Predictive assessments have been used in some form or another since the turn of the 20th century — the “science of selection” was used during WWI, cognitive ability and personality assessments were used by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII, and by the 1950s 40-75% of organizations in the private sector were using some form of assessment as part of the selection process. Fast forward to the present where at least 82% of employers use some form of pre-employment assessment as part of their hiring process with research indicating those organizations using predictive, pre-employment assessments are 24% more likely to have employees exceeding performance goals.

Unfortunately, there is a difference between “some form of an assessment” and “predictive assessments” — a highly important distinction much of the buying public does not make in these scenarios. In fact, the majority of Fortune 100 companies use personality assessments such as the MBTI and DISC, with no real predictive validity. As such, they neglect to establish a link between a candidate’s test results and their job behaviors, meaning they are of little predictive value regarding job performance. Unlike unscientific, overly simplistic, vague personality tests, a solid pre-employment assessment, like the Whole Person Assessment option from The JDL Group, has been validated time and time again against real-world job performance, has exceptional predictive abilities and excellent potential to improve your company’s bottom line by delivering data-driven solutions to your hiring process.

Our team of licensed I/O psychologists break down the top reasons every business should use scientific, predictive assessments as part of their hiring process, including better interviewing, reducing unconscious recruiter bias, preventing bad hires, improving culture fit and reducing turnover.

1.  Better Way to Interview

You can’t always rely on what you hear in a job interview. Candidates put their best foot forward, have likely conducted research on your organization (and possibly you), and often tell you what they think you want to hear. Articles come out every day on how to ace job interviews, lists of the most commonly asked questions and how to answer them are all over the internet, along with how-to videos that walk job seekers through the process of how to build a resume that will get them hired. An assessment gets to the heart of what you need to know instead of trying to read between the lines, increasing objectivity in your hiring and decreasing your reliance on interview pageantry in the process.

Many of The JDL Group’s reporting options come with a focused interview guide, helping clients use assessments for an appropriate purpose — to DRIVE interview behavior. The JDL Group’s Interview Guide has over 2,000 interview questions validated by real-world outcomes and tailored to areas of concern for each candidate. Instead of using a set list of questions, The JDL Group gives you candidate-specific layouts that will tease out what you need to know, getting candidates to reveal their behaviors and characteristics instead of reciting talking points. For instance, if a candidate indicates a low attention to detail and this characteristics was found to be job-related, then the report would display a “low detail-oriented” interview question with a strong history of eliciting a “real” response that is associated with future job performance. The assessment report allows employers to gain insight into potential job performance and culture fit concerns in your organization and the additional interview guide helps you see how this will impact the candidate once on the job.

“If you interview a candidate and in two seconds know he is extroverted and the assessment says he is extroverted, why ask any more interview questions about social outgoingness? But, if you say you need attention to detail and the assessment comes back and says the candidate likely is low in attention to detail, shouldn’t follow up questions ask about this characteristic?” explains Dr. Jared D. Lock, founder and CEO of The JDL Group.

2.  Reduce Unconscious Bias

Interviews open the door for unconscious recruiter bias and while some hiring managers may have relied on instinct and first impressions to select talent in the past, they may be unaware those decisions have been swayed by distracting information. According to Harvard Business Review, unstructured interviews invite unconscious bias into decision making, causing hiring managers to overlook major flaws in someone who looks good on paper.

The JDL Group uses assessment data to orient the interview process around the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. Questions are made relevant to the individual, focusing on their ability to do their job rather than ace an interview. The JDL Group’s research indicates recruiters often have “holes” in their interviewing where characteristics that perhaps they have, or are unconcerned about, go unchecked and unnoticed.

“When organizations interview, they often lean on competencies or other vague categories of performance which turns the interview into a popularity contest,” Dr. Lock explains. “At The JDL Group, we use assessments to drive interview behavior. In this way, we focus your interviews on the areas you need to understand in order to make better hiring decisions.”

3.  Improve Culture Fit

Your organization is unique and what you are looking for in an employee is not the same as your competitor. Even though a candidate may look perfect on paper, it doesn’t mean they are right for your organization. The JDL Group’s pre-employment assessments are tailored to your organization’s culture, meaning candidates are evaluated not only on their raw abilities, but also on how well they will adapt to your organization’s corporate culture, what energy they will need from superiors to get them “on track” and the fastest and most efficient way to make that happen.

