PI Behavioural Assessment

What is PI Behavioural Assessment?

The PI Behavioural Assessment is a theory-based self-report measure of normal adult work-related personality.

It has been developed and validated extensively and exclusively for use within occupational and organizational populations. The Predictive Index, LLC, owns PI Behavioural Assessment.

Over 3 million BAs are administered each year, and over 10,000 professionals are trained in PI workshops. Today, The Predictive Index is a global organization with more than 1,000 partners who actively serve clients across 140 countries.

The Predictive Index community includes more than 8,000 client organizations, many of which have been featured on the Fortune Global 500 list. The PI Behavioural Assessment is currently available in over 75 languages.

What does PI Behavioural Assessment measure?

Intended as a management tool and based largely on physiological psychologist W. Marston (1928), the PI Behavioural Assessment focuses on an individual’s core motivating needs and drives.

All people have these drives, and an individual’s specific combination of these drives forms a predictable picture of how they are most likely to behave at work (Foster et al., 2016). The behavioural assessment takers are measured on 5 main measures.

5 Main measures

Dominance (A)

Dominance is the drive to exert influence on people or events. People scoring who score high in dominance will prefer independent work over collaborative work.

Extraversion (B)

Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people. People scoring higher in extraversion (factor b) tend to favour social interaction.

Patience (C)

Patience is the drive to have consistency and stability. Individuals who score low in a patience will prefer a fast paced environment over process orientated work.

Formality (D)

Formality is the drive to conform to rules and structure. Individuals with a high score in formality will prefer working with detailed, precise, structured and process oriented work.

Objectivity (E)

Objectivity is the degree to which an individual prefers objectivity when processing information and making decisions. This is sometimes known as factor e.

PI Behavioural Assessment

Self and Self-Concept

PI Behavioural Assessment provides two patterns of an individual’s workplace behaviour:


The Self pattern reflects an individual’s natural drives and needs and how they will naturally react in an environment or situation. The self concept list of adjectives relate to all the adjectives that the candidates tick when asked to select the words that describe them solely based on their own opinion.

This section of the pi test gives hiring managers the best idea of the natural behaviours of their potential employees. The self list is a free choice stimulus response assessment. Because this is a free choice stimulus response tool there are no right or wrong answers.


The Self-Concept pattern depicts how a person may be changing their inherent behaviours to the demands of their current workplace. In this section the potential employees select the adjectives that describe how they are expected to behave by others (also based on their own opinion).

The self-concept is also a free-choice assessment. This may be a useful section later on the recruitment process when the interviewer attempts to contrasts their actual workplace environment and the potential employees existing environment.

How does PI Behavioural Assessment work?

Participants of the test are given two lists of adjectives. We ask them to choose phrases from the first list that describe how others want them to behave.

We ask them to choose the words from the second list that best characterise them in their opinion.

Each adjective is associated with the four key factors determining workplace behaviour: dominance, extraversion, patience, and formality. After people complete the assessment, the PI system will assign them a Reference Profile—a snapshot of how they think and work.

The results of the the predictive index behavioural assessment gives a deep understanding of the person’s motivating drives. The quick assessment provides with a simple framework that can be used to create a in depth analysis of the assessment takers personality traits.

The predictive index behavioural assessment was specifically designed to be accurate, scientifically validated, unbiased and data driven. The PI assessment is a efpa certified behavioural assessment. We discourage our clients from focusing on additional factors that they might feel describe their observable behaviour such as energy levels or whether the individual appears self confident.

The digital pi environment known as the Talent Optimisation Platform will enable hiring teams to have a reasonable amount amount of relevant questions to further evaluate if the individuals natural behaviors (or refence profile) match or contrast the demands of the job description.

The pi behavioural assessment does require the candidate to practice sample questions or to even look for sample questions. The questions in the pi behavioural assessment work best when the candidate reads the instructions carefully and in their most native language. This way the candidate will chose the most relevant adjectives that describe accurately.

The behavioural assessment results will not show irrelevant information like the response level, whether the candidates tick too little adjectives, enough adjectives, who selects fewer words or how many adjectives have been selected. What the employer will get is the reference profile, the measurement of the four key factors and detailed description of the candidates individual work styles ( a much better understanding than simply referring to the resource on pi reference profiles) .

The pi behavioural assessment will enable employers to understand the candidates preferred level of social interactions, whether they are natural leaders, whether they are are task oriented, there desire or indifference for consistency and stability etc.

The pi assessment can be used to manage employees, hire candidates or during the interview process. The predictive index test results can also be used to design teams using the Team Discovery Assessment.

Where PI Behavioural Assessment can be used?

In General, the PI Behavioural Assessment is used for 4 main work and occupational uses:

1. Talent Acquisition

Practitioners consider behavioural drives of a job and compare these to the PI Behavioural Assessment results of individual candidates

2. Talent Development.

Practitioners help employees understand how their behavioural drives impact how they engage with others and their roles in team leadership dynamics.

3. Change Management

Practitioners assist leaders in managing change in their organisations by assisting them in understanding how their employees’ behavioural drives may influence their preparedness for change, their reactions to change, and their desire to participate in the change process.

4. Growth Strategy

Practitioners also evaluate how behavioural drives and needs play a role in training employees and leveraging their understanding of their behavioural drives to help them succeed in new tasks using the results of the PI Behavioural Assessment.

Assessment History

Arnold S. Daniels created it in 1955 as a survey that examines a wide range of behavioural variables. The examination was based on Daniels’ work in the 1950s when he assisted in the development and use of behavioural tests for Army employment. He returned to Boston after the war and briefly studied industrial psychology at Harvard. He published the first Predictive Index Assessment in 1952.

Daniels established PI Worldwide (now known as The Predictive Index®) in 1955. The Predictive Index Behavioural Assessment™ was developed using a normative sample of thousands of people and has now been validated in over 500 studies. It has been updated on a regular basis, and it now constitutes a well-established, business-relevant, and scientifically-proven assessment of workplace behavioural tendencies.

The PI Behavioural Assessment is now on its fifth revision, released in 2017 and translated into more than 75 languages.

Is PI Behavioural Assessment a reliable and valid assessment?

The Predictive Index has a long scientific history dating back more than 60 years. Over 500 client validation studies have been completed, indicating connections between assessment findings and job performance in a variety of jobs, industries, and nations. The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing set industry-standard practices, which are followed by PI assessments. This includes (but is not limited to) the following research, development, and maintenance tasks: 

  • Domain mapping and content validity studies
  • Item analysis
  • Convergent and discriminant construct validity studies
  • Reliability and dimensionality analysis
  • Test-retest studies of stability
  • Fairness studies, including differential item functioning analysis
  • Criterion-related validity studies
  • Norm studies

Since 1955, the PI Behavioural Assessment has repeatedly met the criteria specified previously:

  • It is relevant to workplace behaviour.
  • It is valid and reliable.
  • It is general enough to be used for any job role.

Its relevance to workplace performance has been demonstrated in hundreds of criterion validity studies.

The certification corporation DNV-GL conducted the most extensive third-party examination of the PI Behavioural Assessment from 2017 to 2018. Two psychologists and independent auditors analysed the PI Behavioural Assessment and compared it to criteria provided by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA, 2013). Validity, dependability, fairness, development, norms, reporting, supporting documentation and training, and pricing and distribution were all reviewed in this audit. In September 2018, the PI Behavioural Assessment completed this review and was certified under the EFPA methodology. This certification is maintained by PI through frequent assessments.

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