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Huffcutt, A. I., Conway, J. M., Roth, P. L., & Stone, N. J. (2001). Identification and meta-analytic assessment of psychological constructs measured in employment interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 897-913.

Hurtz, G. M., & Donovan, J. J. (2000). Personality and job performance: The big five revisited. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 869-879.

Raymark, P. H., Schmit, M. J., & Guion, R. M. (1997). Identifying potentially useful personality constructs for employee selection.Personnel Psychology, 50, 723-736.

**Arthur, Jr., W., Woehr, D. J., & Graziano, W. G. (2001). Personality testing in employment settings: Problems and issues in the application of typical selection practices. Personnel Review, 30, 657-676.


There is a distinction that must be made between constructs and methods. This construct/method distinction (aka the content/method distinction) is a touchy subject for many I/O psychologists. We briefly touched on this in earlier modules (see PRV – Module 4, with the discussion on Schmidt vs. Landy) but now I’ll elaborate some more.

Constructs are properties that we posit to exist in the world. They guide our definitions for the purpose of developing measurements. Constructs are ideas in our own minds, not (as some writers imply), characteristics that exist in the real world. When we develop measures, they are tapping events in the world that we use to alter our mental constructs. You can think of this as surveyors measuring the land, then bringing information back to make maps (constructs).

We can measure these constructs using various methods. As you’ll see in the Huffcutt, Conway, Roth, and Stone (2001), one methodology (interviews) can actually tap many different constructs depending on the format of the method (e.g., structured vs. unstructured). Similarly, many different methods can tap the same construct. For example, cognitive ability can be assessed through paper and pencil measures, interviews, and assessment centers.

Why is this construct/method distinction important? Basically, it does not make sense to compare and contrast a methodology with a construct. For example, to assert that interviews have greater predictive validity than does personality is illogical when we know that interviews can be used to assess personality. An interview that assesses personality can have greater predictive validity over paper and pencil measure of personality, or interviews that assess cognitive ability could be more predictive of future performance than interviews that assess personality, but to compare a method with a construct is inappropriate. This happens a lot, however, so it is up to you to know when this error is made.

Anything that we can imagine would possibly be important or predictive of job performance that we cannot actually measure can constitute a construct. Raymark, Schmit, and Guion (1997) provide examples of constructs that are important for selection, placement, and classification. The Hurtz and Donovan (2000) article focuses on one of the most widely studied construct (other than, perhaps, cognitive ability) in the selection domain: personality.

Important terms from the readings:

predictor construct, personality, performance, results, effectiveness, conscientiousness, extraversion, openness, neuroticism, agreeableness, NEO, motivation, structured interview, unstructured interview


Please answer three of the following questions. The first question is required. Each question is worth 5 points.

1.Huffcutt, Conway, Roth, & Stone (2001) showed that High- and Low-structured interviews tend to focus on different constructs. What constitutes a high-structured interview? What constitutes a low-structured interview? What constructs are associated with each, and why might there be differences in the constructs tapped depending on structure?

2.What constitutes the “Big Five”? Describe each of these main personality constructs. Are they valid predictors of job performance? Are some better than others? Explain.

3.What is personality? How is it measured? Is it stable? (Hint: this question is best approached if you read the optional reading).

4.Why do researchers and practitioners care about using different constructs in selection practices? Also, if cognitive ability has been shown to be such a good predictor of performance, why is there such a push to tap such constructs as integrity, conscientiousness, and work ethic?

