360 Talent Solutions

What Is The Cogntive Assessment by Predictive Index?

Reading Time: 10 minutes

When it comes to hiring and developing the best talent for your business, understanding an individual’s cognitive abilities – their capacity to think, learn, and solve problems – is just as crucial as assessing their skills or experience. This is where The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ (PICA) comes into play, offering a window into one of the most critical aspects of potential job performance: general cognitive ability.

In this post, we will delve into the world of PICA, a tool specifically designed to measure an individual’s general cognitive ability, which is a key predictor of their ability to acquire new knowledge, adapt to change, and excel in complex and challenging environments. Whether you’re hiring for a fast-paced start-up, a growing SME, or a large enterprise, understanding how PICA works and how it can be applied in your hiring and talent management processes is invaluable. Let’s explore how this tool can help you save time and money by making smarter hiring decisions, ultimately ensuring that your next hire is the right hire.

Table of Contents

What is The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ (PICA)?

The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™, often abbreviated as PICA, is a fundamental instrument in the world of talent recruitment and development. Its primary function is to measure an individual’s general cognitive ability, a key determinant in predicting job performance and adaptability across various professional settings.

Defining PICA

  • Assessing Cognitive Ability: PICA is a speed test aimed at evaluating an individual’s ability to process intricate information, resolve problems, and assimilate new concepts. This capacity is known as general cognitive ability or ‘g’.
  • Predictive Power for Job Performance: General cognitive ability is acknowledged as one of the strongest indicators of future job performance. It provides insight into how swiftly and effectively a person can adapt to new circumstances, acquire new skills, and manage the complexities of different job roles.

Cognitive Ability in the Workplace

  • Learning and Adaptability: PICA offers critical insights into an individual’s learning capability and adaptability. In the ever-evolving business world, the ability to rapidly absorb new information and modify strategies is essential.
  • Complex Problem Solving: The assessment also illuminates a person’s ability to tackle complex problems and their capacity for understanding and handling intricate information, which are crucial skills in numerous occupations.

In essence, The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ transcends the bounds of a typical intelligence test. It is a refined tool that forecasts how effectively an individual will perform in a job by examining their fundamental cognitive skills. Recognising these skills is vital for making informed recruitment decisions and ensuring that the talent you introduce into your organisation is equipped to meet the cognitive demands of their positions.

A photo of the cognitve assessment by the Predictive Index on a modern computer

You May Also Be Interested In


Discover the art of crafting an impactful LinkedIn profile for executives in 2024 with this latest guide …

The Importance of General Cognitive Ability (g)

General cognitive ability, often symbolized as ‘g’, is a crucial concept in understanding the potential of employees and candidates in the workplace. It refers to the core mental capabilities that influence how we learn, solve problems, and understand complex information.

Why ‘g’ Matters

  • Foundation for Learning and Problem-Solving: ‘g’ is the bedrock of an individual’s ability to learn new skills, adapt to change, and solve complex problems. In the workplace, this translates to an employee’s capability to handle the cognitive demands of their job, whether it involves strategic planning, data analysis, or creative thinking.
  • Predictor of Job Performance: Research has consistently shown that ‘g’ is one of the most reliable predictors of job performance. It’s particularly relevant in roles that require high levels of decision-making, innovation, and strategic thinking.

‘g’ in Different Work Environments

  • Adaptability Across Roles and Industries: General cognitive ability is not limited to specific roles or industries. It plays a significant role in a wide range of jobs, from technical positions requiring analytical skills to leadership roles demanding strategic insight.
  • Evolution of Job Requirements: As the business world evolves with technological advancements and changing market dynamics, the cognitive demands of various roles also shift. An employee’s ‘g’ indicates their capacity to evolve with these changing demands.

Linking ‘g’ to Recruitment and Development

  • Strategic Hiring Decisions: Understanding a candidate’s ‘g’ through tools like PICA enables recruiters to make more strategic hiring decisions, ensuring a good fit not only with the role’s current requirements but also its future evolution.
  • Tailored Employee Development: Recognising the level of an employee’s general cognitive ability helps in designing more effective personal development plans, aligning training and growth opportunities with their potential to learn and adapt.

General cognitive ability is a fundamental aspect of human capital in any organisation. By measuring and understanding ‘g’, businesses can make more informed decisions about hiring and developing their workforce, ensuring they have the right people in place to meet both present and future challenges.

A professonal asking interview questions in an office

How The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ Works

Getting to grips with how The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment™ functions is key to unlocking its full potential in your recruitment and team management strategies. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

Understanding the mechanics of The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ (PICA) is key to effectively utilizing it in your recruitment and talent management processes. Let’s break down how this assessment functions:

Assessment Structure

  1. Duration and Format: PICA is designed as a 12-minute test, comprising 50 multiple-choice questions. These questions are spread across three cognitive categories: numerical, abstract, and verbal reasoning.
  2. Broad Accessibility: Reflecting global workplace diversity, the assessment is available in over 65 languages, making it accessible to a wide range of candidates regardless of their linguistic background.
  3. Scoring System: The results are presented on a normal distribution curve as a scaled score. This method provides a clear and comparative view of an individual’s cognitive ability relative to the general population.

