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Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures

The Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP), a division of the APA, drew up its own standards for employment testing; these are known as the Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures (known as the Principles; most recent edition, 2003). The main goal of the Principles is to offer insight from the field of I-O psychology on employment testing and assessment, particularly in relation to validation strategies (Hanges et al., 2013). The Principles are a useful guide for those overseeing or conducting a validation study and for those assessing the appropriateness and legal vulnerability of a selection process (Jeanneret & Zedeck, 2010).

While the Uniform Guidelines focus on legal regulations, the Standards and Principles are intended to offer more technical and professional support for those developing, implementing, and assessing selection procedures (Jeanneret & Zedeck, 2010). The three documents are different from each other in their specificity and intended audience, but each provides uniquely valuable information for the development of selection processes. However, it is important for test developers and administrators to understand that the documents should not be seen as an administrative checklist. Rather, they should be understood as providing professional benchmarks for legal selection procedures and must be applied on the basis of sound professional judgement. Both the Standards and Principles have been updated several times to incorporate advances made in research on employment test fairness and utility. While it is essential to understand the legal requirements governing selection, it is equally important to balance the regulatory requirements against current research and what an employer’s selection process intends (Jeanneret & Zedeck, 2010).

It is important to recognize that I-O psychology is in its infancy in many countries outside the US; therefore, similar guidelines and professional standards are not always accessible in those countries. For example, while the Romanian government offers some training opportunities on employment discrimination legislation, there are no guidelines to ensure consistent application of the law (Cozma & Woehr, 2008). However, some countries have adopted principles similar to those established in the US. In South Africa, which has only recently begun to implement anti-discrimination laws, the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology of South Africa (SIOPSA) has adopted many of SlOP’s Principles (Myors et al., 2008b). While the standards applied by any country must be consistent with its laws and practices, all countries, including the US, should look to best practices from beyond their borders.

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