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The research register for this journal is available at The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at Personality testing in employment settings Problems and issues in the application of typical selection practices Winfred Arthur, Jr Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA Personality testing in employment 657 Received February 2000 Revised November 2000 Accepted November 2000 David J. Woehr Department of Management, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, and William G. Graziano Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA Keywords Employee selection, Individual behaviour, Personality tests Abstract Complex issues arise when personality variables are incorporated into traditional approaches to personnel selection. Personality assessment and testing in employment contexts is more complicated than it would appear. Rather than arguing against considering personality variables, we focus on five problematic issues associated with their use in personnel selection. These issues are: the appropriateness of linear selection models; the problem of personality-related selfselection effects; the multi-dimensionality of personality; bias associated with social desirability, impression management, and faking in top-down selection models; and the legal implications of personality assessment in employment contexts. Recommends that practitioners and researchers be cognizant of these issues in the use of personality tests in employment decisions. Personality is receiving renewed attention in selection and employment contexts. A search of PsycINFO abstracts using ``job performance and personality’’ as keywords and limited to 1990-2000 identified 248 journal articles and 127 dissertation abstracts for just the past ten years alone. Taxonomic advances such as the emergence of the five-factor model (FFM) of personality structure (Goldberg, 1993; John, 1990; McCrae and Costa, 1990; Ozer and Reise, 1994; Wiggins and Trapnell, 1997) as well as meta-analysis based validity evidence (e.g. Barrick and Mount, 1991; Tett et al., 1991) have played a major role in this resurgent interest in the use of personality variables as predictors of job performance. This renewed interest is further evidenced in the many other primary studies (e.g. Arthur and Graziano, 1996; Digman and Inouye, 1986; Graziano et al., 1996; Hogan et al., 1992; Mount et al., 1994; Nolan et al., 1994) that have demonstrated relations among specified personality variables and real world criteria of interest. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 11th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology in St Louis, Missouri, USA, April 1997. Personnel Review, Vol. 30 No. 6, 2001, pp. 657-676. # MCB University Press, 0048-3486 Personnel Review 30,6 658 However, personality assessment for personnel selection purposes carries with it several potentially problematic issues. The present paper identifies and discusses some of the issues that arise when the assessment of personality variables is incorporated into traditional approaches to personnel selection. We do not argue against the importance of considering personality variables in employment contexts. Neither is it our intent to provide an exhaustive review of the personality literature. Rather, we focus on problematic issues with the conceptualization and use of personality variables as they apply to personnel selection and human resource management (HRM) researchers and practitioners. None of these issues are new, but they appear in different forms within the psychometric, personality, and industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology literatures (e.g. Block, 1995; Ozer and Reise, 1994). The present paper assembles and presents these issues in a manner that makes them salient and accessible to both researchers and practitioners. Five major issues are identified and discussed. These interrelated issues are: (1) the appropriateness of linear selection models; (2) the problem of personality-related self-selection effects; (3) the multi-dimensionality of personality and generation of ``composite’’ personality scores; (4) the detection of bias associated with social desirability, impression management, and faking and the use of top-down selection models; and (5) the legal implications of personality assessment in employment contexts. The appropriateness of linear models Personnel selection is characterized by the use of linear models to represent the relationship between predictors and criteria (Chaplin, 1997). These models assume that extreme (usually higher) scores on the predictor are always more desirable. This assumption may be useful for many variables involving knowledge, skill, ability, and aptitude, but the assumption is particularly problematic for personality variables. In fact, one can generate several conceptually and theoretically sound scenarios where the relationship between personality variables and job performance is better conceptualized as being nonlinear. For instance, one can envisage a situation where moderate levels of agreeableness may be related to effectiveness in customer relations, with low and high levels of agreeableness, on the other hand, being somewhat counterproductive (Graziano et al., 1996; Graziano and Eisenberg, 1997). Is it possible to be too conscientious to perform certain roles effectively or to be too openminded to reach decisions for action? We think so. Murphy (1996, p. 22) comments on this possibility when he notes that an individual who is high on conscientiousness ``might be so conventional and rule-bound that he or she cannot function in anything but the most bureaucratic setting’’. Accordingly, the relations among various personality constructs and job performance may be better conceptualized, under some circumstances, as being nonlinear. That is, more is not necessarily better. Some ``optimal’’ level or optimal combination of particular characteristics (that may not necessarily include the highest score) will be best associated with job performance. However, to identify and test for nonlinear relationships, it would be important to formulate hypotheses for these relationships based on prior theoretical and conceptual considerations. The failure to do this may be one of the reasons for the rarity of nonlinear relationships in the extant literature. In support of this reasoning, we conducted a search of the journal article abstracts of the extant literature from 1990-2000 using PsycINFO and failed to identify even one study that reported in its abstract to have empirically tested for the nonlinearity of the relationship between personality variables and performance. A further detailed search that expanded on the preceding search identified one published article (Day and Silverman, 1989), two conference papers (Robie and Ryan, 1998; Sinclair and Lyne, 1997), and two dissertations (Robins, 1995; Scarborough, 1996) that have explored nonlinearity in the relationships between personality variables and job performance. Interestingly, four of the five citations noted above found support for a nonlinear relationship between personality variables and job performance. Day and Silverman (1989) found impulse expression to be related curvilinearly to two out of seven criteria (cooperation, and timeliness of work) in a sample of 43 accountants. Specifically, moderate scorers on impulse expression tended to have higher performance ratings on the specified criteria because high scorers tended to speak or act without deliberation, and avoided and disliked routine, and low scorers were fearful and apprehensive, neat and systematic, rigid and exacting ± characteristics that were not congruent with the nature of the effective accountant role. In an investigation of nonlinear relationships between several personality variables (i.e. ambition, prudence, adjustment, likeability, sociability, and intellectance) and task and contextual performance, Sinclair and Lyne (1997) obtained several practically significant effects of nonlinearity between these variables. Robins (1995) presented evidence supporting a nonlinear relation between emotional stability and job performance such that performance was higher for individuals scoring on either end of the emotional stability range but surprisingly lower for those scoring in the intermediate range. Scarborough (1996) compared the performance of several linear regression models to a nonlinear model of the relation between performance and a number of personality-based predictors and found that the nonlinear model was significantly better than the linear model. In contrast to the other studies, Robie and Ryan (1998) failed to obtain any statistically significant nonlinear relationships between conscientiousness and job performance. We recognize that there are many studies that have investigated and reported linear relationships between personality variables and job performance. In fact there have been enough of these to permit their Personality testing in employment 659 Personnel Review 30,6 660 quantitative summary in a couple of meta-analyses (i.e. Barrick and Mount, 1991; Tett et al., 1991). However, given the recent volume of research on relationships between personality and job performance, the paucity of research investigating nonlinear effects is quite surprising, especially given the relatively weak obtained relationships between personality variables and job performance. For instance, the largest estimated mean overall operational validity reported by Barrick and Mount (1991) was for conscientiousness (» ˆ 0:22), a rather weak effect (Cohen, 1992). Consequently, it is plausible that these generally weak personality/performance relationships may be partially explained by a failure to investigate or test for nonlinear effects or relationships. Differential self-selection effects in personality and ability in employment contexts Both researchers and theorists have long recognized that personality can influence the choices people make about which situations to enter or to avoid (Allport, 1937; Caspi et al., 1989; Ickes et al., 1997; Snyder and Ickes, 1985). On any Friday night more extraverts than introverts will choose to be at parties, and the reverse is probably true for university libraries. Certainly self-selection based on abilities and aptitude is not an uncommon or unexpected process in selection contexts. The applicant pool for a chemist position in an industrial research and development group is not likely to have many low cognitive ability candidates. We posit that self-selection on the basis of personality is likely to be just as common (Holland, 1997). The idea that personality is related to career choice and subsequent performance in these careers has a long history in vocational psychology (Borgen and Harmon, 1996; Schneider, 1987; Tokar et al., 1998). Indeed the notion that there are different patterns of, and/or mean differences on specified personality variables among occupational groups is well known and drives the literature on vocational and career choice, counseling, and adjustment (e.g. Holland’s (1997) theory). One explanation for this is that often, as in the case of the job of police officer for example, it may be much easier to form an implicit theory of the personality characteristics required than the ability and aptitude requirements. Furthermore, individuals are more likely to have a reasonably accurate perception of their temperament and interests than of their abilities and aptitudes. From an attribution perspective it is much less threatening (and thus, more likely) for an individual to decide that they do not have the temperament or interests required to be a police officer as opposed to not having the ability for the job (Paulhus and John, 1998). Let us assume that a personnel selection team decided to assess both ability and personality based on evidence that successful chemists tend to have narrower interests than do other professionals, and are more introverted (Campbell, 1971, p. 224). So to the extent that self-selection into the chemistry profession led to fewer extraverts than introverts in the pool of chemist applicants, the variability on the extraversion dimension will be restricted. This restriction of range will in turn limit the ability of the extraversion dimension to predict job performance. From a scientific point of view, we could certainly correct for this attenuation based on the variability on the extraversion dimension found in the general population and thus, get a picture of the ``true’’ relationship between extraversion and performance. From a practical application perspective, however, given that the limited variability is characteristic of the population of professional chemists, the utility of extraversion as a predictor would still be quite limited. Furthermore, if extraversion occurs more frequently in combination with other personality attributes like agreeableness (see next section), then these attributes may also be restricted in range, and the prediction picture will be obscured still further. This analysis is not intended to imply that personality should not be assessed, or even that personality constructs are not related to the performance of industrial chemists. This analysis suggests that prediction models involving both personality and ability can be attenuated when situational self-selection is not recognized. There are many reasons, however, to expect that the degree of self-selection will be just as great for personality variables as it is for ability variables. Self-selection and choices about situations involving personality could conceivably be more difficult to recognize and anticipate a priori than are corresponding choices involving ability, but this is ultimately a matter for explicit empirical resolution. (See Snyder (1987) regarding empirical research linking personality differences to occupation choice, and Tokar et al. (1998) for a selective review of the personality and vocational choice literature.) The multi-dimensionality of personality and generating a ``composite’’ personality score Much of the Big Five literature treats the dimensions of personality structure as five independent entities. Recently, however, several teams of personality researchers have emphasized the need to take secondary factor loadings into account, usually in the form of circumplex models (e.g. DeRaad et al., 1994; Goldberg, 1993; Johnson and Ostendorf, 1993; Wiggins and Trapnell, 1997). The abridged big-five circumplex model (AB5C) presented by Hofstee and his colleagues (Hofstee and DeRaad (1991) cited in DeRaad et