Pre-employment numerical reasoning tests for hiring | 2024 Guide For Recruiters

Numerical reasoning tests are among the most popular hiring tools that organizations leverage to screen candidates and identify top talent who have the required skills and abilities to succeed in their role. 

As recruiters, hiring managers, and talent acquisition experts, you will be aware that with the growth of remote work and online job boards, such as LinkedIn, candidates are now able to apply to hundreds of jobs with one click. This has made screening applications and selecting best-fit candidates more time-consuming, difficult, and costly.

In response to this, companies need to strategically design their candidate selection processes to incorporate a range of hiring tools, such as online psychometric tests, video interviews, game-based assessments, and assessment centers. These employment testing tools create a recruitment funnel that helps recruiters to quickly and cost-effectively sift and hire the top best-fit candidates.

In this article, we focus on exploring one hiring tool in-depth: the numerical reasoning test. We look at what pre-employment numerical tests measure, their benefits and limitations, the reasons why employers are using numerical tests in their hiring processes and how you can do this too for your organization.

Numerical reasoning tests present a compelling case as to why they are one of the most popular hiring tests within recruitment. They are an effective method for assessing candidates’ cognitive abilities, whilst allowing recruiters to save time by filtering out individuals who don’t have the necessary skills for the role. We believe numerical testing is a valuable selection tool for businesses to make informed hiring decisions and build higher-skilled teams.

Whether you’re a hiring manager or HR professional, continue reading to discover how numerical assessments can help you select and hire top best-fit talent.


  1. What is a numerical reasoning test?
  2. What do pre-employment numerical reasoning tests measure?
  3. How do numerical reasoning tests work in pre hire testing?
  4. Why do employers use numerical reasoning tests for hiring?
  5. At what stage are numerical reasoning tests used in the hiring process?
  6. Best practices for implementing numerical reasoning tests into your recruitment strategy
  7. When to give candidates a numerical reasoning test?
  8. What employers use numerical reasoning tests for hiring?
  9. Why top companies choose Assess Candidates numerical reasoning tests to hire
  10. Numerical reasoning tests: client application story 

1. What is a numerical reasoning test?

A numerical reasoning test, or numerical reasoning aptitude test as it is also often called, is a type of pre-employment aptitude test. Whereas other pre-employment aptitude tests revolve around aptitudes such as verbal comprehension or critical thinking, numerical tests focus on a candidate’s ability to understand, interpret, and manipulate numerical data accurately.

Although a basic knowledge of mathematics is expected, it is important to note that the numerical reasoning assessment is not a math test nor does it aim to follow the math syllabus.

Numerical reasoning aptitude tests are widely used in recruitment, administered as online pre-employment tests or as part of the in-person interview and assessment center process, depending on the organization’s requirements. They are typically timed, involve multiple-choice questions, and ask candidates to analyze and draw conclusions from numerical information presented in the format of charts, tables, and graphs

For recruiters and hiring managers, numerical reasoning tests should form a fundamental part of the candidate selection process. For data-heavy roles, involving numbers, financial analysis, and data interpretations, numerical tests are essential to identify candidates with strong numerical aptitude. However, we recommend using numerical tests in hiring for all roles as numerical understanding and application is an essential skill required across most industries and many roles, not just those that are traditionally numbers-based. 

What is a Numerical Reasoning Test?

In the following sections, we will explore these assessments in more detail, including what specific numerical abilities and problem-solving skills they measure, their format, and how employers are leveraging them in their recruitment strategies.

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Assess Candidates Numerical Reasoning Tests

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2. What do pre-employment numerical reasoning tests measure?

Numerical reasoning tests are rooted in the principles of psychometric assessments, a field of assessments that has been used in hiring for decades in order to objectively measure psychological variables in candidates such as job-related cognitive abilities, behavior, and personality

Numerical reasoning tests fall under the bracket of cognitive ability tests and are in fact even referred to as numerical ability tests. This means that they measure candidates’ cognitive ability in numerical reasoning

What is numerical reasoning?

In a nutshell, numerical reasoning refers to the ability to reason with numerical data. To expand on this, numerical reasoning skills go beyond basic mathematical knowledge and involve understanding, interpreting, and managing complex numerical information and patterns to reach logical conclusions and solve problems accurately

What is Numerical Reasoning?

