Brief Exposure to Workplace Rudeness Can Hurt Job Performance

We all know that workplace rudeness can make the workplace unpleasant, but have you considered the effects on job performance? New research (Woolum, Foulk, Lanaj, & Erez, 2017) explores how even brief exposure to rudeness at the start of the day can hurt job performance throughout the entire day.


Rapport Building on Job Interviews: How Much Does It Matter?

Rapport building is usually the first step of a job interview. Even when ensuing interview questions are standardized and job-relevant, it’s typical to start with a few questions that seek to ease tension and establish a friendly connection between the interviewer and interviewee. But questions remain: what is the purpose of this, and how does this affect how the interviewee is rated? On one hand, ability to establish good rapport may be indicative of a socially-competent candidate. On the other hand, if the interviewer forms a strong intuitive opinion about an applicant, it may color subsequent scores on the actual job interview questions. So, is rapport building good or bad?  Should the practice be continued or phased out?


How Can Companies Protect Their Reputations by Discouraging Employees’ Bad Behavior?

Researchers often study counterproductive work behavior, which means employees’ bad behavior at work that is deviant or harmful to the company. But companies can also be harmed by employees’ bad behavior off-the-job, called off-duty deviance (ODD). This can include anything from socially unacceptable noncriminal behavior, like bullying on social media, to downright criminal behavior, like felonies or drug use. The negative impact of ODD can be severe, not only on employment outcomes, but also on the company’s reputation. What are companies doing to protect their valuable reputations?


Fairness During Recruitment Can Affect Job Offer Acceptance

Ensuring your organization has the right people in the right roles is important, and this outcome is largely affected by the recruitment process. Recruiters spend a long time sifting through job applicants before they decide whom they want to hire. Unfortunately, applicants don’t always accept their offers. What factors make a job applicant more likely to accept (or reject) a job offer? To find out, new research (Harold, Holtz, Griepentrog, Brewer, & Marsh, 2016) studied roughly 3,000 job applicants who had all been given offers to join the US Military.


Discrimination Can Block Pathways into Organizations

Discrimination in the workplace is unfortunately still a problem that needs a solution. There is inescapable evidence that many types of people experience discrimination at various decision points in a career. For example, selection, salary negotiation, and promotions, are all decision points that provide an opportunity for measurable discrimination to appear. New research (Milkman, Akinola, & Chugh, 2015) focuses instead on career “pathways,” or the process that leads up to obtaining a job. If someone has a clear pathway to a job, they may be more likely to be hired when the selection decision is made. However, a pathway can be blocked with obstacles (such as discrimination) that make it difficult for a person to succeed at a later decision point.


Stereotypes and Employment Discrimination Against Cancer Survivors

Employment discrimination harmfully affects many types of people, and new research indicates that cancer survivors may be among the victims. This is especially troubling, because after a cancer diagnosis, people must overcome many challenging obstacles to enter and remain in remission. Yet, these same individuals may also have a more difficult time obtaining employment. A recent study (Martinez, White, Shapiro, & Hebl, 2016) examined the stereotypes associated with cancer survivors and the workplace-related implications of these stereotypes for both individuals and organizations.


Ethnic and Gender Discrimination When Reviewing Job Resumes

Job resumes are essential in making hiring decisions as they provide necessary information about applicants during the initial screening stages. However, resume screening is highly susceptible to psychological biases, and raters or screeners may rely on mental shortcuts that lead to inaccurate assessments, especially when relevant applicant information appears to be lacking. New research (Derous, Ryan & Serlie, 2015) explored how characteristics of the job and rater attitudes (ethnic prejudice, sexism) combine to influence the decisions of recruiters when limited information was provided in resumes.



Emotional Intelligence Leads to Good Moods and Creativity in the Workplace

Emotional intelligence is good for influencing many workplace outcomes, but can it really lead to creativity in the workplace? Some past researchers believed that the two had nothing to do with each other. They said that emotional intelligence was about figuring out the single best way to handle an emotional situation and creativity was about brainstorming many different ways of doing things. These almost sound like opposite strategies. But new research (Parke, Seo, Sherf, 2015) has found that skills and strategies associated with emotional intelligence can ultimately lead to more creativity in the workplace.


Which Type of Personality Leads to Workplace Safety?

Workplace safety is a major concern for organizations. Accidents involving employees can jeopardize the safety of everyone at work, and be enormously costly for employers, in terms of lawsuits, insurance, and lost productivity. Research has long extolled the virtues of creating a safety climate, which means setting organizational policy to reflect the fact that safe behavior is important, expected, and will be rewarded. But there is another way to make sure that employees engage in safe practices on the job. We can hire “safer” people in the first place. The authors of the current study (Beus, Dhanani, & McCord, 2015) wanted to identify the personality traits that are associated with safe behavior.


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The Strange Story Behind Situational Judgment Tests: What Do They Really Measure?

Situational judgment tests are often used during employee selection. They present the job applicant with a series of situations that may be encountered on the job. For example, one situation might include an anecdote about a co-worker encouraging you to steal. For each situation, several different responses are listed. Applicants simply choose the response that seems most appropriate. Because these tests are (hopefully) designed by I-O psychologists or other highly trained experts, certain answers are designed to reflect behavior that is consistent with good job performance. The more the applicant choses these “good” answers, the more certain we are that the applicant will succeed on the job if hired.


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The Role of Storytelling in Effective Structured Job Interviews

It’s no surprise that I-O psychologists recommend using structured job interviews when selecting someone for a position. This is because structured interviews are far better predictors of performance than are informal, unstructured interviews. As part of a structured interview, two types of questions may be asked – situational questions (e.g., “What would you do if you disagreed with your supervisor?”) or behavioral questions (e.g., “Tell me about a time that you disagreed with your supervisor”).


How to Design a Resume That Will Get You Hired

How to Design a Resume That Will Get You Hired

When writing your resume, you probably thought about how potential employers might perceive you. Many articles and books give advice regarding what to include and how to design a resume, but many of those authors don’t actually agree on what method works best. A recent exploratory study discovered what personality traits people attribute to different parts of your resume, and how hirable they might make you appear.


Intelligence Testing: Is It Always the Smartest Thing to Do?

Smart employees tend to be better at doing their jobs. This is considered one of the most important findings in the history of I-O research. Meta-analysis, which is a method of compiling results from many different researchers and studies, has shown that intelligence (or general mental ability) is associated with better job performance for basically any job. But there are other important components that make organizations successful besides narrowly-defined task performance (parts of a job that are in the job description). New research (Gonzalez-Mulé, Mount, & Oh, 2014) investigates whether intelligence can also predict other measures of workplace success.


