You are considering hiring an employee. She (or he) is honest, conscientious, and has demonstrated the ability to do the work. Is there anything else you really ought to know before hiring her? Well yes, say eighty years of employment studies, or so this source claims.

The upshot of this research is that general mental ability (IQ and related tests) was the best predictor and work sample tests (e.g., seeing if people can actually do key elements of a job -- if a secretary can type or a programmer can write code ) were the second best of the 19 examined. Here is the rank order of the 19 predictors examined:

1. GMA tests ("General mental ability")

2. Work sample tests

3. Integrity tests: surveys design to assess honesty ... I don't like them but they do appear to work.

4. Conscientiousness tests: essentially do people follow-through on their promises, do what they say, and work doggedly and reliably to finish their work.

Not, I'm sure, what the anti-IQ people want to hear - me either - but sometimes, at least, evidence matters. But if you want to argue, it's not good enough to say you don't like the result - you need to confront the evidence.

(via Tyler Cowen.


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