al. (1994); and Hofstee et al. (1992)) consists of the ten two-dimensional circumplexes that are produced by taking all possible pairs of the Big Five factors as coordinates. The trait variables are represented in terms of their two highest loadings. For example, Figure 1 (adapted from DeRaad et al., 1994, p. 95.) presents a circumplex for extraversion and agreeableness. DeRaad et al. (1994) showed that trait terms are not randomly or even proportionally distributed across the big five dimensions. Some cells contain many terms, whereas other cells are virtually empty. For example, there are many words for describing a person high in both extraversion and agreeableness (I ‡ II‡), but no trait words for describing a low extraverted, high agreeable (I ¡ II‡) person. In expanding these circumplexes past the two dimensions illustrated in Figure 1 to other FFM dimensions, high agreeable, low conscientious (II ‡ III¡) Personality testing in employment 661 Personnel Review 30,6 662 Figure 1. The AB5C partitioning of the big five personality factors would represent another empty cell. There are also few words to describe a high extravert, low intellect (I ‡ V¡) configuration. These data suggest that global, broad-brush dimensions like those assessed by the five-factor approach contain meaningful sub-groups that cross dimensional boundaries, and these may differ in important ways. That natural language generates distinctive terms for such sub-groups of personality suggests that at least some of these differences are regarded as important for predicting and understanding behavior (e.g. Goldberg, 1981; Hogan, 1983; cf. Block, 1995). The AB5C is still a project in development, and many uncertainties remain. Nevertheless, enough is known now to see some implications. At the least, precision is lost when we rely on simple-structure factor analyses of personality structure. With this loss of precision comes error in prediction. In terms of job performance, an agreeable extravert (I ‡ II‡) may be a very different person from an agreeable, conscientious person (II ‡ III‡). If this conjecture is valid, then the typical practice of examining the validity of isolated, individual personality variables, such as conscientiousness, in isolation from other personality components is ill advised (Hogan, 1991; cf. Arthur and Graziano, 1996; for a somewhat different perspective, see Chaplin, 1997). Another stream of research that highlights the importance of considering configurations and interactions among personality variables is the extraversion-neuroticism-mood states literature. Larsen and Ketelaar (1991) apparently provide support for the argument that the extraversion/positive affect and neuroticism/negative affect relationships are independent (see Costa and McCrae, 1980) by using mood induction procedures to demonstrate that extraversion was significantly related to positive affect, but not to negative affect and that neuroticism was significantly related to negative affect, but not to positive affect. They failed, however, to include interaction terms in their analyses. In contrast, Hotard et al. (1989) described significant extraversion/ neuroticism interactions in predicting subjective well-being. Their results indicated that extraversion was a strong predictor of subjective well-being only for individuals high on neuroticism. Similarly, McFatter (1994) found significant extraversion/neuroticism interactions such that both positive affect and negative affect were strongly related to extraversion only among neurotic individuals. In their totality, these findings add to the evidence that the interpretation of marginal relations among personality constructs and outcome measures can be misleading. Standard multiple regression methodology certainly provides a viable tool for examining the effect of multiple predictors along with the interactions among them. Yet, a PsychINFO search of the 1990-2000 abstracts of the extant literature identified only 65 studies out of 248 (26 percent) that used two or more personality variables in combination when predicting job performance. One plausible explanation for the failure to use a combination of multiple personality variables in the prediction of performance may have to do with the difficulty in deciding which constructs to use. There is certainly no dearth of speculation on the nomological net and interrelationships among various personality constructs, as in the work on the AB5C, outlined previously. Nevertheless, this issue and works such as those reviewed above have failed to influence the applied personnel psychology literature. One reason may be that the complexity of these conceptualizations precludes (or at least greatly reduces) their applicability. Certainly one of the strengths of the I/O psychology literature is the concern with theory implementation and applicability. Still, it may be unwise to implement an overly simplistic conceptualization of personality simply for the sake of applicability (cf. Chaplin, 1997). Another domain where the use of the totality of personality instead of single facets or variables is particularly relevant is the person-organization fit literature. Person-organization fit refers to the compatibility between people and organizations (Kristof, 1996). One operationalization of this fit is the match between the characteristics of individual personality and organizational climate ± sometimes referred to as organizational personality (e.g. Bowen et al., 1991). In selection contexts, various assessment tools, including standardized personality measures, may be used to select individuals whose personalities are compatible with the organizational culture, climate, goals, and norms. By its very nature then, the person-organization fit framework would seem to require the use of the totality of an applicant’s personality (i.e. multiple personality variables or dimensions) in making these assessments. As previously noted, when criteria are available, multiple regression procedures can be used to combine multiple personality variables in a prediction model. In the absence of criterion data, however, the options for combining multiple personality variables appear to be limited to profile matching or profile similarity indices which typically involve trying to match Personality testing in employment 663 Personnel Review 30,6 664 applicant personality profiles with known group profiles. Thus, the use of profile/pattern matching or profile similarity indices (which are applied extensively with measures such as the Guilford-Zimmerman temperament survey (GZTS) (Guilford et al., 1978), are an attempt to combine two sets of multiple personality dimensions (e.g. profiles) representing, for example, an applicant and ``ideal’’ employee, into a single score or index to obtain information on the degree of congruence, similarity, or match between the two profiles. Profile similarity indices used in congruence research can be classified into one of two categories ± those representing the correlation between the two profiles and those based on the sum of differences between profile elements (i.e. personality variables/dimensions) (Edwards, 1993). Edwards (1993) presents a detailed description and review of specific indices of these two types of profile similarity indices along with a discussion of methodological problems