Numerical reasoning, therefore, serves as a reliable predictor of how individuals may handle numbers and numerical problems in the workplace, helping recruiters to predict candidates’ on-the-job performance. For example, candidates identified as having strong numerical reasoning skills, in the workplace are likely to be able to: 

  • confidently utilize numbers to solve challenges and problems
  • identify trends and patterns in data
  • successfully conduct numerical analyses
  • make strategic data-driven decisions to optimize business processes
  • draw logical conclusions and solutions from numerical data

Numerical reasoning skills are assessed through a numerical test, where candidates are presented with job-related tasks and challenges requiring interpretation and manipulation of numbers, financial data, number patterns, charts, and graphs. Candidates often have to perform multiple operations to reach the correct answer. 

But what various skills and abilities are involved in the term ‘numerical reasoning skills’?

Numerical reasoning skills is an umbrella term encompassing a wide range of other essential workplace abilities and skills. Here is a simplified list: 

  1. Arithmetic ability: the capability to perform mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using decimals, fractions, ratios, averages, and percentages, reflecting everyday workplace calculations
  1. Data analysis: drawing observations and trends from complex data
  1. Reading graphs and visualizing data: the understanding of charts, graphs, and tables and the ability to extract relevant insights from them to communicate to others
  1. Problem-solving skills: the ability to identify patterns and use logical deductions and analytical thinking to solve work-related problems and challenges involving numerical data
  1. Financial literacy: the capability to work with financial data, such as currencies and currency conversions, reflecting tasks involving financial transactions, financial analysis, budgeting, and investing in the workplace
  1. Speed versus accuracy: the balance between working both quickly and accurately, helping recruiters to predict how candidates might react under fast-paced work conditions
  1. Statistical knowledge: the understanding of statistical methods
  1. Numerical estimation: the ability to estimate and approximate numerical data
  1. Attention to detail: how candidates concentrate on completing tasks 
  1. Commercial awareness: how candidates effectively identify business-related issues and opportunities

Why are numerical reasoning skills important?

Numerical reasoning is one of the most sought-after valuable skills in modern business. Across nearly every sector and department – from tech and finance to marketing, retail, and engineering – employees work with numbers and data. As business processes become increasingly digitized and the world of big data expands, organizations need employees who can efficiently analyze datasets, interpret graphs, and draw meaningful insights from data for informed decision-making

Numerical reasoning is particularly important in industries that inherently involve the use of numbers, such as in finance, banking, accounting, engineering, and data analytics. More specifically, a high proficiency in numerical reasoning is critical for tasks, such as reading financial statements, managing the financial wealth of businesses, risk and budget assessments, optimizing operational strategies, and performance analytics.

Investing in the numerical reasoning skills of your current and future employees is essential for enhancing company performance, modernizing your business, and gaining a competitive edge. Numerical reasoning empowers employees to extract valuable insights, make informed business decisions, and solve problems based on reliable data. In contrast, a lack of strong numerical reasoning skills in teams and organizations can lead to costly financial errors, missed opportunities, poor strategic decision-making, and data inaccuracies

Despite this, many companies still miss the opportunity to accurately assess numerical reasoning skills in their hiring processes, particularly for roles where numbers aren’t immediately apparent. Instead, they rely on CVs to determine candidates’ numerical abilities, a method proven to be a poor predictor of cognitive abilities. On the other hand, pre-employment numerical reasoning tests are a scientifically-validated, reliable method of gauging a candidate’s numerical reasoning abilities during the hiring process. These numerical assessments also efficiently sift and filter out candidates who don’t meet the minimum requirements, advancing only those with the desired numerical skills. 

For example, imagine your business is hiring for an investment banking role, we would recommend implementing a numerical assessment test to determine candidates’ abilities to analyze financial data, perform financial calculations, and reach logical conclusions. Hiring candidates who excel in this numerical test could positively contribute to financial decisions and your business’s overall success. 

Let’s now take a look at an example of a numerical assessment and its format. 

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3. How do numerical reasoning tests work as hiring tests?

Numerical reasoning tests are typically timed assessments that present candidates with 15-30 multiple-choice questions via an online testing platform. As the test progresses, the difficulty of the questions often increases, while the time limit remains demanding. This requires candidates to balance their speed and accuracy, working efficiently under time pressure in order to complete the test and perform well.

Candidates will be presented with numerical information in various formats and be asked to reason with it depending on the question. 

But what type of numerical questions can be found on a numerical reasoning test?

Although there are a number of different numerical question types that different employers use, the most common approach is to ask candidates to solve a series of problems through 4 basic question types. A numerical assessment test typically comprises of: 

  • Numerical operation questions: testing candidates’ arithmetic skills through basic math operations,, fractions, percentages, averages, ratios, and decimals
  • Numerical reasoning graph questions: candidates need to draw data, insights, and trends from graphs, charts, and tables
  • Numerical estimation questions: testing candidates’ estimation and approximation skills
  • Numerical reasoning questions: candidates need to follow multiple steps of data analysis and manipulation to solve the problem

It is important that candidates prepare and practice for these numerical tests by revising basic arithmetic concepts and familiarizing themselves with interpreting different datasets and graphs in the format of a real numerical reasoning test.

