A Sequel to the Ring of Fire: How Internal and External Candidates React to Employment Testing (I/O Psychology)

Topic(s): assessment, selection

Topic: Assessment, Personality Assessment, Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (JUN 2012)
Article: Don’t you know me well enough yet? Comparing reactions of internal and external candidates to employment testing
Authors: G. W. Giumetti and E. F. Sinar
Reviewed By: Megan Leasher

Employment testing is gaining in popularity at all levels within organizations, leading internal candidates to complete assessment tests to be considered for promotion or lateral moves. When you test employees you already hired, you might expect some pushback!

When competing for the same job, do internal and external candidates react differently to employment tests? Gary Giumetti and Evan Sinar explored this question with over 2300 candidates across 12 organizations and found several key differences. As compared to external candidates, internal candidates reported lower perceptions regarding information they received about what to expect in the tests, but held more positive views on both the job- relatedness of the tests and their overall recommendation of the organization to others.

This study focused on candidates’ perceptions of the tests themselves immediately after completing the tests. But what if you asked them later on? As a practitioner, the article led me to a spiraling of even more questions; all of which could impact applicant reactions at various points in the hiring process. How were the scores on the tests used? Was there a hard cutoff that required a “passing” score (on one or more of the tests) to advance in the hiring process? If so, were exceptions ever made because of something else amazing in a candidate’s background? What were candidates told about the hiring process and how their test scores were used? Did any of the internal candidates take the same or similar tests when they vied for
their current job? What had internal candidates heard, if anything, about the ease or difficulty of the tests from their coworkers? Were interviewers made aware of their test scores?

When it comes to any hiring process, consistency in both process and communication is paramount, no matter who comprises the applicant pool. An organization can choose to be transparent, opaque, or somewhere in the middle in what they share about a hiring process to candidates. But they need to be consistent to ensure that all applicant pools are treated justly.

Giumetti, G. W. & Sinar, E. F. (2012). Don’t you know me well enough yet? Comparing reactions of internal and external candidates to employment testing. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 20(2), 139-148.

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management



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