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Note: This post is an excerpt from our sister site The Best Team Wins. Visit TBTW for the full post, or subscribe to Adam’s weekly podcast on building your best team.


One of the bedrock principles of Predictive Hiring is that a hiring process should be looked at as the process of risk assessment.  You’re not reading the candidate’s resume and taking a guess as to fit; you’re focused on uncovering the factors that, when present, predict a higher likelihood of success for that candidate in your organization. We call those the Four Super Elements. Our own research shows that determining how much of each element candidates show can dramatically improve your hiring results.

Here are the four critical Super Elements:

1. Attitude:

A positive disposition towards work that persists over time.

2. Accountability:

The degree to which the candidate attributes the events in their life – good or bad – to their own actions or decisions; also known as ‘locus of control.’

3. Prior, related job success:

The candidate can demonstrate that their performance was actively monitored and measured using defined KPIs or scored outcomes.

4. Culture fit: 

The degree to which the candidate exhibits the behaviors and cultural attributes of the organization.

Determining whether or not these Super Elements are present with a job candidate is surprisingly straightforward.  By asking specific, targeted interview questions, you can determine whether or not the candidate exhibits these critically important characteristics.


1. Attitude: 

‘Tell me about the last time you were so frustrated at work that you wanted to quit.’  Follow-up question: ‘What was going on that led you to feel that way?’

Everyone gets frustrated at work, and sometimes that frustration can lead to a feeling that ‘enough is enough.’  To feel this way is perfectly normal; we’ve all been there.  However, multiple research studies confirm that individual with a positive attitude towards work events – particularly negative ones – have a higher likelihood of being a top quartile performer than candidates who display negative attitudes towards work events.

A candidate demonstrating a positive disposition towards challenging work events will answer your question with answers such as:

  • ‘It was an incredibly frustrating situation, but they gave me a great opportunity and I’m appreciative that they did that.’
  • ‘My manager is tough to work for, but I know that he’s doing his best and I can’t fault him for wanting us to hit numbers.’

A candidate demonstrating a negative disposition towards challenging work events will say things like:

  • ‘That place is a mess.  Managers aren’t really managing anything and it leads to all sorts of issues.’
  • ‘The workplace culture is really negative, and it makes it hard to succeed.’

Listen for the differences, and avoid hiring candidates who speak negatively about challenging work situations.

Learn how to screen for all four Super Elements over at The Best Team Wins and sign up for our weekly podcast.

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