Cognitive Abilities

Specific Cognitive Abilities Can Benefit Selection Programs

Organizations oftentimes use specific cognitive abilities to help select people for jobs. Selection itself is important because organizations can sometimes waste millions of dollars in training people who don’t have the right aptitude, aren’t motivated, or who don’t fit minimum requirements for the job. When an organization selects employees, it often uses an assessment process to try and find the “right people.” This assessment often involves tests of general cognitive ability, which is basically what we’d consider overall intelligence. What if organizations could fine tune these processes so that they were more successful in identifying those who may succeed in a training context or in a job? Recent research findings offer a possible way to do this.


Avoiding Adverse Impact: Selection Procedures That Increase Organizational Diversity

Using cognitive tests as part of an employee selection process will generally help more than various other methods (such as interviews) to ensure the selection of better performing individuals. There are some methods that are slightly better predictors of performance, but cognitive tests have proven to be a mainstay.

Unfortunately, the use of such tests can lead to discriminatory hiring practices against minority groups, who often score below their white counterparts due to a variety of factors.


How to Conduct a Job Interview: Avoid the Sales Pitch

Hiring professionals may often wonder, what is the best way to conduct a job interview? New research offers an important tip that may make applicant evaluations more accurate. During our first meetings with potential clients, investors, colleagues or romantic partners, our initial impressions and appraisal of their character influence the judgments we make about them. But at the same time we’re evaluating others, we’re often ”selling” ourselves, or making ourselves seem more attractive.


Welcome to the Future: Investigating Mobile Devices as Assessment Platforms

There are very few areas of our lives that have not been affected by technological innovations. A vast number of people these days use their phones for virtually everything, from staying in contact with friends and family, to navigating a busy city center, to booking flights.

So it doesn’t seem out of the question that mobile phones might one day be used as a medium by which organizations could assess job applicants. And it appears as if that day may have already come.


Interview Reliability: Statistics vs. Personal Experience

This article focuses on the reliability of interviews. The more error introduced in interviews, the less reliable they are. The researchers targeted different sources of error, both from the interviewee and interviewers. Interviewees can introduce error into an interview when they answer similar questions from the same or multiple interviewers differently, while interviewers introduce error when they interpret, evaluate, and rate identical responses differently.


The Consequences of Fit Across Cultures

Previous research has demonstrated that fit – the compatibility between an employee and a work environment – tends to lead to better attitudes, better job performance, and lower turnover (Arthur, Bell, Villado, & Doverspike, 2006). However, this research has focused predominantly on populations in North America. Today, companies operate across geographical boundaries in a globalized world of business, and it does not seem prudent to apply results found in North America to countries in Europe and Asia. Therefore, it becomes necessary to understand if fit across cultures predicts work attitudes and job performance across the globe.


Selection Tests and Job Performance

Ideally, when we test prospective employees, we gather valuable information that will help us determine if a candidate is suitable for a given job. But that’s not all. We also create an impression in the candidate’s mind about our company, its culture, and its values. Research has found that candidates’ reactions to selection testing do affect their attitudes. For example, candidates may react anxiously or perceive unjust treatment. These reactions can influence a candidate’s view of an organization, as well as determine whether they would recommend it to others. New research (McCarthy, Van Iddekinge, Lievens, Kung, Sinar, & Campion, 2013) explores the possibility that selections tests could also be influencing subsequent job performance.


How Prospective Employees Judge Fit With An Organization

When you interview for a job, you make choices using the relatively small amount of information to which you have access. As a candidate, not yet on the job, your view of the organization and its work culture is limited. In a way, you are forced to judge a book by its cover, and maybe also by the sneak peak of pages the company gives you access to during the selection process. This research focused on how we make those judgments.


Emotional Labor: The True Cost of Service with a Smile

Talk about demanding work! In addition to their typical job duties, like waiting on tables, making sales, or assisting customers, customer service professionals must also perform emotional labor. When employees smile cheerfully at the end of a grueling shift, they are performing something called surface acting, which is a type of emotional labor. Research has shown that emotional labor can lead to psychological strain and fatigue. The current study (Beal, Trougakos, Weiss, & Dalal, 2013) has made advancements in this area of research by scrutinizing a new variable, called “affect spin”.


Conscientiousness and Job Performance: Is Conscientiousness Always King?

Conscientiousness is a predictor of job performance in many jobs, job levels, and industries. But does being conscientious still predict job performance as strongly when characteristics and requirements of the job change? Is conscientiousness the Holy Grail of employee traits?

To learn more about this, the authors conducted a meta-analysis across 53 research studies where conscientiousness was a predictor of job performance. They then rated the jobs that were included in these studies on a number of factors including the level of worker autonomy, how much of the work followed a routine, how much thought and mental ability was required, and so on.


Ask Me Online: Benefits of a Web-Based Reference Check Process

Reference checks, the process of asking past employers and colleagues about a job applicant’s qualifications and past performance, have long been a part of human resource management. However, despite the fact that the limitations of using reference checks in the hiring process have been well-recognized for many years, they continue to be a popular part of many organizations’ selection procedures. Recently, there has been increased interest in how reference checks might be made more useful.


When Reading Research Leads to a Brain Full of “What?!” (IO Psychology)

When you read scientific research, you should be left feeling as though you gained knowledge and/or have something new and shiny that can be applied to the real world. But once in a while you finish an article and there is nothing but unpoppable “What did I just read?!” bubbles floating in your brain.


Should Your Spouse Interview for You? (IO Psychology)

How well can your spouse sing your praises? Well enough to help you get that job you’ve always wanted?

This article discussed the ethical and legal issues surrounding spousal interviews for employment. Ever heard of it? Some companies are choosing to include spousal interviews as a part of their hiring process, especially for sales roles. As sales jobs can include varying hours and unpredictable income, some organizations want to make sure that the spouse fully understands and is on board with what could come. I don’t personally know of any organizations doing this, but it honestly scares the crap out of me (that is one of those phrases I should probably try to stop using).


Random Thoughts While Taking a Personality Test (IO Psychology)

Have you ever taken a personality test as part of a hiring process and found your mind wandering?  Where did it go?  Did you wonder how to best answer the questions to secure the job?  Or did you ponder why puppies are just so damn cute?  Or why the Flock of Seagulls hairstyle never took off?


Could Your Facebook Persona Cost You a Job? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Personality, Recruiting

Publication: Journal of Applied Social Psychology (MAY 2012)

Article: Social Networking Websites:  Personality Ratings, and the Organizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye?

Authors: D. H. Kluemper, P. A. Rosen, and K. W. Mossholder

Reviewed By: Megan Leasher

Pr_31_-_TRP_-_28_05_10_-_164We are used to companies having candidates take personality tests.  Candidates answer a ton of seemingly annoying and repetitive questions about themselves, and poof!  They magically and accurately clue companies in to whether or not they will be a strong performer and/or a good fit.  (When I say “poof,” please envision the happy leprechaun opening his box of Lucky Charms and witnessing the jubilant rainbow explosion of marshmallows.  It will ensure you are in the right frame of mind.)  But have you heard of other people taking a personality test, answering the questions based on what they think YOUR personality is like?  Holy creepy, Batman.  And what if I told you the “other people” were complete strangers answering those questions about YOUR personality based on what they saw on YOUR Facebook page?  Holy switcheroo, Batman!


