Can Hope Help Get People Hired?

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

Although practitioners in I-O psychology commonly measure and examine a wide range of themes 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.


As defined by Zysberg, hope can be conceptualized as a motivational factor, consisting of both emotional and cognitive components. In connecting hope to personnel selection, Zysberg hypothesized that hope would influence individuals’ coping styles; to the extent that an individual’s coping style was problem-solving-oriented, Zysberg hypothesized that performance on several selection assessments (e.g. a cognitive ability test, personality assessment, interview, etc.) would be enhanced. Said another way, Zysberg’s main hypothesis was that higher levels of hope would promote problem-oriented coping, and that this coping style would enhance performance on a variety of selection assessments, thus leading to a higher likelihood of a hiring recommendation.

Overall, advanced statistical techniques provided partial support for the author’s hypotheses; specifically, hope was significantly related to some, but not all, of the selection assessments, while coping was also found to have a direct relationship with hiring recommendation (i.e. without the mediating role of performance on the selection assessments).


Certainly, a great deal more research will be needed to identify what place, if any, hope has in evidence-based human resource management. Zysberg provides a first step in understanding hope and raising awareness for this construct; additional research will help us to understand if hope is relevant for prediction in I-O psychology.


Zysberg, L. (2012). Hope in personnel selection. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 20, 98-104.

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