[Slideshow] If qualifications no longer determine success, what does?

Shrewd recruitment: why candidate assessment...Are your highest performers also the least en...

It used to be seen that those with higher-education qualifications will do better in life than those without. But is this still the case? Or are organisations now hiring people based on much more, such as experience and hard and soft skills? The short answer: yes. 

Looking at the 'Big 4' 

If we use the financial services industry as an example, in recent years the 'Big 4’ accountancy firms (Ernst & Young, PwC, Deloitte & KPMG) have made significant changes to their academic requirements and no longer put the more academically successful candidates ahead of the competition.  

Ernst & Young removed its policy of requiring a 2:1 and the equivalent of three B grades at A-level from its application process, enabling those with less favourable grades the opportunity to apply for the same jobs. They have also begun to use online assessments to judge the potential of candidates. 

Our own internal research of over 400 graduates found that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment. It found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken. - Maggie Stilwell, Managing Partner for Talent at Ernst & Young

Following in the footsteps of Ernst & Young, PwC scrapped their UCAS tariff as an entry criterion for the majority of their graduate schemes, and Deloitte and KPMG have stressed a more flexible approach that allows the opportunity for every application to be considered. 

Successful recruitment strategies that include a way to effectively predict future potential in a role are clearly now more than ever important.

92% of recruiters said psychometric tests were ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’ in determining recruitment decisions. This was due to academic qualifications not being a reliable measure of workplace behaviour, hard and soft skill sets, performance or cultural fit. - CIPD

What added layer of information can psychometric assessments offer in recruitment? 

Browse through our slideshow to discover the wealth of information that Thomas assessments can provide, enabling you to make more confident recruitment decisions.


Psychometric tests provide an in-depth insight of what goes on under the exterior of an individual - intelligence, skills and personality – and can help build a comprehensive profile of an individual that a CV doesn't necessarily do. 


Aptitude and ability assessments measure how quickly and accurately a person can process new information, problem solve, manipulate numbers in their head, comprehend a large number of words and think visually. Overall, this can indicate how quickly candidates will learn and retain new skills/procedures and reliably predict their potential to grasp and develop into a new role. Find out more about Thomas’ aptitude and ability assessment, the  General Intelligence Assessment (GIA).


Do you have a way of measuring how well your candidates understand and manage their emotions, how well they interpret and deal with the emotions of others and then use this knowledge to manage relationships? Establishing a person's emotional intelligence during the recruitment phase can give you key insights into how adaptable a candidate is, their reaction to pressure, their self-motivation, how empathetic they are and how they handle change which can be a key differentiator between candidates during talent selection. Find out more about the Thomas Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue).


Behavioural profiling gives an employer insight into how people behave at work, their preferred styles of communication, how they react under pressure and their strengths and limitations. Based on the DISC theory, the Thomas Personal Profile Analysis allows you to find people who suit your team/company culture, helps you understand your candidates at a much deeper level than what a CV provides and then recruit those who match the behavioural requirements of the job.


Exploring someone’s personality traits (which can predict up to 20% of potential at work) will give you the edge when identifying how suitable a candidate may be for a given job role or position. Using the High Potential Trait Indicator (HPTI), you will be able to determine how self-disciplined a person is at work, how they react to complex situations that do not have an obvious solution, their levels of curiosity to innovation and new ways of working and how goal-orientated and ambitious they are.

Self awareness

Using psychometric assessments to truly understand your candidates at a deeper level will enable you to create a culture of empowered, engaged and motivated employees, which will only increase productivity in the workplace.

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If you would like to find out more about how our assessments can empower your organisation to make more confident and cost-effective recruitment decisions, get in touch today!

Reuben Conibear

Reuben Conibear

Reuben has worked in the Marketing team at Thomas for over 4 years and as Senior Marketing Executive, Reuben's core focus is to ensure a high quality experience for Thomas customers at all times. In his spare time, Reuben enjoys kayaking, bouldering and spending time with his friends and family.