Validity and Reliability

Topics: Validity, Psychometrics, Recruitment Pages: 10 (2716 words) Published: February 3, 2009
“Occupational psychologists stress the need for validity and reliability throughout the selection process. Explain how this can be achieved and critically examine the practical case for and against such rigour in selection, in practice, in an English context. In your essay, examine other perspectives dictating features of the selection process and if and how these can be reconciled with the need for validity and reliability”

Word Count: 2,637 words

The essay explains about Validity and Reliability and the other aspects of evaluative standards. It also describes about the various stages in a selection process and an example which shows the role of these evaluative standards in each of the process with a conclusion.

Validity refers to “the accuracy of measurement and it must measure what it purports to measure” [Cooper, Robertson and Tinline 2003]

It is told that there are different types of validity where, Content Validity, Construct Validity and Criterion related Validity is of more importance to the process of recruitment [Cooper, Robertson and Tinline 2003]. The other types include face validity, faith validity, rational validity, factorial validity and synthetic validity.[Cook, M., 1998]

Reliability is “Dependability of a measurement device or test; the underlying principle is consistency of measurement” [Cooper, Robertson and Tinline 2003] Different types reliability is explained in the example illustrated.


“Psychological research shows that references and interviews are inaccurate selection methods. Accuracy divides into reliability and validity.” [Cook, M., 1998]

“Reliability and validity, although related, are not the same thing. It is possible for an instrument to be reliable, but not valid. For example, a watch that is consistently five minutes fast is reliable; it will indicate 12.05 pm every day at midday. But the watch is not valid; it is five minutes out. While it is possible for an instrument to be consistent (reliable) but not accurate (valid), it is not possible for an instrument to be valid if it is not also reliable.” [IRS Health and Safety Bulletin, Dyer, C., 2001]

It could be told from the given example that are validity and reliability are both important to any stage of the recruitment process, but validity is often more important. There are two more complementary aspects of evaluating standards which could be considered for more accurate selection process. “Systematic selection requires that they should meet certain standards concerning reliability, validity, interpretability and practicality.” [Cooper, Robertson and Tinline 2003]

Interpretability is “the extent to which the scores on a test are interpretable and meaningful” and practicality of a method is assessed from two further perspectives: “its perceived usefulness and fairness and the extent to which it devours organizational resources.” [Cooper, Robertson and Tinline 2003]

It can be told that for any test or selection method to be evaluated accurately, it is not sufficient for the method to be valid and reliable, it should be interpreted well and it should be practical. In other terms the consequences of the process should be generally acceptable. For example, if the most reliable and valid test discriminates a set of people, then it is not considered to be practical.


Although there are different approaches to list out the stages in a recruitment process, Taylor suggests two distinct approaches to the process, traditional job based approach and competency-based approach, that should be carried out the before in hand. Fig 1 illustrates the combined approach or stages in good practice recruitment and selection [Taylor, S., 2002]


Job analysis is considered to be the start of the selection process and foundation of various other issues...

References: ❖ Cook, M., Personnel Selection: Adding Value through People,
West Sussex: Wiley, 1998
❖ Cooper, D., Robertson, Ivan T., and Tinline, G., Recruitment and Selection, A Framework for Success,
London: Thomson, 2003
❖ Lewis, C., Employee Selection
London: Hutchinson, 1985
❖ Stahl, M., Achievement, power and managerial motivation: Selecting managerial talent with the job choice exercise’. Personnel Psychology, 1983
❖ Taylor, S., People Resourcing, Second edition
London: CIPD, 2002
Taylor, S., 2002:92
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