associated with their use in congruence research including discarding information regarding the absolute level of the profiles along with the direction of their difference, and with correlations, the magnitude of the difference as well. He also notes that profile similarity indices mask which elements are responsible for the differences between the profiles. Given these methodological problems, Edwards (1993) recommends polynomial regression procedures and shows how they may be used to avoid the problems with profile similarity indices while capturing the underlying relationships profile similarity indices are intended to represent. (The reader is referred to Edwards (1993) for a more in-depth, detailed coverage of these issues. Also see Kristof (1996) for additional discussion of these issues and some limitations associated with polynomial regression analysis.) Let us offer a summary of the multidimensionality issue. On the positive side, recent structural analyses in personality theory recognizes the complexity and interconnection among personality dimensions. Researchers in the personality area like Goldberg, Hofstee, DeRaad, and others show a genuine appreciation for the complexity of personality structure as an integrated adaptation among the diverse elements that compose a total personality (see Sarason et al., 1996). On the negative side, complex models of personality structure like the AB5C may be more attractive to academics than to applied professionals; these models will be nearly impossible to use in applied settings until there are corresponding advances in prediction models and methods. As I/O psychologists and HRM professionals have known for years, precise description does not translate easily into precise prediction. Nevertheless, the importance of using configurations and the totality of personality, as opposed to single dimensions, is highlighted by Hogan et al. (1996, p. 470), who offered the following example: . . . persons with high scores on a measure of integrity will follow rules and be easy to supervise, but may be poor service providers because they tend to be inflexible in following rules. Similarly, persons with high scores on measures of service orientation will be tolerant, patient, and friendly, but they may not work very hard. We do not deny that in predicting performance in a particular job, some dimensions may be either irrelevant or less relevant than others. Given the framework of the five-factor model, however, it is highly unlikely that only one dimension will be important for successful performance and even more unlikely that simple main effects will provide a complete picture. Thus, although it has been repeatedly demonstrated in multiple primary studies (see Hogan and Ones (1997) for a review) and meta-analyses (e.g. Barrick and Mount, 1991; Tett et al., 1991) that conscientiousness is a valid predictor of job performance across many different jobs, the amount of variance explained has been relatively small ± only about 5 percent. Furthermore, even some of the work on integrity tests suggests that multiple dimensions of the FFM operate in the prediction of various criteria. For instance, Ones et al. (1993) note that personality-based integrity measures typically represent composite measures of personality dimensions such as conscientiousness, sociability, adjustment, and trustworthiness. The detection of faking and the use of top-down selection models In the older personality research, one method used to detect response distortions in self-reports on measures was the inclusion of ``lie’’ and ``social desirability’’ scales in personality inventories (Paulhus, 1991; Verma, 1977). The early versions of ``lie’’ scales, which have been synonymously referred to as ``social desirability’’, ``motivational distortion’’, ``virtue’’, ``faking’’, and ``response validity’’ scales, have been included in several widely used personality inventories such as GZTS (Guilford et al., 1978); the California personality inventory (CPI) (Gough, 1996); the personality research form (PRF) (Jackson, 1967); the Hogan personality inventory (HPI) (Hogan and Hogan, 1992); the occupational personality questionnaire (OPQ) (Saville and Holdsworth, 1992); the Manchester Personality questionnaire (MPQ) (CIM-Test-Publishers, 1996); and even the NEO-FFI (Costa and McCrae, 1991), which uses a single item (``Have you responded accurately and honestly? Yes or no’’) to assess the extent of response distortion. Researchers and practitioners examine respondents’ scores on these lie scales to determine if the inventory has been answered honestly. If a predetermined score on the scale is exceeded, it is inferred that the respondent may not have answered other items on the inventory truthfully. In more recent work, however, personality researchers have recognized that some forms of dissimulation may be systematically related to other aspects of personality. In particular, work by Delroy Paulhus and his colleagues (Paulhus, 1986, 1991; see also Paulhus et al., 1997; Paulhus and John, 1998) has demonstrated differences among two major kinds of dissimulation, which Paulhus labels ``impression management’’ and ``self-deception’’, respectively. Some of the older measures of social desirability responding (e.g. MarloweCrowne scale (Crowne and Marlowe, 1960); Snyder’s (1974) self-monitoring scale) do not clearly differentiate between these two processes in their assessments. In part, Paulhus’s distinction is related to a test-taker’s presumed conscious strategy for dissimulation. In impression management (e.g. Snyder, Personality testing in employment 665 Personnel Review 30,6 666 1974), a test taker’s self-report may be based on active attempts to create an image as a hard-working, conscientious, industrious, punctual person, knowing full well that she is typically none of these things. Here impression management is in the service of pleasing a prospective employer, and the selfdescription could change depending on the perceived desires of another prospective employer. In self-deception, a test-taker may be less aware of the motivational processes leading to distortions, but distortions may be apparent to expert and peer raters. Defensiveness is more closely related to self-deception than to impression management (Paulhus, 1991; Paulhus et al., 1997). The older literature seemed to have been concerned with conscious dissimulation, and thus may have been more likely to assess impression management processes than defensive and self-deceptive processes. For example, research that asks participants to fake a response assumes that participants can consciously alter their responses in the service of the requirements of the experiment. Nevertheless, such research can provide useful information. There is evidence that intercorrelations among personality dimensions and lie scales increase under instructions to fake (e.g. Michaelis and Eysenck, 1971). In a meta-analysis, Stanush (1996) demonstrated that when respondents were instructed to fake, there was a stronger relationship between lie scales and other personality inventory scales (r ˆ 0:34), compared to respondents instructed to answer truthfully (r ˆ 0:09). Furthermore, instructions to fake resulted in elevated scores on both social desirability scales (d ˆ 0:82) and scores on the Big Five personality