Interpreting the Results

  • Cognitive Ability Insights: The score attained in the PICA offers an indication of an individual’s capacity to absorb and process complex information. It reflects their potential for understanding and responding to the cognitive demands of a given position.
  • Job Performance Prediction: A candidate’s assessment score can be a predictor of their ability to learn quickly, solve problems independently, and meet or exceed performance expectations in their role.

Categories and Subcategories

  • Verbal, Numerical, and Abstract Reasoning: The assessment covers these three key areas, each contributing to the overall cognitive score.
    • Verbal Reasoning: Assesses language comprehension and reasoning.
    • Numerical Reasoning: Evaluates quantitative problem-solving abilities.
    • Abstract Reasoning: Measures the ability to understand and conceptualize abstract concepts.

Application in the Workplace

  • Fit for Role: The PICA results can be used to determine if a candidate’s cognitive ability matches the cognitive requirements of the job. This ensures that the individual is well-suited to handle the job’s intellectual challenges.
  • Future Performance Indicators: Beyond current role suitability, PICA scores can also indicate an individual’s potential for growth and their ability to adapt to evolving job requirements.

The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ offers a nuanced and comprehensive assessment of an individual’s cognitive capabilities. It serves as a critical tool in making informed hiring decisions, ensuring that candidates are not only capable of performing their current job roles but are also equipped to handle future challenges and growth opportunities.

An example of a report generated by taking the Cognitive Assessment by Predictive Index
An example of a report generated by taking the Cognitive Assessment by Predictive Index

Key Benefits of Using PICA in Recruitment & Talent Management

Incorporating The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ (PICA) into recruitment and talent management strategies offers a range of benefits that can significantly enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of these processes. Let’s explore the key advantages:

Enhanced Hiring Precision

  • Accurate Assessment of Cognitive Abilities: PICA provides a reliable measure of a candidate’s cognitive capacity, crucial for roles that demand quick learning, problem-solving, and complex information processing.
  • Predictive of Training and Job Success: By evaluating a candidate’s general cognitive ability, PICA serves as a strong predictor of their potential success in training programs and job performance, particularly in cognitively demanding roles.

Strategic Talent Management

  • Identifying Potential for Growth: PICA scores can help identify individuals with high potential for growth and leadership, enabling organisations to invest in developing future leaders.
  • Customised Development Plans: Understanding an employee’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses allows for the creation of personalised development plans, ensuring that training and development efforts are targeted and effective.

Improved Job Fit and Employee Retention

  • Aligning Candidates with Role Requirements: Matching a candidate’s cognitive ability with the cognitive demands of a job ensures a better fit, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and employee retention.
  • Reducing Turnover Costs: By improving the accuracy of hiring decisions, PICA can help reduce turnover and the associated costs of recruiting and training new employees.

Data-Driven Decision Making

  • Objective Insights: PICA provides objective data, removing biases that might influence hiring decisions based on experience or intuition alone.
  • Comprehensive Candidate Evaluation: When used alongside other assessments, such as the PI Behavioral Assessment™, PICA offers a more complete picture of a candidate’s suitability for a role.

Enhancing Organisational Performance

  • Building High-Performing Teams: With insights from PICA, organisations can assemble teams with complementary cognitive abilities, leading to enhanced teamwork and productivity.
  • Future-Proofing the Workforce: By understanding the cognitive capabilities of the workforce, companies can better prepare for future challenges and changes in the business environment.

Incorporating The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ into your recruitment and talent management processes can thus lead to more informed, data-driven decisions. It not only enhances the precision of your hiring practices but also contributes to building a more adaptive, high-performing, and cohesive workforce.

4 team members working together on a project

Practical Applications in the Workplace

Implementing The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ (PICA) in the workplace can have a transformative impact on various aspects of human resource management. PICA is a versatile tool that can be effectively used across various aspects of HR management. From refining recruitment strategies to enhancing team performance and driving personal development, PICA offers valuable insights that can lead to a more engaged, productive, and satisfied workforce. Here are some practical ways in which PICA can be applied:

Streamlining the Recruitment Process

  • Identifying High-Potential Candidates: PICA helps in quickly identifying candidates who have the cognitive abilities to excel in complex and challenging roles, streamlining the recruitment process.
  • Enhancing Interview Processes: The insights from PICA can be used to tailor interview questions, focusing on areas where a candidate’s cognitive abilities are most relevant to the job role.

