Exploring a ‘New Frontier’

A new Korn Ferry report takes a look at the future of neuroscience innovation in assessment

From hiring candidates to promoting executives, companies are increasingly using assessment testing to inform talent management decisions. It is no wonder: research proves that assessments accurately predict future job performance, providing organizations with valuable and objective insights needed to make the right call.

As the use of assessments increases among organizations, so has the interest in innovative testing approaches. Although traditional assessments remain most common, more and more companies are beginning to explore, invest in, or even incorporate neuroscience and other emerging technologies in human resources-related assessment services.

In some cases, these innovations have high potential to improve the quality of applicant data available to employers, by better describing and predicting workplace performance and behavior. Developments in neuroscience, for example, can contribute to more valid, reliable measurements by combining a more direct assessment approach, reducing ability to fake responses, and enabling easier, quicker repetition. “Neuroscientific advancements are already showing their potential to measure known psychological constructs in faster, richer and more reliable ways, while also identifying entirely new constructs,” says James Lewis, a senior scientist in the Korn Ferry Institute. “This is something many people may not know about.”

Ultimately, these approaches can lead to more predictive processes and higher-quality hires by pushing the boundary of what can be measured. But gauging the impact of neuroscience on psychometric testing, measurement and HR can be difficult. Although there’s a great deal of truly valuable advancement ongoing in the field, it’s also on many occasions been co-opted for marketing purposes—used as a buzzword, a bit like “AI”—and attached to products and services that, on reflection, aren’t as innovative as they may seem.

For that reason, more clarity on the viable applications and obstacles of neuroscience innovation is needed. In its latest report, A New Frontier, the Korn Ferry Institute, in partnership with Arctic Shores, takes a look at the current state of neuroscience developments and what is feasible in the future of neuroscience in assessment.  “Despite a lack of familiarity, neuroscience has still found itself as something of a marketing trend, particularly in the world of assessment,” says Huw Williams, cognitive scientist at Arctic Shores. “This paper attempts to build a more realistic, tangible picture of how applied neuroscience can impact the workplace.”

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