factors (d ˆ 0:29, 0.53, 0.29, 0.36, and 0.28, for agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, emotional stability, and openness, respectively). For the FFM dimensions, conscientiousness demonstrated the highest elevation in scores. To summarize, the extant literature demonstrates that although the tendency to respond favorably is correlated with stable personality traits (Ones et al., 1996; Paulhus et al., 1997), faking can also be situationally induced by either the motivation of the participant (applicant) to present him/herself in a favorable light or by the experimental instructions to do so (Douglas et al., 1996; Hough et al., 1990). Consequently, in the realm of personality research and measurement, extremely high scores on specified constructs of interest are typically considered to be indicative of faking or otherwise responding in some sort of socially desirable or biased manner. These elevated scores are presumed to be produced by some kind of response bias. Therefore, a common practice, again in personality research, is to eliminate individuals with elevated scores from the sample or otherwise statistically control for this response bias. Douglas et al. (1996) highlight the conceptual and empirical basis for this by demonstrating that under conditions of faking, the coefficient alphas of a measure of conscientiousness and agreeableness increased. However, the construct-related and criterion-related validities of the scales decreased. Similar results were reported by Stanush (1996); the sample-weighted mean criterionrelated validity for honest conditions was 0.35 compared to 0.09 for faking conditions. (These meta-analyses were based on 15 data points for each condition and the sample sizes were 1,368 and 1,312 for the honest and faking conditions, respectively.) A common practice in I/O psychology and HRM is the use of top-down selection models which call for the ranking of test takers on their test scores and selecting those with the highest scores until all the openings are filled. This method of selection produces the highest overall selection utility (Murphy et al., 1995; Sackett and Wilk, 1994; Schmidt, 1991). An issue of relevance here, in the context of personality assessment, is the extent to which deliberate distortion or faking occurs on the personality measures, the effect of faking on the criterion-related validity and utility of these measures, and the effect of faking on who gets hired. The evidence is clear that people can fake when instructed to do so by a researcher. It is also reasonably well documented that in applicant and other employment situations where the individual is motivated to obtain a valued outcome such as employment or promotion, response distortion can and often does occur (Bass, 1957; Christiansen et al., 1994; Mahar et al., 1995). However, the magnitude of distortion is not as large in real-life contexts/ settings as it is in experimentally, instructionally-induced situations (Stanush, 1996). Several writers have demonstrated that criterion-related validities of personality measures in real-life employment situations are not seriously affected by faking or response distortion (e.g. Hough, 1998; Hough et al., 1990; Ones et al., 1996), but legitimate concerns still remain. For instance, in a recent field study using the NEO-PI-R, Rosse et al. (1998) showed that faking among job applicants was much greater than that among job incumbents, that there were significant individual differences in faking, and that faking among job applicants had a significant effect on who was hired. Christiansen et al. (1999) in a study of police academy recruits found that the positive relationship between a personality composite score and performance found for the total sample (n ˆ 442, » ˆ 0:18) was near zero in the upper half of the personality score distribution (n ˆ 214, » ˆ 0:02) and was actually negative among the top 53 scorers (» ˆ ¡0:80). On the other hand, the relationship between the personality composite and social desirability was stronger in the upper half (n ˆ 214, » ˆ 0:37) and much stronger among the top scorers (n ˆ 53, » ˆ 0:77). The correlation between social desirability and the personality composite in the total sample (n ˆ 442) was 0.31. (Christiansen et al.’s (1999) correlations were corrected for range restriction in the personality composite (») using the total sample to estimate the unrestricted variance.) From an I/O psychology/HRM perspective, findings such as Christiansen et al.’s (1999) are an important concern because those individuals who distort their responses will be at the top of the distribution, and with a top-down selection strategy, are the ones who will be hired first. In fact, as noted by Hough (1998, p. 212), ``. . . [i]n a situation where only the top 5% or 10% are hired, it is possible that only those applicants who seriously distorted their selfdescriptions are the ones hired’’, raising grave concerns about the construct validity of the test. Alternately, they may not have high true scores on the Personality testing in employment 667 Personnel Review 30,6 668 construct being measured, but applying the personality practice of eliminating high scorers as fakers would suggest that we exclude ``high’’ performers. This issue is even more salient with the use of integrity tests that often contain ``admissions’’ sub-scales, which are, essentially self-report measures of participants’ honesty. On these scales, individuals who report that they are dishonest receive lower scores than those who report that they are generally honest. However, many of the tests also penalize individuals who report extreme honesty. For instance, answering ``true’’ to the statement ``I have never stolen anything’’ is assumed by some tests to be indicative of lying or response distortion. Although the use of ``lie scales’’ may help to control for response distortion among low-integrity test takers it may also screen out extremely high-integrity test takers. In fact, Lilienfeld et al. (1995) argue that integrity tests may erroneously screen out highly religious and/or ethical persons. Thus, the implications of the conflict arising from these two positions (i.e. applying top-down selection rules and selecting a lot of ``fakers’’ or rejecting high scorers as ``fakers’’) are obvious. Legal implications of personality assessment in employment contexts The legal implications associated with the use of personality tests in employment contexts is by definition going to be country-specific simply because of differences in employment-related legislation. Specifically, antidiscrimination laws and their enforcement differ widely across countries. An excellent summary of discrimination prohibitions in a selected group of 12 countries is provided by Pincus and Belohlav (1996) and we encourage the reader to consult their article for more details. We discuss the legal implications of employment-related testing within the context of the USA; however, we think the basic underlying conceptual issues should be of general broad interest and relevance. In the USA, one of the commonly touted advantages of the use of personality testing in employment contexts is that these constructs and associated tests are less likely to display the levels of adverse impact against protected groups that are typically obtained with