Friday, November 13, 2009

Explain away

Of all the low-hanging fruit in recruitment and selection, perhaps none are easier to implement than explaining your process. It's shocking how few selection processes are fully (and coherently) explained, not just in terms of getting from point A to point B, but why the points exist in the first place.

Turns out explaining the process to candidates matters. A lot. And while we already knew that applicant perceptions were important, a recent meta-analysis by Truxillo, et al. published in the International Journal of Selection and Testing clarifies the impact that explanations have. Specifically, explanations were related to:

- Fairness perceptions (important in their own right)

- Perceptions of the hiring organization

- Test-taking motivation

- Performance on cognitive ability tests

Furthermore, fairness effects were greater when paired with personality tests rather than cognitive ability exams.

What does all this mean? It's pretty simple, really--communicate, communicate, communicate. Explain in clear terms to all applicants what the full selection process is, and why. Imagine something like this:

"Thank you for your interest in applying for the Blog Reader position. The selection process will consist of the following:

Step 1. You submit your application and work sample by December 5.

Step 2. Your application is reviewed to ensure you meet our minimum qualifications found on the job posting.

Step 3. If so, your work sample is scored by internal subject matter experts. It will be judged on relevance to the position, complexity, and contribution to the profession. The top scorers move on to Step 4.

Step 4. You are contacted by Human Resources to set up an interview. The interview will last approximately 2 hours and will take place at our San Jose campus. They will take place in mid-January.

Step 5. You interview with the hiring supervisor and 2-3 potential co-workers. You will be asked a series of questions designed to measure your knowledge of Blogs. You will also be asked to complete a writing sample which will be judged for style as well as content. Top performers in these steps will be asked for a final interview with the head of the Blogger Division.

Should you fail to proceed to any Step, you will be contacted and told why."

That wasn't so hard, was it?

For more about applicant perspectives in selection, check out the entire December '09 issue.

And while I'm on the subject of research, check out the latest issue of the International Journal of Testing for good stuff on test compromise, DIF, and P-O fit. Oh, and don't forget about the entire issue devoted to test adaptation.

Last but not least, Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation (PARE) has put out several things lately worth reading, check 'em out.

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