Closing the Scientist-Practitioner Gap: Employee Selection Methods

The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings.
Psychological Bulletin
1998. Vol 124 No. 2, 262-274
Copyright 1998 by the American Psychological Association

One of the most cited and important scholarly works in the field of IO Psychology and certainly a huge influence on my education and career has been the seminal work by Frank Schmidt and John Hunter, The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Professors Schmidt and Hunter, through a research methodology called meta-analysis, set out to investigate 85 years of research across 19 different selection procedures to determine what are the most practical, valid, and predictive methods for selecting employees. Looking across thousands of studies they found some very interesting and revealing results.

  1. GMA (General Mental Ability) has the highest validity in predicting job performance and the lowest cost making it a very practical tool for employee selection. It is also the best predictor of job related learning.
  2. GMA is a better predictor of performance for high complexity jobs compared to low complexity jobs.
  3. Work sample tests are slightly more valid than cognitive assessments but typically are more costly to develop and can only be used for specific positions.
  4. Structured interviews are quite valid and predictive of performance but can be costly and perhaps not very appropriate for inexperienced entry level candidates.
  5. Personality related assessments of integrity and conscientiousness had strong predictive validity and incremental validity over GMA.
  6. Structured interviews are 34% more predictive than unstructured interviews.
  7. Overall, the 3 combinations with the highest predictive validity for job performance were…
    i. GMA plus a work sample test
    ii. GMA plus an integrity test
    iii. GMA plus a structured interview

Article by Brandon Jordan

Closing the Scientist-Practitioner Gap: The Big Five Personality Traits

The Big Five Personality Dimensions And Job Performance: A Meta-Analysis

Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (1991)
Personnel Psychology
1991. vol 44

Another seminal academic article for the field of IO Psychology was the work done by Murray Barrick and Michael Mount investigating the relationship between the Big Five personality traits (Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) and work performance (Job and training proficiency). In this study, using meta-analytic techniques, they looked across numerous datasets across positions including professionals, police, managers, sales and semi/skilled workers. Their findings on how personality is a strong predictor of workplace performance have guided several additional academic studies and more importantly they heavily influenced the practice of using personality measurement as an important applied business tool for employee selection.

  1. Conscientiousness was a valid predictor of performance across all jobs investigated.
  2. Conscientiousness was the strongest predictor of job performance compared to the other big 5 traits.
  3. Extraversion was a strong predictor of performance for jobs that required interpersonal skills (managers and sales).
  4. Openness and extraversion were a strong predictors of training proficiency.
  5. All personality traits had positive average correlations with work performance.
  6. Other traits are found to be valid predictors of performance depending on the situation and environment (job and performance types).
  7. Job type
    i. Emotional stability and agreeableness for police
    ii. Agreeableness and openness for managers
  8. Performance type
    i. Extraversion for job proficiency
    ii. Agreeableness for training proficiency

Article by Brandon Jordan