“I don’t believe in psychological tests”

You don’t have to.

The functioning of psychological tests isn’t a matter of faith. Let us trust science instead. There are some extensive meta studies and scientific analyses on the functioning of recruitment methods that you should take a look at.

The interview is the best recruitment method. Isn’t it?

Well, yes, it’s definitely among the best, but in the meta analysis by Robertson and Smith (2001), work-sample tests anticipated success at work even slightly better. Capability tests, or intelligence tests, were on a par with the interview. Here you can see the most significant individual methods and their correlations with succeeding in the job in the above-mentioned study:

  • Work-sample test .54
  • Capability test/intelligence test .51
  • Structured interview* .51
  • Personality tests .40
  • Biodata .38
  • Conscientiousness (a personality trait) .31
  • References .26
  • Work experience in years .18
  • Graphology .02


*A structured interview refers to a pre-planned interview in which the same questions are posed in a similar manner to all applicants.

Are you surprised?

Job advertisements often emphasise work experience. But does it really matter if the employee has done the same work for a shorter or longer period of time? Based on this information, it would be better to emphasise the person’s potential, or learning ability and way of working.

According to the Saldago analysis from 2017, capability tests and a structured interview, which had been planned well based on a job role analysis and criteria (or a behavioural interview), were equally strong indicators of future success. Here are a few picks from individual recruitment methods

  • Capability test/intelligence test .62
  • Behavioural structured interview .62
  • Conscientiousness .39
  • Work experience .25
  • Openness to experience (a personality trait) .22


It is clear that no individual method can provide as much certainty as combining different methods.

That is why the Robertson and Smith meta analysis also reviewed which two methods combined provide the best result:

  • Capability test and integrity test** .65
  • Capability test and structured interview .63
  • Capability test and work-sample test .60


**Integrity test refers to a personality test with a main focus on the person’s reliability, good behaviour and following rules. Of the five broad personality traits, integrity is connected with agreeableness, conscientiousness and balance.

The message is clear.

Let’s leave matters of faith to theologists and focus on efficient and sustainable recruitment. It’s always better to use several methods instead of relying only on the interview. If you want to make sustainable and good decisions in recruitment, use psychological tests and work samples in addition to interviews.

Good luck with recruiting!


  • Salgado 2017 Personnel Selection. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology
  • Robertson & Smith 2001 Personnel selection. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

Other related topics

Stay tuned!