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Science-Based Hiring: 5 Basic Principles to Improve Your Recruitment Process


Implementing a recruitment system that is efficient, predictive, candidate-friendly, reduces turnover, and is valuable to recruiting managers takes a fair amount of planning and effort.

No single recruitment tool will solve all your hiring problems, the reality is that the solution is a combination of tools put together in a thoughtful manner that are backed up by scientific evidence.

Medicine figured out (somewhat recently) that inconsistent treatment approaches based on instinct and anecdotal evidence are a disservice to patients. Similarly, an inconsistent, ineffective recruitment process that isn't based on the right data, science, and technology is a disservice to your candidates, your recruiting managers, and the organisation relying on talent to help achieve its goals.


Want to see if Accountests will work for your company or firm?  Click on the button for a FREE trial worth up to $200 - use it on a candidate or get one of your staff to give it a go and see what they think.  


The basic principles of science-based recruitment are pretty simple:

  1. Use current best evidence, data, and practices in every recruitment decision. Wherever possible, use the science, processes, and tools that are proven to predict candidates future job performance.
  2. Identify the personal attributes that predict success on the job. This seems obvious but many companies assume they know what predicts success. Similarly, some focus on what’s predicted success in the past without considering the future and what they aspire to. One way to go about identifying these traits is to ask your top performing employees to take a personality questionnaire and chart which traits they have in common.  Use these traits to form the basis in which all other potential candidates are measured against.
  3. Create an objective recruitment system. Wherever possible, eliminate recruiting managers' subjective instinct and bias. People, even in the face of overwhelming data and evidence, tend to believe in their own instincts to predict performance. Remove bias by establishing job relevant criteria, using reliable and valid assessments and following a structured and consistent approach.
  4. Configure the tools and process to the job family. Your application, assessments, and interview should be configured for your specific need. Specific to the industry and to the attributes important to your organisation. A recruitment system and tools for a retail sales associate are NOT right for hiring an Accountant!
  5. Measure the metrics, monitor and adjust to maximise results.  Like any other process you put in place, define how you will evaluate its effectiveness. Identify and measure the metrics. Report on them, analyse them. Modify the recruitment process accordingly. As a starter - begin by measuring: time to fill, the candidate experience, recruiting manager satisfaction, turnover, and whether the system and tools predict on the job performance.


Have you ever made recruitment decisions you lived to regret?  Are you given recruitment responsibilities on top of your day job and struggle to find time to do it all?  Get our compact Accountant & Bookkeeper Recruitment Guide for free.   

An easy reference document covering the whole process from scoping the Job Description for upcoming vacancies, right through to making better job offers than your competitors and sealing the deal, and every step in between.  Written by Accounting firm Partners, HR/People Management professionals within the accounting and bookkeeping sector and drawing on established and emerging best practice in selection techniques in Australasia, the UK and US, you can have access to a wealth of practical recruitment and selection knowledge and links to external expertise and reusable templates whenever you need it.


Work Sample Tests, such as Accountests products, outperform most selection methods, and when combined with structured interviews and assessments of ability and personality, strengthen selection decisions of competent candidates and reduce risks of poor selection.

Selection measures and job performance

If you need assistance putting together a recruitment process that will meet your needs, give us a call - we're happy to help you analyse & improve your current system. You can also access our free eBook “Recruitment and Selection Guide 2022” here.




About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers. 

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