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Navigating talent acquisition: The scientific approach to predictive hiring

Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

Navigating talent acquisition: The scientific approach to predictive hiring


Companies invest their resources in recruitment to find suitable candidates who fit seamlessly into the company culture. However, it is challenging to understand candidates and evaluate whether they have the specific skills, qualities, and motivations for a particular role.

Therefore, organizations use various tools and processes, such as assessments, to manage the risks associated with the hiring process. Risk mitigation enables better identification of high-performing candidates. Let’s explore how.


Validity of assessments in recruitment

Validity measures the appropriateness of a specific assessment for a particular role. Tests with high validity can better predict job performance, and the assessment scores identify candidates likely to do well. Strong validity manages the risks associated with hiring decisions, such as hiring a candidate with inadequate experience or not evaluating the cultural fitment of a candidate.


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General mental ability (GMA) assessment

A general mental ability (GMA) or aptitude test has high validity, and it is an optimum performance predictor in job-related training.

Candidates with high job performance potential as per the GMA test also benefit more from training programs and acquire job knowledge rapidly. Mercer | Mettl’s General Mental Ability Test measures a candidate’s cognitive ability and identifies their strengths and weaknesses. It determines the level at which they learn, process instructions, and solve problems.

A GMA test is efficient in graduate recruitment, where jobs have significantly high cognitive demands from job seekers. GMA’s ability to predict performance tends to increase as the cognitive demands of jobs increase.

There are many recruitment tools used along with GMA, such as integrity tests. They improve assessment efficiency because these two tests complement each other and offer the widest possible area of evaluation. The combination of GMA and integrity tests overlap less than other combinations, therefore, measuring different competencies and skills.

There are two types of integrity tests. Mercer | Mettl’s Employee Integrity Test is a pre-employment screening evaluation that helps employers understand candidates’ tendency to be responsible, ethical, and trustworthy. It maps candidates’ preferences toward certain behaviors bringing integrity issues to the fore. Mercer | Mettl’s personality assessments measure numerous aspects of one’s personality. These highlight information on the candidate’s thoughts, motivations, traits, opinions, behavioral tendencies, and values.


The role of job analysis in predicting job performance

Predictive validity is an excellent guide to how helpful different types of measures may be in the recruitment process. However, deciding what combination of assessments should be used relies on a clear understanding of job requirements. Job analysis details the requirements and tasks of a specific role to create the job description. A clear requirement identifies what aspects of candidates need to be assessed and provides a structure to the assessment process. A structured recruitment process has clearly defined stages, each providing successive information on the candidates. Therefore, the task for recruiters is to identify appropriate measures and when they are best placed in the recruitment process.


Predicting other key aspects of job performance


Cognitive ability:

Cognitive skills include solving problems, reading, working with numbers, remembering, organizing, and planning. A candidate's cognitive ability reflects their understanding and learning agility. Such skills are essential for jobs across levels and industries.


Conscientious candidates meet deadlines, plan, and act responsibly. They ensure everything is accurate and done to the best ability. Their attention to detail, dedication to excellence, and willingness to help others learn and improve make them catalysts for positive change within the workplace.

Developmental approach:

People with a development mindset are natural learners. They seek new knowledge, enhance their skills, advance their careers, and achieve growth. Embracing a growth mindset fosters continuous improvement, a culture of learning, and higher levels of employee satisfaction and achievement.

Active learning:

Candidates with active learning skills seek practical opportunities to implement their knowledge and skills. This proactive approach fosters a deeper understanding of the subject matter and its implications, enabling candidates to make better decisions. Employers benefit from having a continuously evolving workforce, staying ahead of industry trends, and actively seeking opportunities for improvement.

Creative problem-solving:

Creativity in problem-solving is an asset in jobs. Creative problem solvers take various approaches to find the most effective resolutions. This dynamic problem-solving skill minimizes delays and maximizes productivity in an ever-evolving business landscape benefiting individuals and the organization.

Track record of past performance:

Employers must prioritize examining candidates' past performance. A strong track record in diverse areas demonstrates their ability to adapt and succeed in different circumstances. By actively analyzing candidates' track records, recruiters can understand their potential for success within the organization. Assessing a candidate's abilities beyond the conventional experience criteria is essential.


Advantages of predicting job performance through recruitment tools

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Anticipating job performance:


Predictive analytics uses tools like past candidate information, current employees’ traits that match the company culture, and previous work experiences to find the best talent for long-term success.


Improving the quality of hire:


Predictive recruiting identifies the appropriate fit for the job. These solutions help discover suitable candidates and make better hiring decisions.


Reducing staff turnover:


Motivated candidates who fit well with the company are less likely to quit soon. Predictive analytics can identify a suitable candidate, and the hiring manager can assess them accordingly.


Speeding up the hiring process:


A predictive hiring solution streamlines the hiring process by eliminating the need to screen through resumes and spend time filtering candidates. Companies that use predictive hiring find productive employees faster.


Boosting employer brand:


The predictive hiring model selects the most suitable talent with well-coordinated interviews. It builds a better reputation for the company brand with clarity on job requirements, company goals, and candidate expectations.



Assessing the future performance of a job applicant is crucial for organizations to make informed hiring decisions. Mercer | Mettl provides a wide range of tools to predict a candidate’s potential success in a role. Integrating data, assessments, and predictive analysis adds credibility to candidate evaluations. In a world where talent drives innovation and progress, leveraging the science of predicting job performance empowers companies to build robust, high-performing teams for success in an evolving business landscape.


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How do you predict job performance?

What is the strongest predictor of job performance?

Which method is used to predict the future performance of a job applicant?

Originally published August 28 2023, Updated August 28 2023

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

Talent acquisition is all about strategizing for sourcing, hiring, and retaining the talent an organization needs. This blog offers more insights on the topic.

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