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According to Hogan Assessments, the incremental validity achieved by combining assessments enables companies to predict job performance in new candidates with greater accuracy. Picture Courtesy of Hogan Assesment


Cognitive ability tests and personality assessments predict different aspects of job performance, providing employers with incremental validity when combined. A cognitive test measures an individual’s ability to solve problems and how they go about making decisions. This is important in routine, structured jobs, where candidates are required to produce solutions to problems, evaluate the risks associated with these solutions and ultimately make quick and informed decisions.


Hogan Assessments offers a variety of cognitive tests and has identified the three best measures that cover all aspects of cognitive ability:

  1. Raven’s APM-III: This assesses a candidate’s ability to identify and recognize patterns, which is a crucial component of problem-solving.


  1. The Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory: This measures critical reasoning and decision-making ability, tasking candidates with solving a variety of business-related problems.


  1. The Hogan Judgement Report – This assesses how a candidate makes decisions, and how they respond to feedback about their decisions. It unpacks subconscious biases and provides insight into how these biases may influence the decision-making process.


However, measuring cognitive ability exclusively has its limits, and will not separate the minimally sufficient candidates from the shining stars. When taking part in a cognitive ability test, a minimum score is required from candidates in order to guarantee that they are capable and qualified for the job. However, cognitive ability tests can only tell you if a candidate can do the job; they can’t tell you what that person will be like on the job. As the old adage goes, people are hired for ability and fired for personality.


Dr. Ryne Sherman, Chief Science Officer, adds: “For jobs that require interpersonal skills, teamwork, or people management, we need to look beyond cognitive ability and the execution of routine tasks, and more towards personality. At leadership level, for example, the predictive validity of cognitive tests tends to decline, as these roles are more suited to candidates with strong interpersonal skills. In these cases, a personality assessment is a more effective predictor of job performance and should be incorporated to identify the right candidate. Only then can companies mitigate the risk of promoting an ineffective genius.”


Hogan Assessments recommends that companies use cognitive ability tests to screen candidates based on their problem-solving ability, and then use valid personality assessments to select the right candidates from this qualified pool. According to Hogan, personality assessments are more effective than cognitive tests and are used to measure key aspects of job performance, such as tolerance for stress, or a candidate’s likeliness to get along with fellow employees and integrate with the company’s culture.

While cognitive ability tests and personality assessments are both robust tools for recruitment, one measure alone cannot cover all aspects of job performance. The synergy of both tests combined – known as incremental validity – is twice as predictive of job performance than critical reasoning tests alone. Organizations can unleash great potential by using combined assessments as part of their recruitment strategy.


About Hogan Assessments:

Hogan Assessments is the global leader in providing research-based consulting and assessment solutions. Based on decades of research, Hogan helps businesses reduce turnover and increase productivity by hiring the right people, developing key talent, and evaluating leadership potential. Hogan’s assessments are available in 57 countries and 46 languages and are used by more than 70 percent of the Fortune 500.


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