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What are the Observed Differences in Commonly Used Predictors?

This review includes differences in the most commonly used predictors (e.g., cognitive ability tests, personality inventories, interviews, biodata, assessment centres, simulations and situational judgement tests) between Whites and African-Americans and Whites and US Hispanics/Latinos as well as for different national culture groups (e.g., immigrants and non-immigrants). Before investigating the research on observed score differences, it is important to highlight the scope of the predictors we cover and the difference between constructs and methods in the predictors commonly used in personnel selection (Arthur & Villado, 2008). Psychological constructs include the personal attributes used to describe candidates and employees, such as cognitive ability, personality dimensions and job knowledge. These are the theoretical predictors - knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) - used in personnel selection and, along with the criterion constructs (e.g., task performance, organizational citizenship behaviours), should be the focus of theory-building and hypothesis-testing in the design and implementation of a selection system (Binning & Barrett, 1989; Landy, 1986). Methods, on the other hand, are the vehicles by which theoretically-relevant constructs are assessed. Methods include biodata, work samples, situational judgement tests, assessment centres, as well as others. These can be used to measure just one construct or multiple constructs (e.g., an assessment centre with exercises measuring decision making, communication and supervisory skills). When discussing group mean score differences in methods it must be understood that these are not constructs, and that score differences need to be interpreted through the lens of the constructs that the methods assess.

It is also important to highlight that much of the research and observed score differences between racial and ethnic groups that has been quantitatively reviewed using metaanalytic methods comes from the United States. This focus is largely the result of the unique social, historical and legal factors found in the US, as well as how these factors interact with the nature of the labour market and the widespread use of employment testing. Thus, generalizing these findings to other contexts with different social, historical and legal environments should be done with great thought. Although the patterns may generalize to other contexts, the effect sizes may be appreciably different.

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