PI Behavioral Assessment: How It Works, What It Measures, How to Do It

May 8, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Imagine sitting across the table from two candidates for the important role you’re trying to fill. How valuable would it be to you to be able to predict the future? What would it mean if you could find out ahead of time which candidate would be the best fit for your organization?

As it turns out, this kind of insight is worth a lot—and not just in terms of peace of mind. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings.

That’s a big investment. For a smaller organization, more than one bad hire in a row could even be an existential threat. That’s why the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment™ is such a widely used tool. Today, we are taking a closer look at exactly what it is, what it isn’t, what it measures, and how to implement it. Read on.

Wooden shaped people in a circle.

What It Isn’t: A Trendy HR Tool That Will Be Replaced by Something New in a Year

The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment is a personality test used by companies and organizations around the globe.

This tool is not new. In fact, the PI Behavioral Assessment has been widely used in a broad cross-section of industries for over six decades. The tool has been translated into 70 languages and is currently being used by over 8,000 organizations.

Let’s back up for a moment. The PI Behavioral Assessment is not a psychological evaluation. Psychology seeks to understand the mind. Psychometrics, on the other hand, is the science of measuring mental capacities and processes. This is the stuff of job performance. These are the traits that lead to success in a given role—or to failure.

The PI Behavioral Assessment allows you, as an employer, to measure the underlying traits and abilities of people. This is not easy to do. Psychometrics are extremely challenging to get right. That’s why this assessment isn’t trendy or new; it’s based on advanced science and testing, and it’s been around for 60 years.

What It Is: A Tool That’s Backed by Science and Designed to Improve Business Outcomes

So, how did PI build its Behavioral Assessment tool to ensure its usefulness? From the ground up. The tool has to measure what it is supposed to measure, and it must be precise and reliable.

PI psychometricians gather evidence and conduct analyses using tools like SPSS and R, and statistical techniques such as Confirmatory Factor Analysis, Latent Modeling, and Item Response Theory. In addition, PI assessments are developed following recognized psychological standards and guidelines to provide a framework for test construction and proper use:

  • The American Psychological Association (APA)
  • The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)
  • The International Test Commission (ITC)

Use of the PI Behavioral Assessment supports your organization’s legal compliance with the EEOC and the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

Woman typing on a laptop computer.

What Is Validity?

In the simplest terms, an assessment is valid if it measures what it is supposed to measure. There is no shortcut when it comes to creating a valid assessment. If your organization is trying to find the best assessment to use during its hiring, onboarding, or employee development process, you must determine the degree to which an assessment can be directly related to business impact through peoples’ performance.

The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment is scientifically validated against populations large enough to be used for nearly any job in any industry around the world. The PI Science Team has done 350+ validity studies. Why? Because that’s the only way to establish statistically-valid correlations between behavior assessment factors and key workplace outcomes such as:

  • Tenure
  • Turnover
  • Sales
  • Customer satisfaction

Ask to see the evidence. Many assessment companies follow general psychometric guidelines, but few provide evidence of validity.

What It Measures

The PI Behavioral Assessment is an untimed, free-choice, stimulus-response tool that measures a person’s motivating drives and inner needs.

It measures four main personality traits:

  • Dominance is the drive to exert influence on people or events.
  • Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people.
  • Patience is the drive to have consistency and stability.
  • Formality is the drive to conform to rules and structure.

Measuring these traits enables employers to predict behavioral patterns and workplace performance for both potential hires and existing employees.

Here’s how it works:

Assessment takers are presented with two lists of adjectives. The assessment asks them to use the first list to select the words that describe the way others expect them to act. Then, it asks them to use the second list to select the words that describe them in their own opinion. Each adjective is associated with one of the four key factors that determine workplace behavior.

After people complete the assessment, they receive a Reference Profile. It is an overview summary of the way they think and are likely to work.

This assessment tool delivers consistent results to the companies that use it. According to a recent survey of organizations that have implemented the tool, 98% feel PI enhances their hiring process, and 70% of respondents say PI helps to remove bias and subjectivity from their hiring process. Two-thirds of respondents say PI has helped them recognize stronger employee engagement throughout their organization.

Group of people placing their hands in a circle.

How To Implement the Assessment

Whether you’re looking for your next great hire, trying to identify your high-potential employees, or figuring out how to engage your team, this assessment can help.

You can implement this tool in three ways: 1) during the hiring process, 2) during employee onboarding, or 3) for employee development. All three are powerful ways to get to know and understand your people better—so everyone can thrive.

The first step toward implementation is to click here for a free assessment.

What Would You Do If You Could See the Future?

One of the biggest business challenges for any organization is hiring the right people. With PI Behavioral Assessments, your firm can peek into the future and see who will be the right fit before you make an offer. In addition to hiring candidates who are hardwired to succeed, you’ll also be able to design teams that perform at a higher level, with less friction. You’ll also have a new way to manage employees so they can perform at the top of their game. It’s what they want, and it’s what you want.

PI is your superpower: it lets you see beneath the surface so you can predict how people will behave. Interested in trying it out? Click here to start building a higher performing team!