... couldn’t I just pick the most intelligent applicant and have done with it?

Many companies rely on intelligence as the decisive criterion in their recruitment tests. But if you only look at intelligence, you will not get a clear picture of the candidates and may well end up employing staff who are unhappy in their profession after just a short time.



Many studies and meta-analyses indicate that intelligence can predict the success of an applicant for every profession. Internationally as well, intelligence is one of the few factors that can be measured and compared across the world. In fact, in most professions, “only” 25% of the predicted career success can be explained by intelligence.

For example, intelligence is an important prerequisite for the profession of a nurse because the candidate must have a mathematical understanding of how to medically allocate medicines, derive the right help on the basis of specific symptoms of a patient, and organise their complex tasks efficiently. Personality factors such as conscientiousness, emotional resilience, and empathy are also job-related requirements in order to succeed as a nurse.

In order to make a valid and comprehensive statement about the competences of applicants, test procedures must therefore question several criteria relevant to the profession that concern both specialist and interdisciplinary competencies.

These include, among others, the five important personality factors, also known as “The Big Five”: compatibility, conscientiousness, extraversion, emotional stability and openness for experiences. In addition, potential such as leadership qualifications can play a role for vacancies. In the “search for newcomers”, many recruiters want to know whether potential for professional development exists and the candidates can later also be employed as a head nurse as in the example, or as the head of a team or department.
In addition, the most intelligent candidates do not have to be the best for their jobs. Only if your (future) employees are neither overstretched nor underemployed, they will be happy in their job. And satisfied employees will stay in your company longer. The following example shows that high intelligence can also be an opposite indicator: you screen 500 apprentices for the carpentry workshop of an automotive plant. Among the applicants are also some above-average intelligent people who do not know yet which career path they want to take in the future. You note their good performance in the intelligence test as a positive signal. You take on ten of them but you will later find out that they have quit after just three months because they feel the job is not enough of a challenge.


Some companies still use a seemingly obvious but unfair selection criterion today: school grades. But these are not meaningful for intelligence or suitability since they represent only certain professional achievements in the past. And grades do not provide a prediction of the future success of a person.

The different school forms and curricula in various states prevent the comparability of the candidates.

Instead, develop a specific requirement profile

You are an expert for your company and know the requirements for your vacancies best. That is why it is important for an efficient recruiting process that you are definite about whom exactly you're looking for. For this purpose, you should formulate the requirements for the professions as specifically as possible at the personal level and specify a weighting. For example: how important is the criterion of conscientiousness for the profession to be filled? How important is conscientious working in comparison to and in combination with other requirements?

The specific requirements can then be converted into measurable factors and create comparability among the applicants. In order to select the right test method for particular positions or to develop them specifically, we carry out a requirements analysis with your company.

A properly selected or developed test method will ask the relevant requirements for your vacancies and provide a holistic picture of each applicant.



By means of a subsequent evaluation, you can increase the validity of the test procedures and ensure that your selection process and the resulting personnel decisions have improved.
A recruiting system platform like JOBMATCHER also supports you with the correct interpretation of the test results: The algorithms take into account your account the underlying weighting of the requirements and show you on this basis a recommendation for the most suitable candidates. The final decision is, of course, always up to you.