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

Topic(s): selection

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.

Using data from a large number of employees in a wide array of Canadian organizations, the authors investigated the predictive role that a number of organizational and situational characteristics might have in determining which selection methods were used (a personality test, a job-related knowledge test, or an interview).

Among their findings, the authors found that having an in-house HR department was a significant predictor for all three selection methods. The authors also found that nonprofit organizations were more likely to use an interview (while for-profit organizations were more likely to use a personality test), and that the application process for permanent (as opposed to temporary) positions was more likely to contain an interview. On the other hand, the number of employees that an organization had did not predict use of any of the three selection methods.

While the results of this study were generated using only Canadian employees, the employees came from a wide range of occupations and organizational settings; as such, it is likely that the authors’ findings should generalize to other country’s organizations and employees quite well. Practitioners might use the results of this study to better understand the organizations that would be particularly likely to incorporate tests into their selection practice, such as those organizations with an in-house HR department and those with unionized employees.

Mann, S. L., & Chowhan, J. (2011). Selection practices in Canadian firms: An empirical investigation. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 19, 435-437.

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management


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