Predictive Index

Posted by jael on Aug 28, 2010 in Business, Education, Technology |

Job applications make my Top 10 List of Hallelujah Breakers today.

Get this; my sister emailed me today to share the heads-up that she had decided to put her name in the hat for some part-time work.

As part of the application process, she was asked to complete a “Predictive Index.”

On page one, she was instructed to check off the words from a supplied list that she feels describe the way others expect her to act.

On page two, she was asked to check off the words from a supplied list that identify her expectations of herself.

I’ve pasted the word list below:

So, clearly, I’m no therapist, but I assume there is a psychodynamic inventory embedded in this check list, and I am intrigued on many levels.

I confess the title of the task really bakes my cupcakes.  “Predictive Index?”  Just like Silence of the Lambs, baby, the gallant and elegant sociopath, Hannibal Lecter, said it best, “Oh, Agent Starling, do you think you can dissect me with this blunt little tool?”

Come on!  Clearly this Predictive Index is meant to measure personality indicators that some company paid a puffed-up consultant a ridiculous wad of cash to build.  “Yeah!  Build me a matrix!  Write me a tool so I can hire someone who lives the mission statement and honors the code.  Construct me a Skinner’s Box so that we can weed out the weary, helpless, broken-hearted, faithless, and confused.   Let those lost souls cry out to Jesus, ‘cause we only hire producers who promote value and honor the company name.”

Really now, has our social code degraded to the point that a potential job applicant would assert that others should expect him to act fearful, self-centered, selfish and dominant?  Can you imagine any non-dream state that would compel you to say, “Hi, my name is Jael, I am a passive, audacious, worrying, docile, obstinate, fussy escapist who promises to add value to your organization.”

Usually people smart enough to participate in 12 Step programs know the difference between a job application and a meeting.

Certainly, there must be words that flag potential psychopaths and narcissists for the employer.  I respect companies must roll the dice as they throw development capital into the recruitment and training of talent, but come on!  This kind of exercise could produce clinically measurable anxiety.

It’s like a Bounce House for the Id, Ego and Super Ego to collide!  Do I check what I think they want me to say, or check what I think is right, or check how my kids would describe me when I go postal over spilled chocolate milk on the couch?

What does this Predictive Index measure?  What the potential employer expects?  What one expects of potential colleagues?  What one expects of oneself?  And those are just the not crazy-kind of second-guessing questions.  What if it somehow measures if I am insecure or if English is my second language or if I have some kind of cheese fetish?  What in the hell does resolute really mean anyway, and is it exclusively a good or bad attribute?

I’d say more, but at this point, I am afraid someone is watching me.

The Holy Dove ain’t ever tried to dissect me with a blunt little tool.

In fact, my God promises to prosper and not to harm me.

I did my best, it wasn’t much (not passive)
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch (not audaciously)
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you (trusting)

And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my blessedly employed tongue but Hallelujah!


Damian Vlasaty
Oct 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I love the part about “[The candidate is] inquisitive enough to take advice from many conflicting perspectives, wise enough come to their own conclusion, and have the character to convince others that what they propose is the right thing to do.”

Jun 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm


I’ve been searching for the reasoning for such a request “Predictive Index survey.” I’ve been asked to complete before a scheduled interview. I clicked on your aged “broken hallelujah” page. I can’t agree more. Thank you for the writing of your of opinion. We should see to read more of this. My HALLELUJAH can never be broken. God Bless You

Steve Waterhouse
Jun 23, 2015 at 8:55 am

You have it right the Predictive Index is an assessment that consultants use to help companies hire people. You can think of it like getting to know someone faster. It helps employers understand how someone is most likely to behave in the job. It is never used as the total decision since there is much more to a person than just assessment results. You can learn more at

Feb 13, 2016 at 2:01 pm

I actually am trained in this particular personality assessment. There are no words that flag psychopaths, and one of the things about this particular tool is that there are no “bad” profiles. It’s just about “fit” – recognizing that certain personalities fit well or less well for certain job requirements. Ex – you don’t want to hire a shy wallflower who is scared to make a phone call, for a cold calling sales job. They’re not going to perform well (bad for the company), and they’re also going to be miserable (bad for the employee).
At my company, we didn’t do a PI until after an initial phone interview once we had decided to bring them in for a face to face, we clearly explained to the candidate what the PI is (and isn’t), and we always explained the results to the candidate in the face to face interview. It wasn’t a screening tool for us, it helped us to craft interview questions. So back to our sales example, if it appeared the person was very reserved, we’d ask a lot of questions about examples where they had to be go getters and how that went for them and how they felt about it. 9 times out of 10, the way the person answered my questions aligned with their PI result — saving both employer and candidate from making a bad match.
I’m sorry your sister didn’t have a better experience — it sounds like this company really isn’t using the tool the right way. Most people whom I have shared PI with have found it interesting and informative and were quite frankly surprised and how well such a short test (that would seem to be easy to “fudge”) turns out a really accurate picture of someone’s personality.

No… I do not work for PI!

Jul 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Is the word list always the same as above or does it/has it changed? The words are the same for both how one perceives themselves and how others perceive they should be? Interesting.

Gayle Hencye
Jul 18, 2017 at 7:55 pm

PI was used in and of itself to make the decision to not hire me. Had they interviewed me, they would have acknowledged my drive and passion to always do my best. Furthermore, had they called my three professional references, let’s say they would have been nothing less than completely, & totally embarrassed/ashamed. That’s okay, God wants me though.



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