What makes candidates believe a test was fair? How do candidates' attitudes about a test impact their perceptions of the test? These are questions that are not only commonly asked by human resource professionals, but also by researchers. A study was conducted in 2003 by Lievens, et al. to look at candidates’ perceptions of various selection procedures.
The study focused on two main areas. The first objective was to look at how information given to candidates on a test’s reliability/validity would affect candidates’ perception of the test. The second objective looked at what type of affect test takers’ beliefs regarding a test (such as, the belief that the selection procedure is effective in selecting qualified candidates) had on the test takers' view of the test. When evaluating these objectives the study focused on Personality Inventories, Cognitive Ability Tests, Personal References, Biographical Information Banks, Graphology, Unstructured Interviews, Structured Interviews and Work Sample Tests.
Based upon the study the first objective was not supported. Thus, candidates’ views of tests’ overall fairness, scientific value and job relatedness weren’t significantly impacted or affected by giving candidates information regarding tests’ reliability and validity.
However, findings from the study did support the second objective. The candidates’ views of the test in regard to overall fairness, scientific value and job relatedness were enhanced by the candidates’ belief in the test – belief that the test was an effective way of selecting for the job. Yet, the effect of test belief was not the same for every type of selection process studied. The impact of test belief had significant correlations with the following types of tests:
What we can take away from these findings is that information about a test’s reliability/validity alone may not affect your candidates’ views of and feelings about the fairness of the selection process, but candidates’ beliefs regarding the efficacy of a test can impact overall views of fairness, scientific value and job relatedness of your selection process.
Lievens, P., De Corte, W. and Brysse Katrien. (2003) Applicant Perceptions of Selection Procedures: The Role of Selection Information, Belief in Tests, and Comparative Anxiety. International Journal of Selection and Assessment. 1, 67-77.
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