Predictors of academic performance

Topic: Selection
Publication: Psychology in the Schools (2011)
Article: Successful graduate students: The roles of personality traits and emotional intelligence
Authors: Patrick M. Grehan, Rosemary Flanagan, & Robert G. Malgady
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Typically, in graduate school settings, the students have a history of strong academic performance and are regarded as having lots of potential for success in both academic and professional setting. Given that graduate schools are like all-star teams of students, what separates the great students from the good students? In exploring the predictors of academic performance in graduate school settings,

Grehan, Flanagan, and Malgad studied the emotional intelligence, personality, and academic performance of 63 graduate students from the field of psychology.


Mental predictor of performance

Topic: Selection
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2004)
Article: Academic performance, career potential, creativity, and job performance: Can one construct predict them all?
Authors: Nathan R. Kuncel, Sarah A. Hezlett, & Deniz S. Ones
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Cognitive ability – typically defined as a collection of mental skills such as memory, attention, reaction speed, and the capacity to learn – has been shown to predict academic performance.  Does it predict performance in other domains, such as the workplace?


How Should I Measure That?

Topic: Selection, Assessment
Publication: Human Performance (2009)
Article: Not much more than g? An examination of the impact of intelligence on NFL performance
Authors: B.D. Lyons, B.J. Hoffman, & J.W. Michel
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

In most work, intelligence is a key a predictor of job performance.  But what about when your job involves physically assaulting your opponent and not letting him say “uncle” until you have successfully moved a pigskin 100 yards into his end zone?  For a football player, does intelligence predict performance?  Do you, as an owner of a National Football team, select the genius in the tweed jacket with an Ivy League smile?


Personality and academic performance

Topic: Selection
Publication: Psychological Bulletin (2009)
Article: A meta-analysis of the five-factor model of personality and academic performance
Authors: Arthur E. Poropat
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Does a student’s personality affect his or her academic performance?  Poropat thinks so, and in investigating correlates of academic performance, he reviewed many studies from the current literature, a process known as a meta analysis, and evaluated a sample of over 70,000 students.


Why Are You Asking Me This? Investigating Reactions to Puzzle Interviews (IO Psychology)

Topic: Interviewing, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Article: Why Are Manhole Covers Round? A Laboratory Study of Reactions to Puzzle Interviews (in press)
Authors: Chris W. Wright, Chris J. Sablynski, Todd M. Manson, & Steven Oshiro
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Despite controversy over their effectiveness, interviews remain a tool that many organizations rely on when making hiring decisions. There is a great deal of variability in the way that interviews are organized, and in the content that they assess. Familiar to many I-O psychologists is the distinction between structured and unstructured interviews; however, one type of interview that is less well-known is the puzzle interview. Originally pioneered by Microsoft in the 1990s, puzzle interviews continue to be used in many well-known organizations, such as Google and


Beyond Intelligence (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection
Publication: Personality and Individual Differences (in press)
Article: When IQ is not everything: Intelligence, personality and academic performance at school
Authors: Patrick C.L. Heaven & Joseph Ciarrochi
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Does the most intelligent person get the best grades?  One would think that the person with the most intellectual horsepower would excel at a variety of subjects and attain a grade point average commensurate with his or her intellectual potential.  But that is not always the case.  Why not?


Making personality tests better for selection (IO Psychology)

Topic: Personality, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (AUTUMN 2012)
Article: A matter of context: A meta-analytic investigation of the relative validity of contextualized and noncontextualized personality measures
Authors: J. A. Shaffer & B. E. Postlethwaite
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Whether or not you agree with it, your organization likely uses personality assessments as part of the selection process. Personality assessments do appear to be valid predictors of job performance, but can we do anything to make them be even better predictors? Recent research indicates that the answer is yes.


Can’t we just get along? Team personality and conflict (IO Psychology)

Topics: Teams, Personality, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2012)
Article: Ready to rumble: How team personality composition and task conflict interact to
improve performance.
Authors: Bret H. Bradley, Anthony C. Klotz, Bennett E. Postlethwaite, & Kenneth G. Brown
Reviewed By: Aaron Manier

Team members need to get along in order to perform well. Unfortunately, we’re all different people, so sometimes conflict arises. Often this conflict arises around different takes on the team’s task. However, scientific understanding of the relationship between task conflict and effective team performance has been inconclusive.


Score one for standardized tests!

Topic: Selection
Publication: Psychological Bulletin (2001)
Article: A comprehensive meta-analysis of the predictive validity of the graduate record examinations: Implications for graduate student selection and performance
Authors: N. R. Kuncel, S. A. Hezlett, & D. S. Ones
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Have you taken the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)?  This test is like the SAT on steroids, and it, just like the SAT, is thought to predict academic achievement.  Unlike the SAT, the GRE is thought to predict academic performance in graduate school and not college.  So, if you have taken the GRE, you may be aware the bone-chilling anxiety that it can induce, as it will determine which graduate school you get into and if you get into graduate school at all.


Are you getting enough sleep?

Topic: Selection
Publication: Sleep (2011)
Article: The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players
Authors: C. D. Mah, K. E. Mah, E. J. Kezirian, & W. C. Dement
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

It’s 6:00 a.m., and the shrill of the alarm fills your room.  You are now faced with one of the biggest decision of the day, and it must be decided whether you should hit the snooze for 15 more heavenly minutes or pull yourself out of bed and face the day.  If you get up, you may be able to get more done during the day.  In contrast, if you snooze, it will feel really good.

What if you could have the best of both worlds, and it would be possible to not only sleep more but also perform better?  This magical combination may exist


Smile, you may pitch better

Topic: Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2003)
Article: The relationship between emotional intelligence and performance among college
baseball players
Authors: S. Zizzi, H. Deaner, & D. Hirschhorn
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Emotional intelligence refers to the capacity to recognize and use emotions. If I smile, do you recognize this as happiness? Or do you believe that me laughing means that I am sad? If you knew that a smile typically indicates a state of happiness, give yourself a gold star. Now that you are the Albert Einstein of recognizing emotions, can you use them?

For instance, if you want to non-verbally convey how you are feeling, can you alter your body language so as to communicate your mood? If so, two gold stars for you. Since recognizing and using emotions seems important to the performance of everyday activities and communications, does recognizing and using emotions affect performance in other domains such as collegiate sports?


