Article · 6-minute read

Making Smarter Hiring Decisions with Data You Can Trust

The importance of going beyond gut instinct

By Dominic Goodacre – 3rd June 2024 

In today’s competitive job market, making well-informed hiring decisions is crucial for organizations seeking to build elite teams that perform at the highest level possible.

As artificial intelligence is increasingly being used to assist with applications, jobseekers are misrepresenting themselves and Human Resources Expert at DailyRemote Daniel Wolken has highlighted that there’s a concern around wasting time on candidates who can ‘talk-the-talk’ but not ‘walk-the-walk’.1

Equally, hiring managers bringing people into an organization based on a conversation, mutual connection or strong resume presents similar problems; just as generative AI doesn’t present an objective and true presentation of a person’s potential, neither does human instinct alone.

Hiring the best people with the strongest potential to succeed has to be paramount. 

You are not the best judge of another human being

Sorry to break it to you, but it’s true. The temptation will always be there to put full faith in your intuition towards certain candidates but when you get it wrong, it can be incredibly costly and inefficient when the money and time could be better spent elsewhere.

Our brains process countless micro-signals when we meet someone. These signals trigger gut feelings based on past experiences, but they will also be influenced by prejudices and stereotypes which is commonly known as unconscious bias. In a process that is crucially objective and data-driven, this is to be avoided at all costs.

“Everyone is a prisoner of his own experience. No one can eliminate prejudices — just recognize them.”

Edward R. Murrow

Saville Assessment COO Hannah Mullaney traded her usual role as host of The Deep Dive to become the expert guest on a recent episode of Lee Nallalingham’s podcast. She spoke around the importance of utilizing assessment data for selection decisions:

“It’s like a slight fault in the design of humans where we believe that we are the best judge of another human being, but we’re really not; we’re the most terrible judges! We have all these unconscious and conscious biases that come into play. I can think of so many examples where I’ve spoken to folk in the organization six months later and they go ‘yep… the data was right…’”

Dealing with the consequences of gut-instinct hiring


Dollar icon

A bad hire can cost your organization 30% of their first-year salary2

Bad hires are expensive; the financial impact of getting it wrong is significant and arguably the biggest consequence of a poor selection decision. With added costs around fresh recruitment programs, onboarding, training and essentially a massive loss of productivity, you can hardly afford to get it wrong.


Recruiting is time-consuming. Imagine investing weeks in the hiring process, only to realize later that the chosen candidate isn’t the right fit. Starting over wastes valuable time and resources.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I)

Three people icon

So many recruitment decisions at all role levels are still made off the back of ‘grabbing a coffee’ and ‘having a chat’. Needless to say this is wrought with prejudice and doesn’t even get close to successfully identifying individuals with the skills and potential to make a difference.

Gut instinct often favors candidates who resemble the existing team or even just those who have interests in common with the hiring manager – the ‘similarity’ bias.

Consequently, organizations are missing out on diverse perspectives and fresh ideas. A homogeneous workforce stifles innovation and limits growth.

Reaping the rewards of data-driven assessment

Reduced Cost

Dollar icon

When selecting a talent assessment tool, it’s always worth considering the long-term implications. Investing in a scientifically-robust tool can significantly improve your talent acquisition outcomes while also enhancing candidate attraction and experience.

As Saville Assessment Wave is built with psychometric validity and reliability at its core, the chances of a bad hire are reduced from 1 in 5 to 1 in 50. The fewer bad hires you make, the less often you’re having to fund recruitment cycles due to increased employee retention and with more high-performers in place, the more impact they’re having towards business success.

When partnering with a Global Insurance Firm, we found that individuals who performed well on our data-driven assessments sold more policies than those who failed – averaging an extra $248,000 in sales per year, per person. You can read the full case study here.

Saved Time

A common misconception is that adding assessment into selection programs introduces additional layers of complexity when, in fact, the reverse is true. Implementing valid and reliable assessments early in the process can save over 200 hours of hiring manager time.

Saville Assessment are working hard to make life easy for recruiters. Our Professional Hiring package dives deep into 108 facets of personality before presenting complex psychological statistics on accessible analytic dashboards and digestible output reports, including Interview Guides, breaking the data down into easy actionable insights.

This level of insight is impossible to produce manually on instinct alone and, with the lens focused on both current performance as well as onward potential, you can make smart selection decisions for now and the future, building strong talent pipelines and foundations for continued success.

Improved Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) 

Three people icon

Data-driven assessments minimize bias; they focus on job-related skills rather than irrelevant information like socio-economic background, accent or race. Utilizing solutions built on empirical evidence, organizations can make objective informed decisions that align with business needs and drive DE&I.

In recent research, we have seen that Wave has identified a ​5% increase in females having leadership potential when compared to traditional methods; leveraging assessments not only provides a more effective selection process, mitigating the risk of hiring the wrong person, but also reinforces a commitment to building diverse and inclusive workplaces.

In Conclusion

It’s beyond doubt that embracing scientific data-driven assessment improves organizational diversity, saves time and money, and enables you to make smarter hiring choices based on relevant job criteria, not just instinct.

As humans, we aren’t able to see into the future so our judgment is based purely on what someone has done previously, not what they have potential for in the future, meaning talent is at risk of being overlooked.

Although CVs, human interaction and interviews have their place in the process, with the battle for top talent more fierce than ever, surely objective, rigorous and trustworthy assessment is fast becoming a non-negotiable part of your selection strategy. And none does it better than Saville Assessment’s Wave..!

“I’m so pleased we partnered with Saville Assessment. We now have the data to identify, champion and develop potential.”

Ricoh Logo

Want to know more?

Our team work closely with organizations around the globe and have created 5 combination packages, suitable for a wide range of projects and industries, powering better talent acquisition and development.

About the Author

Dominic Goodacre

Dominic Goodacre is the Content & Social Media Editor at Saville Assessment. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.