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Are Personality Tests a Fair, Valid, and Reliable Tool to Use in the Employee Selection Process?

Autor:   •  November 6, 2011  •  Case Study  •  2,240 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,537 Views

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Are personality tests a fair, valid, and reliable tool to use in the employee selection process?

With an increasingly diverse workforce and global economy, managers must heighten their understanding of individual differences if they want to be effective. Understanding the complexity of personality provides managers with insight for managing individual behavior and differences within the organization. Cultural, hereditary, family relationships and social class are the major forces that shape personality. Companies began using personality tests after World War II to determine potential employees' fit for certain jobs or within organizations. The validity of these tests was questioned in the 1960s due to discrimination concerns for minority groups. However, the large number of companies using these tests indicates that the use of them remains popular (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2011). Several studies suggest that these tests are valid predictors of performance, but that does not mean they are highly accepted by job applicants (Hariand, Rauz, & Biasotto, 1995). These points help to frame the question for this study: Are personality tests a fair, valid, and reliable tool to use in the employee selection process? Three scholarly sources were reviewed to help answer the question for this study. The first examined the controversial use of personality inventories in making high stakes decisions about individuals. The second summarized why applicants view personality tests negatively; and the third specified conditions under which proactive behavior is related to career success. The authors of the first source concluded that personality inventories are not likely to be as valid and acceptable as cognitive ability tests when making personnel selection decisions. Their three reasons for concern included theories with a vague link between personality and job performance; not enough is known about matching personality constructs with jobs; and finally the most successful applications of personality related measures are not well defined. Currently, there is no clear general theory that identifies which personality dimensions are significant in predicting job performance across a variety of jobs. Some studies have shown a link between personality measures and contextual performance instead of task performance (Murphy & Dzieweczynski, 2005). However, this link does not solve the problem of matching the person to the job. Analytic methods such as O*Net (Occupational Information Network) have categorized jobs based on knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the job as well as work values, motivational factors, etc. There is no clear connection between the Big Five personality constructs in O*Net (Murphy & Dzieweczynski, 2005). Big Five personality dimensions include: extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience


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