Assessing Cognitive Competencies at Work

An HR's Handbook for Understanding How Cognitive Skills Evolve with Job Roles and Levels


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Introduction to Cognitive Competencies

In order to measure intelligence, we need to identify the cluster of abilities or skills, in the form of which intelligence manifests itself. These skills and abilities cluster is called a ‘competency’. We have identified the key competencies that help in accurate measurement of our fluid intelligence, crystallized intelligence and core cognitive brain functions.

Core Competencies to Measure Cognitive Intelligence

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Mettl Competency Library

Competencies refer to job-relevant behavior, motivation and technical knowledge required to be successful on-the-job. Aligning HR processes to competencies helps evaluate performance, set clear job expectations and growth plans.

Mettl has created competency libraries across, Behavioral, Cognitive, Domain and Technology based competencies.

EXPLORE OUR COMPETENCY LIBRARY

Competencies to Measure Core Brain Functions


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In business aspect, attention to detail definition includes the ability to concentrate on every minute detail of a task. It is very critical for organizations to recruit resources with good attention to detail ability, especially for profiles that require one to work on huge data maintaining concentration level, and sustain focus in order to ensure quality work without any errors.

IMPORTANCE
  • Reduce errors in the job that requires high level of concentration
  • Ensures that the employee does not make too many mistakes with details and cross check their work
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Comparison based questions on texts, number, images and visuals.

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Memory tests measure how strong our short term and long term memory is by making us observe a variety of objects, texts, shapes and other objects and then assessing how much of that information were we able to accurately retain and recall later.

IMPORTANCE
  • Memory tests are important in jobs where an employee has to observe a large plethora of things on a daily basis and retain and recall them accurately later. E.g. Police force, Doctors
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Visual images

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Processing speed is defined as the time it takes an individual to complete a mental task. It is linked to the speed at which an individual can understand and react to the information they receive, whether it be auditory (language), visual (letters and numbers) or motor (movement). In simple words, processing speed is the time taken to receive and respond to a stimulus.

IMPORTANCE
  • The faster the processing speed, the more efficient a person is in their ability to think and learn.
  • If a person’s processing speed is poor, it adversely impacts their ability to make decisions, behave rationally, and carry out instructions correctly.
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Classic Conners (CPT) test and the direct and indirect digits test from the Weschler Memory Scale (WMS)

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Competencies to Measure Fluid Intelligence


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Abstract Reasoning evaluates lateral thinking skills or fluid intelligence of a candidate’s to swiftly identify logical rules, patterns and trends to formulate meaningful information for solving problems. Candidates with strong Abstract Reasoning ability are likely to be creative while solving novel problems. They are likely to be capable of integrating data logically to arrive at decisions.

It assesses an individual’s capability to reason logically and identify patterns and similarities between shapes, figures and data.

IMPORTANCE
  • Helps in identifying logical rules, patterns and trends to formulate meaningful information for solving problems.
  • Enhances the ability to solve novel problems.
  • Increases the capability of integrating data logically to arrive at decisions.
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

The Raven’s Progressive Matrices

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Spatial Reasoning is the ability of a candidate to visualize and manipulate two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes or patterns or designs. Candidates with strong spatial reasoning abilities are able to quickly analyze and work on complex setups in designs and spatial elements in jobs.

Spatial Reasoning involves creating a mental image of an object in order to reach a certain conclusion.

IMPORTANCE
  • Triggers innovative discovery and simple problem-solving.
  • Enhances the ability to visualize and reason spatially.
  • Displays the ability to draw conclusions about an object with limited information.
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Mirror and Water Image questions

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Creativity tests measure specific cognitive processes such as thinking divergently, making associations, constructing and combining broad categories, or working on many ideas simultaneously. However, they are best thought of as measures of creative potential because creative achievement depends on additional factors not measured by creativity tests, such as technical skill, knowledge of a field, mental health, or even opportunity.