What are those emerging markets thinking? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Assessment
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (JUN 2012)
Article: Cross-cultural Examination of Applicant Reactions to Selection Methods: United States and Vietnam
Authors: Hoang, T.G., Truxillo, D.M., Erdogan, B., and Bauer, T.N.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Over the past several years I-O psychologists have become more interested in understanding applicant reactions to selection tools. Of course we still care about the reliability and validity of the selection tool, but we know that how an applicant reacts to the process could influence how fair or trusting the company is perceived to be, how well the newly hired employee adjusts to the job, or how vulnerable the selection tools are to legal challenge. And, as organizations become more global and enter emerging markets, it’s important to understand what the reactions of people in these new, unexamined candidate pools may be.


Discrimination in selection: Who’s most at risk? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Discrimination
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (MAY 2012)
Article: Multiple categorization in resume screening: Examining effects on hiring discrimination against Arab applicants in field and lab settings
Authors: Eva Derous, Ann Marie Ryan, & Hannah-Hanh D. Nguyen
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

You’re probably aware that discrimination can occur during selection. However, in recent years, various predictions have been made regarding who is most likely to be discriminated against, and why. The multiple minority status hypothesis (MMS) posits that someone who is a member of more than one minority group (e.g., an Arab woman in the United States) is more likely to be discriminated against than someone who is only part of one minority group (e.g., an Arab man in the U.S.). Another perspective is the ethnic prominence hypothesis (EP), which suggests that numerical minority status (in other words, women are not counted as a minority) leads to stereotyping. In a series of recent studies in the Netherlands, Eva Derous and her colleagues studied discrimination against Arabs and tested the MMS and EP perspectives.


Unproctored Testing: Increasing the Applicant Pool to Combat Concerns with Cheating (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Evidence Based Management, Assessment
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (JUN 2012)
Article: Offsetting Performance Losses Due to Cheating in Unproctored Internet-Based Testing by Increasing the Applicant Pool
Authors: Richard N. Landers & Paul R. Sackett
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Unproctored Internet testing (UIT) has been a hot topic in IO psychology over the past several years. In a nutshell, UIT allows organizations to post some of their selection tests online, allowing applicants to access them from virtually anywhere, so they can complete them on their own time. Some of the research on UIT has confirmed its strengths, such as its accessibility and efficiency, but other research has highlighted some of its limitations; in particular, there remains widespread concern about cheating in UIT. Because UIT is unproctored (it’s right there in the name), applicants are not under any supervision when they take such tests, so it’s possible that cheating could occur in a wide variety of ways.


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

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!


Integrity Tests May Have Lower Performance Validity (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Measurement
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: The Criterion-Related Validity of Integrity Tests: An Updated Meta-Analysis
Authors: Van Iddekinge, C.H., Roth, P.L., Raymark, P.H., & Odle-Dusseau, H.N.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

According to a recent meta-analysis by Van Iddekinge and colleagues, integrity tests may not be as predictive of job performance as once thought. Integrity tests have become popular with organizations and practitioners due to their high correlations with job performance and few differences between groups (based on race, gender, etc.). But, Van Iddekinge et al. were concerned that past meta-analytic results drew too heavily on unpublished studies authored by test publishers. In fact, only 10% of one meta-analysis’ sample was made up of studies published in peer-reviewed journals (pro-tip: we like things that are peer reviewed).


How to Make the Grade

Topic: Selection
Publication: Medical Education (2011)
Article: Do study strategies predict academic performance in medical school?
Authors: C. West & M. Sadoski
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

What predicts the academic performance of graduate students? The options are: previous experience as measured by grade point average (GPA), aptitude as measured by a standardized test, or current skill sets as examined by a learning strategy inventory. If you had to choose the most relevant, which would it be?

If you’re feeling sporting, write down your answer and brag to your friends on Facebook about your talent on predicting the predictors of performance.


Score one for the small town!

Topic: Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2009)
Article: Place but not date of birth influences the development and emergence of athletic talent in American football
Authors: D. MacDonald, M. Cheung, J. Côté, & B. Abernethy
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell (2008) contends that date of birth is relevant to the success of hockey and soccer players. Can that be true? As you ponder this, also consider the relevance of someone’s place of birth.

Does the success of an athlete relate to the population size of the city that he or she was born in? For example, would you rather select an athlete who was born in February in a town of over 5,000,000 or an athlete born in September in a town of less then 500,000?


Choose your assessments wisely (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection
Publication: Athletic Insight: The Online Journal of Sport Psychology (2007)
Article: Testing the relationship between a cognitive ability test and player success: The
National Football League case
Authors: A. J. Adams & F.E. Kuzmits
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

The Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT) measures cognitive ability. Specifically, crystallized intelligence, a measure of an individual’s range and scope of knowledge, and fluid intelligence, a measure of the ability to reason and problem solve both inductively and deductively, are assessed by this test.


Scoring Biodata Measures (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Assessment
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2012)
Article: Unlocking the key to biodata scoring: A comparison of empirical, rational, and hybrid approaches at different sample sizes
Authors: J. M. Cucina, P. M. Caputo, H. F. Thibodeaux, & C. N. Maclane
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Cucina and his colleagues recently conducted a study to explore the best method of scoring biographical data (biodata) measures. Biodata can be scored using empirical keying methods in which the assessor weights item responses based on the objective relationship between the item and performance; rational keying, in which scorers come up with subjective estimates of that relationship based on theory; and a hybrid approach, in which assessors use both rational and empirical keying). In this study, the authors answered seven research questions. We’ve provided you with the questions and answers for your own biodata-scoring enjoyment.


Just like Eminem said, “Will the real [psychological predictors] please stand up?”

Topic: Selection
Publication: Sport Science Review (2010)
Article: Psychological predictors of job performance and career success in professional sports
Authors: R. Stanimirovic & S. Hanrahan
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

So, as the savvy employer that you are, you want to assess the personalities of the job applicants? According to the New York Times Best Seller List, there are dozens of different
domains that you can assess with new ones coming in vogue every other month. Just like the goji berry attained a cult-like following within the nutritional world, certain personality characteristics arrest the attention of people interested in predicting performance.


You’ve Been Tagged: On the Potential Risks and Rewards of Obtaining Applicant Information from Social Networking Sites (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Selection, Evidence Based Management, Personality Assessment
Publication: Journal of Managerial Psychology (2009)
Article: Future Employment Selection Methods: Evaluating Social Networking Web Sites
Authors: Donald H. Kluemper & Peter A. Rosen
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

As social networking web sites (SNWs) such as Facebook and LinkedIn become ever more popular, the field of IO psychology has begun to turn its attention towards understanding the impact these web sites have on human resource management. On the one hand, these SNWs offer a tempting opportunity for organizations to obtain information about applicants. At the same time, there are concerns about the legality of obtaining this information; if information that is not job-relevant is obtained through the examination of SNWs and used to make hiring decisions, then organizations who use such methods may violate employment laws and put themselves at risk of having lawsuits filed against them.