Let’s now look at a numerical question example below: 

Numerical Question Example for Numerical Reasoning Test

This example of a numerical reasoning question is from Assess Candidates off-the-shelf numerical reasoning tests. These tests can also be customized to meet the specific requirements of any given role, enabling employers and recruiters to assess candidates’ numerical reasoning skills in the context of the job. Explore more numerical reasoning questions and examples or get in touch with our experts to enquire about customization.

In the next section, we will delve into the many benefits of using numerical reasoning tests in your hiring process.

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4. Why do employers use numerical reasoning tests for hiring?

Numerical reasoning assessments are among the most popular hiring tests that employers use during the candidate selection process. Employers rely on objective insights from these tests to identify candidates with the inherent numerical abilities required for the role and who should progress to interview. Additionally, numerical tests help efficiently narrow down large applicant pools, making them particularly beneficial for graduate employers

In this section, we explore the benefits of using numerical reasoning testing tools in recruitment, including how they increase the quality of hires, speed up hire time, and reduce biases and discrimination. 

Benefits of Numerical Reasoning Tests for Hiring

What are the benefits of using numerical reasoning tests for hiring?

  1. Saving Time and Money

The numerical reasoning test is an easy-to-administer, automated pre-employment tool that streamlines the hiring process. Instead of lengthy manual sifting, online numerical tests can assess thousands of candidates in minutes with the results immediately accessible in one click. This allows employers to determine early on which candidates meet the role’s requirements, enabling hiring managers and recruiters to screen candidates quickly and efficiently and save valuable time on going through multiple interviews with unqualified candidates. 

Numerical tests also help minimize the high financial costs associated with high-volume recruitment. Administered online and typically priced per test or as a flat fee, numerical assessments offer a relatively low cost per candidate, making them an efficient and cost-effective selection method prior to advancing candidates to more expensive methods like in-person interviews or assessment centers. 

Did you know? Using pre employment aptitude tests, such as the numerical reasoning aptitude test, for initial screening can reduce a large candidate pool by up to 50%. This is particularly beneficial for graduate scheme recruitment, helping to sift through hundreds of applications from seemingly equally qualified candidates. 

  1. Improving the Quality of Hire

Numerical reasoning tests are scientifically-proven to accurately predict candidates’ job performance in solving numerical problems in the workplace. They also help employers gauge the likelihood of a candidate’s success within the team and organization. In fact, numerical tests are more reliable predictors of job performance and success than CVs, especially since applicants often exaggerate their own skills and abilities. Numerical tests remain a staple tool for employers to select new hires who will be happier, perform better, and stay longer in their roles and organization.

Numerical reasoning tests are powerful indicators of job performance. When combined with other cognitive ability tests, such as verbal and logical reasoning, their predictive validity increases further. Hiring decisions regarding whether to pass a candidate to the next assessment stage are based on comprehensive combined results about candidates’ skill sets and on-the-job performance. 

  1. Producing Data-driven Results

Numerical reasoning tests are invaluable for recruitment strategies focused on making data-driven decisions and eliminating guesswork in the hiring process. The numerical test provides accurate, quantifiable data on candidates’ numerical skills, ensuring only those with the necessary abilities move forward in the recruitment process. This approach helps avoid the costly mistake of a bad mis-hire

  1. Reducing Bias

Numerical reasoning tests are designed to reduce conscious and unconscious biases in the hiring process. They assess and select candidates objectively based on their numerical skills and ability to perform in the role, rather than preconceived notions around background, education, gender, ethnicity, or race.

Candidates from underprivileged backgrounds may struggle to demonstrate their skills in an interview setting, whereas an objective numerical test allows them to showcase their abilities. This creates a fair, inclusive, and objective hiring assessment process that complies with company policies and is legally defensible.

  1. Improving Diversity and Inclusion

By using online numerical reasoning tests, employers make their application processes accessible to a wider range of candidates who might not be able to travel for interviews. Employers can also adjust the assessment’s cut-off rates to diversify the talent pool and target traits and knowledge gaps in their current team. This fosters a more diverse and inclusive workforce

  1. Ensuring a User-friendly Candidate Experience

From the candidate’s perspective, the numerical assessment platform is easily accessible, user-friendly, and can be conveniently taken at home at any time, ensuring a positive candidate experience. The numeric reasoning questions are designed to be approachable, requiring math skills at the level of a basic high-school graduate. 

