50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2019

Harnessing clinical science to identify talent: The Predictive Index


Any organization or system is only as good as the people in it. A universally known fact that most successfully CEOs can attest to is the importance of a competent workforce. Hiring the right talent, especially for the core team can spell the difference between success and failure or companies. Helping corporations hire the right people is a company called The Predictive Index.

The Predictive Index was founded more than six decades ago, and in all that time, the company’s mission has not changed. Its passion, inherited from the founder, is to understand people—specifically what drives their behavior at work. The quest, like yours, is to discover how to impact that behavior, ignite their enthusiasm, and match each role to the right person.

Inspiration for The Predictive Index

In 1942, just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in WWII, twenty-six-year-old Arnold S. Daniels volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Shipped off to England, he was placed as a flight navigator and his team soon logged more than 30 missions—all without a single combat casualty.

When commanders noted the team’s record, they sent a psychologist in to work with Daniels—to study just what made their teamwork so successful. This was Arnold Daniels’ first introduction to psychometric testing, and what would become a lifetime passion: solving business problems through the lens of understanding individuals.

After the war, he returned to Boston, where he briefly attended Harvard to study workplace psychology. In 1952 he released the first Predictive Index Assessment.

In 1955, Daniels founded PI Worldwide (now called The Predictive Index®). The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment™ was created through a normative sample of thousands of people and has since been the subject of nearly 500 validation studies. It has received continual updates and today represents a well-established, business-relevant, and scientifically-proven measure of behavioral tendencies in the workplace.

Over six decades since, thousands of organizations have used The Predictive Index in nearly every job and industry around the world.

In 1998, Arnold S. Daniels passed away, but not before cementing his legacy in organizational psychology and psychometrics and paving the way for the workplace of the future.

Over time, PI also introduced the PI Cognitive Assessment™ —which provides a better understanding of each person’s learning capacity and the Job Assessment™ — which defines jobs via individual attributes and needs. Together with the PI Behavioral Assessment, this trio of tools has fulfilled Daniels’ vision— identifying what uniquely motivates and drives each person, providing the setup for the ultimate success in assessing a person.

PI maintains a Science Advisory Board staffed with university professors, I/O psychologists, and other subject matter experts in psychometrics.

Q. How does the PI Behavioral Assessment work?

Assessment takers get two lists of adjectives. Using the first list, PI’s experts ask them to select the words that describe the way others expect them to act. Using the second list, the candidates are asked 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: dominance, extraversion, patience, and formality.

After people complete the assessment, candidates are assigned a Reference Profile—a snapshot of the way they think and work.

Q. What does the PI Behavioral Assessment measure?

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.

Objectivity is the degree to which an individual prefers objectivity when processing information and making decisions.

These four key factors—or key behavioral drives—provide a simple framework for understanding your employees’ and candidates’ workplace behaviors. PI is your superpower: it lets you see beneath the surface so you can predict how people will behave in given situations.

PI Cognitive Assessment

Assessment takers get 50 problems to solve—and they’re tasked with completing as many as they can in 12 minutes. The resulting score indicates their ability to process complex information and their capacity to deal with the cognitive demands of a given position. With the PI Cognitive Assessment, you’ll always know if a candidate has the capacity for the job.

The PI Cognitive Assessment consists of 50 multiple-choice questions from three cognitive ability categories (verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning) and nine subcategories. Essentially, it assesses the rate at which a person can learn—rapid knowledge acquisition. If change is a constant in your organization, pay special attention to cognitive ability.

Mike Zani serves as the CEO The Predictive Index

“PI empowers business leaders to hire top talent, design winning teams, and manage people brilliantly.”