As competition for top talent intensifies, Nicolas Speeckaert, co-founder of skeeled, a provider of AI predictive talent acquisition software, says many companies are not using the best methods to assess candidates and make the best hiring decisions because they are placing too much focus on their past experience.

Research from the Florida State University[i] investigated the link between an employee’s prior work experience and their performance in a new organisation and found no significant correlation between the two. The study concluded that someone’s experience does not predict their success in a new role. The research highlighted that 82% of 115 job ads they analysed on required or stated a strong preference for experience. However, hiring mistakes are still commonplace. A study by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute[ii] suggested that on average, 39% of recent hires would not be rehired.

Other research by Frank L. Schmidt[iii] found that job experience alone only predicts job performance with just 16% accuracy, whereas the combination of cognitive ability with personality allows 78% accuracy in future performance prediction.

Nicolas Speeckaert says, “Even though someone’s experience can be a poor predictor of their future performance, it continues to be the most used criteria to assess whether a candidate is suitable or not for a new role. However, it will not tell hiring managers how a candidate might behave in the workplace or what drives them. Instead of just looking at hard skills and experience, companies should look at soft skills and personality, which are what makes people thrive in a role. Assessing someone’s personality, motivation and cognitive ability is essential to determine whether they will succeed in a position and this approach will help companies find the right person.”

Nicolas Speeckaert adds, “Given the weak correlation between previous work experience and future job performance, it’s time for companies to look at other criteria to better match candidates to the job brief. We recommend a predictive hiring approach that relies on data and analytics to help companies narrow down candidates before they ever meet them for an interview.

“An important part of this approach is the candidate assessment. Using the right type of pre-employment assessments can accurately screen candidates and identify the right person for the job. This can help companies get to know candidates beyond their CV, gain a better understanding of their personality, what motivates them and their level of mental agility. “These criteria are a far more reliable predictor of whether someone will succeed in a role or not, than just their past experience. Using predictive hiring software can stop companies making costly hiring mistakes and ensure they are bringing in the right people for their business.”

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