Critical Thinking Skills Predict Success

Critical thinking is crutial for successful team interactions and problem solving.[i]

Cognitive skills are the mental processes that allow people to perceive, understand, and analyze information objectively and rationally.  These skills are essential for high rates of attention to detail, conscientiousness, problem-solving ability, and decision-making.[ii]

People who lack critical thinking skills may blindly accept what they are told without questioning its validity or considering alternate perspectives, and are susceptible to manipulation by others.

Finding employees with good cognition and critical thinking skills is one of the top challenges being faced by employers for the past decade.  As reported in the Financial Post, a 2021 report by RBC Economics[iii] found that, “There’s been a rise in postings targeting critical thinking (up 37 per cent), flexibility (up 20 per cent), teamwork (up 18 per cent), the ability to learn (up 15 per cent), continuous improvement (up 12 per cent), problem solving (up 9 per cent) and strategic thinking (up 8 per cent).[iv]

The sectors most looking for workers with such skills are health care, education, sales, and service.

According to a new survey from Harris Poll, commissioned by Express Employment Professionals, 59 per cent of Canadian businesses say they can’t find qualified employees to fill vacancies.  A third of those businesses say one big reason is because prospective hires don’t have soft skills such as dependability, flexibility and a willingness to learn.[v]

Employers should care about the cognitive ability of their applicants because those without these skills are likely to cause big headaches for you.  At least 80% of the Fortune 500 companies use cognitive and IQ tests during the hiring process.[vi]

Cognitive abilities include a variety of skill sets, including:

  1. Verbal reasoning
  2. Numerical reasoning
  3. Logical reasoning
  4. Spatial ability
  5. Learning agility
  6. Perceptual speed and accuracy[vii]

Assessments of cognition and critical thinking are some of the most accurate predictors of employee success.  They should be a part of every employer’s candidate vetting process.

If you need to ensure that the people that you’re on-boarding can really perform to your expectations (or exceed them) then assessing their cognitive and critical thinking abilities will increase your success rate, decrease your turnover, save you money, make your workforce happier, and your workplace more efficient.

The even better news is that there’s a plethora of options to choose from that are designed to fit every budget.

Creative Organizational Design offers over 20 ways to measure the cognitive skills of your applicants and employees.

  1. ACER Test of Abstract Reasoning – designed for numerous applications to help screen applicants for things like problem solving, and analyzing skills in roles such as technical, clerical, and administrative positions.
  2. Advanced Numerical Reasoning Appraisal – assesses higher-level numerical reasoning skills for managing complex business information.
  3. Adaptive Reasoning Test – screens applicants for cognitive ability as it relates to success on the job.
  4. Analytical Reasoning Test – assesses inductive and deductive reasoning skills , verbal and quantitative reasoning skills for roles where logic and reasoning skills are paramount in business decision-making.
  5. Core Abilities Assessment – screens for an applicant’s critical reasoning skills and their ability to learn and perform on the job.
  6. Creativity & Problem Solving Aptitude Test – assesses problem solving attitudes and creative thinking ability in clients or employees.
  7. Creativity and Innovation Effectiveness Profile – assesses individual creativity and builds business skills like willingness to experiment and take risks.
  8. Differential Aptitude TestsTM – Next Generation – assess the levels of a number of cognitive abilities and aptitudes.  Measuring these cognitive abilities can give an indication of an individual’s aptitudes across a wide range of occupations.
  9. Employee Attitude and Personality Test – Revised – an assessment of a person’s work personality profile, including trainability, initiative, abrasiveness, analytical thinking, emotional stability and more.
  10. General Cognitive Aptitude Test – assesses the general mental ability of your candidates to see how able they are quick to pick up new information, be alert to new ideas that might be applied to their jobs, capable of grasping difficult concepts on their own, and more.
  11. General Reasoning Aptitude Test – assesses candidates in several types of reasoning including numerical, verbal, spatial, logic math and more.
  12. Logic IQ Test – assesses a person’s ability to logically discern numerical patterns and to apply them to new contexts, to complete numerical computations, and to solve geometrical, mathematical and logic word problems.
  13. Numeric Reasoning Aptitude Test – screens for basic numerical reasoning and quantitative reasoning skills in roles like finance clerks, estimators, buyers, bank tellers, loan officers, field sales candidates, managers and supervisors.
  14. Numerical Data Interpretation Test – assesses numerical reasoning ability, related to the interpretation and manipulation of the types of numerical data routinely encountered in the workplace.
  15. Pattern Series Test of Abstract Reasoning – screens applicants for basic mental ability, speed at learning new ideas and concepts and then use the knowledge effectively.
  16. Personnel Assessment Form – assesses mental ability and identify quick learners, communication and decision-making skills in leadership and management candidates.
  17. Problem-Solving & Decision-Making Profile – determines an individual’s self-reported level of competence in 7 problem solving competencies.
  18. Psychometric Personality Test with Cognitive Aptitude Test – screens applicants for intelligent, ethical and hard-working employees.
  19. Raven’s™ Progressive Matrices – measures non-verbal mental ability, identify individuals with advanced observation and thinking skills who can handle the complexity and ambiguity of the modern workplace.
  20. Verbal Reasoning Aptitude Test – identifies people who are very effective communicators and those who are able to inform, persuade, motivate, counsel, or coordinate activities among co-workers or customers.
  21. Wesman Personnel Classification Test – measures the ability to reason through analogy and the perception of verbal relationships.
  22. Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test – measures an individual’s ability to learn, adapt, solve problems, and understand instructions.
  23. Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal – measures critical thinking ability and decision making in high-potential professionals, new managers, and future leaders.

If you’re struggling to find people who:

  • can problem solve,
  • have high attention to detail skills,
  • are logical,
  • are easily trained,
  • can analyze,
  • communicate effectively,
  • ‘think outside of the box’,
  • are conscientious, and
  • are creative abstract thinkers,

then cognitive aptitude and critical thinking assessments are probably just what you’ve been looking for!

Let us help you find exactly what you need to solve your problems with, because more often than not, there’s a test for that!



David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design, a firm offering nearly 40 years of expertise specializing in employee assessments and which has over 2000 different product titles available. Creative Organizational Design has 100s of assessment tools designed to help employers screen out other people’s rejects, assess skills, aptitude, attitude and ‘fit’ within an organization. For more information about the options available and help selecting the best tools for your needs please contact us.  Please send comments about this article to


[i] Why Critical Thinking Is Important in the Workplace

[ii] Cognitive Thinking Skills – Dr Jane Yeomans –

[iii] The Coming Creativity Boom: How human ingenuity will power the 2020s

[iv] Posthaste: Canadian businesses say they can’t find employees because applicants are lacking these crucial skills

[v] Posthaste: Canadian businesses say they can’t find employees because applicants are lacking these crucial skills

[vi] Cognitive ability most accurate predictor of employee’s success: Report –

[vii] 6 Predictors Of Job Performance To Look For In Your Candidates,for%20careers%20at%20every%20level.

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