Does IQ Really Measure Job Performance

IQ tests are widely used by corporate organizations while recruiting employees. The corporate culture also uses IQ tests in order to measure the job performance of the employees. But, there are mixed views regarding IQ score being a good predictor for job performance.

Job performance is basically the act of performing the job right. It covers the actions required to perform the job well. Research claims that job performance is not a single act rather it is a “complex activity”, carrying all the actions necessary to meet the demands of the job.

Research claims that job performance is like behavior required to bring desired outcomes from the job. Better job performance leads to success and high productivity.

IQ as Predictor of Job Performance

It has been a century since the inception of the online IQ tests. These tests are widely used by corporate organizations to assess the personality of the candidate they are considering while recruiting. Organizations also use such tests to predict the performance of their employees.

Despite being debatable no one can deny the influence of IQ score in all job-related activities. Research has found out that intelligence does play a vital role in better job performance. But, it is just one factor to measure job performance. There are several other factors as well which serve as the important and undeniable predictors of better job performance.

For numerous years psychologists considered cognitive ability and intellect as predictors of job performance. In the past, smarter people were considered to have high chances to succeed in the professional world. But with time, it was diagnosed that intelligence is just one predictor of job performance. There are several other predictors such as leadership, level of creativity, integrity, motivation, attendance, and cooperation.

Three Major predictors of Job Performance

Research has highlighted that there are three major interpreters of job performance i.e. cognitive ability, growth mindset, and conscientiousness & emotional stability.

Cognitive Ability

Undoubtedly, cognitive ability is considered one of the most important predictors to measure job performance for all kinds of jobs, industries, and levels. Cognitive ability includes reasoning, logical skills, computer skills, and logical skills.

Even a shorter version of these tests can correctly foresee employee achievements in most of the jobs. An extensive version of these tests is more helpful for higher-level appoints.

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is an impression that people continuously have the ability to perform better. A person with an extraordinary growth mindset is always eager to learn more. He or she is always ready to put effort to make circumstances better. He or she shows a willingness to learn a new skill in order to succeed in life.

Research has shown that a high growth mindset is a fairly good predictor of success as well as job satisfaction. A growth mindset can predict job performance for almost all kinds of jobs, industries, and levels.

Conscientiousness & emotional stability

Everyone must have heard about the Big Five Personality Skill test. This test is widely used in various fields. It has five commonly assessed personality traits. The most effective trait among the five is Conscientiousness & emotional stability. It is called neuroticism in the Big Five Personality Skill test.

Conscientiousness measures how obedient, hardworking, and organized a person is. While emotional intelligence measures the extent to which someone can control negative emotions and to what extent someone can successfully move on after the failure.

Such assessments help the managers to find the employees who have the ability to take criticism constructively, learn the lesson from mistakes and improve themselves with time. Emotional intelligence is a good predictor of job performance as professional life requires a person to control negative emotions.

Other Predictors of Job Performance

Social skills are also a predictor of job performance. The dimensions of work are changing with time. The organizations are moving towards team oriented jobs. Assessing interpersonal skills has become increasingly important.

The researchers claim that “contextual performance” also ensures good job performance. Contextual performance refers to performing tasks that are beyond simple job performance, such as volunteering, doing additional shifts, following the guidelines and policies, and endorsing the organizational goals.

The wrong predictors of Job performance

The worst predictors of job performance are the first impressions, deliberately asking the tricky questions from the employees, and similarities between the supervisor and subordinate.

These factors are worst in order to predict job performance. Employees must be given a productive environment where they can perform the given job effectively. It is also seen that managers support those employees more who support their thinking patterns as compared to those who have a different mindset. The strongest work teams are those that include people with diverse ideas, different working patterns, different thought patterns, and different skill sets.

Some managers also listen to their gut feelings while assessing an employee’s job performance. It is a highly unreliable predictor to measure job performance.


Undoubtedly, Intelligence is one of the strongest interpreters of job performance. Smart people perform better at their jobs. They have a good capacity to improvise their working patterns according to the given situations.

But, there are other predictors as well which cannot be neglected. The environment, working practices, leadership, interpersonal skills, growth mindset, and emotional intelligence also predict job performance. Just looking at one side of the story does not mean the whole story.

Being responsible, dutiful, dependable, flexible, and organized take an employee closer to success, and success is correlated to better job performance.

The management should not be over-obsessed by intelligence. It is the wrong practice to take it as the only predictor of better job performance. Having high cognitive abilities are important for performing a job better. There are several activities highlighted by research to increase cognitive ability such as gaming activities, puzzles, book reading, and 3D models, etc.

A person needs to be willing to learn new things, face new challenges, must be flexible enough to adapt to the changing trends of the organization. Employees who are willing to go the extra miles always have high job performance.

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