HighMatch Guides

What is an employee aptitude Test?

An employee aptitude test, also called cognitive aptitude assessment, measures an individual’s cognitive skills and mental capabilities.

Aptitudes determine how quickly employees can learn, improve and solve problems, and are more accurate than other criteria at predicting long-term job success. Typical cognitive skills measured include logical, spatial, and numerical reasoning, as well as problem solving, memory, and critical thinking.

Employee aptitude tests are often used as part of a broader pre-employment assessment; these tests help assess a candidate’s potential performance and capability in the role.

The following guide will explore the benefits of cognitive ability tests, how they work, the most common types, and their limitations.

Benefits of an employee aptitude test

  • Identify candidate potential: knowledge about a candidate’s capabilities helps gauge their future success in the role
  • Screen poor-fit candidates: cognitive ability tests help streamline the hiring process by screening out candidates that don’t meet a position’s requirements
  • Identify skill gaps: the difference between an individual’s current ability and the desired threshold can be used for training and future development
  • Objective data: objective data about capabilities allows for a more fair comparison and evaluation of candidates

How employee aptitude tests work

Cognitive ability tests work by asking a series of questions designed to evaluate a specific mental skill or capability. These tests are often digital and automatically graded based on a set of correct answers. Employee aptitude tests are versatile, accurate, and objective, which makes them valuable for predicting job performance.

Once an individual’s score is finalized, the correctness of their responses can be used to directly measure one or more desired aptitudes. The report generated by the assessment will show how the candidate compares to the desired aptitudes; this information can then be used to make informed decisions about them.

Cognitive ability tests are a type of psychological assessment and should be created by experienced psychologists to assess a specific trait or set of traits. To ensure accuracy and legality, these tests must be rigorously validated, and the assessment vendor should be transparent about their validation criteria.

Types of employee aptitude tests

  • Critical thinking: provides insight on an individual’s ability to analyze and apply information when making decisions or solving problems
  • Problem solving: provides insight on an individual’s ability to identify problems, create strategies, and implement a solution
  • Memory: evaluates an individual’s capacity for attention, concentration, and mental organization
  • Logical reasoning: evaluates an individual’s ability to recognize patterns and draw conclusions
  • Spatial reasoning: evaluates an individual’s ability to mentally manipulate and understand spatial relationships
  • Numerical reasoning: measures an individual’s ability to perform calculations and interpret numerical data

Limitations and bias

Cognitive ability tests are limited by their scope and should not be used as the sole method of candidate evaluation. Cognitive ability tests also do not account for unique talents and problem solving styles. The test may be further limited by the method of delivery.

Cultural bias can also affect the results of cognitive ability tests. If the test is not built to limit bias, individuals from certain backgrounds will be significantly disadvantaged.


Employment aptitude tests are a versatile and objective way to evaluate candidates for a variety of job-relevant cognitive skills. These tests are a great addition to a pre-employment assessment and offer many benefits to your organization. When looking for a cognitive ability test, make sure to work with an experienced vendor that’s transparent about how their assessments are built and validated.

highmatch Cognitive Aptitude Assessment

HighMatch’s personalized cognitive aptitude capability measures the necessary aptitudes candidates need to succeed in your organization, using your preferred language.

HighMatch assessments are designed to measure differences in psychological traits, abilities, and skills, and have been built by I-O Psychologists according to the latest standards.

All HighMatch assessments have undergone rigorous analysis to ensure validity, reliability, and fairness.

HighMatch cognitive assessment

Pre-Employment Testing Buyer’s Guide

With all of the assessment platforms out there, it can be difficult to suss out which one is the best fit for your organization.

Learn what you should consider when evaluating assessment vendors with our Buyer’s Guide.

download the guide

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