IMPORTANCE
  • Create and manipulate models such as process models or data models
  • Think outside the box to solve business problems and strategize
  • Interpret data in a way that helps in achieving business goals
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Guilford’s test of Divergent Thinking – Alternative Uses Task, Remote Associates

Torrance Test of Creative Thinking – Incomplete Figures, Artistic-Assessment Tests, Self-Assessment Tests

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Competencies to Measure Crystallized Intelligence


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Numerical Ability refers to a candidate’s speed and accuracy while solving simple arithmetic problems that involve the use of operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

IMPORTANCE
  • Interpreting and analyzing numerical data to draw out logical conclusions and make reasoned decisions in a business environment.
  • Deriving information for a business to monitor its progress and performance.
  • Efficiently collect, understand, study, and present data to solve problems.
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Averages, BODMAS, Percentage

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Verbal Ability assesses a person’s capability to understand verbal and written communication. This includes being able to understand words. This essentially means not only knowing what words mean in general but what their contextual meanings are. Verbal Ability also includes using correct grammar and punctuation while writing anything from emails to reports. Being able to process large amounts of information by possessing good reading skills is also an essential part of Verbal Aptitude.

IMPORTANCE
  • Communicating with customers, clients, coworkers and management.
  • Knowing how to construct grammatically correct content. Expressing oneself with ease, accurately and precisely
  • Taking less time to understand and process information
  • Understanding client and organizational needs and delivering them
  • Managing people and relationships
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Sentence Correction, Sentence Completion, audio questions, Essay Writing, Precis Writing, Email Writing, Reading Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Antonyms & Synonyms, Idioms and Phrases

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Data Analysis refers to the ability to structure observations that are obtained from different data sources. This skill checks whether a candidate is able to interpret a large amount of data and whether is able to draw logical conclusions from that. This skill is required to analyze data to identify trends, which can be used to take future courses of action. A candidate who is good at Data Analysis is able to logically think and identify the market demand, identify the problems that may be plaguing the organization by noticing upward and downward trends of product sales etc.

IMPORTANCE
  • Structure observations that are obtained by different data sources
  • Be skilled in breaking down a big problem into smaller parts for better understanding of the problem
  • Follow a structured approach to solve the problem efficiently
  • Accurately measure and monitor the business growth
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Graphs, Charts, Tables

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Critical Thinking and Logical Reasoning refers to the ability to analyze a situation in order to form a judgement. It is based on logical reasoning and evidence. A candidate’s ability to think out-of-the-box to arrive at innovative solutions to a problem. The sub-skills required for critical thinking include the ability to evaluate arguments, draw inferences, interpret information, recognize assumptions etc.

IMPORTANCE
  • Have the ability to use steady and consistent approach to arrive at a conclusion
  • Be good at structuring problems, situations and facts in order to conceive a solution
  • Have a strong thinking and understanding process
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, Critical Reasoning

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Decision Making refers to the ability of the person to take right decisions. It identifies the ability of a candidate to choose between a given set of alternatives. It tests whether a candidate can take the most rational decision when faced with difficult choices. The sub-skills include identifying the cause and effect, drawing conclusions and identifying the best course of action.

IMPORTANCE
  • Making better usage of resources
  • Facing the organizational challenges and problems
  • Dealing with business growth
  • Increasing overall efficiency
  • Achieving objectives
  • Innovating new ideas
  • Motivating the employees
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Statement Conclusion, Statement- Course of Action

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Problem Solving refers to a person’s ability to reason and provide systematic solutions to a given problem. Effective problem solving involves four basic steps: Identifying the problem, Looking for suitable replacements, substitutes or solutions, Evaluating and finalizing solutions and Executing the best solution.

IMPORTANCE
  • Problem-solving skills have a deep impact on our career as a fundamental part of every job is to identify ways and means to solve various problems
  • Problem-solving skills of a candidate are also essential for maintaining interpersonal relationships.
  • It helps measure decision making ability, reasoning skills and numerical reasoning skills of candidates.
TOOLS TO MEASURE COMPETENCY

Arrangements (Ranking, Circular, Linear), Analogies (Verbal, Semantic, Number and Letter)

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