Untitled Document Compatibility Assessments Improve Fit and Retention of New Hires

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Service Category: Selection Services

The Problem

A public safety department in a mid-sized city was experiencing an increased attrition rate among newly hired officers. Each wrong hire was estimated to cost the city $50,000. The following factors were thought to contribute to the increased attrition rate: immaturity, inflexibility, lack of interest in professional and personal development, and unrealistic expectations about the work and environment of a public safety officer.

How We Helped

To reduce the probability of hiring a public safety officer who didn't fit into the department culture, we worked with the city to develop compatibility assessments of public safety officer candidates. The goal of the compatibility assessments was to better identify those individuals who possess the traits necessary for a successful fit with the department.

The compatibility assessments consisted of administration of the California Psychological Inventory followed by a semi-structured interview that covered the following topics:

  • Interview behavior (timeliness, attention to detail, professionalism, communication skills)
  • Willingness and ability to learn
  • Industriousness and work ethic
  • Past and present behavior and performance issues
  • Maturity and independence
  • Role expectations

Following the completion of the assessment, the public safety officer selection committee was provided with a written compatibility analysis, a numerical rating of the candidate relative to other candidates, and concerns to be probed by background investigators. (Background investigators have reported that having a specific list of concerns to probe increases the ability of their investigations to detect significant problems.)


  • Retention of newly hired officers increased from 45 percent to 85 percent.
  • Newly hired officers possessed traits necessary to succeed in their new work environment.