3 Myths about making better talent decisions

At times, selecting the best people for the right positions might appear daunting. With so much at stake and with the cost of getting it wrong so dear, it makes sense to work from a solid basis of credible information and expertise.

Unfortunately, there are more than a few myths that prevent IO Practitioners from accomplishing their goals. In helping our clients make better talent decisions, we’ve found it useful to debunk the following three myths about the selection process:

1. Interviewing is enough

Multiple studies, including meta-analytic ones where results from many different research projects are collated, show that traditional interviews as remarkably poor predictors of job success.

In such interviews, companies ask candidates questions widely believed to provide valuable information about their suitability for a given role. Examples include:

  • “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”
  • “Why do you want to work for this company?”
  • “What makes you a better candidate than other candidates?”
  • “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

One of several key problems with this approach is that answers to the above questions can easily be prepared. In fact, finding answers to these questions is one of the most popular searches on Google!

So, interview candidates can come with pre-prepared, “potted” answers that will skew how they are perceived by the interviewing managers and panel members.

In addition, empirical evidence across multiple studies suggest that interviews are vulnerable to the many interpersonal biases all humans bring to such encounters. The tendency to assume that negative behaviors are dispositional rather than contextual, and the bias to favour attractive candidates are but two of many biases that can skew interview results.

Given these limitations, it is not surprising that when scientifically investigated, traditional interviews are often revealed as less accurate than chance when used to select employees!

In contrast, using best-of-breed assessments can significantly improve predictive accuracy for role fit to far higher than change levels.

2. Grades predict success

It seems obvious that people’s academic performance should have bearing on how they eventually fare as employees. Indeed, many hiring managers believe that selecting straight-A graduates is the key to making better talent decisions.

Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. Numerous studies show that, at best, academic performance is an unreliable predictor of eventual job success.

Why? Some of the answers lie in the fact that different educational institutions adopt different standards and conventions when assigning grades. So, not all “A’s” are created equal.

In addition, grades are a poor indication of the full spectrum of human behavior, especially those that may be highly prized by potential employers. Grades don’t reveal much about interpersonal skills, creativity, leadership potential, or a host of other, highly job-relevant competencies.

Again, scientific, competency-based assessments do a far better job of predicting job success and role fit than grades. In fact, assessments that focus on a candidate’s learning potential and cognitive capacity are often more predictive of even academic performance than a learner’s previous grades!

3. Good selection processes are complicated

While the route to best-of-breed assessments and talent selection practices has followed a complex and often convoluted history, applying best practices to selection is surprisingly simple.

By utilizing online technologies, contemporary statistical techniques, and the collective wisdom of highly experienced IO Professionals, we have helped our clients to achieve streamlined, scientifically-credible selection processes that deliver on budget and on time.

In fact, elegance and ease-of-use of a selection process often aid companies in making better talent decisions because confounding and irrelevant issues are avoided. At TTS, we’ve worked to create automated and client-friendly assessment practices that improve our clients’ selection decisions, and ultimately, the effectiveness of their talent management as a whole.


The next time you evaluate your organisation’s selection practices, beware of falling prey to these common myths.

Well-functioning, credible selection processes go beyond just interviewing and looking at grades. Instead, they use the power of online administration, best-of-breed assessment tools, and are implemented under the expert guidance of IO Professionals.

If you would like to know how TTS can help you overcome the pitfalls of selecting the right people, why not drop us a line at info@tts-talent.com?