So you think they are a bunch of dumb jocks?

Topic: Selection
Publication: PLoS ONE (2012)
Article: Executive functions predict the success of top-soccer players
Authors: T. Vestberg, R. Gustafson, L. Maurex, M. Ingvar, & P. Petrovic
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

What do sport announcers mean when they say that an athlete does or does not have the mental game? Personally, I think that announcers use this term as a catch-all to describe any attribute or characteristic that is not physical or visually perceivable.

This vagueness may represent the lack of understanding of the exact mental characteristics and abilities that are necessary for elite sport performance. The exploration of these characteristics and abilities has been limited at best, and more resources are being devoted to formal investigations as of late.


Job-Relevant Prediction: Cognitive Ability Tests with High Criterion and Content Validity

Topic: Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (MAR 2012)
Article: Cognitive Tests Used in Selection Can Have Content Validity as Well as Criterion Validity: A Broader Research Review and Implications for Practice
Authors: Frank L. Schmidt
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

It is a well-known fact in IO psychology that cognitive ability is the one of the single best predictors of job performance, in a vast array of occupations. As such, cognitive ability tests are commonly created and used as a personnel selection tool for organizations.


Are Five Choices Better Than Three? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Article: The three option format for knowledge and ability multiple-choice tests: A case
for why it should be more commonly used in personnel testing
Authors: Edwards, B. D. Arthur, W. Jr., and Bruce, L. L.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

When it comes to deciding how many response options should be given on a multiple choice test, many might argue that three versus four or five options is splitting hairs. But, Edwards, Arthur, and Bruce would argue this issue is a perfect example of the gap between science and practice in I-O psychology.


What Does Your Credit Score Say About You? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Personality
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2012)
Article: An Empirical Investigation of Dispositional Antecedents and Performance-
Related Outcomes of Credit Scores
Authors: Bernerth, J.B., Taylor, S.G., Walker, H.J. and Whitman, D.S.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

You’ve no doubt heard the catchy jingles asking you to check your credit score. You may have also heard that a bad credit score could potentially cost you a new job, but have you wondered if companies should actually be looking at applicant credit scores? Recognizing that “60% of employers conduct credit checks of at least some of their new hires”, according to a recent SHRM poll, Bernerth and colleagues investigated if credit scores are indeed related to dispositional traits and job performance—as many organizations assume.


Why was Michael Jordan a Starter?

Topic: Selection
Publication: Athletic Insight – The Online Journal of Sport Psychology (2007)
Article: Predicting athletic success: Factors contributing to the success of NCAA Division I AA collegiate football players
Authors: M. Spieler, D. R. Czech, A. B. Joyner, B. Munkasy, N. Gentner, & J. Long
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

What are the characteristics that allow an athlete to succeed?  The physical characteristics appear to include strength, speed, agility, and endurance.  The mental characteristics that enable an athlete to excel are less understood.


Making an A-Team? (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Selection, Talent Management
Publication: Harvard Business Review (JAN 2012)
Article: Gilt Groupe’s CEO on Building a Team of A Players
Author: Kevin Ryan
Reviewed by: Liz Brashier

In a recent article by the CEO of the flash sales company the Gilt Groupe, Ryan (2012) discusses what makes a company truly successful. (Hint: it’s something we focus on the most!) According to Ryan, a business idea is worth next to nothing – without the right people to implement it.


Goldilocks and the Three Levels of Adversity (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection
Publication: Current Directions in Psychological Science (2011)
Article: Resilience: A Silver Lining to Experiencing Adverse Life Events?
Authors: Mark Seery
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

What is the right amount of adversity? Is it best to have a carefree life that minimizes stress and allows the person to focus on his or her job? Could a life filled with adversity build character and enable the person to function better in an unpredictable work environment? Or is something in between the best choice, where there is not too little or too much adversity and the amount is just right?


A New Weapon in the Fight Against Faking on Personality Tests (IO Psychology)

Topic: Faking, Personality, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Testing the efficacy of a new procedure for reducing faking on personality tests within selection contexts
Authors: Fan, J. Gao., D., Carroll, S.A., Lopez, F.J., Tian, T.S., & Meng, H.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Has your organization ever used, or ever considered using a personality test as part of their selection battery? Due to personality tests’ predictive validity and relatively low subgroup differences, you’re not alone. However, one controversial issue still plagues the use of personality tests in selecting applicants: faking. Faking is defined as the intentional distortion of responses to portray a more positive image, and it can negatively affect the validity of the selection device. Fortunately, Fan et al. have recently tested a new method for identifying and reducing faking on personality tests that uses a computer-based warning system.


Using Facebook profiles to assess personality (IO Psychology)

Topic: Personality Assessment, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Social Psychology (in press)
Article: Social networking websites, personality ratings, and the organizational context: More than meets the eye?
Authors: Kluemper, D. H., Rosen, P. A., & Mossholder, K. W.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

As Facebook becomes increasingly more popular, employers are starting to look at the profiles of applicants. Numerous pictures of drunken debauchery may be informative to employers, but can Facebook profiles be used to assess an applicant’s personality? A recent study by Donald Kluemper and his colleagues suggests that they can.


Are cognitive ability tests insulting your applicants? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Organizational Justice, Fairness, Interviewing, Assessment, Selection
Publication: Personnel Psychology (WINTER 2011)
Article: Status and organizational entry: How organizational and individual status affect justice perceptions of hiring systems
Authors: Sumanth, J. J., & Cable, D. M.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

It is well known in the field of IO psychology that cognitive ability tests are very predictive of employee performance.  However, applicants often see them as unfair and do not like taking them; more informal and much less valid methods (like informal interviews) tend to be preferred by applicants. In this study, Sumanth and Cable (2011) investigated the effect that the status of the organization and the career status of the applicant would have on applicants’ perceptions of the selection system’s fairness.


The Power of Hope: Relevant to IO Psychology?

Topic: Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (MAR 2012)
Article: Hope in Personnel Selection
Authors: Zysberg, L.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Although practitioners in IO psychology commonly measure and examine a wide range of constructs in their work, “hope” has not typically been among them. However, a new paper by Leehu Zysberg aims to better understand the relationship of this personality trait (which has its roots in the positive psychology movement) to organizational psychology, specifically the personnel selection process.


Can Selection in the National Hockey League Have Implications for HR? (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Selection
Publication: International Journal of Coaching Science (2010)
Article:  Should coaches use personality assessments in the talent identification process?  A 15-year predictive study on professional hockey players.
Authors: C.J. Gee, J. C. Marshall, & J. F. King
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

How do you predict athletic performance?  Gee, Marshall, and King (2010) tackled this question as they investigated the mental predictors of hockey performance.  They administered a personality measure, SportsPro, to 124 NHL draftees in 1991, and then tracked their performance over the next 15 years.


