Clinical versus mechanical prediction in employee selection

October 2014

This article has been published with the permission of the authors


There is a longstanding controversy on whether clinical or mechanical prediction is better for predicting future performance when selecting candidates for hire. Two meta-analyses are used to support the superiority of mechanical prediction. This report summarizes and makes available the details of the articles used in these meta-analyses. Most articles included are not actually concerned with employee selection. The evidence, however, is unanimously in favor of mechanical prediction is all fields examined, even though the difference between methods many times is small. It is made clear that mechanical prediction is definitely equally good as clinical prediction.


Aim of this report 

… This report aims to answer the following questions: In these meta-analyses,

  • What specific methods of data combination have been labeled as mechanical data combination and holistic assessment, respectively?
  • What is the data that is used in prediction?
  • Who is doing the holistic assessment?
  • What criterion has been used to evaluate which approach is better?