Optimising Team Composition

  • Balancing Team Skills: By understanding the cognitive strengths of each team member, managers can create teams with a balanced mix of abilities, enhancing problem-solving and innovation.
  • Strategic Assignment of Roles: PICA can guide the assignment of roles within teams, ensuring that individuals are placed in positions that align with their cognitive strengths.

Facilitating Employee Development

  • Targeted Training Programs: Insights from PICA can inform the development of training programs that are tailored to the cognitive abilities of employees, making them more effective.
  • Career Path Planning: PICA results can help in identifying suitable career paths for employees, aligning their cognitive abilities with roles that will challenge and engage them.

Enhancing Leadership Development

  • Identifying Leadership Potential: PICA can be a tool to identify individuals with the cognitive capabilities necessary for leadership roles, aiding in succession planning.
  • Developing Cognitive Diversity in Leadership: Understanding the cognitive profiles of potential leaders can help in creating a leadership team with diverse ways of thinking and problem-solving.

Improving Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

  • Aligning Roles with Cognitive Abilities: Employees are likely to be more engaged and satisfied when their roles align with their cognitive strengths, leading to higher productivity and reduced turnover.
  • Creating a Culture of Growth: By using PICA to highlight areas for cognitive development, organisations can foster a culture focused on continuous learning and personal growth.
Upgrade Your Recruitment: Smarter Hiring For Next-Gen Life Science Companies

Final Thoughts

Incorporating The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ (PICA) into your business strategies represents a significant step towards optimising your human resources. By providing a deeper understanding of an individual’s cognitive abilities, PICA not only enhances the recruitment process but also plays a pivotal role in shaping a productive, adaptive, and cohesive workforce.

Key Takeaways

  • Smarter Hiring Decisions: PICA aids in selecting candidates who are not just skilled but also cognitively fit for the role, leading to better job performance and satisfaction.
  • Strategic Workforce Management: The insights from PICA enable more strategic talent management, from forming high-performing teams to developing effective leaders.
  • Data-Driven Approach: This tool brings a data-driven methodology to your HR practices, allowing for objective decisions and reducing biases in the hiring process.

The Bigger Picture

  • Adapting to Changing Business Needs: In an ever-evolving business landscape, PICA helps you stay ahead by ensuring your team is cognitively equipped to handle new challenges and adapt to change.
  • Investing in Future Success: By understanding and leveraging the cognitive capabilities of your workforce, you’re investing in the long-term success of both your employees and your organisation.

As we navigate the complexities of the modern workplace, tools like The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment™ become invaluable in making informed decisions that impact the growth and sustainability of our businesses. Embracing PICA is not just about enhancing hiring and management processes; it’s about fostering a culture of growth, adaptability, and continuous improvement.

So, as you look towards making your next hire or developing your current team, consider the power of understanding cognitive abilities with PICA. It’s an investment in your people, your greatest asset, and in the future success of your business.

You May Also Be Interested In

Explore the transformative impact of The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment™ in enhancing hiring accuracy, team dynamics, and leadership effectiveness. Learn how this tool offers deep insights into workplace behaviors, driving smarter decisions and fostering a more productive and harmonious work environment

In Partnership With Humanostics

360 Talent Solutions Ltd is an Associate Partner of Humanostics® , a PI Certified Partner authorised to use the science, assessment software, and curriculum of management workshops of The Predictive Index.

In partnership with Humanostics, we provide companies in the UK and across Europe access to the assessment tools provided by The Predictive Index.

Take the 6-minute PI Behavioral Assessment™ today.  Once you have completed the 6-minute assessment, I will send you a Full Behavioral Report by Predictive Index.

How Can We Help

From supporting the growth of leading pharma companies over the past 10 years, I have learnt that when it comes to predicting future performance, technology is key:

  • Education, years of experience, and references all have low predictive value. Yet, we rely on these for screening early in the recruitment process.
  • Cognitive and Behavioural Assessments, have much higher predictive value, and when combined with interviews, provide the most effective method for predicting future performance.

For me, hiring without the use of psychometric assessments is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing … and no picture on the box. It’s not fun, it takes longer, and when you are almost finished, you realise you have pieces missing.

Take the assessment today and start measuring more to improve your recruitment.

If you are interested in learning more or are ready to incorporate behavioral data into your recruitment process, please contact me today, I will be happy to help.

Let’s get started!

Dave Crumby

Founder at 360 Talent Solutions

Certified Predictive Index Practitioner 

Potrait of Dave Crumby in a suite
Our Latest News & Insights
The logo for STOH
The Swiss Talent Optimisation Hub

Join The Swiss Talent Optimisation Hub (STOH) to connect with HR professionals dedicated to leveraging Predictive Index tools and behavioural science to overcome unique challenges faced by Swiss businesses and drive organisational success.

Read More