Once a group of applicants has been selected, organizations must make decisions about which applicants to hire and which to reject. Hough, Oswald and Ployhart (2001) reviewed a variety of commonly used selection tools and explored gender differences for each one. Consistent with research cited earlier, they concluded that men and women do not significantly differ in mean scores on measures of general cognitive ability (g). However, the distribution for male scores has a larger standard deviation, indicating that more men score in the high and low extremes than women. Though the mean scores on measures of g are similar for men and women, there are mean differences for men and women in different factors of cognitive ability. For example, women tend to score higher in verbal ability (Hyde & Linn, 1988) and men tend to score higher in spatial ability (Greary, Saults, Liu & Hoard, 2000).
Hough and colleagues (2001) examined gender differences in scores on situational judgement tests and physical ability tests. Women tend to score higher on both paper-and- pencil and video-based situational judgement tests. However, men consistently outperform
women in physical ability tests. The difference is largest in tests of muscular strength, with smaller group differences in cardiovascular endurance and movement quality. Additionally, the authors note that women are more anxious about test-taking and tend to evaluate the test as more difficult than men do.
Personality tests are generally thought of as appropriate for selection due to the general stability of personality over time, as well as its relative lack of mean subgroup differences (Goldberg, Sweeny, Merenda & Hughes, 1998). However, the literature shows mixed findings on whether mean group differences between men and women exist. For example, Hough and colleagues (2001) report small differences, with women being slightly more agreeable and dependable (a facet of conscientiousness) and scoring higher on facets of extraversion affiliation and lower on surgency (a trait aspect of emotional reactivity in which a person tends towards high levels of positive affect) than men. Saad and Sackett (2002) examined three employment-oriented personality measures used by the military: adjustment, dependability and achievement orientation, and suggested small differences (favouring males) on all three measures. However, other studies show no group differences based on gender. Ones and Anderson (2002) examined three commonly used pre-employment personality inventories: the Hogan Personality Inventory, the Occupational Personality questionnaire and the Business Personality Indicator. They concluded that there are no large subgroup differences between men and women.
Many selection tools are moving to online platforms as technology advances. This could have implications for gender, especially when age is considered. The idea that technology is a male domain is fading, as adoption and use of technology among younger generations is equal for both men and women. However, for older workers this stereotype may persist, making the adoption and use of technology less common, especially among women (Morris, Venkatesh & Ackerman, 2005). Therefore, older female workers may be less comfortable than other groups taking selection assessments on a computer.