According to the Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology Practical and Theoretical Implications of 100 years of Research Findings, education does not correlate with job performance. As research shows education provides only 1 % predictive ability.
Whether a CV states candidates went to the best-rated university on the continent or a not so popular community college, the school tell us nothing about how the candidates will perform on the job. Skills and specific knowledge may be acquired however one must not be quick to assume that education provides the training and experience for job performance.
Most employers put great focus on education, this stems from the assumption that there is a correlation between education and work that is: 'good education = good work'. The reality, however, is that this belief is more cultural conditioning than anything else. We believe if a candidate comes from an accredited institution they will perform well. Education itself has however been up against the ropes and many are seeking alternatives and citing its failures on several fronts. Seth Godin argues that we are wasting too much time and money bankrupting our children and stultifying growth. On his Ted Talk Sir Ken Robinson talks of how Schools kill creativity.
Predicting job performance is a vital element in the recruitment process, it is what we attempt to achieve each time recruitment is made. We try to figure out whether a candidate will be successful based on their experience, through reading through their resumes and different screening processes. Instead of looking at education other questions must be asked such:
Do they have a natural inclination to think on their feet?
Do they absorb information quickly?
Are they able to apply what they have learned and adapt?
Results- based evaluation
Rather than focusing on degrees and relevant experience, why not go a step further and consider the results a candidate has delivered in a specific role. Ultimately we want every new hire to perform. Formal education and number of years of experience requirements serve only to exclude potential high performers. We, therefore, must structure interviews and evaluation processes around determining what a candidate has personally contributed to prior organisations.
It is highly likely that if a person has consistently performed in the past they will most likely perform in the future. While experience and education are nice credentials focusing on quantifiable results a candidate has delivered gives a better look at their ability to perform as needed.
We can get a much clearer idea about candidate’s likelihood to excel in their role with what Psychologists call 'General Cognitive Ability' Cognitive ability can be measured and provides the predictive ability. It is considered by many Industrial psychologists as the single best predictor of performance. When cognitive assessments are combined with behavioural assessments and interviews, the ability to predict a candidate's job performance goes up to 58% which is quick the leap from 1 % that we get from education.
Businesses today have several highly- advanced tools at their disposal for assessing candidates and determining fitness for a role. The scientifically validated behavioural and cognitive assessments from the Predictive Index, in particular, are highly valuable for this purpose.
Munodiwa Zvemhara is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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