Sometimes, a candidate that has been perceived as promising comes in with an unexpectedly low result on the logic test. There can be several different explanations for this. One is of course that the result reflects the candidate’s true score. In that case, a low result indicates that the candidate might have some difficulty interpreting complex information and solving difficult problems. There might, however, also be other reasons for a low score:
- The candidate somehow misinterpreted the task or had technical problems with the test.
- The candidate was extremely nervous or tense, producing a ‘performance freeze’.
- The candidate took the test under very bad conditions, for instance while being ill, very tired, or very stressed.
- The candidate was disturbed or interrupted while taking the test.
In order to avoid the above scenarios, make sure to instruct candidates to take the test under good circumstances: It is crucial to set aside enough time, make sure to find a place where one is not disturbed, and pick a moment when one is not overly stressed or worn out. They should read the instructions carefully and make sure they have understood the task before beginning.
If there are no clear indications that the testing situation was affected by any of the above-mentioned factors, the result should be interpreted as valid. In that case, given that you consider the candidate otherwise suitable and qualified, the next step is to see if there are other data points that might outweigh the results. For instance, if the candidate does very well at a work sample test or case exercise, this could be viewed as overruling the logic result. You may also add questions in a potential reference taking to better understand how the candidate has handled complex information or solved difficult problems in the past. If former managers or colleagues do not at all recognise this capacity as a problem, the candidate might have developed compensatory strategies that offset a low logical ability.
Please note that a retake of the logic test should not be allowed lightly. This is for two reasons: First, there is a fairness problem involved in giving one candidate the possibility to improve his or her result, while other candidates are judged on only one trial. Second, since the logic test consists of a fixed set of questions in a fixed order, there is a risk of a learning effect - i.e., that the candidate remembers some of the questions and the correct responses. In that case, a second test assesses the candidate’s memory rather than logical ability.