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Guest Column: IO Psychology in Hiring
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Guest Column: IO Psychology in Hiring

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by
Marc Fogel, MS
February 1, 2024
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Industrial-organizational psychology (IO psychology) is a subspecialty within psychology. The profession advocates that members apply the scientist-practitioner model in the application of psychology to the workplace, meaning that the science/research aspects of the field should both inform and be informed by the practice of IO psychology in organizations. 

The specialty focuses on deriving principles of individual, group, and organizational behavior and applying this knowledge to solving problems in organizational settings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5-8% employment growth for IO psychologists (IOs) between 2022 and 2032. This means more organizations are beginning to see the benefits of IO psychology and how it can monitor and improve their organizational practices. 

IOs use their training and knowledge of psychology in various settings, such as human resources, administration, management, and various consulting services. For instance, IOs serving in leadership development/coaching roles and employee engagement tend to apply principles derived from clinical psychology and social psychology. In contrast, IOs involved in the design and development of talent assessment systems rely heavily on their psychometric and statistical knowledge.

IO Psychology in the Hiring Process

To build high-performing and competent teams, businesses must select well-qualified employees from the outset who fit well within the organization’s culture and the work environment. 

IOs are uniquely qualified to help organizations with all aspects of the hiring process. This includes designing selection processes, conducting job analyses to define work and employee requirements, designing structured interviews to help select the best candidates, and training interviewers to accurately and consistently score and rate candidates. IOs can also develop effective pre-screening and other selection assessments while ensuring the process is free of bias and legally defensible.

IO-driven best practices in hiring processes involve a variety of dimensions. One example is using multiple sources of information to inform decisions about each candidate. For instance, combining structured panel interviews (i.e., involving more than one interviewer) with a validated selection assessment provides deeper and more consistent insight into candidates’ job-related knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs). 

Unfortunately, organizations that may not be aware of the science behind and effectiveness of such selection processes tend to use what is known as “unstructured interviews.” These are interviews where interviewers ask candidates questions as they occur to them in the moment. In these cases, selection decisions are generally made based on the interviewer’s gut feeling about the candidate.

Research findings regarding unstructured interviews consistently show little or no support for the efficacy of such interviews. In other words, they do not predict candidates’ future performance; worse, they often result in biased decisions that could discriminate against candidates who may not ”fit the mold.” Structured interviews, on the other hand, when linked to job-related knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) and are rated and scored consistently by the interviewer(s), provide a much more reliable, predictive, and legally defensible selection procedure. 

Using techniques such as these allows companies to build high-performing teams while leveraging the strengths of a diverse workforce.

IO Psychology at Talent Select AI

As described above, IOs bring extensive scientific research, knowledge, and practices to any organization. At Talent Select AI (TSAI), our IO team focuses on various aspects of our product and services. For example, our IOs created our innovative assessment tool, eliminating the need to administer time-consuming traditional assessments by deriving valid and useful psychometric information directly from the interview.

Our team of IOs also conducted comprehensive validation studies involving more than 66,000 interviews and other application material, demonstrating our assessment’s efficacy in predicting essential outcomes and doing so in a fair, unbiased, and legally defensible manner.

Taking a data-driven approach to hiring is a key principle in IO psychology. One implication of this approach is that hiring the right candidate for a job requires knowing something about the job so that a match can be made between the candidate’s characteristics and job requirements. For this reason, our IO team developed a job analysis tool to help clients identify critical job requirements, enabling us to provide recommendations regarding candidates who best fit the job.

Talent Select AI is committed to rigorous ongoing validation of our tools so we can continue to ensure the accuracy, reliability, validity, and legal defensibility of our assessment.

Ready to see Talent Select AI in action?

Request a complimentary analysis of a sample of your real candidate interviews to see first-hand how Talent Select AI helps organizations identify and hire best-fit candidates faster.

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