Pre-Employment Personality Assessment

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Literature Evaluation Paper

Abstract
Use of pre-employment personality testing has come under fire for many years, but recently has received more attention and thought. Specifically, the education of potential applicants on the use of pre-employment screening and therefore their desire to “fake” an outcome that will result in hiring is of great concern in its use. The present paper will identify current thoughts on the attempts of applicants to impact the outcomes of the hiring process through “faking” in the selection methods. The following three literature reviews will discuss the rationale, outcomes, and differences in each of the selected studies.

Literature Evaluation Paper
Personality testing and its use in employment related decisions has been at the forefront of organizational research and practice since the 1950’s. Use of various types of personality testing, ranging from the simple Color Quiz to the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, can help an employer to focus on a prospective employee’s specific personality traits and whether they fit the needs of the open position. Use of pre-employment personality testing has come under fire for many years, but recently has received more attention and thought. Specifically, the education of potential applicants on the use of pre-employment screening and therefore their desire to “fake” an outcome that will result in hiring is of great concern in its use. The present paper will identify current thoughts on the attempts of applicants to impact the outcomes of the hiring process through giving what they feel are socially desirable responses in the selection methods. The following three literature reviews will discuss each of the selected studies. Jill Ellingson, Paul Sackett, and Leaetta Hough

In a study conducted by Ellingson, Sackett, and Hough, the authors wanted to evaluate whether employer’s using social desirability (SD) scales could effectively implement corrections based on the SD scale score to circumvent applicant “faking” on the test method administered, and thereby increase correct selection decisions (1999). The authors set out to first explicitly define the terms which they are studying: social desirability, faking, and intentional distortion, as well as social desirability correction. A clear discussion was put forth to explain the method and reasoning of the research and its outcomes, as well as previous research that affected the decisions to go this route. Data for the study was collected through an independent study on the same topic, Project A. The sample included 245 currently enlisted Army personnel, was 100% male, and all represented the same occupational specialty (Ellingson, Sackett, and Hough, 1999). Participants were instructed to take the assessment twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, with instructions to “fake good” or “fake bad” in the afternoon assessment. The participant pool was narrowed to 128 after the analyses were given; some were asked to “fake bad” on their instructions in filling out the data and therefore the “fake bad” scores were weeded out of the final assessment. The results of the study follow the initial hypothesis that the researchers set out; that when intended faking occurs, whether at the behest of the researcher or by the intended pursuit of a positive outcome by the applicant, the mean scores are affected in the end. When returning to the question with specific regard to the use of correction in SD scale, the results were found to be divergent. In some cases the correction administered resulted in a higher proportion of positive outcome for hiring rates, in some cases lower. The final outcome of this average did show that the application of an SD correction does not greatly affect the correctness of selection decisions in hiring. Use of SD scales in hiring is a difficult theme to examine and requires extensive study on both the individual and aggregate levels. In this study,...
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