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Abstract Reasoning For Employers


This week we ask why employers measure abstract reasoning in potential employees.

Abstract (or inductive) reasoning is the ability to analyse information and solve problems on an intricate, thought-based level.

Traditionally, employers measured or required evidence of intelligence in job applicants (in the form of academic qualifications or learned skills).

Both forms of intelligence (crystallised and fluid) are important for success in most roles.

Many recruiters now need more evidence than academic prowess - increasing numbers now look to measure fluid intelligence through critical thinking, numerical or inductive reasoning tests.


The impact of recent Social Mobility policies

This is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue for employers, particularly given Government and Industry's drive to tackle the widely reported social mobility problems here in the UK.

By attempting to level the playing field and give children from poorer backgrounds the opportunity to compete for places at universities and the work place, applicants' ability and aspiration, rather than education received becomes the most important determinant of likely future success.

There are numerous examples of this approach in evidence.

This is why psychometrics, particularly those that reveal general ability, will continue to have a large role to play in recruitment in the coming years.


How to measure inductive reasoning

TalentLens UK’s measure of inductive reasoning, Raven’s APM, is used by recruiters to recruit into roles where the incumbents have to solve complex problems. 

In terms of graduate and managerial competencies, problem solving is best defined as the “ability to solve novel, ill-defined problems in complex, real-world settings”

Problem solving is an everyday requirement

In the work-place, staff are often asked to solve problems without prior experience or transparent data to tap into.

For more than 40 years, Raven’s Progressive Matrices has been used in occupational settings as a highly respected measure of inductive reasoning.


There are two versions available for occupational use: 

1. Advanced Progressive Matrices - Suitable for graduate, managerial levels & technical roles.

2. Standard Progressive Matrices - Suitable for entry level and non managerial roles

Raven's measures one of the main components of general intelligence - the ability to think clearly and make sense of complexity. 

Because Raven’s APM is diagrammatic in nature (non-verbal) it shows little bias for language and is therefore viewed as fairer test when assessing candidates with different primary languages - it is thus an ideal tool to measure multi cultural work forces.


Read a previous post about critical thinking.


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