Predictive Index Tests- How Should Employers Use Them?

I’d be willing to bet at some point in time, you have been laying around on a lazy Sunday, scrolling through facebook, and you’ve clicked on a test. “What Flavor Ice Cream Are You”, or “What is your spirit Animal?” We all know those silly tests, and for some reason people do enjoy taking them. In my thirteen years in the recruiting business, I have personally begun to see more and more companies RELYING on predictive index testing to help make crucial hiring decisions. The latest research suggests that thousands of companies and more than 18 Million candidates took a predictive index test, in some form, while interviewing for a job in 2020. Should we be using these assessments to make critical hiring decisions? That’s a loaded question, but I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

There are pros to using a behavioral index test or a cognitive index test. They give the interviewer a sneak peak behind the curtain of who is sitting in front of them. Advocates say it helps remove bias from the interview process and can give an employer a set of data they otherwise would not have on where a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses may lie. There are also cons to these assessments. Candidates can lie and fake answers which completely would make the rest of the interview process flawed. These assessments also do not give the employer the whole picture of a candidate- just specific traits on how they portray themselves. Some people argue the tests can, by nature, be discriminatory. So how should we use them? Or better yet, how should we NOT use them?

If you are currently using a predictive index tests early on in your interview process, I think that’s a fine thing to do. However, if you are then using these assessments to weed out candidates early on in the process, you are doing it all wrong. Very wrong. And I can guarantee it is having a negative impact on your companies hiring practices. Companies selling these tools will tell you that the tests can remove unsuitable candidates early on in the process, therefore saving you time, and leaving you with the best talent pool possible for your open position. They are selling you a lie. What you should be doing with the assessments is analyzing them prior to the next step of the process. Understanding the personality, cognitive ability, or behavioral tendencies of a candidate prior to an interview, gives you, the Hiring Manager, an advantage in the interview. It should help guide the interview process and help guide the questions that you ask. It should be just one, of many variables, you are considering throughout the process. If you are eliminating candidates before giving them the chance to present themselves in person, you are doing your company a disservice and potentially missing out on the best person for your opening.

Hiring is about getting to know people. Understanding what makes a person tick. Predictive Index tests can be a part of that process, but far too often companies are replacing the human part of the interview process and thats a big mistake. Good luck in your searches in 2021!

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