By integrating a numerical reasoning assessment into your hiring assessment process, you can confidently select candidates with the necessary skills for the role. This leads to a more successful and productive workforce that performs better and stays longer

Leverage the benefits of numerical reasoning tests in your recruitment process.  HIRE FOR FREE

However, as with any assessment methodology, it is important to take in some considerations before making an informed decision for your hiring process. 

4 things to consider before using numerical reasoning tests

  1. Test Anxiety: Completing numerical tests, similar to any assessment, can cause candidates stress and anxiety.

Solution: Encourage your candidates to practice a numerical assessment test before the actual test. This helps them become familiar with the numerical question types and format, putting them at ease and allowing them to showcase their natural abilities under standard working conditions. 

  1. Poor Predictive Validity: A numerical test does not paint a well-rounded picture of a candidate and their full range of skills. Just because a candidate does well on the numerical test, does not mean they will perform well in the real world.

Solution: Ask candidates to complete a numerical reasoning test in combination with other selection methods, such as logical and verbal reasoning tests, situational judgement tests, structured job interviews, and assessment centers. This holistic approach provides comprehensive insight into candidates’ technical abilities, competencies, and personality traits, significantly boosting the predictive validity of results.

  1. Soft Skills: Numerical reasoning assessments when used in isolation can prevent candidates from demonstrating their soft skills.

Solution: Numerical reasoning assessments measure candidates’ numerical cognitive ability, a crucial skill required in nearly every modern job. We recommend assessing candidates’ soft skills at later recruitment stages; for example, through a situational judgement test, interview, and/or assessment center to complement the insights gained from the numerical reasoning test on cognitive ability skills.

  1. Cheating: It is technically possible that candidates can cheat on an online numerical test or it can be completed by someone else. 

Solution: When searching for solutions on the market, it is important to check the cheating prevention measures offered by assessment test providers. Many third-party assessment providers, such as Assess Candidates, provide cheat detection technology and mechanisms.

With more of an understanding on the benefits of numerical reasoning tests in hiring and the potential drawbacks, we will now move on to the use-cases for numerical reasoning tests, discussing at what stage and in what situations should they be used in the hiring process.

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5. At what stage are numerical reasoning tests used in the hiring process?

Numerical reasoning tests can be implemented at various stages during the hiring assessment process, depending on the role. However, they are most effective at the initial sifting and screening stage, as they offer a quick and efficient method for shortlisting candidates. For the best results, we also recommend combining a numerical reasoning test with other pre employment aptitude tests at this first stage, such as a verbal reasoning test and logical reasoning test.

Imagine you are recruiting for a new employee and have received 1,000 job applications. By inviting all applicants to first take an online numerical reasoning test you can quickly eliminate those who don’t meet the role’s skill requirements. This allows you to focus on analyzing candidates’ numerical skills and advancing only the most qualified candidates to the next stage of assessment, whether a situational judgment test, personality test, video or in-person interview, or assessment center day

Numerical tests are usually administered online. Candidates receive a link to the numerical assessment platform and have a dedicated period of time (usually several days) to complete the assessment. Recruiters then review candidate results via an online reporting dashboard and select the top candidates to advance to the next round of hiring tests.

Below is a detailed explanation of the purpose and role of numerical reasoning tests at different stages of the hiring process:

Stage of hiring processPurpose of numerical reasoning testBenefits
Early-stage screeningTo sift candidates– Saves time and resources by quickly identifying candidates who don’t meet the minimum threshold for numerical skills
– Reduces unconscious bias in the screening process
Initial evaluationTo assess numerical reasoning skills– Provides a more accurate, objective, and detailed evaluation of candidates 
– Often used in low-volume recruitment
Interview processTo assess numerical reasoning skills– Provides a well-rounded view of candidates’ numerical abilities and other skills/competencies
– Reduces bias and subjectivity
OnboardingTo tailor the onboarding process based on candidate results– Provides precise insights into a candidate’s numerical skills, enabling you to customize training sessions accordingly
– Proactively addresses new employees’ areas for improvement
How Numerical Reasoning Tests are Used in the Hiring Process

The incorporation of numerical reasoning assessments at different stages of the hiring process can help organizations save time and resources, reduce biases, ensure a positive candidate experience, and customize onboarding and training according to each new employee. Use a numerical reasoning test at the assessment stage that works for you!

Numerical reasoning tests are also valuable tools for learning and development initiatives within your organization. By administering a numerical test to your current employees, you can identify their numerical skills, strengths, and areas for improvement. Whether it’s for interpreting financial data effectively, managing budgets, or accurately performing data analysis tasks, these insights can help you design targeted learning and development programs to upskill your employees.