You have an IQ of 120. Think that makes you smart? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection
Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2011)
Article: Role of test motivation in intelligence testing
Authors: Angela L. Duckworth, Patrick D. Quinn, Donald R. Lynam, Rolf Loeber, and Magda Stouthamer-Loeber
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Will a person’s IQ vary with his or her level of motivation? In other words, does level of motivation affect performance on intelligence tests? In investigating this question, a recent study had two main findings. First, IQ varies with the amount of incentives offered to the IQ-test takers.


Do You Test? Factors Impacting the Use of Specific Selection Methods in Hiring Procedures (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (DEC 2011)
Article: Selection Practices in Canadian Firms: An Empirical Investigation
Authors: Mann, S. L., & Chowhan, J.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

A persistent paradox in IO psychology is the frequent use, by organizations, of selection methods that research has not shown to be effective for successfully hiring employees (e.g. unstructured interviews), in conjunction with the frequent underuse of methods that research has shown to be effective (e.g. various paper-and-pencil tests).

Although this trend is well-established, relatively little is known about the factors that contribute to this science-practice gap. However, a new study by Sara Mann and James Chowhan takes some steps towards increasing our understanding in this area.


How do you spell success? G.R.I.T. (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, IO Psychology
Publication: Social Psychological and Personality Science (2011)
Article: Deliberate Practice Spells Success: Why Grittier Competitors Triumph at the National Spelling Bee.
Authors: A.L. Duckworth, T.A. Kirby, E. Tsukayama, H. Berstein, & K. A. Anders Ericsson
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

In 2011, the winning word at the National Spelling Bee was cymotrichous. Now look away, and try to spell that word. If you can, great; you are a championship-grade speller. If you can’t, you should probably practice. Better yet, do some deliberate practice.


Are You Managing Your High Potentials? (Selection)

Topic: Selection, Human Resource Management
Journal: Harvard Business Review (OCT 2011)
Title: How to hang on to your high potentials
Authors: Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, Boris Groysberg, Nitin Nohria
Reviewed by: Liz Brashier

Does your company have a succession plan? If a top executive were to walk out tomorrow, would you have someone to fill those shoes? Well, if you’re like roughly 85% of North American companies, the answer here is a resounding no. Or perhaps you use a common method – a program that targets “high potential” employees. Programs like these create a steady stream of talent to ensure effective leadership.


The Peril of Excess: Why Moderate Levels of Many Traits Might be Best (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Assessment, Performance, Selection, Human Resource Management
Publication: Perspectives on Psychological Science (JAN 2011)
Article: Too Much of a Good Thing: The Challenge and Opportunity of the Inverted U
Authors: Grant, A. M., & Schwartz, B.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

A common assumption in personnel selection practice (and research) in IO psychology is that increasingly high levels of desirable traits are always a good thing. For instance, the Big 5 personality trait conscientiousness has been found to be a good predictor of job performance, such that highly-conscientiousness employees tend to be the best performers. As such, our selection systems are typically designed to identify applicants who are highest on these positive traits, so that they can be selected into the organization.


Everyone’s on the Same Page: The International Generalizability of Applicant Selection Attitudes (Selection)

Topic: Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (MAR 2008)
Article: Fairness Reactions to Personnel Selection Methods: An International Comparison Between the Netherlands, the United States, France, Spain, Portugal, and Singapore
Authors: Anderson, N., & Witvliet, C.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

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.


Unconscious Stereotyping in Selection

Topic: Discrimination, Selection, Human Resource Management
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: The Role of Automatic Obesity Stereotypes in Real Hiring Discrimination
Authors: J. Agerstrom, D.O. Rooth
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Research by Agerstrom and Rooth (2011) has shown that if hiring managers harbor negative stereotypes about obese people, they will also be more likely to actually discriminate against them. What makes this study interesting is that these stereotypes were held unconsciously.


Follow the Yellow Brick Road: the Path to the Understanding Interview Constructs

Topic: Interviewing, Selection, Human Resources
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (March, 2011)
Article: An Empirical Review of the Employment Interview Construct Literature
Author: Allen I. Huffcutt
Reviewed by: Jade L. Peters

It can be very easy to assume a structured interview is the best technique when interviewing. It can be easier to forget about what important constructs feed into an interview that makes the interviewers’ ratings change. Much of the Employment Interview literature only focuses on a narrow selection of important constructs. While this article addresses these critical constructs, it reviews and quantifies past literature to strongly support the ideas that both (a) important constructs are being ignored and (b) the structured interview is not error proof.


Human Resources Selection: The Promise of Pareto-Optimal Selection Systems

Topic: Selection, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2011)
Article: Designing Pareto-Optimal Selection Systems: Formalizing the Decisions Required for Selection System Development
Authors: De Corte, W., Sackett, P. R., & Lievens, F.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Typically, when practitioners are designing a selection system, they are looking for ways to maximize the quality and diversity of the individuals hired. Meeting this goal can be challenging, and in confronting the dilemmas associated with this goal, practitioners looking to design the ideal selection system have a number of decisions to make. For instance, they must decide which predictors to use, whether low scores on one predictor can be balanced out by high scores on another predictor (that is, will the selection system be compensatory), and the sequence of administering the multiple predictors/screens.  There are many considerations when making these decisions, including level of resources (e.g. time, money), and the characteristics of both the job and the applicant pool.


I/O Psychology and Sports: The Do’s and Don’ts of Handling Stress.

Topic: Selection, Human Resources, Sports Psychology
Publication: The Sport Psychologist (2006)
Article: Stressors, Coping, and Coping Effectiveness Among Professional Rugby Union Players.
Authors: Nicholls, Adam R.; Holt, Nicholas L.; Polman, Remco C. J.; Bloomfield, Jonny
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

10, 9, 8, 7; the clock ticks down in the final game and you are passed the ball. Make it, and your team is the champion. Miss it, and you have an off-season filled with regret and disappointment. From the field to the boardroom, stress exists. How do you handle it?


The Predictive Power of Grit: How to Select Successful People

Topic: Selection, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2007)
Article: Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals
Authors: Angela L. Duckworth, Christopher Peterson, Michael D. Matthews, and Dennis R. Kelly
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Imagine that you are the head of Human Resources, and are tasked with hiring your Fortune 500 Company’s next CEO. You have narrowed the applicant pool down to 10 men and women who are smart (e.g., have high IQs), have previous experience (e.g., CEOs of other Fortune 500 Companies), and come with stellar letters of recommendation (e.g., amazingly, the Dali Lama has endorsed two, President Obama three others, and Warren Buffet one). How do you differentiate between these candidates, and select the individual that will successfully lead your company to the land of milk and honey? True grit.


