The most powerful predictor of future performance
6 Sep. 2017

Have you ever hired someone and then realised within the first 6 months, or even within the first few weeks, that the person is not right for the role or the organisation? Here’s how psychometric assessment can reduce this risk.
Have you ever “got it wrong”? Psychometric assessment isn’t the silver bullet but it is arguably the most valuable source of objective data, which, if used in partnership with other layers of assessment, greatly increases your chances of ‘getting it right’.

The problem with traditional recruitment methods

When organisations employ people, they go through a range of decision-making steps. Traditionally almost all businesses use interviews as the key selection tool. Often multiple interviews are used as a way of assessing capability and looking for the right patterns of behaviour.
However, there are two significant problems with this approach. The first relates to the fact that overly relying on one source of data (“the interview”) means that you are likely to be assessing the same type of information, even through multiple interviews, and may be missing out on other critical information. Secondly, unstructured and non-behavioural interviews predict future performance less than 4 per cent of the time – worse odds than tossing a coin.
So, what does an effective selection decision process look like?

Making the right decision about whether or not a person is suited to a particular role within an organisation involves gathering data about the job and the person from multiple sources. And using the tools with the maximum predictive validity greatly increases your chances of “getting it right”.

The tools that work

Research has consistently shown that the least reliable methods of making selection decisions include CVs (correlation of only one per cent with future performance); reference checking (one per cent, again); and unstructured interviews (four per cent).
If you’re being honest, how much do you rely on these tools in your recruitment decisions?
Tools with greater predictive validity include:
• Personality profiling (nine per cent)
• Intellectual abilities assessments (25 per cent).
• Structured behavioural interviews also have a very good predictive ability correlating around 25 per cent with future performance.

Adding these techniques into a structured assessment process can increase your chances of getting it right up to about 60 per cent.

So the tools you use matter a great deal.

But how you use them is equally important. Psychometric assessments are usually applied towards the end of the selection process, just prior to reference checking. Often the preferred candidate goes through a psychometric assessment process, but this can create significant decision dilemmas if it emerges there are significant problems with their results.
A more useful approach is to assess the final two to three candidates – ideally before the final interview and reference checking take place. By doing this, the psychometric assessment results can be further validated through interview and reference checking, and support a more informed final selection decision rather than creating a “pass or fail” situation.

Using psychometric assessment for on-boarding and development

In addition to using psychometric assessments to help make a “yes or no” selection decision, the information obtained should always be used to help “onboard” the new employee effectively by creating an idiosyncratic development plan to ensure they are set up to reach their true potential. You have invested the money in the tools and process; why not maximise the return on investment, and increase your new employee’s chances of success? This approach works for appointments at all levels, not just those senior appointments who are traditionally psychometrically assessed.

Getting recruitment decisions right the first time impacts the bottom line, culture, reputation and performance. Investing in the most useful tools at the appropriate stage in the process has not only proven to deliver better results more of the time, it’s key to successful recruitment decision-making.

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