“At The JDL Group, our systems not only diagnose, but also prescribe and help “rehabilitate” to your company’s needs,” explains Dr. Lock. This has important implications for turnover rates and your bottom line. Instead of wasting time, energy and money trying to force a square peg into a round hole, use science to either select a candidate who is already the right fit for your organizational culture or to know the most efficient way to move them in the right direction.

4.  Prevent Bad Hires

Investing time and money into a low fit candidate will negatively affect your business’ bottom line, morale and even your organization’s reputation with clients and future applicants. New hires could end up being a low fit for your organization’s culture and may even spread bad habits to hard working employees.

“A bad hire quite frankly can single-handedly wreck your culture,” explains Dr. Lock. “We have found they actually reduce entire group productivity by over 25% in the first six months of employment.”

As if having your organization’s culture single-handedly destroyed isn’t bad enough, the cost of a bad hire doesn’t stop there. It has become increasingly common for bad hires to take to the internet casting your company in a bad light, tarnishing your reputation and negatively impacting business development and talent acquisition opportunities. Existing accounts and employees can be driven off by these disparaging remarks or from the toxic culture bad hires often create. When the stakes are this high, there’s no room for trial and error hiring.

Estimates on how much a bad hire will cost your organization in the long run range from $25,000 to multimillion-dollar losses. Businesses both small and large can take a significant financial hit from funneling time, money and energy into someone who will never pan out. An often used rule of thumb for determining the actual amount a bad hire will cost you specifically is to take their first-year salary expense and triple it. Most companies tend to write off these statistics as HR scare tactics, but unfortunately, bad hires are a very real concern.

According to Dr. Lock, “Managers tend to make bad hires for three major reasons. One, they run out of time and take a warm body. Two, they hire candidates like themselves, and given the base rate of managerial incompetence is calculated between 50-75%, they are just adding to the negative side of the ledger. Three, they rely solely on interview results, which turn into popularity contests. Finally, as an added insult to injury, once hired, the manager actually tries to make the bad hire “fit in”, which means they are looking for the positive while their team only sees the negative – hence the reduced productivity and wrecked culture.”

5.  Reduce Turnover

Unlike any pre-employment assessment in the industry, our team of licensed I/O psychologists have designed our Whole Person Assessment to accomplish three things to help reduce turnover rates compared to other assessments.

First, our scientists work with the customer to define their specific job and we take their opinions and data and compare them to our database of over 500,000 working adults and validate a profile right off the bat. We call this “getting them on the target”. Most companies may do some form of this “research”, but beware of shoddy science, weak or non-existent databases or scenarios where results just seem to be made up.

Second, after a sufficient amount of time, our scientists actually look at turnover in the specified job across applicants who were hired and subsequently left. We also look at performance and other variables of the individuals who have stayed and are working and “tighten” the profile. This second review results in an over 90% success rate. Most other companies do not have the time, staff or wherewithal to actually perform this step like The JDL Group’s research team does on an almost daily basis.

Third, we don’t treat “validation” as an event AND we do not treat your job as a static inanimate object. We see the job as a living breathing part of your organization and we treat validation as an ongoing concern – it is a continual process and as your organization changes, your profile grows and adjusts to your needs.

Beyond the Pre-Employment Assessment

Adding a science-backed, pre-employment assessment process to your hiring strategy helps your business avoid the hiring missteps discussed above and prevents long-term damage to your organization. That said, there are other steps employers should take to ensure accuracy in hiring. For instance, at The JDL Group, we combine other selection activities with our Whole Person Assessment. First, we gear pre-assessment interviews toward on the job behaviors through our Experience Mapping process. Then, we use the assessment with well-validated profiles. Finally, and this is a true differentiator, we tie after-assessment interview questions back to interview results.

The above processes stack on top of each other resulting in a 35% higher success rate (in terms of moving positive candidates forward and removing negative candidates from consideration) than keeping the processes separate, and the number is higher than when not using assessments at all. A comprehensive hiring process, like The JDL Group’s, pulls science (the assessment) and art (behavioral interviewing and culture fit) together which results in our scientists predicting the people side of the business at a 95% accuracy rate.