The Use of Personality Assessments as a Selection Tool in U.S. Small and Medium-Sized High Impact Firms

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Hughes, Heidi A
  • Subject: BF | HD28

This thesis is a comparison of employee selection techniques used by U.S. high impact and non-high impact SMEs to Piotrowski & Armstrong’s (2006) findings on employee selection techniques used by U.S. large companies. Primarily, the focus is on personality and integrity assessments, as these tools, combined with other selection techniques, increase the ability to predict job success as measured by supervisory rating and turnover (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Barrick, Stewart, & Piotrowski, 2002). Personality and integrity assessments have also been shown to reduce adverse hiring practices on minorities (Nga & Sears, 2010; Ones, Schmidt, & Viswesvaran, 1993). Despite the advantages of these assessment tools, empirical research indicates most employers prefer to use the ‘classic trio’ of selection techniques, which include conducting interviews, reviewing applications and CV’s, and contacting references(Cook, 2004). Piotrowski & Armstrong (2006) indicate that less than 29% of large U.S. firms utilize personality or integrity assessments, however, trade publications suggests psychological tests, including personality and integrity assessments, is nearing $2 billion in revenue. This suggests that many more firms are using assessments than reported by recent research.\ud This research was conducted through a self-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics in the form of frequency tables were used to describe the findings on selection techniques for both high impact and non-high impact SMEs and a comparison to large firms. Results from this project suggest both high impact and non-high impact SMEs use both personality and integrity assessments more often than large firms. The research further demonstrates that similar to research on Italian, German, and British SMEs, American high impact, or knowledge and skills intensive firms, are more likely to have a full-time HR person or group, than similarly related non-high impact firms.
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