Kind of the top dog here.
Cognitive ability is widely considered the best general predictor of on-the-job success.
That hasn’t stopped psychologists, social scientists, legal experts, and governmental agencies from debating the accuracy of cognitive ability. So why the debate? It stems from imperfect assessments used throughout history. Differences in cognitive ability across groups have been noted in traditional cognitive ability assessments. These scoring differences are commonly linked to differences in socio-economic status and as a result of structural inequality. We’re breaking away from that by pairing our Motivation and Personality assessments with Cognitive Ability. We don’t like structural inequality. It isn’t fair and it can prevent an organization from identifying the most qualified applicant.
And their research continues to reinforce what Wonderlic has demonstrated since its foundation- that cognitive ability is, bar none, the most effective way to predict job performance. This has been widely supported by numerous studies throughout several decades. It’s predictive of success on the job, and in life.
Since the popularization of cognitive ability, many competing theories have emerged to define the construct. However, the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory has become the dominant model among leading researchers. CHC identifies three layers of cognitive ability – starting at the general level (which is what Wonderlic measures) and getting successively more and more narrow in terms of ability. The general cognitive ability measured by Wonderlic is what has been most commonly studied in relation to predicting job performance across all jobs. In fact, as the CHC theory took hold among most cognitive ability experts, researchers shifted their efforts away from understanding intelligence itself and toward showing that cognitive ability can predict meaningful outcomes, like job performance.
Cognitive ability was made popular in the second half of the 19th century, when (surprise) researchers noticed there’s a correlation between intelligence and performance related to mental tasks. Since then, it has become a permanent fixture of psychological research.
This measure is valid for all jobs, but it’s particularly important for those very complex, technical, and/or creative roles. In other words, cognitive ability becomes more critical as the role requires increased problem solving, rapid learning, and agile adaptation.