Now, let’s explore in more detail how numerical reasoning can be used for job interviews.

How to assess numerical reasoning in a numerical test job interview?

If you choose not to administer a numerical reasoning test during the initial screening stage, it is essential to evaluate candidates’ numerical skills during the interview process, whether through in-person or video interviews. This approach helps prevent mis-hires and skill gaps within your organization. Traditional interview questions won’t necessarily measure how candidates handle real-world numerical problems. Instead, you should consider structured numerical reasoning interview questions to accurately assess candidates’ numerical reasoning abilities. 

But what are numerical reasoning interview questions?

Numerical reasoning interview questions can be split into 3 category types: 

  1. General Numerical Reasoning Interview Questions: These questions are designed to assess candidates’ basic arithmetic abilities for everyday work tasks, such as how well they perform mathematical calculations, analyze data, work with ratios and probabilities, and make quick accurate estimations. 

 Some example general numeracy interview questions could be: 

  • “Share the key trends you can identify from this financial graph.”
  • “What is the probability of rolling a die and showing a multiple of 2?”
  • “How would you calculate a 30% increase in website traffic from last month?”
  1. Behavioral Interview Questions: These questions focus on assessing candidates past experiences using their numerical reasoning skills in order to predict their potential performance with numerical challenges in the workplace. 

Some example behavioral interview questions could be: 

  • “Tell me about a time when you made a decision based on numerical data.”
  • “Describe a time when you successfully influenced others using numerical data and analysis.”
  • “Can you share an example of how you overcame a challenge by utilizing numerical data?”
  1. Situational Interview Questions: These questions aim to evaluate candidates’ ability to practically apply their numerical reasoning and problem-solving skills to specific workplace scenarios and challenges. 

Some example situational interview questions could be: 

  • “You notice potential statistical errors in a financial report. How would you approach identifying and solving these errors?
  • “Imagine your client has a new investment idea. How would you utilize numerical data to assess the risk and provide informed advice to your client?”
  • “Describe the method you would use to determine the most cost-effective business strategy for reducing costs and increasing profits.”

These numerical reasoning interview questions will effectively assess candidates’ ability to work with numerical data. However, a comprehensive numerical test interview should also measure other skills that complement numerical reasoning, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, teamwork, communication, attention to detail, analytical thinking, adaptability, and time management. This ensures at the interview stage that candidates are well-rounded and capable of doing more than just crunching numbers – they can effectively analyze data, problem-solve, and make smart decisions in the workplace, contributing to overall team success and organizational goals. 

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In the next section, we outline step-by-step the best practices for incorporating a numerical reasoning test into your hiring process. Ready to dive in?

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6. Best practices for implementing numerical reasoning tests into your recruitment strategy

When incorporating a numerical reasoning test into your hiring process, there are several best practices that you should follow for optimal results. Below, we have outlined three simple steps to help you shortlist and select the right candidates.

1. Create your numerical reasoning assessment campaign

  • Decide in advance whether to give candidates a standalone numerical reasoning test or combine it with other assessments. We recommend combining the numerical test with a verbal reasoning, logical reasoning, situational judgement, and/or personality test to enhance predictive quality and provide a holistic view of candidates’ cognitive abilities, behaviors, and traits. Using multiple assessments also minimizes the influence of bias in the hiring process.
  • Establish clear cut-off scores for your numerical reasoning test before launching your recruitment campaign. Base these on industry standards, specific role requirements, and the strength of numerical reasoning skills required for the role.
  • Set a firm deadline for candidates to complete the numerical test and ensure all candidates have the same amount of time. This standardization ensures that candidates are assessed under the same conditions, making the hiring process fair and objective.
Create a Numerical Test Recruitment Campaign

2. Invite candidates to your numerical assessment platform 

  • Invite candidates in one click to take your numerical reasoning test via individual email, CSV file upload or public link. 
Invite Candidates to your Numerical Reasoning Assessment Platform

3. Analyze candidate results and shortlist candidates

  • Monitor candidates’ progress in real-time during their numerical reasoning test. Access comprehensive results and detailed reports immediately after test completion. 
  • Leverage advanced tools to rank, filter, and sort candidates based on a range of criteria, such as performance score, assessments completed, hiring status, and more. This empowers you to quickly view and select top talent for your role and organization.
Shortlist your Top Performing Candidates for Numerical Reasoning

By adhering to this structured selection process and best practices, you can confidently make informed hiring decisions. Check out our numerical reasoning tests and how they can help you identify candidates with the numerical reasoning skills crucial for success in your role and organization. 

