The Spring 2007 issue of Public Personnel Management is here (IPMA-HR membership required for full access), and it's got some great stuff inside. Let's take a look at the two articles specifically focused on recruitment/assessment...
First, "The validity of assessment center ratings and 16PF personality trait scores in police Sergeant promotions: A case of incremental validity" by Love & DeArmond. As the title suggests, what the authors looked at here was the ability of job-related personality test scores (measured by the 16PF) to add incremental validity above and beyond assessment center (AC) scores in predicting performance as a police Sergeant. (Not familiar with ACs? Check out this great intro by Bill Waldron and Rich Joines). Anyhoo, here's the rundown:
Sample: 54 candidates, 48 male, all Caucasian, from small and medium-size agencies
AC: Five work sample exercises
Previous hurdle: All had passed a written job knowledge exam
Criterion: Supervisor ratings
Results: AC performance dimensions significantly predicted performance ratings (R-square of .16, p<.01) and 16PF scores accounted for additional unique variance (change in R-square of .08, p<.05). When entered first in the regression, however, personality did NOT significantly predict performance ratings. Hmmmm....
Concerns I have: The reliabilities for the five 16PF factors investigated were not good, even considering the small sample (alphas ranged from .04 to .55). The sample was small, and not particularly diverse (a fact the authors acknowledge as a limitation). And, um...I'm not particularly impressed with that incremental validity, although it's pretty par for the course.
Second, in "Legal issues for HR professionals: Reference checking/background investigations" William Woska provides a great overview of why conducting reference and background checks is so important, what an employer's obligations are, and the importance of focusing on job-related factors. Aside from simply being plain 'ol best practice, avoiding a negligent hiring (tort) lawsuit is a great reason to always do reference checks. Woska also covers avoiding violating an applicant's privacy and/or the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the nature of waivers. This is one of those "save and put in your files" articles.
By the way, there's some other great stuff in here, including legal analyses of constructive discharge and affirmative action, a look at turnover in jails, and an essay on (among other things) Civil Service reform in Florida.