Recruitment and Selection

Topics: Psychometrics, Validity, Assessment Pages: 7 (2195 words) Published: May 18, 2010

Recruitment and selection involves making predictions about future behaviour so that decisions can be made as to who will be more suitable for the job (Renwick, 2001) Both approaches appear logical and rational, however in today’s world this proves not always to be the case (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2004.) Selection can be described as selecting the best candidate, the individual with all the specified essential characteristics, and selecting them for the job (Newell, 2006.) There are a number of different methods used for selection by human resources, each with a different predictive validity on the predictive accuracy model. When an organisation is deciding which method of selection to use they may consider the most cost effective (Beardwell and Holden, 2001) or rely on predictive validity.

Psychometric Testing

Essentially there are two kinds of tests used for selection assessment – cognitive and personality tests. Cognitive tests, tests of general intelligence have high predictive validity across a wide range of jobs (Hunter and Hunter, 1984) There has been a well-documented trend towards greater use in the UK of testing for selecting using psychometric tests. (Shackleton and Newell, 1991.) Study by Wolf and Jenkins (2006) suggested the most important factor explaining a rise in psychometric test use is the change in the legal environment, which increased risks on making hiring decisions in appropriate ways. This method is shown to be a safeguard against accusations of unfair practices. Personality tests had typically been found to have a low validity for predicting job performance (Ghiselli, 1973) due to the ‘fakeability’ in such tests. However, more recently, evidence has been established to suggest that personality measure can be valid predictors of job performance (Day and Silverman, 1989.) One reason for the early pessimism was that there was no generally accepted model of personality. More recently the ‘Big 5’ (Wiggins, 1996) have emerged which include the following personality traits; openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Theses have been supported and agreed on by many. Salgado 2002 found that conscientiousness and emotional stability had the highest validity for job performance and ‘openness to experience’ was valid for training proficiency. Tett et al 2003 demonstrated that a broad measure of personality obscured potentially useful linkages between specific aspects of personality and performance. The best way is to focus on specific personality traits and specific measures of performance in order to improve predictive validity. Despite doubts about overreliance on personality tests with respect to their use in predicting future performance Ones et al 2007 believed them to be a valid predictor of future performance , even in complex tasks such as management. Ceci and Williams (2000) suggest the measurement of intelligence does have drawbacks if such measurement is based on the assumption of intelligence as a fixed property of individuals. They argue intelligent behaviour such as complex thinking is strongly linked to the setting, task, location and other people involved. Jaguar is one of the largest companies which use psychometric testing as a measure of independence of thought, team working and co-cooperativeness.


The interview is the most widely utilized method for the selection of human resources. (Shackleton and Newell, 1997.) Despite concerns over its validity (Huffcutt and Arthur, 1994) meta analytic research suggests that the interview can be a selection tool with substantial predictive validity. However, this is only the case when properly conducted with structure and adequately trained interviewers (Jelf, 1999) Despite having a predictive accuracy of 0.62, found in the Predictive Accuracy Model (Beardwell and Holden, 2001) the interview has received continued popularity, as people are more familiar with them. The...

References: are used to obtain the predictive information about candidates from previous employees, academic tutors or somebody who knows them.
Despite the low predictive validity score, an IRS Survey (1991) found that they were used by 97% of organisations, coupled with interviews.
The newer assessment methods appear to offer significant benefits since they can improve objectivity and criterion related validity. However, as research into actual practices suggests, in reality, selection decisions continue to be dominated by more subjective approaches. (Anderson, 2003)
Although it is possible to see that assessment centres have the highest Predictive Validity of 0.68 they are not the most used technique of selection. Interviews are most commonly used, followed by references.
The actual result and validity of a selection method is in the hands of the user. Assessment centres are only valid if carried out properly. It is more likely that companies will use assessment centres in selecting employees for more senior positions, as the costs of doing so will be quite high.
‘Most significant decisions are made by judgement, rather than by a defined prescriptive model.’ (Bazerman 1994)
While psychometric tests can potentially add valid information to the selection decision, it is clear that this will only occur if tests are used appropriately (Newell and Shackleton, 1993)
It is essential to use a variety of selection methods, with regards to the job in question, in order to make the best predictions about future behaviour, so that decisions can be made to get the best candidate for the job.
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