Recruiters and hiring managers are faced with the complex task of predicting which candidates are likely to be successful on the job. There are countless variables unique to each person that could be considered in a recruitment process but unfortunately, time and resourcing constraints often result in inaccurate hiring decisions that are influenced by bias and even based on information unrelated to job success. The cost of poor hiring decisions stems not only from hiring and replacing the bad hire but also from carry-on effects to other employees including loss of productivity, engagement, customer satisfaction and reputation.1 Stronger emphasis on using predictive hiring methods to empower accurate selection decisions is vital in minimising loss of valuable time, resources and litigation risk.

So, how do we predict which candidates are likely to succeed?

Job success can be predicted by utilising selection methodology that is founded on scientific rigour that is accurate, reliable and ethical. Psychometric assessments used in recruitment are constructed based on psychometrics; a discipline that uses statistics to create assessments that measure psychological attributes that are predictive of observable workplace outcomes. Using psychometric assessments designed with strict scientific principles, give hiring organisations the power to accurately identify and predict candidates that are most likely to succeed.

How to tell if psychometric assessments identify candidate traits/abilities that are predictive of workplace outcomes?

Psychometric assessments for predictive hiring are founded upon extensive research of theories and empirical studies that have demonstrated clear evidence that psychological traits/abilities influence desired and observable workplace outcomes. The most researched psychological traits/abilities that influence job success is Cognitive Ability. There is extensive evidence that it is one of the strongest predictors of job performance which has been demonstrated in thousands of independent studies of people, across cultures, industries and occupations. People with higher cognitive ability are more capable of using their mental processes to learn, solve problems effectively and have demonstrated stronger job performance.2 It is for this reason that using well-validated assessments of Cognitive Ability is one of the most effective methods in predicting which candidates are likely to perform on the job.3

How do psychometric assessments work?

Traditionally, psychometric assessments measured a person’s ability by calculating the number of correct answers and comparing that to how others performed. Game-based assessments like Cognify measure and indicate a person’s level of cognitive ability using thousands of metrics derived from gameplay to form a predictive algorithm or formula that equates to a score. This score reflects a person’s cognitive ability that you can compare to a population (e.g. Graduates).

Industrial/Organisational psychologists, independent organisations and academics have conducted multiple studies on over 95,000 people who have completed Cognify. Results have demonstrated that the design and scoring of Cognify is an accurate and reliable assessment of cognitive ability where people who score higher are more likely to demonstrate strong job performance.

Organisations can further verify the accuracy of using assessments to predict success by evaluating the effects of using assessments with business impact studies. Think about what defines success in your employees. Is it performance ratings, feedback from managers or sales figures? Relating assessment results to indicators of success can clearly demonstrate the influence that specific candidate attributes like cognitive ability can have on your organisation.

But what about other important candidate attributes like experience and qualifications?

Recruitment processes typically involve stages and multiple selection methods including CVs, assessments, interviews and reference checks. You can think of a selection process like multiple slices of swiss cheese where the holes represent limitations of each selection method. For example, interviews are well known to be prone to subjectivity and bias. CVs provide information that is limited to the number of jobs held and tenure but does not reflect the quality of work. Each slice reflects a different selection method in a process intended to create a barrier to minimise biases and irrelevant information (the holes). The goal of best practice hiring is to make decisions on information collected with minimal holes.

Psychometric assessments add an extra layer (slice) to the recruitment process that allows direct comparisons between candidates on job-related abilities in a fair, objective and accurate manner. The consolidated information from multiple sources helps provide a solid evidence base for selection decisions but also minimises the risk of making decisions on irrelevant or inaccurate information about candidates.


1 Forbes. (2016). The True Cost of A Bad Hire – It’s More Than You Think.

2 Salgado, Jesus & Anderson, Neil & Moscoso, Silvia & Bertua, Cristina & De Fruyt, Filip & Rolland, Jean-Pierre. (2004). A Meta-Analytic Study of GMA Validity for Different Occupations in the European Community. The Journal of Applied Psychology. 88.

3 Schmidt, Frank & Hunter, John. (1998). The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology. Psychological Bulletin. 124. 262-274.

Revelian Snow Chen
Snow Chen | Senior Consulting Psychologist

Snow joined Revelian in early 2018 as a Consulting Psychologist. She is a registered psychologist, who holds a Master’s degree in Organisational Psychology from Macquarie University.

Snow works with human resources professionals from recruitment agencies, government and enterprise organisations. She helps organisations use psychometric assessments to select, hire and develop quality candidates for entry level to executive management roles. She is passionate about using evidence-based practice to help businesses perform better through investing in their people.