Recruiting older workers

Making the right decisions for your business

An important consideration when recruiting older workers is to consider what their strengths and weaknesses are likely to be in terms of their cognitive abilities (thinking abilities or intelligence). By using the right mix of psychometric tests you can easily and quickly identify what type of work older workers are best suited for, and in what aspects of work more training may be required.

This may also help guide organisational restructure and employee development programs.

There has been much research about the effect of ageing on cognition. Read on to find out more about some of the key outcomes of their research..

Older workers are likely to bring with them a wealth of knowledge in their field, as well as general knowledge and life experience. It is known that a certain ‘type’ of intelligence, crystallized intelligence, steadily increases with age, as people accumulate more knowledge (Horn & Cattell, 1967). Crystallized intelligence is language based intelligence, knowledge about facts and information. In contrast, fluid intelligence, or nonverbal reasoning, is known to increase throughout childhood and young adulthood, and to plateau in middle adulthood.

Interestingly, auditory abilities, such as the ability to differentiate between different tones and hear tones of a certain pitch declines with age. However, when competing tasks versions of these tasks were used, where the participant had to divide their attention between two tasks, there was less of an effect of age. In other words, competing tasks measures are less affected by the ageing process than single tasks.

These findings have important implications for the workforce. An older worker is more likely to have greater knowledge of facts and information pertaining to their job, but may have more difficulty with abstract problem solving and tasks requiring good auditory processing, compared to younger workers. They are likely to perform just as well on competing tasks, depending on the degree of difficulty of the task.

RightPeople can help you measure these skills directly. Our wide range of research based, well tested measures include measures of crystallized intelligence, fluid intelligence and competing tasks (Multi-tasks measure). Contact us to find out more.