The Curious Case of Recruiters

Topic: Interviewing, Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (JUN 2011)
Article: How Accurate are Recruiters’ First Impressions of Applicants in Employment Interviews?
Authors: Mast, M. S., Bangerter, A., Bulliard, C., & Aerni, G.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Recruiters are still used by a variety of organizations to evaluate applicants and identify candidates that exhibit the potential to become successful employees in the organization. Recruiters typically have a relatively long time in which to form a first impression of a candidate; the authors of the current study, Marianne Mast and colleagues, were interested in knowing if recruiters are able to more accurately (compared to a layperson) assess the personality of job applicants if they have a shorter amount of time in which to make their assessment. Does this shorter time frame inhibit their ability to make accurate assessments about others?


Putting U in Unique in Selection Interviews: Understanding how being unique will give you the Better Advantage

Topic: Selection, Interviewing
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2011)
Article: The uniqueness effect in selection interviews
Authors: N. Roulin, A. Bangerter, & E. Yerly
Reviewed By: Jade Peters

The absence of past and present interview selection literature revolving around the Uniqueness Effect is shocking.  The Uniqueness Effect is when an applicant gives unique or individual answers to traditional interview questions that are different than what is expected in the interview and the interviewer sees this as a good quality.  This is entirely different from the contrast effect in which a poor interviewee performance can make the next interviewee look even better than it should to the interviewer (the two concepts are often confused). 


Do you have what it takes? An examination of the psychological characteristics that predict success in athletes.

Topic: Selection
Publication: The Sport Psychologist (2009)
Article: Why some make it and others do not: Identifying psychological factors that
predict career success in professional adult soccer
Authors: N. Van Yperen
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Why do some aspiring soccer players reach the professional ranks and others do not? Though some previous research has focused on the psychological characteristics of athletes that are already successful, little research has been conducted on the psychological characteristics that enable aspiring athletes to succeed.


Less Isn’t More: Structure in Employment Interviews


Interviews remain one of the most common methods that organizations use to select new employees. Additionally, one of the most consistent recommendations in I/O psychology is that structuring interviews improves their ability to improve the selection process and make successful hires. Although the strength of structured interviews over unstructured interviews is well-documented, previous research has been inconsistent in identifying how different methods of adding structure to interviews may relate to one another. A new study by Melchers and colleagues begins to address this issue.


Help the Organization and…Help Yourself!!!

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Interviewing, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Effects of organizational citizenship behaviors on selection decisions in employment interviews.
Authors: N. P. Podsakoff, S. W. Whiting, P. M. Podsakoff, & P. Mishra
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are behaviors an employee may engage in that have a positive impact on the work environment. Recent research has found that OCBs can have an important impact on productivity, turnover, and other outcomes that organizations value. In an effort to hire individuals who are likely to engage in OCBs, research has been devoted to finding ways to assess the tendency of job applicants to engage in these behaviors. However, little research has assessed how knowledge of an applicant’s tendency to engage (or not engage) in OCBs might impact selection decisions concerning that individual – until now.


Selection Methods: Almost a Century of Research

Topic: Selection
Publication: Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 124
Article: The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings.
Authors:  Frank Schmidt and John Hunter
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

In a practical sense, the most valuable attribute of a selection procedure (i.e., personnel assessment method) is the degree to which it successfully predicts future job performance, job-related learning, and other criteria.  The term that describes the ability of an assessment tool to predict future performance is called predictive validity.  The greater the predictive validity of a selection procedure (or some combination of assessment procedures), the better it is at predicting the outcomes described above.

Selection procedures with high predictive validities also have more value for organizations; via increased productivity, output, and learning ability of their workforce.  In a seminal article, Schmidt and Hunter (1998) conducted a meta-analysis on thousands of studies over 85 years to determine the predictive validity of 19 different selection procedures, both individually and in combination with general mental ability (GMA)


Can we select employees with a guarantee they will stay?

Topic: Selection, Staffing, Turnover
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (APR 2011)
Article: Career decision status as a predictor of resignation behavior five years later
Authors: Joanne K. Earl, Amirali Minbashiana, Aun Sukijjakhamina and Jim E.H. Bright
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

Every organization has faced the problem of losing a great employee too soon.  But what if there was a way to see if an employee is likely to resign within several years of beginning his or her career? 

A new study attempts to link resignation after five years with career decision status at the onset. 


Beware of “Where I used to work, we ….” — It may be a sign of poor fit, low motivation.

Topic: Staffing, Selection, Recruiting, Motivation
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (83)
Article: Disengagement in Work-Role Transitions
Authors: C. Niessen, C. Binnewies, J. Rank
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

Employees are no longer linked to an organization for life, and as a result, there has been an increase in job change in recent years. Researchers studying employees’ adjustment to a job change have suggested that in order to succeed, the new employee must detach or disengage from the previous job and organization.  This is especially critical when the employee is psychologically attached to their previous work place and/or work role as is typically the case when the employee has worked in their previous role for a long period of time.   


Got a curious newcomer? That’s good – and the type of curiosity may tell you how good.

Topic: Selection, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: Curiosity adapted by cat: the role of trait curiosity in newcomer adaptation.
Authors: S.H. Harrison, D.M. Sluss, B.E. Ashforth
Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart

With the current economy, it has become critical for recently hired employees to adapt to the organization as quickly as possible. Curiosity, or the “desire to know,” has recently been suggested as a possible individual difference that allows some newcomers to adapt more quickly to their new role. There are two commonly studied types of curiosity, typified by scope of exploration. First, specific curiosity is defined as a narrow and often direct form of exploration (i.e., seeking the password to the organization’s intranet). The second kind, diversive curiosity, is defined by broader and often more indirect forms of exploration (i.e., exploring posting on the companies intranet in free time, inquiring as to the reasons behind organizational processes and policies).


The Relationship Between Weight and Salary: Bad News For All Kinds of People

Topic: Fairness, Gender, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: When It Comes to Pay, Do the Thin Win? The Effect of Weight on Pay for Men and Women
Authors: T.A. Judge, D.M. Cable
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Does career success have anything to do with what you look like?  According to a recent study by Judge and Cable (2011), the answer is yes. 


Who Reports Transferring Skills that Weren’t Trained?

Topic: Training
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (DEC 2010)
Article: Transferring more than learned in training: Employees’ and managers’ (over)generalization of skills
Authors: D.S. Chiaburu, K.B. Sawyer and C.N. Thoroughgood
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Given the extensive costs associated with training a workforce, assessing the “bang-for-your-buck” is a vital step in the overall training process.  Specifically, it is (as many would argue) essential to evaluate the effectiveness of organizational training courses with measures of learning and transfer. 


