The Predictive Index Turns 60

A Q&A with PI Midlantic's Steve Picarde, Jr.

By Roy Maurer March 12, 2015

The Predictive Index (PI) behavioral assessment test turns 60 this year. The PI is a customizable, bias-free assessment used by employers to provide managers with data quantifying the unique motivations and behavioral drives of job applicants or employees. It’s used by over 7,800 organizations located in 143 countries, offered in 70 languages including Braille, and designed to comply with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hiring guidelines.

The goal of the PI is to synchronize talent with the company’s goals and objectives and mitigate employee conflict, low production and high turnover. The test can be used for talent acquisition, career development, team building, mentoring, conflict resolution, promotions and succession planning.

More than 2 million assessments are administered and analyzed every year.


​Steve Picarde Jr., vice president of PI Midlantic, a Predictive Index consulting firm based in Annapolis, Md., spoke to SHRM Online about how the assessment can benefit human resource professionals.

SHRM Online: What differentiates the PI from other behavioral tests?

Picarde: The most impactful differentiator is that the Predictive Index program is built on a knowledge transfer model that makes key leaders experts in applying the data to build their organizations. In other words, individual leaders in the company are trained on how to give and evaluate PI assessments so that the benefits and knowledge can be used progressively to shape the organization moving forward. Additionally, the survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete. By comparison, other instruments can take 60-90 minutes.

SHRM Online: How can the PI be effectively used in recruiting?

Picarde: The Predictive Index provides a more objective approach to selecting talent. Starting with the premise that jobs have behaviors, too, managers complete a survey that creates a behavioral analysis of the position. This position analysis allows managers to objectively compare each candidate to the position to understand the fits and gaps between the candidate and the position, and target behaviorally based interview questions to identify the best candidate for the role. The Predictive Index technology also has the ability to run analytics on a group of top performers, identify consistencies, and allows clients to target individuals with similar strengths.

SHRM Online: What are some hidden behavioral traits that can result in bad hires?

Picarde: Something that we run into quite frequently is that hiring managers have been known to hire people they like, as opposed to the best fit for the position. Perhaps the clearest example occurs when interviewers in companies that are hiring new business development salespeople meet an outgoing and engaging candidate and assume [he or she has] the assertiveness to sell. The interviewer confuses the candidate’s ability to connect with true dominance. The result is that they end up hiring someone who will go out and meet and connect with someone easily but will struggle to process new business, cold call and things of that nature.

SHRM Online: How can PI results be used during onboarding?

Picarde: The companies that get the most out of their behavioral assessment program use it beyond the hiring process. They provide their managers the tools to understand the strengths that each of their new team members brings to the table, and how they can manage and motivate them to success. The Predictive Index helps give insight into how a new hire best learns. Using the PI, you can predict if a new hire will need structure and guidance, a mentor, and insight into policy and procedure, or if they are someone who only needs you to point them in the right direction and let them do it on their own.

SHRM Online: How can the assessment be used during conflict resolution?

Picarde: For conflict resolution, the Predictive Index can be used to identify where each party is coming from. Conflict may arise because the individuals are similar. Both employees may assert stubbornly that their beliefs are the right ideas. Each of them staunchly defends these ideas. The PI can be used to help them each develop awareness of their similar styles. A resolution can come by finding a way to get them to focus outwardly on a common goal like taking down the competition. It is when these two types are focused inwardly that conflict arises.

Another example is two people with opposing styles. One person may be focused on an issue that focuses five miles down the road, where the other is focused on the specifics five feet in front of them. The PI can be used to ultimately show how their viewpoints complement each other and how the company can benefit from both viewpoints. After all, if you have all visionaries, you have great ideas but no one to implement them. And if you have all detail-focused employees, you have good systems but fewer new ideas and creativity.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy​​


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