measures of other constructs like cognitive ability (Hogan, 1991), subsequently reducing potential legal problems (cf. Ryan et al., 1998). In fact, Hogan et al. (1996, p. 475) go as far as to state that: . . .we want to suggest in the strongest possible terms that the use of well-constructed measures of normal personality in preemployment screening will be a force for equal employment opportunity, social justice, and increased productivity. In spite of statements such as these, there are a number of unresolved legal issues associated with personality assessment and testing in employment contexts. First, there are certainly legal implications associated with rejecting high scorers as ``fakers’’. Rejecting a job applicant because they scored too high on a selection test would seem very unusual to most people, especially when the selection system is based on a linear, top-down model. Second, the often touted absence-of-adverse-impact advantage of personality tests and variables may be one that is limited to race. For instance, although the Black-White difference on integrity tests, in terms of d, is typically 0.0, the male-female difference on measures of dominance is typically 0.5 (Sackett and Ellingson, 1997; Sackett and Wilk, 1994). Table 2 in the Sackett and Wilk (1994) paper presents additional male-female differences on various personality measures commonly used in personnel selection including the CPI, GZTS, PRF, and the 16 personality factor questionnaire (16PF). The authors note that the findings are mixed, but for some personality variables, the differences are quite sizeable. For example, for masculinity-femininity scales (which were explicitly designed to differentiate between males and females), standardized mean differences (i.e. d) on the CPI and the GZTS were 1.95 and 2.08, respectively. Although relatively smaller in magnitude, there are some male-female differences on the five factors of the NEO-FFI. Specifically, these differences are ¡0:39 on neuroticism, ¡0:16 on extraversion, 0.07 on openness, 0.37 on agreeableness, and ± 0.16 on conscientiousness. Examples such as those presented above, are the reasons why the use of subgroup norms and interpretation tables are standard and common practices in personality assessment and theory in nonemployment contexts (e.g. in the fields of personality, clinical, and social psychology). In these domains, it is theoretically recognized that sex differences exist on a number of personality dimensions (e.g. aggression, nurturance, agreeableness, masculinityfemininity). In these domains, the theoretical rationale is that a given score has different psychological meaning from one group to the next. Consequently, the most appropriate way to interpret an individual’s score is within the context of their group. The masculinity-femininity dimension is an illustrative exemplar of this perspective. For example, masculinity-femininity typically represent the poles of a single dimension such that for females, a low score would receive a ``favorable’’ interpretation and a high would receive an ``unfavorable’’ interpretation. The converse would be true for males. This illustrates that from the test developers’ perspective, the only meaningful way to interpret scores on this dimension is in terms of one’s standing within one’s sex-group. On the basis of this perspective, the scoring of personality measures using sex-specific norms is fairly common in personality research. As noted by Sackett and Wilk (1994), this may reflect the fact that most personality tests were developed for the purposes of describing the individual rather than the prediction of future job or employment performance. However, in the context of title I of the Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1991 in the USA, the implementation of this perspective in employment settings raises a number of interesting issues. Specifically, Section 106 of the CRA of 1991 states that it is unlawful practice for an employer: . . . in connection with the selection or referral of applicants or candidates for employment or promotion to adjust the scores of, use different cutoffs for, or otherwise alter the results of employment related tests on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Personality testing in employment 669 Personnel Review 30,6 Sackett and Wilk (1994) note that this: 670 As previously noted, the problem is that in personality research it is standard practice to report separate normative data for males and females (for example see test manuals for the GZTS, CPI, and NEO-FFI). Furthermore, some widely used measures like the GTZS and CPI have masculinity-femininity scales which are interpreted very differently for males and females. In the parlance of the CRA of 1991, different cutoff scores are being used, and test scores are being adjusted on the basis of sex; these are practices that are explicitly stated as being unlawful. This issue suggests a conflict between law and science. In personality research the practice of using separate normative data to interpret the scores of males and females has a sound theoretical and conceptual basis and is not done either capriciously or casually. However, it appears to have been caught up in an oversight in a piece of legislation whose primary intent was to prohibit race norming on ability and aptitude tests like the general aptitude test battery (GATB). How are test developers addressing this issue? One way is by simply aggregating their male and female normative data to generate sex-neutral norms (for example, see the NEO-FFI test manual). This practice may meet the legal stipulations of the CRA of 1991, but it flies in the face of personality theory and measurement. Another approach to addressing this issue is Sackett and Wilk’s (1994, p. 952): . . . ban on score adjustment was a direct response to the USES GATB [US Employment Service General Aptitude Test Battery] system [i.e. within-group norming]. There is no evidence that there was broader consideration of the implications of the Act for any other setting [tests] than the use of cognitive ability testing. (p. 943; text in brackets added). . . . recommended interpretation of the act: Section 106 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 should be interpreted as prohibiting after-the-fact score adjustments undertaken solely to reduce or eliminate adverse impact. Taking group membership into account is permitted if doing so can be shown to increase accuracy of measurement or accuracy of prediction without increasing the adverse impact of the test.. In short Sackett and Wilk (1994) appear to be taking the position that the CRA of 1991 does not prohibit within-group norming within the context of personality testing since it is not done solely to reduce adverse impact; instead, the use of group membership to adjust or interpret scores on personality dimensions is done in order to increase the accuracy of prediction of job or employment performance. It should be noted that this is Sackett and Wilk’s interpretation and that this position has not been tested in any court cases of which we are aware. Two other related legal issues are those pertaining to invasion of privacy and the Americans with disabilities act (ADA). These issues are neither unresolved or in the case of privacy issues, particularly unique to personality