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Home arrow Psychology arrow The Wiley Blackwell handbook of the psychology of recruitment, selection and employee retention
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Applicant Reactions

In 1984, De Wolff and Van der Bosch pointed out that the perspective of applicants had not been taken into account in previous research on the validity of personnel selection procedures, and considered that such a perspective was of great importance for personnel selection as applicants also make hiring decisions, not only the organization. They suggested that applicant perceptions and reactions may be crucial for the success of personnel selection decisions and called for research into this issue. Apparently, their call was heard, and over the last 20 years a plethora of studies on the applicants’ reactions and their perceptions of fairness were undertaken, many of them following seminal work by Steiner and Gilliland (1996). These researchers compared the perceptions of and reactions to 10 selection procedures in France and the US. Specifically for cognitive ability tests, Steiner and Gilliland (1996) found that cognitive tests were between the best rated procedures in both France and the US. Using the same or very similar questionnaires, studies were devoted to examining the perceptions and reactions of applicants in a large number of countries, including the US (Bauer et al., 1998; Steiner & Gilliland, 1996), France

Table 7.11 Applicant perceptions regarding favourability to cognitive ability tests in 18 countries.

Country

Sample Size

Favourability

Belgium

235

3.50

France

117

4.21

Greece

279

4.29

Iceland

235

4.80

India

93

4.92

Ireland

73

4.16

Italy

139

4.43

Lithuania

193

4.51

Morocco

52

4.30

Portugal

104

4.13

Romania

235

5.68

Singapore

158

4.56

Spain

125

4.15

South Africa

286

4.75

Sweden

90

4.02

The Netherlands

167

4.15

United States

472

4.30

Vietnam

225

4.87

Total:

4,092 Weighted average:

4.60

(Steiner & Gilliland, 1996), Germany (Marcus, 2003), the UK, Ireland (Scroggins, Benson, Cross & Gilbreath, 2008), Iceland (Jonsdottir & Hafsteinson, 2008), Spain (Moscoso & Salgado, 2004), Portugal (Moscoso & Salgado, 2004), Morocco (Scroggins et al., 2008), Greece (Nikolau & Judge, 2006), Belgium (Stinglhamber, Vandenberghe & Brancart, 2009), Israel (Gamliel & Peer, 2009), Italy (Bertolino & Steiner, 2007), Lithuania (Sidaviciute, 2008), The Netherlands (Anderson & Witvliet, 2008), Romania (Ispas, Ilie, Iliescu, Johnson & Harris, 2010), Singapore (Chan, Schmitt, Jennings, Clause & Delbridge, 1998; Phillips & Gully, 2002), India (Snyder & Shahani-Denning, 2012), South Africa (De Jong, 2000), Sweden (Sidaviciute, 2008) and Turkey (Bilgic & Acarlar, 2010). The results of these studies were meta-analysed by Anderson, Salgado and Hulsherger (2010). Overall, they found that cognitive tests were the most favourably scored methods (mean N= 4.59, 95%CI = 3.89-5.30). The main conclusions ofAnderson, Salgado and Hulsherger’s (2010) findings were that cognitive tests overall were: 1) rated positively; 2) perceived as the most scientifically valid method for personnel selection; 3) showed respect for privacy, and 4) provided applicants with an opportunity to perform. The main drawback of cognitive tests was that they were regarded as interpersonally cold. Several more studies have been carried out since this meta-analysis, but the picture remains much the same. Table 7.11 summarizes the favourability ratings of cognitive tests in 18 countries.

The main conclusion of this research was that applicants’ perceptions of fairness influenced their reactions to the selection process and the organization’s attractiveness (Gilliland & Steiner, 2012). Thus, Bauer and colleagues (2012) examined research on fairness perceptions and proposed a series of recommendations to elicit positive candidate reactions, some of them directly applicable to the use of cognitive tests (e.g., content appropriateness, explanations about the selection procedure).

 
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