Data Insights: The Most Effective Hiring Process

23 Nov 2021
By Sinead Sheerins
Effective Hiring Practices

Our recent survey asked our LinkedIn community to pick the one assessment tool they thought was most reliable in a hiring search (Infographic below). A tall order, as the process rarely ever involves only one method (except perhaps the old tried but certainly not trusted hire friend over beer approach). Interestingly, most participants in our survey predicted that psychometric profiling is the worst determiner of hiring the right person. However, research on the variable effectiveness of commonly used hiring selection practices (Schmidt, Oh and Shaffer, 2016) shows that multi-measure psychometric testing is the most reliable indicator of a candidate’s predicted job performance (coefficients range from 0 to 1).

CVs / Experience

CVs are of course a great starting point to accumulate talent with relevant work experience and skills. Most roles have a list of relevant qualifications and experience, so they are useful in being able to quickly ascertain someone’s profile. However, when it comes to reliably predicting a candidate’s future job success, the data shows a validity of 0.13. This makes sense, as they showcase ability, not values, behaviour and attitudes.


Interviews are undoubtedly an integral part of the hiring process. Surprisingly though, the data shows that interviewing alone provides a 0.38 (unstructured) and 0.51 (structured) validity indication of future success in a role. This could be attributed to humanistic flaws like unconscious bias or a tendency to favour extroverted candidates.

Reference checks

Referencing is another hiring process mainstay for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, they aren't the best means of predicting future job success with a 0.26 validity score. This is most likely because candidates are (understandably) likely to provide referees who will speak highly of them.

Psychometric profiling

Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that there’s an instrument in the hiring toolkit to reduce human bias which can otherwise impact the selection of a successful applicant. This is where psychometric testing steps in with a validity score of 0.71.

Psychometric testing or profiling is a set of standardised tests to measure a prospective candidate’s cognitive ability and behavioural style. Depending on the role, it can cover a variety of personality and aptitude tests including critical thinking, and verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning. We harness the power of psychometric profiling in conjunction with the other hiring selection techniques to get an accurate, objective and complete picture of a candidate.

Some candidates dread the experience, fretting over their results or questioning its value and validity based on past brushes with ineffective testing. Others simply cite a lack of time. If you can relate, try to remember that its purpose is to objectively assess a candidate’s fit with a company’s culture and abilities needed to excel in the role. Getting this match right is a win-win for both candidate and client down the line. It’s also worth noting that not all psychometric testing is created equal. Ours is conducted by LifeWorks, industry experts with over thirty years’ experience. The process is highly confidential, and our candidates have the option to receive verbal feedback on their results from our organisational psychologist.

The winning combination?

According to Schmidt, Oh and Shaffer (2016), the  two  combinations with the highest  multivariate  validity for predicting job performance both include psychometric profiling. The best combination comprises mental ability testing plus an integrity test (validity of .78), closely followed by mental ability testing plus a structured interview (validity of .76).

The A5 Way

At Acacia, we go beyond the limits of traditional methods. We are proud to have developed a search and assessment method that is trusted by some of the industry's best-performing companies. Our A5 Way is a multi-method approach that assesses talent against measurable outcomes and includes analyses of motivation, personality and cognitive aptitude to ensure the right person's ambition and ability align with the company's purpose.

This is how we find the right one. Every time.

Effective Hiring Process Infographic


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