Predictive Index vs Personality Tests in Talent Acquisition

Man upset with face in handsFear of Tests in Recruitment

A candidate shows up for an interview and the hiring manager informs him he is going to take a “personality test”.

Immediately, negative thoughts start swirling through the candidate’s head —

“What if I FAIL this personality test?”

“What personality flaw are they going to uncover?”

“I didn’t come here expecting to be psychoanalyzed!”

This is no way to begin an interview process, especially when trying to make the candidate feel comfortable and ready to talk candidly about himself. For most potential employees, the terms ‘personality test’ and ’employment test’ carry many negative connotations such as pulling all nighters to study for final exams and then being judged solely on the grades earned.

This is why the use of the term ‘personality test’ or ’employment test’ is strongly discouraged in talent acquisition. When administering the Predictive Index, refer to it as an ‘assessment’ or ‘survey’. If concerned, assure them that this is just a part of the process and there are no right or wrong answers. After all, you’re not going to pass on a well-qualified candidate, with outstanding references just because there are some gaps in his personality profile as compared to your ideal fit.

Predictive Index as a Talent Acquisition Tool

Pie Chart of what the Predictive Index MeasuresTools like Predictive Index help finish the total picture of the candidate, but a word of caution…beware of those tools that measure personality, chances are they are not to be used during the hiring/selection process. An example is the Myers Briggs or MBTI. On the other hand, Predictive Index is a behavioral assessment. It gives hiring managers extremely reliable, accurate and unbiased information about how an individual will behave in the work environment. This is a key distinction vs. ‘personality’ measures.

Consequently, when using an Predictive Index assessment in recruitment you’ll learn specifically about a candidate’s work related behavioral drives and motivating needs — the part that a well written resume or glowing reference may not communicate. Sure, for some highly technical positions, knowledge and skill are so critical that some gaps in expected behaviors become less critical to the hiring decision. However, even in these situations, it still may be the case that a person’s natural self is clearly not a fit for the predetermined personality needs of the position and they may be eliminated based on their results.

This is especially true for entry-level roles where the new employee does not need prior experience and will receive the training they need to do the job. Here the PI results will help determine quickly and efficiently if a candidate’s natural self is a fit for the predetermined personality needs of the position. If not, the applicant may be eliminated with certainty from the candidate pool. For example, hiring someone, whose personality indicates an impatient risk-taker, for an entry level position, that requires strict adherence to repetitive procedures, is neither practical nor valuable to the company or perspective candidate. So while the Predictive Index should not be referred to as a personality test or employment test, it very well could be the factor that tips the scales in the hiring decision.

The Predictive Index Assessment is Only One Piece of the Science of Human Capital Analytics

Since the Predictive Index system was developed specifically for use in the business world, it provides the hiring manager with far more than simply a way to identify a person’s personality profile.

Companies that use PI during the hiring process first complete a PRO (Position Requirement Objectives) — a quantitative survey of those within familiar with the behavioral needs of the specific job. Those results are compiled, analyzed and discussed and may also include the PI results of current employees already successful in the role. The end product is the ‘ideal’ personality profile for the particular job.

Once the desired personality profile is established, companies are provided with specific guidance on how to write the job description/posting in order to attract individuals with the desired profile. When gaps are identified between the desired behavior and those identified by the candidate’s PI, interview questions are provided designed specifically to address those gaps. This greatly enhances the manager’s ability to make an informed hiring decision.

As a Senior Consultant for Predictive Index, I guide clients through the PRO stage and the evaluation of candidates, ultimately, helping them to make smart hiring and people management decisions.

To introduce you to the Predictive Index, I’d like to invite you to take the assessment yourself. I’m confident you’ll find its results both enlightening and actionable.






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jimbutton Strategic Planning Facilitator, Jim Gribble “The Strat Plan Guy”, has decades of experience helping all types of organizations achieve their goals. During the first part of his career he ran profit centers as large as $85 million for leading direct-to-consumer companies. Jim first learned the power of strategic planning in the 80’s as a Product Manager at Xerox. Next, at International Masters Publishers he led a strategic planning effort that guided the company’s growth from $30 million to over $120 million in just four years. As an independent consultant for the past 15 years, Jim has developed strategic plans and marketing programs that have resulted in tremendous success for many clients. You’re invited to learn more about what Jim can do to help your business or organization benefit from effective strategic planning.