What is Predictive Hiring?

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With every resume that you consider, you have to decide whether that candidate would be worth hiring. To make the best choice, you have to make inferences about the applicant’s future performance at your company based on the limited amount of information contained on one sheet of paper.

What is Predictive Hiring?

During the hiring process, you usually rely on past experience, psychology, knowledge of the industry and gut instinct when deciding who to onboard. But there is a way to systematize the process for better results. 

Predictive hiring leverages technology to take some of the guesswork out of acquiring top talent. However, we can’t rely solely on computer-generated data. Create a predictive hiring model that can be used effectively over and over again by asking the right questions and using an effective evaluation strategy.

What Should You Predict?

When you consider how a particular hiring decision will impact the company, you have to take into account more than performance. A productive, efficient employee is no good to you if they don’t stay with your company. Based on the information that you’ll get from the applicant during the hiring process, you need to assess whether they have the qualities that will be mutually beneficial to your organization.

Some of the top qualities in a valuable employee include:

  • Loyalty
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills
  • Curiosity

Looking for candidates who have these characteristics will help hiring teams achieve their goals, which usually include finding an employee who:

  • Performs well
  • Is likely to stay and grow with the company
  • Enjoys their job and has a high morale
  • Fits in with the company culture

Previous Experience is Not a Primary Factor in Predictive Hiring

Most organizations list experience as the top factor in their search for candidates. In fact, 82% of a group of job ads sampled on Monster listed experience as one of the criteria necessary to apply. 

You would think that someone with extensive experience in roles that were similar to the ones in the new job description would be a shoe-in. Surprisingly, however, job experience is not a good predictor of performance. This leaves even researchers scratching their heads.

One of the problems with emphasizing job experience as a predictive factor in the hiring process is that you might miss out on potential talent. Someone who is new to the work force and has held jobs in different industries may be more adaptable and willing to learn than a candidate who has maintained a steady position in one role for decades.

What Are the Top Predictors of Future Employment?

If you’re not supposed to consider job experience, what should you use to predict outcomes of future employment?

To answer this question, it’s essential to look at the top qualities in an ideal employee. Past experience doesn’t necessarily predict future performance. However, past behavior does forecast future behavior. Therefore, instead of looking at metrics such as how many jobs a candidate has had or how long they worked in a similar role, dig into the behaviors that showcase their desirable qualities.

Some of the best predictors of success in a job include:

  • Cognitive abilities – Strong reasoning abilities, verbal skills, analytical thinking and computational capabilities consistently predict good job performance. The types of questions that candidates ask often reveal their cognitive strengths.
  • Growth mindset – Someone with a development orientation always aims to improve. They are more likely to have dynamic ideas and avoid becoming stagnant in the workplace. These individuals are responsible and see mistakes as opportunities for learning.
  • Conscientiousness – People who have a robust work ethic, good organizational skills and a respect for others fit in well with the company culture and offer reliability.
  • Thinking outside the box – Creative problem-solving is foundational to innovation. Someone who thinks beyond their training can use fundamental principles to solve complex problems in new ways. This improves the employee’s satisfaction, productivity and relationships with colleagues. 

Benefits of Predictive Hiring

In addition to helping you acquire top talent, predictive hiring has the following benefits:

  • Increases the efficiency of the hiring process
  • Reduces the time, money and effort required to screen and hire candidates
  • Boosts your chances of hiring loyal employees instead of flight risk employees
  • Better identify where to find top talent
  • Attract more qualified applicants
  • Hire employees faster

One essential element of predictive hiring involves tracking the employee experience. Enhancing your digital tools can allow for improved efficiency and collaboration. Using employee experience surveys with new hires and throughout an employee’s time with you helps you modify your hiring process to motivate workers and reduce turnover.

How to Use Predictive Hiring to Your Advantage

Prioritize Your Objectives for Each New Position

The qualities that predict a candidate’s success in one position aren’t the same for every job at every organization. For example, conscientiousness might be a key quality to look for in a manager who facilitates meetings or an after-hours customer service representative. But it can hinder spontaneity in creative, unconventional jobs. A salesperson needs to be able to handle rejection, whereas an accountant doesn’t need to be as resilient in that area.

Create High-Quality Interview Questions 

When screening resumes in the initial stages of the hiring process, focus on those that highlight  performance and skills. You can evaluate the candidate’s characteristics and predictors of performance in the interview. 

Cognitive abilities can be assessed by the resume and cover letter. Is the resume well-written, clear and concise? Does it get the point across?

Evaluate conscientiousness throughout the process. Does the candidate show up for interviews on time and respond to messages in an appropriate manner? Have they done their research? Do they have references and examples ready?

Use the interview process to dig deeper into other qualities and behaviors. Ask about how the candidate has learned from a stumbling block. Inquire about a situation in which they came up with an unexpected, but effective solution. 

This is an excellent time to ask about and evaluate the candidate’s personality and behaviors that aren’t evident in the statistics and resume. It’s an excellent chance to assess them for adaptability too. If they’re not flexible, a candidate that excelled at a company with a different office culture may not be the best fit for your organization.

Check References

A good communicator who knows their way around the hiring process can exaggerate or alter certain details of their history in an interview. Therefore, it’s important to check references. 

Create high-quality interview questions for this stage of the process too. Ask the references about the applicant’s behavior in relation to your goals and desired qualities in an employee. 

Streamlining the Process

Although most companies use predictive hiring even if they don’t realize it, they can often streamline the process for better results. In sum, you can increase your chances of hiring employees with strong performance, engagement, morale and longevity by implementing the following predictive hiring formula:

  • Identify the goals for a successful hire.
  • List the qualities necessary to achieve those goals.
  • Decide which predictors of success are important.
  • Design your hiring process to measure and analyze the desired goals, qualities and predictors of success.
  • Follow up by tracking post-hire performance to get feedback on the process, and adjust it accordingly.

Some of these tasks can be accomplished digitally, further streamlining the hiring process. An engagement intelligence platform integrates employee feedback with the organization’s objectives. It keeps everyone on the same page and supports the needs of a modern workforce.