How Will Employees React to Selection Tests?

Interest in applicant reactions to the selection process has increased steadily in recent years. In large part, research in this area has been motivated by an awareness that negative applicant reactions to an organization’s selection procedures can have a host of negative consequences, including employee withdrawal from the selection process and a damaged reputation in the eyes of rejected applicants. Individuals may often be consumers of the same organizations to which they apply, and negative experiences as a job applicant can impact their behaviors as a consumer. Given these stakes, it is clear that an accurate understanding of applicant reactions to various selection procedures is desirable.


A recent paper by Neil Anderson and Carlijn Witvliet assessed the similarity (or lack thereof) of reactions to selection procedures across six different countries. In contrast to earlier research, the authors found that reactions tended to be very similar from country to country, indicating that reactions are more generalizable than was previously believed. In general, interviews, résumés, and work samples were the selection methods that were viewed most favorably, while graphology (handwriting analysis), personal contacts (having an “in” with someone in the organization) and honesty tests tended to be viewed negatively.


As more and more companies begin to do work internationally, it is important for American I-O psychologists to understand how what we know about workers from the U.S. carries over to the international workplace. This paper by Anderson and Witvliet is an important step towards understanding how selection in other countries is similar (and different from) selection in the U.S.


Anderson, N., & Witvliet, C. (2008). Fairness reactions to personnel selection methods: An international comparison between the Netherlands, the United States, France, Spain, Portugal, and Singapore. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 16, 1-13.

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