testing. However, they are briefly discussed here because they have received some attention in the recent literature. In the context of personality testing for personnel selection or employment-related decision making, invasion of privacy is an issue only to the extent that test items are non-job-related (e.g. those pertaining to religious preferences or sexual orientation). This issue is also more germane to clinical tools like the MMPI which were developed for diagnostic and not selection or other employment-related decision making purposes (Brown, 1996; Sackett and Wanek, 1996). In reference to ADA, measures of normal personality are not considered to be medical exams and, therefore, are not covered by ADA (Brown, 1996; Hogan et al., 1996). On the other hand, as with the invasion of privacy issue, the use of clinical diagnostic measures like the MMPI are precluded because the current interpretation of ADA based on recent legal developments considers tests originally designed to detect mental illness to be medical examinations even if the employer is currently using them for other purposes (Sackett and Wanek, 1996). Finally, Sackett and Wanek (1996) in their review of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ADA enforcement guidance (EEOC, 1994, 1995) note that although a test may not be a medical examination (as noted previously), the presence of individual items on the test dealing with the existence of a disability (e.g. extent of prior illegal drug use or current or prior alcohol use) may call for an item-level review. In summary, legal concerns pertaining to issues of privacy and ADA are less germane when dealing with tests of normal personality. Thus, in contrast to the MMPI for example, these are tests that were not developed for clinical or diagnostic purposes, but instead were designed for the assessment of normal personality. This is the focus of modern personality psychology which is concerned with the dynamics of everyday behavior and is, consequently, more relevant to I/O psychology and HRM. So the message to the researcher and practitioner in employment-related contexts is that in order to avoid the ADA restrictions imposed on medical examinations, one should use measures of normal personality instead of those developed for clinical and diagnostic purposes. Conclusions Personality differences are receiving increasing attention from professionals concerned with employment-related decision making. This attention is justified in part by research showing that personality variables are related to job performance, and in part by consensus on the aspects of personality worthy of such attention. In a sense the new interest in personality variables is an extension of the traditional interest of employment professionals in individual difference predictors. However, this paper suggests that caution must be exercised in the way personality variables are conceptualized and used in employment settings. Several distinctive characteristics of personality testing raise important conceptual, methodological, and practical questions. A general implication is that personality assessment and testing in employment contexts is more complicated than it would appear. Practitioners and researchers must be cognizant of these issues in the application of personality tests to employment decision making. Personality testing in employment 671 Personnel Review 30,6 672 The five issues raised here are interrelated. Each of these issues is important, but it will be more useful in the long run to confront the issues as a set rather than separately. For employment professionals, a top priority is utility. Assessments must be efficiently deployed, with a reasonable prospect for a profit on the costs of personality assessment. Efficient or not, assessments must be aligned with legal requirements. Efficient assessments must not be purchased at the price of inaccurate measurement of individuals. For example, we might recognize that personality structure is better seen as a configuration than as a series of quasi-independent dimensions. Configural approaches to personality structure such as the AB5C may provide more realistic models than simple, global, ``main effects’’ approaches, but do not lend themselves easily to current linear modeling procedures; the point being that we must carefully tread the fine line between scientific rigor and practical application. At the same time, however, those focusing on the practical utility of personality for personnel decisions must be careful not to limit this utility by fixating on ``typical’’ selection practices. It is likely that the maximum impact in this area will not stem solely from utilizing personality variables in selection practices, but from the expansion of selection practices to meet the requirements of personality theory. The complexity of these issues and the import of their implications are daunting, but the problems are not insurmountable. At the same time, as the issues are debated and considered, personality assessment should be done by professionals with appropriate training, and not treated with cookbook approaches that include the rendering and delegation of administration, scoring, and use of personality to clerical functions. References Allport, G. (1937). Personality: A Psychological Interpretation, Holt, Rinehart, and Wilson, New York, NY. Arthur, W., Jr and Graziano, W.G. 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Mount, M.K., Barrick, M.R. and Strauss, J.P. (1994), `Validity of observer ratings of the big five personality factors’’, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 79, pp. 272-80. Murphy, K.R. (1996), ``Individual differences and behavior in organizations: much more than `g’’’, in Murphy, K.R. (Ed.), Individual Differences and Behavior in Organizations, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp. 3-30. Murphy, K.R., Osten, K. and Myors, B. (1995), ``Modeling the effects of banding in personnel selection’’, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 48, pp. 61-84. Nolan, Y., Johnson, J.A. and Pincus, A.L. (1994), ``Personality and drunk driving: identification of DUI types using the Hogan personality inventory’’, Psychological Assessment, Vol. 6, pp. 33-40. Ones, D.S., Viswesvaran, C. and Reiss, A.D. (1996), ``Role of social desirability in personality testing for personnel selection: the red herring’’, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 81, pp. 660-79. Ones, D.S., Viswesvaran, C. and Schmidt, F.L. 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Explanation & Answer




Selection Constructs
Institution Affiliation



Question One
A high-structured interview is an interview whereby the interviewer asks questions to the
interviewees which are already predetermined. On the other hand, a low-structured interview
constitutes the asking of questions where most of them are not predetermined but a random. The
constructs of a high-structured interview include those of basing on job-related constructs,
availability of background information and type of job analysis (Huffcutt, Conway, Roth, &
Stone, 2001). On the other hand, the constructs of a low-structured interview include impression
based constructs, use of an interview panel and the type of questions asked. Ther...

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