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7. When to give candidates a numerical reasoning test?

Numerical reasoning tests are one of the most common types of pre-employment tests used by employers in their candidate selection processes. As the questions can be adjusted accordingly, numerical assessments are suitable for apprenticeship level and graduate recruitment right up to experienced managers and senior hires

In this section, we explore the purpose of numerical reasoning tests in different types of recruitment, identify the roles that would benefit the most from these hiring tests, and highlight employers who are currently using numerical reasoning tests in their hiring process.

2 examples when employers should use numerical reasoning tests for recruitment

  1. High-volume recruitment: When recruiting for popular roles like graduate schemes or entry-level positions, you will likely receive a large number of applications and CVs from seemingly equally qualified candidates. Numerical tests can efficiently screen and sift through large volumes of applicants, enabling you to concentrate your time on the most qualified candidates. 

Numerical reasoning assessments as high-volume employer assessment tests are commonly used by organizations for their graduate scheme recruitment as they need to hire several graduates in a relatively short period of time.

  1. Low-volume recruitment: When hiring and assessing for more experienced professional roles, the applicant pool is typically smaller. With this reduced volume, the purpose of the numerical test shifts from sifting through large numbers of candidates to thoroughly evaluating and confirming the specific skill levels required for each candidate.

Which industries and roles should use numerical reasoning tests to recruit and why?

In short, the answer is…most! Virtually all roles across various industries require employees to work with numbers and solve problems. However, some industries and roles particularly demand strong numerical reasoning skills for effective data-driven decision-making and have been successfully using numerical reasoning tests for decades to select top candidates. In these industries, incorporating a numerical reasoning test into the hiring assessment process is essential. 

Industries that use numerical reasoning tests for hiring include: 

  • Banking, Finance, and Accounting: numerical tests are commonly used for banking, finance, and accounting employment. All financial operations heavily rely on numerical data for tasks such as creating financial reports, conducting audits, making investment and trading decisions, completing transactions, and forecasting financial outcomes. Poor numerical skills can result in significant financial losses, which is why most banks and financial institutions today use numerical pre-employment banking tests to ensure they are hiring the right candidates, including Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, HSBC, RBS Natwest, etc.
  • Consulting: numerical assessments are widely used for entry-level jobs, graduate schemes, internships, and senior roles within the consulting industry as numerical reasoning is a sought-after skill. Employers that utilize numerical assessments in their hiring processes include the Big Four (Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG), strategic consultancies (Bain, McKinsey) as well as smaller, specialized consultancies like Grant Thornton and Newton Europe.
  • Technology: numerical skills are important in technology and IT roles for analyzing numerical data and troubleshooting systems and software. Numerical reasoning tests are increasingly used in hiring for technology roles and some employers that integrate these tests into their recruitment strategies are Google, Samsung, INTEL, Microsoft, and IBM.
  • Data Analytics: the growing field of data analytics revolves around using numerical reasoning skills to transform raw data and patterns into actionable insights and trends using statistical methods. Employers, including IBM, Capgemini, and Oracle use numerical tests as a central pillar of their recruitment strategies.
  • Healthcare: numerical reasoning tests are utilized in healthcare recruitment, where work is high stake and often involves the accurate interpretation of clinical data and health statistics with no room for error. Some top medical employers that include numerical reasoning tests in their hiring processes are NHS, Astrazeneca, and Abbott Laboratories
  • Marketing: marketing agencies and marketing departments of larger organizations’, such as Unilever and DHL Group also use numerical assessment tests to hire new employees. Strong numerical reasoning skills are essential in marketing for analyzing sales data, market trends, and campaign effectiveness to inform marketing strategies. 
  • Retail: work within retail involves budgeting, costing, and inventory management – all tasks which require strong numeracy skills. Many major retailers are increasingly incorporating numerical reasoning tests into their hiring assessment processes to identify candidates with strong numerical abilities. These employers include Tesco, Aldi, M&S, and Amazon.

For non-technical sectors, such as human resources or customer service, numerical reasoning tests are still relevant for pre-employment skill testing. For instance, even customer service roles often require employees to perform basic mathematical calculations for customers. Overlooking the importance of assessing candidates’ numerical reasoning skills during your hiring process could lead to a decline in team performance and overall company success. Therefore, prioritizing numerical tests in your recruitment strategy is essential.

Roles that use numerical reasoning tests for hiring include: 

  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Consultant 
  • Data Analyst
  • Actuary
  • Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Law Enforcement
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Management Trainee
Roles that use numerical reasoning tests for hiring

For roles that don’t require high levels of numerical reasoning skills, simpler numeracy tests for jobs are still often used by employers to outline candidates’ numeracy skills, attention to detail, and how they manage challenging tasks.

