Numerical Reasoning Test: How it can help when hiring

4 minute read

Posted by Chris Platts on 15 February 2021

Nowadays, many jobs positions require varying levels of data analysis. A successful company will almost certainly be able to effectively interpret and process data. Employees who can draw logical conclusions from raw data are therefore essential to a thriving organisation. Assessing whether candidates possess these skills can be a challenge, but numerical reasoning assessments can help.

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What is a Numerical Reasoning Test?

Numerical reasoning tests are a form of pre-hire assessment used to measure a candidate’s ability to analyse and interpret data. A typical test requires a candidate to answer a series of questions using data from given graphs and tables, often describing a hypothetical business situation.

An employee with exceptional data analysis skills is able to:

  • Understand how to read graphs and charts
  • Monitor business results and ensure they remain satisfactory
  • Identify issues in the company’s business statistics
  • Draw conclusions as to why the identified issues are occurring
  • Come up with reasonable solutions to the problem at hand
  • Communicate with others within the company about their conclusions

Using a numerical reasoning test can help you identify which candidates have the data analysis skills to be successful in your company. A candidate’s ability to think critically, concentrate on a given task, make logical decisions, and implement quality solutions are all measured within a numerical reasoning test. 

Which companies assess Numerical Reasoning?

Around 18% of current companies utilize some form of psychometric testing in their recruitment, and its usage is growing at 10-15% annual rate. Citigroup, for example, has reportedly implemented numerical reasoning tests in their hiring process. Similarly, Ford Motor uses 20-question numerical reasoning assessments. JPMorgan has also utilized a slew of psychometric testing, including numerical, technical, and verbal reasoning tests. As a whole, successful companies understand that you should not rely solely on traditional recruitment strategies if you want to attract the strongest candidates to your organisation.

4 Tips for Implementing Numerical Reasoning Tests

Hopefully, you’ll have first uncovered whether numerical reasoning is a successful attribute to measure in candidate selection by conducting a thorough job analysis. If you need help with job analysis then feel free to use our free job analysis tool. Assuming numerical reasoning is job relevant and you want to test it, here are a few tips to get you started,

1. Personalise the test

If you want to get a grasp of how a candidate will perform in business situations in your specific company then you’ll want to modify your test to simulate real scenarios your employees go through on a regular basis. Use real examples of data graphs and tables that the candidate would see on a regular day. 

2. Understand what the test is truly assessing

It is a common misconception that numerical reasoning is judging a candidate’s mathematical abilities. Rather, it is an assessment of how well a candidate can interpret data, understand what might need changing, and communicate with others to achieve a solution. It’s important to know what outputs will you get from your test and how it will guide your hiring decisions?

3. Keep in mind that employees can learn new skills

Just because a candidate scores relatively low on a test it does not mean that they will not be able to acquire the skills over time. A hard-working and committed employee will find a way to improve their data analysis abilities over time with your company.

4. Partner it up with other pre-hiring techniques

Numerical reasoning tests should be used in tandem with other recruiting techniques, such as structured interviews, work sample tests, and references. If you’re buying an off-the-shelf assessment then you’ll need to consider whether it’s a fair and reliable assessment of what someone will be employed to do. At ThriveMap, we do not recommend you use any standardised test as a hard filter unless it’s an accurate measure of what the person will be actually doing in the job; constructing a customised, contextual assessment is much more effective and there’s no reason why numerical reasoning can’t form a part of that assessment.

If you’re hiring for roles where numeracy is important then issuing candidates with a numerical reasoning test could help. Using new assessment tools will help you become more successful as a recruiter, and your company will reap the rewards.

Not sure where to start with assessments?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our FREE buyers guide to pre-hire assessments!

Like the idea of adding a numerical reasoning test to your pre-hiring process? Request a demo and learn more about how ThriveMap can improve your company’s recruitment strategy!


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