Fitting Selection Methods to Different Cultures

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

Over the past several years, researchers and human resource managers 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.


A good example of an emerging market is Vietnam—economic reports show that companies are moving operations to Vietnam in greater numbers and Vietnam’s economy is expected to become more prominent in the future. To understand the potential reactions to selection methods in a country with very different cultural, legal, and socioeconomic conditions, the authors compared the reactions of 225 Vietnamese business students to 151 American business students. Examples of the selection methods included interviews, work samples, resumes, biodata, and graphology, while the specific reactions were process favorability and perceived fairness.


The researchers discovered that perceptions in either country were fairly similar to each other: interviews and work samples were viewed more positively than biodata, cognitive ability tests, and personality tests, which were viewed more positively than honesty tests and graphology. However, cultural differences do exist: Americans viewed personal contacts as more positive than Vietnamese, while Vietnamese found written ability tests more favorable than Americans. Another important finding was that the perceived validity and legality of the selection method were the strongest fairness predictors of process favorability—apparently no matter where you go the test should still look and feel appropriate to the job.

Overall, organizations should be mindful of the culture they’re operating in, but would do well to favor methods that appear to be as valid as possible when selecting candidates.


Hoang, T.G., Truxillo, D.M., Erdogan, B., & Bauer, T.N.. (2012). Cross-cultural examination of applicant reactions to selection methods: United States and Vietnam. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 20(2), 209-219.