphs, analyzing data, interpreting charts, and drawing observations from data are all tasks that require numerical reasoning skills.

definition of numerical reasoning

In the workplace, numerical reasoning skills are often needed to: 

  • Identify business-related issues and opportunities

  • Extract data from charts and tables and use them to influence business decisions

  • Use numerical data to draw conclusions

Why should you assess numerical reasoning skills? 

As organizations become increasingly data-driven, they need employees who can work efficiently with data and use their numerical reasoning skills to process and analyze large volumes of data regularly. 

Since every company has its own needs and priorities, however, it’s not enough to rely on CVs as indicators of a candidate’s numerical abilities. CVs are ineffective predictors of candidates’ cognitive ability and numerical reasoning capabilities.

Pre-employment numerical skills tests are incredibly useful for providing you with insight into how well your candidates can use numerical data to make deductions, manipulate figures, and apply numerical logic.

Simultaneously, numerical reasoning assessments also filter out unqualified candidates, leaving only those who have the desired level of numerical understanding. 

With just one numeric skills test, you can accurately measure a wide range of candidates’ abilities, including how well they can: 

  • Identify issues and opportunities related to business processes

  • Interpret data and draw logical conclusions and solutions

  • Align the results of numerical analyses with business goals and objectives

  • Identify trends and patterns in data

  • Communicate data to other parties via charts, data, tables, and graphs

  • Make correct analyses and evaluations quickly

  • Apply the results of their analyses to make process improvements 

How to assess numerical reasoning skills in 3 steps 

Ready to get started?

Follow these three steps to get the most out of numerical reasoning skills testing. 

1. Build a customized numerical reasoning assessment 

First, consider whether you want to assign candidates a standalone numerical reasoning test or create a more comprehensive assessment.

We recommend that you build a more holistic assessment that will help you evaluate candidate profiles as a whole since multi-measure tests have the highest predictive validity

TestGorilla’s Numerical Reasoning test assesses a candidate’s ability to:

  • Interpret numbers, fractions, and percentages

  • Understand number patterns

  • Interpret text and tables

  • Comprehend charts, graphs, and diagrams

By combining the Numerical Reasoning test with other test types – such as role-specific, personality and culture, and situational judgment tests – and your own custom questions, you can gain deeper insights into candidates’ numerical skills as well as other characteristics and capabilities relevant to the role. 

For example, if you’re hiring an accountant, combining the standalone tests in the table below into one assessment will give you the most useful results and a much better understanding of each candidate’s profile. 

Test name

Test type

Accounting test


Accounts Receivable test


: These tests measure candidates’ ability to apply their skills and experience to a specific role.

Numerical Reasoning test


Problem Solving test

Cognitive ability

: These tests measure candidates’ cognitive functions in specific areas, like spatial reasoning.

Culture Add test

Personality and culture

: This test assesses how candidates’ values and behaviors align with your organization and how well they would fit into your existing team.

3. Send candidates the assessment to complete

Once you’ve built the assessment, invite candidates to complete it.

TestGorilla gives you the option of inviting candidates via individual or bulk emails or through public links that you can display on your job application forms. 

If you choose to send candidates an email, TestGorilla also gives you the option of customizing the email you send to help you:

  • Give candidates detailed information about your hiring processes

  • Provide details about the numerical reasoning assessment and how candidates will be evaluated

  • Include a deadline for completing the assessment 

Sending candidates the assessment before you reach the interview stage helps you whittle down applicants to only the most qualified, saving you valuable time and resources. 

3. Analyze the assessment results 

TestGorilla makes it easy to analyze and compare candidates’ test results so that you can make informed decisions about who to move forward to the next stage in your hiring process.

Once your candidates have completed the assessment, you can immediately find out who the top candidates are since all candidates are ranked based on their average scores. However, TestGorilla’s analysis also gives you more granular details in the results. 

By clicking on the names of individual candidates, you can access a detailed overview of their complete assessment results, including their results for each individual test in the assessment.

So, if you’re more concerned about their role-specific scores than their personality test results, you can dig deeper into their results in this area.

To help you keep track of each candidate, you can also summarize your evaluation of them by assigning each candidate a star rating and adding your own notes.

Use TestGorilla’s Numerical Reasoning test to hire the best 

If numerical skills are a must-have for your next hire, don’t rely on guesswork when evaluating candidates’ capabilities. 

Without a numerical reasoning assessment that also includes other job-relevant tests, it’s impossible to gauge whether candidates genuinely have the skills they’ve listed on their resumes. Plus, these assessments allow you to reach objective conclusions about candidates’ full profiles. 

Sign up for TestGorilla’s free plan today, and start using our Numerical Reasoning test to find the perfect candidate for your open role.


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