Cognitive intelligence: Types of cognitive tests for candidates

Cognitive intelligence: Types of cognitive tests for candidates

Cognitive intelligence: types of cognitive tests

Cognitive intelligence is the ability to acquire, process, and understand information. It’s the mental ability to use the information one receives to generate new knowledge. It includes several intellectual functions, such as paying attention, learning, memorizing, making judgments, and reasoning.

In recruitment, measuring cognitive intelligence is crucial for understanding whether a candidate has the mental capacity to learn new concepts.

And although most candidates have skills that help them complete role-specific tasks, it’s harder to find out whether they possess the necessary cognitive abilities. 

Therefore, you must assess applicants’ cognitive intelligence before recruitment. TestGorilla offers a wide range of cognitive ability tests for skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and verbal reasoning that will help you evaluate if a candidate is suitable for the job. 

This article will dive deeper into what cognitive intelligence is and how it differs from general intelligence, why it’s important in the workplace, the difference between cognitive and emotional intelligence, and the types of tests you can use to evaluate candidates. 

Let’s dive in. 

Are cognitive abilities the same thing as general intelligence? 

Most of us have heard the term “general intelligence.” But you may be confused about whether it’s the same as cognitive intelligence. Though the two have similarities, they are not the same thing.

As mentioned, cognition is the ability to build your knowledge and understanding through your senses and thought processes. It involves tasks like making judgments, comprehending information, and reasoning.

General intelligence is an aspect of cognition that determines how someone learns and understands things. It’s usually associated with a person’s genetics, education level, and experiences, and it involves information that they’ve gathered throughout the years. 

The main difference between cognitive ability and general intelligence is that by possessing strong cognitive abilities, you can learn and develop new skills.

On the other hand, your general intelligence stays at around the same level throughout most of your life based on what you learned as a child and an adolescent.

That’s why it’s critical for a candidate to have a high level of cognitive flexibility, i.e., the ability to acquire knowledge.

Today’s job market requires workers to be fast learners who are proficient in several areas. And according to the World Economic Forum, the most important job skills in 2025 won’t be hard skills but almost exclusively cognitive abilities, such as creativity, critical thinking, and analytical thinking.

So, if a person relies entirely on their general intelligence, they’ll be inept at gaining skills that are essential for every job.

Why is cognitive intelligence important in the workplace?

For the reasons above, it’s vital that your employees have the cognitive intelligence needed to process information and learn new skills quickly. 

You can recognize a candidate with strong cognitive abilities by their ability to use their mental processes to quickly solve work-related problems, generate innovative ideas, and perform well in their jobs overall.

Cognitive intelligence is key for success in many roles, so you need to assess it comprehensively to make the right hiring decision. 

Luckily, platforms like TestGorilla enable recruiters to measure hard and soft skills, including cognitive abilities.

Our pre-employment screening tests ensure you hire the right candidates based on their actual skills, not what they’ve written on their resumes.

The tests give you an objective and unbiased picture of your applicants’ abilities, so you can leave the second-guessing out when making your hiring decision. 

Cognitive abilities vs. emotional intelligence in the workplace

One more aspect of cognitive abilities to consider is emotional intelligence. 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and perceive emotions, especially when communicating with others. Strong emotional intelligence helps people manage and express their feelings, recognize others’ emotions, and empathize with them. 

In this sense, cognitive and emotional intelligence are quite different, although both are necessary in the workplace.

Whereas cognitive abilities enable us to learn new concepts, emotional intelligence is crucial when it comes to our relationships with people. A candidate with strong emotional intelligence works well in a team and can discern others’ emotions to make better decisions. 

Therefore, you should keep emotional intelligence in mind when hiring. Luckily, people can learn emotional intelligence, especially if they already have good cognitive abilities. If someone displays strong cognitive intelligence, they’re likely to have emotional intelligence as well. 

What types of cognitive ability tests are there?

Different types of cognitive ability tests

At TestGorilla, you can measure a variety of cognitive abilities. Some of our tests include: 

  1. Problem Solving test: This test evaluates an applicant’s ability to interpret data and apply logic to come to conclusions and make decisions. Candidates with good problem-solving abilities can use their analytical skills to solve complex problems. 
  2. Critical Thinking test: This test uses inductive and deductive problems to evaluate candidates’ critical-thinking abilities. Those who score well on this test are able to use their analytical skills to make solid judgments and understand cause-and-effect relationships.
  3. Verbal Reasoning test: This test pinpoints candidates who can find analogies and recognize relationships between words. Job seekers who do well on this test are capable of drawing conclusions from written text and have good language-based analytical skills.
  4. Reading Comprehension test: This test evaluates whether applicants can comprehend the contents of written text. It identifies candidates with the ability to grasp the main idea behind a piece of text and reach conclusions based on their understanding.
  5. Numerical Reasoning test: This test assesses candidates’ ability to find and interpret patterns in numbers. Strong numerical reasoning is important for jobs that deal with finance and accounting. Those who score well can interpret text, tables, charts, graphs, and diagrams.
  6. Attention to Detail test: This test reveals which candidates are able to pay attention to and draw information from images. It’s perfect for assessing applicants for roles like graphic designers, marketers, and lab technicians.

All of the above tests require 10 minutes to complete and are created by subject-matter experts who constantly improve the tests after receiving user feedback.

You can rest assured that by using these tests, you’ll gather valuable information about your candidates and ultimately make a fact-based hiring decision.

Use cognitive tests during recruitment to make better hiring decisions

As the hiring manager at your organization, it’s essential for you to source and hire top talent. 

Strong cognitive abilities are the key to success in every job, regardless of role-specific skills. Candidates and employees who possess emotional and cognitive intelligence are the ones you should pay the most attention to in your hiring process.

With TestGorilla’s cognitive tests, you can assess candidates’ cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and verbal reasoning. This enables you to make more accurate hiring decisions and recruit an exceptional workforce.

Sign up for a free account to start using them today.

Hire the best candidates
with TestGorilla.

Create pre-employment assessments in minutes to screen candidates, save time, and hire the best talent.

Try for free

The best advice in pre-employment testing, in your inbox.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Hire the best. No bias. No stress.

Our screening tests identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Try for free

Free resources