Can I Get You a Cup of Coffee, Boss? Landing a Job after an Internship

Topic: Selection, Recruiting, Mentoring
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (OCT 2010)
Article: Internship: A Recruitment and Selection Perspective
Authors: H. Zhao, R. C. Liden
Reviewed by: Holly Engler

Looking for a job? Internships are a great way to gain practical experience before entering the workforce, post graduation. In fact, many companies including J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs’ report that nearly 89% of new hires were previous interns. So, it is reasonable to assume that an internship opportunity is the guaranteed gateway to getting hired? Not quite.   Until now, however, little research has studied how interns can obtain job offers or how host organizations can convince interns to stick around.


Are Femininity and Letters of Recommendation at Odds?

Topic: Gender, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Gender and Letters of Recommendation for Academia: Agentic and Communal Differences
Authors: J. M. Madera, M. R. Hebl, & R. C. Martin
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

To answer the question posed in the title: yes, they are. In a set of two studies, researchers have shown that women tend to be described with communal terms in letters of recommendation, while men tend to be described in agentic terms. Communal in this sense means using words like “helpful,” “kind,” and “agreeable.” Agentic refers to words like “assertive,” “confident,” and “independent.” Both sets of terms can be highly positive—we need both kinds of people—but it all goes down hill for the communal types when it comes to hireability.


Test Bias Analysis: New Thoughts on an Old Method

Topic: Selection

Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice

Article: Not Seeing Clearly With Cleary: What Test Bias Analyses Do and Do Not Tell Us

Authors: A.W. Meade and S. Tonidandel

Selected commentary authors: P.R. Sackett and P. Bobko

Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl


When practitioners use pre-employment tests for selection decisions, they must consider the potential biases that may result from the assessment. Using biased tests can lead to poor, ‘unfair’ hiring decisions. Not only can perceptions of unfairness negatively impact a company’s reputation and bottom line, but legal issues can arise if selection procedures are not free from bias (Allen v. Alabama State Board of Education, 2000).

Whether HR professionals are developing their own test or procedure, or
are purchasing a test from a vendor, an understanding of test bias is essential
to ensure there is no adverse impact to any candidate group.


Do Situational Judgment Tests Work?… and more

Topic: Selection
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2010)
ArticleSituational judgment tests: Constructs assessed and a meta-analysis of their
criterion-related validity

Authors: M.S. Christian, B.D. Edwards, and J.C. Bradley
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

A situational judgment test (STJs)
is a test which asks a person to evaluate a realistic work situation and identify the best option for handling it (e.g., “A customer is complaining that his phone is no longer working and wants a full refund even though the warranty ran out yesterday.  What do you do?”).  They garner a lot of attention in selection contexts because of their effectiveness for predicting job performance, their ability to measure many performance predictors (constructs) and their tendency to reduce sub-group differences that are often found with pure cognitive ability tests.  But some of the advantages of SJTs may also be disadvantages.


Cheating on Unproctored Internet-Based Tests – is it a big deal?

Topic:  Personality Assessment
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (MAR 2010)
ArticleThe magnitude and extent of cheating and response distortion effects on unproctored internet-based tests of cognitive ability and personality
Authors: W. Arthur, R.M. Glaze, A.J. Villado, and J.E. Taylor
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The future of employment testing is upon us and many organizations have turned to unproctored internet-based testing in lieu of proctored paper-and-pencil testing.

Among its many advantages, internet-based testing is often faster, more efficient, and more convenient than proctored paper-and-pencil methods (e.g., can be scored immediately, distributed to geographically dispersed applicants).  One concern, however, is that unproctored internet-based testing allows for cheating or response distortion (i.e., faking).  But is this a realistic concern?  Is cheating really more prevalent in unproctored internet-based settings?


SJTs: They’re Not Perfect, but Gosh Darn it they Work!

Topic: Selection
Publication: Human Performance ( JAN 2010)
Article: Contextual effects on SJT responses: An examination of construct validity and mean differences across applicant and incumbent contexts
Authors: W.I. MacKenzie, R.E. Ployhart, J.A. Weekley, and C. Ehlers
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

A situational judgment test (SJT) is a commonly used employee selection tool which presents job applicants with realistic work situations. Job applicants are required to choose from several response options, which range in their effectiveness (as rated by subject matter experts).  While SJTs tend to predict future job performance rather well, there is still debate as to what SJTs actually measure (SJTs correlate with and likely measure cognitive ability, personality, job knowledge, and experience simultaneously) and how they operate in different contexts (e.g., job applicants vs. incumbents).


Explanations Can Leave a Sweet Taste in Job Applicants’ Mouths

Topic: Organizational Justice, Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (DEC 2009)
ArticleEffects of explanations on applicant reactions: A meta-analytic review
Authors: D.M. Truxillo, T.E. Bodner, M. Bertolino, T.N. Bauer, and C.A. Yonce
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Oftentimes, job applicants run a gauntlet of various selection tests, assessments, and interviews and it is important to understand how they affect applicants’ reactions toward the organization. Providing job applicants with explanations for the various selection procedures is a cost-effective and easily implemented intervention. Additionally, according to Truxillo and colleagues’ meta-analysis, explanations can positively impact applicants’ reactions toward the employment process and organization as a whole.


Hiring an Army of Me

Topic: Job Analysis
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2009)
ArticleUsing web-based frame-of-reference training to decrease biases in personality-based job analysis: An experimental field study
Author: H. Aguinis, M.D. Mazurkiewicz, E.D. Heggestad
Reviewed by: Katie Bachman

Job analysis is one of the cornerstones of Industrial-Organizational Psychology and the method for executing a job analysis is practically gospel. The New Testament of Job Analysis states: Thou shalt include personality measures in your study. While this is still controversial for the Old Testament adherents, including personality measures in job analysis has some face validity and, more importantly, some research to back it up. The problem, however, with implementing a personality-based job analysis (PBJA) comes down to the subject matter experts (SMEs) rating the importance of certain traits to their jobs.


Cha Cha Cha Changes…in Selection and Training

Topic: Performance, Selection, Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2009)
Article: Effects of selection and training on unit-level performance over time: A latent growth modeling approach  
Authors: C. H. Van Iddekinge, C. H. Ferris, P. L. Perrewe, A. A. Perryman, F. R. Blass, & T. D. Heetderks
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Recently, Van Iddekinge and colleagues conducted a study of the organizational impact of employee selection and training practices. They collected data from 861 business units of a large fast food organization in the U.S. Data (including profits) were collected on a monthly basis for a full calendar year.


Tell Us what You Really Think…About Letters of Recommendation

Topic: Assessment, Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Article: Letters of recommendation: Controversy and consensus from expert perspectives.
Author: J.M. Nicklin, S.G. Roch
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Despite the widespread use of letters of recommendation (LORs), there is some evidence in the research  literature that LORs are unreliable and invalid for selecting employees. In an attempt to develop some  preliminary conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of LORs, Nicklin and Roch (2009) surveyed 575 academic and applied professionals about their experiences and opinions.