If you are an employer that is unsure if using a numerical test is the right choice for you, learn more here or get in touch with us for a free of charge analysis of your recruitment needs.

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8. What employers use numerical reasoning tests for hiring?

Numerical reasoning tests have been used in the recruitment processes of large multinational companies for decades. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups are also increasingly leveraging numerical reasoning tests to enhance their hiring processes. Here is a list of some of the top companies using pre-employment numerical reasoning tests:

  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Google
  • Accenture
  • Newton Europe
  • RBS Natwest
  • EY
  • KPMG
  • Unilever
  • IBM
  • HSBC
  • Samsung
  • Amazon
  • PwC
  • Deloitte
  • Tesco
  • Aldi
  • NHS

Are numerical reasoning tests suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?

Numerical reasoning tests have been historically underutilized by SMEs due to the demanding infrastructure requirements. Whilst larger organizations may have the technology and budget to set up candidate testing software inhouse, smaller organizations do not. However, this infrastructure issue has been addressed in recent years with the advent of specialized third-party SaaS (software-as-a-software) solutions within recruitment.

Now, more and more businesses, regardless of size, are adopting online pre-employment testing services, such as numerical reasoning tests, from third-party assessment providers like Assess Candidates as a cost-effective candidate selection tool. They typically cost less to administer than traditional interviews, require no infrastructure setup from the employer, and are quick and easy to launch as part of your recruitment campaigns. These modern online pre-employment tests are fully automated and cloud-based. 

Concerns about the cost of integrating an online numerical test into your recruitment strategy are common, but existing cost models are flexible and offer cost-efficient solutions for any recruitment requirement or volume. It has been proven that the cost of a bad hire or the incapability of broadening and diversifying the talent pool is significantly higher than the cost of the pre-employment tests for hiring. 

The availability of cost-effective candidate testing software and the ease of integrating a numerical assessment platform into your existing recruitment campaign mean that smaller businesses can also now benefit from the modern numerical reasoning test that was previously limited to larger organizations with bigger budgets.

But who are some of the top candidate assessment software providers that you should consider to help implement your numerical reasoning test?

The top 10 candidate assessment software providers

When selecting a candidate assessment platform for implementing a numerical reasoning test, recruiters should evaluate both the quality of the numerical assessment tools and overall functionality of the recruitment platform. Consider the following questions: 

  • Does the candidate assessment software efficiently accelerate candidate evaluation?
  • Can I assess the numerical reasoning skills of multiple candidates simultaneously?
  • Can I access candidate results and insights in a single click?
  • Does the numerical assessment platform provide objective evaluation of candidates?
  • Can I customize the numerical reasoning test and questions to fit my specific role and organization?
  • Is the talent assessment platform user-friendly and does it ensure a positive candidate experience?

By addressing these questions, you can ensure the candidate assessment platform you choose for your numerical reasoning test meets your needs and enhances your recruitment process. 

Here are some pre-employment screening providers to help you assess candidates’ numerical reasoning:

  1. Assess Candidates
  2. SHL Verify
  3. TestGorilla
  4. iMocha
  5. Testdome
  6. Criteria Corp
  7. IBM Kenexa
  8. Cappfinity
  9. Aon Assessment
  10. Sova Assessment

Now we will delve into why employers are using Assess Candidates numerical reasoning tests to enhance their hiring processes and select top best-fit talent. 

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9. Why top companies choose Assess Candidates numerical reasoning tests to hire

At Assess Candidates, we specialize in a variety of pre employment aptitude tests, including numerical reasoning tests, and can build a recruitment campaign tailored to meet the unique hiring needs of any organization.

Below is an example of our campaign reporting dashboard available on Assess Candidates. This tool is accessible to hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals, providing valuable insights and easy-to-use sorting functions to streamline candidate assessment.

Numerical reasoning test campaign dashboard for recruiters

Here are the top four reasons why you should use Assess Candidates’ numerical reasoning assessments for your online pre employment testing:

1. Scientifically-validated Design: Assess Candidates’ numerical reasoning tests are developed by Chartered Scientists, Psychologists, and Psychometricians with decades of experience designing assessment solutions for companies like SHL and IBM Kenexa. Our numerical reasoning tests have undergone rigorous testing and validation to accurately measure candidates’ numerical reasoning skills. These tests consistently have proven successful in selecting and hiring top talent across various organizations and industries. 

