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Applicant Reactions

In addition to psychometric considerations, it is important to evaluate applicant reactions to the assessments used in the selection process. This includes evaluating applicant preferences for various types of assessment, as well as the extent to which they see them as job-relevant and fair. Meta-analytic studies examining a range of assessment types have found that simulations yield among the most positive applicant reactions (Hausknecht et al., 2004). In this section we examine applicant reactions to simulations from a justice perspective and discuss the impact of fidelity and multimedia on applicant reactions.

Justice and reactions

Applicant reactions are typically evaluated using frameworks derived in organizational justice theory, most often Gilliland’s (1993) model. Three key dimensions have been found to form the basis of applicants’ fairness reactions to a selection process: 1) perceived jobrelatedness, 2) opportunity to perform and 3) interpersonal treatment. The more job- related an assessment appears, the fairer it will be perceived (Gilliland & Cherry, 2000). Simulations present tasks and implicitly have higher face validity because they look like the job. Research has shown that applicants see simulations as job-relevant and therefore fair when compared to other assessment types (Huffcutt, 1990; Robertson & Kandola, 1982). These results have held across countries, including Belgium, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and South Africa (Anderson & Witvliet, 2008; Steiner & Gilliland, 1996, 2001). However, additional research is needed beyond countries with a shared European heritage.

Opportunity to perform is defined as having an adequate opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities in the testing situation. Schleicher, Venkataramani, Moreg- son and Campion (2006) suggest opportunity to perform is one of the most important procedural justice rules because applicants who feel they were able to demonstrate their skills and abilities can then justify a poor or favourable outcome. Conversely, if applicants do not feel they have had an opportunity, they may believe an unfavourable outcome was due to that perceived lack of opportunity. Simulations have a direct overlap to the target position making it explicit how performance on the exercise is related to performance on the job (Boyce et al., 2013) and leads to the belief that they represent a fair opportunity to demonstrate ability (Robertson & Kandola, 1982; Smith, 1991).

Simulations are typically just one assessment used in the selection process. They are frequently combined with other assessments such as measures of cognitive ability or personality which tend have more negative applicant reactions. Smither, Reilly, Millsap, Pearlman and Stoffey (1993) proposed that positive (or negative) reactions to one assessment can impact reactions to other assessments and the selection process as a whole. As such, the use of a simulation in an assessment battery may help to improve the perceptions of the entire process. Drew, Lamer, Burk-Lee, LeVine and Wrenn (2012) found that applicant reactions to personality and cognitive ability assessments were more positive when followed by an animated SJT than by a text-based SJT. However, research specifically examining the impact of simulations on applicant reactions to other tests and the overall hiring process is lacking.

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