Monday, December 10, 2007

November '07 Issue of J.A.P.

The November 2007 issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology is full of interesting articles, including several relating to recruiting and assessment. Let's take a look:

First, a field study by Hebl et al. on pregnancy discrimination. Female confederates posed as job applicants or customers at retail stores, sometimes wearing a pregnancy prosthesis. As "pregnant" customers, they received more "benevolent" behavior (e.g., touching and over-friendliness), but as job applicants they received more hostile behavior (e.g., rudeness). The latter effect was particularly noticeable when confederates applied for stereotypically male jobs. This isn't a form of discrimination that gets as much play as others, but may be much more common than we think. My guess is a lot of people associate pregnancy with impending time off and don't focus as much on the competencies these women bring to the job.

Second, a study on faking. But wait, not faking on personality tests, faking during interviews. Levashina and Campion developed an interview faking behavior scale and then tested it with actual interviews. Guess what? Scores on the scale correlated with getting a second interview. (Looks like those classes you took on answering vaguely are going to pay off!) But wait, there's more. The authors also found that behavioral questions were more resistant to faking than situational questions (another reason to use 'em!), and follow-up questions INCREASED faking (another reason NOT to 'use em!). Other goodies in this article: over 90% of undergraduate job candidates fake during employment interviews (I assume that's just this sample), BUT, the percentage that were actually lying, or close to it, was less (28-75%).

Third, Brockner et al. provide research results that underline how important procedural fairness (justice) is. Three empirical studies demonstrated that employees judge organizations as being more responsible for negative outcomes when they experienced low procedural fairness. So when applicants or employees get bad news, they'll blame the organization even more if they feel the process used was unfair. Why do we care? Because perceptions of procedural fairness impact all kinds of things, including recruiting (e.g., how someone reacts to not getting a job) and the likelihood of filing a lawsuit (for, say, discrimination).

Fourth, Lievens, Reeve and Heggestad with a look at the impact of people re-taking cognitive ability tests. Using a sample of 941 candidates for medical school that took an admissions exam with a cognitive component, the authors found that retesting introduced both measurement and predictive bias: the retest scores appeared to be measuring memory rather than g, and predictive validity (of GPA) was eliminated. More evidence that re-testing effects are non-trivial. Pre-publication version here.

Last but definitely not least
, one of my favorite topics--web-based recruitment. Allen, Mahto, & Otondo present results from 814 students searching real websites. When controlling for a student's image of the employer, job and organizational information correlated with their intention to pursue employment. When controlling for information search, a student's image of the employer was related to the intention to pursue employment, but familiarity with the employer was not. Finally, attitudes about recruitment source influenced attraction and partially mediated the effects of organizational information. What does all this mean? Don't throw your eggs into one basket--organizational image is important, but so is the specific information you have on your website about your organization and the specific job.

There's a lot of other good stuff in this volume, including articles on the financial impact of specific HRM practices, a meta-analysis of telecommuting impacts, engaging older workers, and daily mood.

1 comment:

Simone said...

Great article.It is great to hear that behavioral interviews are harder to cheat on. There is a job site that might be of interest to small business owners as it offers behavioral questionnaires without the exorbitant price tag: