Cognitive ability: Measurement and validity for employee selection

Ones, D. S., Dilchert, S., Viswesvaran, C., & Salgado, J. F.
In J. L. Farr & N. T. Tippins (Eds.),
Handbook of employee selection (2nd ed., pp. 251-276).

In this chapter, we provide an overview of cognitive ability’s key role in staffing organizations and provide evidence-based practice recommendations. We first present a brief synopsis of the history, current usage, and acceptance of cognitive ability tests in employee selection. Second, we highlight the theoretical underpinnings and structure of cognitive ability as a construct. Third, we discuss developments in its measurement. Fourth, we present an overview of the criterion-related validity of cognitive ability tests in predicting valued work behaviors and outcomes, including non-task-performance criteria that have been increasingly investigated in recent years. Fifth, we discuss the issue of group differences in cognitive ability test scores both within the United States and internationally. We conclude by discussing future research and challenges facing organizations that intend to use cognitive ability tests in making employee selection decisions.