Biographical data or biodata is information about an individual's demographic, experiential or attitudinal backgrounds. It can be used to determine the subject's personality type and to predict her professional performance. Biographical data may contain answers to questions about past behaviour, allowing assumptions about future behaviour to be made. Biodata items include date of birth, examination performance, preferred characteristics of jobs and previous job positions.
Biographical data is often used in the process of scrutinizing and pre-screening applicants for a job. It’s considered more objective than the ordinary “paper sift” strategy in pre-selection. Many selection procedures use biodata analysis, whatever the position sought. Biographical data has been found to be a more reliable predictor of success than a traditional employment interview.
To gather biodata, experts in the subject matter or field of employment develop questions to assess the candidate's behavior. These questions focus on scenarios a candidate may have faced, and they ask about the candidate’s typical conduct in the scenarios. General questions are designed to identify behaviors like procrastination and poor discipline or to test the motivation of the candidate. These could be questions about the candidate's habits or her performance in domestic tasks. Subject-specific questions assess the candidate's ability to do the job required. This behavioral biodata is added to traditional factual biodata, such as employment history, criminal history and educational achievements. Together, these types of biodata help to form a portrait of the candidate and give an indication of her likely performance.