profiling for attitude
selecting for fit

Hiring for the Force

What’s behind the stunning success of the small motivated army surrounded by bigger enemies, resembling the military image of mythical David against Goliath?

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is considered to be one of the best fighting forces on earth (Forbes, August 2014) and the world’s fourth most powerful army. It has effectively been at war for the last 60 years.

Nobel Prize laureate for economics, Daniel Kahneman designed a psychological recruitment tool for the IDF. The resulting output of what is known as the “Kahneman score” is based on candidates attributes and traits. This tool has proved so successful in predicting candidates’ success in their various roles that the IDF still uses it today. (M.Lewis, “The Undoing Project”).

The mental screening or psychological testing conducted in the pre-entry period to Israeli Defense Forces in many recruitment centres have been named “quality screening” (and Quality Group Score – Kaba) due to its well-known prediction power. The Attribute Based Selection process constitutes one of the four components of Kaba. It has been used over 50 years for psychological screening and was perceived as an extremely useful tool to predict the conscript’s fit to serve in a combat unit.

A “motivation-to-serve” index reflects his prospects for successfully adjusting to a unit. It was derived from a semi-structured interview administered by a trained specialist. Six attitudes were assessed: precision, activism, adjustment to frameworks, motivation to serve, sociability, capacity for independent thought. On the basis of the candidate’s answers, the prediction score was being drawn which reflected his probability of success in the combat unit. A candidate then was ascribed to one particular unit he was believed to be best suited for: fighter pilot, armoured unit, infantry soldier, etc.

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