2. Expert Reporting: Assess Candidates’ user-friendly and easy-to-navigate assessment platform enables employers to analyze candidate reports in detail and make informed hiring decisions based on flexible criteria. Recruiters can easily view individual candidates’ performance on the numerical reasoning test, then filter, rank, and shortlist candidates. Additionally, our talent assessment platform also offers the option to integrate with your existing ATS for a seamless experience. 

3. Positive Candidate Experience: Assess Candidates’ numerical assessment platform is easily accessible from any device and features an aesthetic and easy-to-use interface for candidates. It provides clear assessment instructions and can be fully branded to match your organization. The tests are designed to require minimal clicks to complete, with the assessment automatically moving to the next question once answered. This ensures a seamless and positive candidate experience, which they will associate with your brand. 

4.  Accessibility Support: Assess Candidates offers support for individuals with disabilities and visual impairments. All our assessments have the option to add extra time, include zoom functionalities, and ensure the use of accessible color schemes and images in compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure compatibility with screen readers.

Assess Candidates is one of the major pre-employment aptitude test providers proven to help small, medium, and large employers successfully hire top best-fit candidates. Why not explore Assess Candidates’ numerical reasoning tests and start hiring today!

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10. Numerical reasoning tests: client application story

Client Problem Statement:

Consider a mid-sized financial institution facing challenges in selecting and hiring suitable candidates for its investment banking graduate scheme. Their current recruitment process successfully attracts candidates who are a good fit for the organization, but falls short in evaluating essential numerical reasoning skills and candidates’ ability to work with complex numerical data. This gap in the assessment process results in mis-hires, increased training costs, and dissatisfaction among HR and business leaders. The organization needs a more effective selection method to assess candidates’ numeracy, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities to determine if they should be accepted onto the graduate scheme. 

Assess Candidates Proposal:

Assess Candidates would recommend that this company asks candidates to take a numerical reasoning test at the initial screening stage of its hiring process. The numerical test would assess candidates’ aptitude in handling numerical data, performing quick and accurate calculations, and solving complex numerical problems under time pressure like those faced day-to-day in the workplace. This would enable recruiters and hiring managers to efficiently sift through large volumes of applications and determine the individuals with the desired numerical skills for the role who should advance to the next assessment stage.


By incorporating the numerical reasoning test, this financial institution can better identify and hire top talent who have the necessary numerical reasoning and problem-solving skills for success in the graduate program and across the wider business. This approach provides a reliable and accurate method to assess candidate skills and empowers recruiters to confidently make informed hiring decisions. Utilizing numerical reasoning tests aids the organization in meeting its talent acquisition needs for the investment banking graduate program, fostering the development of future industry leaders and maintaining competitiveness in the financial sector.

Interested in getting the latest insights and advice on candidate assessment? Keep reading for frequently asked questions and to sign up with your email below to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do numerical reasoning tests measure?

Numerical reasoning tests for hiring measure candidates’ basic arithmetic skills and their ability to understand, interpret, and manage complex numerical information, including data analysis and problem-solving. Candidates who score highly on numerical tests will typically demonstrate strong analytical skills and attention to detail in the workplace, and will excel in solving problems and making accurate decisions based on numerical data.

Where in the recruitment process are numerical reasoning tests used?

Numerical reasoning tests are typically used in the initial screening stages of the recruitment process. These tests evaluate candidates’ numerical reasoning skills and problem-solving abilities to help employers shortlist only the most qualified applicants to pass to the next stage of recruitment. Numerical reasoning tests are particularly valuable for roles that require strong analytical skills and a keen understanding of numerical information, such as financial and data analytic roles.

How effective are numerical reasoning tests for hiring?

Numerical reasoning tests are highly effective for hiring. They have undergone decades of research history and rigorous scientific validation to ensure they are a reliable and accurate method for assessing candidates’ numerical reasoning and problem-solving skills. By using numerical tests for hiring, employers can predict candidates’ performance in the workplace and make more informed hiring decisions, leading to better productivity and reduced training costs.

How difficult are pre-hire numerical reasoning tests?

Pre-hire numerical reasoning tests vary in difficulty based on the test provider and role requirements. Numerical tests focus on candidates’ ability to handle numerical data and solve problems under timed conditions, requiring only basic math knowledge. While some assessments may be more challenging than others, they aim for fairness and objectivity, allowing candidates to perform well regardless of prior experience.

Do numerical reasoning tests ensure objectivity in the hiring process?

Yes, numerical reasoning tests ensure objectivity in the hiring process by providing a standardized, bias-free way to evaluate candidates’ numerical reasoning aptitude. They use consistent scoring criteria and assess candidates objectively based on skills and performance, rather than subjective judgments. Numerical reasoning tests offer fair candidate assessment and empower employers to make objective hiring decisions.

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