Cognition is King: The Candidate Superpower Recruiters Can’t Ignore
The Future of Work

Cognition is King: The Candidate Superpower Recruiters Can’t Ignore

by Carla Dewing
Cognition is King: The Candidate Superpower Recruiters Can’t Ignore
  • Cognition is King: It Starts Here
  • The Third Age: One Trait to Rule Them All
  • The Ever-Widening Gap: Who Are You Hiring?
  • High Cognitive Ability + AI = Superpowers
  • A Glimpse into The Future of Tech Hiring

Cognition is King. Can you feel it? We’ve stepped into the third age of the internet and we’re not alone. Recruiters are in a unique position to find candidates who will build the empires of tomorrow. If you know what to look for.

Before the rise of internet marketing, e-commerce, and drag-and-drop interfaces. Before streaming, social media networks and influencer culture. Back when remote work was as fast as owl post and the internet had just reached its teen years. 

Bill Gates said, “Content is King.”

That was 26 years ago. It was low-key succeeded by the mobile platform boom – which prompted people to declare “Context is King.” 

So here we are:

  • The First Age: Content ruled the internet (creating things)
  • The Second Age: Context ruled the internet (creating things for specific online platforms)

And now, we have a new ruler: Cognition. 

Cognition is King: It Starts Here 

There’s already 100 years’ worth of evidence that has proven candidates with high cognitive aptitude outperform their peers. But what happens when these individuals master AI? 

Think of it this way - making AI publicly available is like giving everyone access to jetpacks. Few people will be able to operate them, even fewer will master their daily use. But hand a jetpack to a talented pilot, and a devastating match results.

In the same way, giving someone with high cognitive ability access to AI, combines the two types of cognition that can make miracles happen. And we’re here for it. 

Cognition is King: When biological intelligence combines with artificial intelligence.

Long live the new ruler - a gorgeous blend of biological and artificial intelligence that will result in bigger, better ideas come to life. 

Building on context, the aptitude a person has to use AI tools in their work just became the next wave of opportunity. 

This is the people-owned internet, supported by artificial intelligences, ever increasing decentralization and an individual’s cognitive aptitude. 

  • Welcome to the third age: Contextual content created by those who use AI to rule the internet AND the real world.

Recruiters, company hiring managers and Founders – lean in and listen up.

The Third Age: One Trait to Rule Them All

The second age showed us the power of tools in the hands of the few.

Brian Wong made a fortune with a mobile rewards app, becoming wildly successful in his twenties. Everyone from Disney to Amazon jumped onboard. It’s a typical second age story. 

Boy makes code. The code makes him a millionaire. Creating for a mobile context was where opportunity lived.

But now a shift has happened. 

Artificial intelligence has stripped away barriers. You no longer need to be able to code, or draw, or write to create something people love. Or to improve business processes. Or to fix a workflow issue. You just need to know how to effectively use AI.

The applications are only limited by the person using the AI.

High cognitive aptitude candidates better posed to use AI. Colorful brain.

Which brings you to this moment in time. The moment that will define the next 20 years. 

  • WHO is perfectly positioned to make the most of AI tools? 
  • WHO will be the creators, the accelerators, the super-powered builders of the third age?

The answer is: People with high cognitive ability.

The Ever-Widening Gap: Who Are You Hiring?

Job candidates with high cognitive ability can reason, plan, problem-solve, think abstractly, learn faster, and can grasp complex ideas quicker than candidates with lower cognitive function.

Companies already know this and it's why tech is obsessed with hiring the smartest people. And while it might outrage some who call it discriminatory – it’s the same everywhere. 

In the theater, directors hire the best actors. The currency is emotional connection with the crowd. In sport, the best athletes are traded like commodities from team to team. The currency is sporting talent. 

In tech, cognitive ability is the fundamental currency of knowledge work. 

In each business sector, the goal is to perform at the highest level. 

It was only a matter of time before smart people figured out how to make themselves smarter. 

High Cognitive Ability + AI = Superpowers

There is already a mountain of evidence that proves people with higher cognitive ability perform better in their jobs. Evidence also exists that these individuals will be the ones using AI in ways that will benefit the companies they work for most. 

The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences says, 

“The higher an individual's cognitive abilities, the more able that person is to develop innovations and implement innovations from other sources.”

Quote by the international encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences.

Among the emerging arguments:

  • Human cognitive capabilities are one of three key elements needed to use AI effectively.
  • Higher cognitive capacity individuals have stronger complex problem solving skills, essential for evolving AI, organizing data volume, and making sense of strategic possibilities with AI.
  • They have faster information assimilation skills which means they can adapt to AI quicker than their peers. 
  • People with high cognitive ability are more resistant to irrelevant, falsified information which at these early stages is a huge benefit (when much of what is generated isn’t true).
  • There is a correlation between high cognitive ability and creative and innovative thinking. Novel uses for AI and strategic uses that result in greater performance, are more likely than with lower cognitive ability individuals. 
The best job candidate for performance with be a high cognitive ability individual who uses AI.

These are just some ways a job applicant with higher cognitive ability would perform better in a role where AI could be used for performance-enhancement. 

There are lots of other ways too - risk mitigation, effective integration of human and artificial intelligence (AI awareness), and raising overall team productivity through training and efficiency improvements. 

A Glimpse into The Future of Tech Hiring

A quote by Karim Lakhani on AI.

“Humans with machines will replace humans without machines.” 

- Karim Lakhani, AI Expert, HBR interview 

AI isn’t going to replace jobs, it will replace tasks. AI aptitude is a devastating skill in the hands of an HCA candidate. 

Think about what that statement means and how it will change an individual’s value as an employee in the coming years. 

People who are learning to use AI are becoming 2-3X more productive than everyone else. 

Many of these individuals were already considered super-performers. Now with the assistance of AI as a copilot – the average person won’t be able to keep up. 

The gap is widening. Small companies will choose to hire these super performers over teams. Teams will be built of AI super performers in larger companies. 

These individuals will be highly valued. And not just because they’ll be more productive. But because they’ll make the most impact on a company’s bottom line. 

We don’t have data yet on how much – but it’s coming. And it’s going to be WILD.

Find the applicants that will become the stars of the third age. 

Cognition is King!

Hire HCA Candidates

Need help with your hiring goals?
We can help you hire top 1% global talent.
Section Separator Top

Want to read more?
We have a lot more where that came from