Diagrammatic reasoning tests – a useful IT selection tool

What exactly is a diagrammatic reasoning test (DRT)?

The short, simple answer is  that it’s a test that measures “brain power”.  A more precise answer would be that diagrammatic reasoning tests aim to measure logical reasoning skills as well as the ability to find hidden connections between seemingly unrelated objects and processes.

Here’s an example:

Diagrammatic reasoning tests

Try to find the missing output from the solutions given.

If you’re wondering about the correct answer, just scroll down to the bottom of the article.

Practical use of diagrammatic reasoning tests

Now that we have gotten the definitions and examples out of the way, let’s talk about practical uses.

Since DRT is usually described as a fairly challenging test, the most obvious choice for use would be for jobs that are themselves complex and require logical reasoning.

Another trait of the diagrammatic reasoning tests (like so many other challenging tests) is that it puts the user in a quite uncomfortable scenario – little time combined with difficult problems to solve. To adequately meet the challenge the user must have good concentration, attentiveness and stress resilience. Luck isn’t a huge factor in success. Every action must be thought through and deliberate if decent results are the goal. So jobs that naturally require a lot of concentration, deliberate action and understanding of deep connection between objects, favor high scores on DRT.

Let’s sum up DRT using several descriptions: Complex tasks, recognizing connections, logical reasoning, stress resilience, attentiveness and success without additional help – these descriptions, while limited, also match a wide range of IT job requirements. This is why DRT is a viable option for IT selection.

Are diagrammatic reasoning tests (DRT), if used alone, sufficient to predict job performance?

The answer is true for all available cognitive or personality tests on the market – No, of course not. It helps, but alone it won’t be as precise. The reason is that performance is a complex measure influenced by multiple factors. It is a harsh truth, but it is impossible to precisely predict performance based on measuring a unique characteristic, even if that characteristic is a significant factor in the overall job performance.

A very smart but non-agreeable, non-conscientious or demotivated person, will most likely not produce satisfying results, in spite of his/her potential. Therefore, it’s very important to have some data on personality and motivation before deciding who is the best candidate for your company. At the very least conducting an interview before choosing your candidate, will greatly increase the chances of a good hire.

Real-life example:

We work closely with a popular IT academy that uses our DRT for selecting candidates with the best potential for their courses. Because of the huge interest in these courses, they are unable to accommodate all students.  They work with big IT companies which contract their students, and thus the academy naturally wants their students to finish their courses with the highest possible grades. This is why it’s important to pick the candidates with the highest possible potential. For this purpose they opted to use DRT paired it with a short interview. Together. they form a powerful prediction tool the company has been using successfully since they first tried it, six months ago.

When to use DRT?

Here are some things you should consider:

1) If a job is complex and you need a person who is capable of problem solving on his/her own.

2) If you need a fast screening method (i.e. lots of candidates, not much time) to pick those with the highest cognitive potential.

3) If the task requires drawing a logical connection between many different working parts (e.g. programming, engineering)

Answer to the example question: B. The moon symbol adds a circle in the center of the box. The star symbol adds an X, and the cloud symbol replaces colors.

Srđan Matić
HR Consultant
360° feedback and xRT Product Manager
Assessment Systems


Do you have a candidate in mind for this test?  Or would you like to try the test yourself?  You can request a free test that’s available for any company!

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