Those job intelligence tests often don't pick the best person

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Those intelligence tests used by employers and recruiters don’t always produce the best people for the job, according to the latest research.

Traditional tests measure “intelligence capacity” but fail to establish so-called “realised intelligence”, or the level of intelligence achieved when faced with multiple demands in the real world.

A groundbreaking study at the University of Sydney Business School uses neuroscience to improve workplace management.

“Job candidates taking traditional intelligence tests typically do not have to multitask or deal with other cognitive demands that reduce available intelligence resources,” says Dr Stefan Volk.

“On the other hand, employees who are best at multitasking, and therefore the demands of the job, are often not those who score well in such tests.”

He says companies often hire people who have a high intelligence capacity and are good at tests but ignore those who perform better in the real world.

Dr Volk and US co-authors William Becker and MK Ward, in an article “Leveraging neuroscience for smarter approaches to workplace intelligence“, advocate a new definition of intelligence.

This is focused on an ability to recognise a problem and to direct and maintain available brain resources towards solving it, while ignoring distractions.

“This definition encompasses not only intelligence capacity, often used for employee selection via traditional intelligence testing, but also realised intelligence, that is, the degree to which intelligence capacity can be applied in practical workplace situations,” Dr Volk says.

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