The Importance of Intelligence Tests in Modern Recruitment

3 October 2020
6 minute
intelligence testing in recruitment blog header

Finding the right candidate in an ever-changing environment has become critical to business success.

Over the last few decades, businesses have utilised a variety of tools to get the people they think are suitable for the role; with varying degrees of results. 

Whether it has been guesswork, a gut feel, standard IQ tests or even a mixture of all three, whatever the method, businesses have tried to find an answer to their recruitment requirements. This poses the question, what else is there and does it work? 

We believe that there is an answer and it lies within intelligence tests. Over the course of this guide, we will look into the importance of intelligence tests in recruitment, how they work, and the overall advantages of doing these tests. 

At Thomas our General Intelligence Test measures an individual's aptitude in 5 key areas: Reasoning, Perceptual Speed, Number Speed & Accuracy, Word Meaning and Spatial Visualisation.

What are intelligence tests for recruitment?

We describe intelligence tests as, “the skill required to test a candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks and react to a range of different situations.” Known also as aptitude assessments, or even perceptual speed or cognitive ability assessments, they help “give a detailed understanding of how quickly a person will adapt to a new role or regime.”

Understanding a candidate’s ability to perform tasks or knowing how they will react to different situations is of course a huge advantage. Let’s take a look at why that is and how it can benefit in the recruitment process. So, why are they good for managers?

It feels like a simple question therefore there must be a simple answer, right? Well kind of. In short, knowing if your new employee has the ability to carry out the work is of course an advantage. These kinds of assessments however do something further. 

They are not standard IQ tests, they measure something else. Intelligence assessments are trying to uncover insights across different disciplines. As a business manager, if your line of work poses daily challenges, you want someone that can demonstrate the ability to adapt and change and show the attitude to do this before hiring. 

Of course, there are other stakeholders that would benefit from this kind of testing as well; HR professionals and hiring managers for example. With workplaces becoming more virtual and globally disjointed, tasks changing based on new ways of working and thinking, being prepared and having staff that are prepared is always a key advantage. 

If done correctly, internal recruitment using intelligence tests can help identify tomorrow’s leaders. ‘A business is only as good as the people that it employs’ as the old saying goes. 

How are intelligence tests performed?

Depending on who provides the test there will be variances across the board. Thomas’ General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) tests candidates through a mixture of verbal and non verbal testing. 

Verbal tests such as verbal reasoning and situational judgement, assess an individual’s ability to analyse verbal data and make astute decisions. Non-verbal tests normally include numerical reasoning or inductive reasoning, assessing someone’s ability to handle numerical data, patterns and problem-solving.

Thomas’ GIA consists of five online tests that rely on processes such as thought, language, decision making, learning and memory. Each test measures a cognitive function, for example; 

  • Perceptual Speed
  • Reasoning 
  • Speed & Accuracy 
  • Spatial Visualisation 
  • Word Meaning 

Combined, these give an overall assessment of the candidate’s intelligence to perform for the role that they are being hired for.  

What are the advantages of using intelligence tests in recruitment?

For many years, the IQ test has been a conversation starter as well as a recruitment method. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) was established in the early 1900s as a way to create a standardised measure of intelligence. This is great if you want to compare how smart you are to someone else in a bar discussion, but when it comes to the workplace, other key elements are required. 

An intelligence test is designed to understand ability. It does this by assessing critical thinking, learning abilities and so on. Thomas’ General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) measures an individual's aptitude in 5 key areas: Reasoning, Perceptual Speed, Number Speed & Accuracy, Word Meaning and Spatial Visualisation.

So how does it help recruiters? Here are five reasons how it can help. 

1. It makes recruitment more targeted 

If you have a specific role that you are looking to get fulfilled, already knowing if the candidate can learn or adapt to the new job or regime is a bonus from the get-go. It also removes from the selection those that aren’t suitable but may be for a different position. 

2. It saves time and money

Before a candidate steps into the office, knowing if they have the skills to perform the tasks is a massive advantage. Our test is performed online and we get a body of data from the results that help identify the candidates you want to speak to saving time from having to meet and talk to everyone or a large group of candidates over the course of a few days. 

3. You get future insights into your candidates

Not only will you be getting a more rounded selection of candidates based on what they are trying to achieve with a move into your business, you get an insight into how they can problem solve and perform moving forwards. 

4. Your candidates are treated equally in testing

Some people struggle with interviews, others excel. This does not mean that the candidate who has great people skills might be right for the role or vice versa. What this does do is focus on the strengths and weaknesses that you won’t get from a standard sit-down interview; making this process fairer to the candidates and to the business involved. 

5. Recruitment is adapting to an ever-changing working environment

With recent global events face-to-face meetings are harder and technology can’t always be trusted. In an ever-changing environment having more data to base decisions is going to be crucial and with online testing that helps you get the pick of the candidates you want. 

Intelligence assessments have become a critical part of the recruitment process. They not only give valuable information and insights, they help determine and identify the candidates that can show the skills to help garner long term results. Used correctly, businesses can pick out individuals that show how much they can adapt, learn and grow within the business whilst also reducing costs and saving time. 

Thomas’ GIA is designed to help businesses discover more about the candidate as well as providing detailed understanding that businesses can work with. The GIA can help you answer questions about your workforce including, ‘Can your people think on their feet?’, ‘Can they cope with the mental demands of the job?’, ‘Are they good problem solvers?’ and ‘How quickly can they learn?’.

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