Applicant Reactions to Testing and Selection

Stephen W. Gilliland and Dirk D. Steiner

in The Oxford Handbook of Personnel Assessment and Selection

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732579
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Applicant Reactions to Testing and Selection

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Research Methods in Psychology


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Applicant reactions to selection and assessment have developed into a theoretically grounded and productive body of research over the past 20 years. Organizational justice theories provide a valuable foundation for much of this research, but important models have also been developed from test motivation and social psychological perspectives. Research indicates that applicant reactions are strongly related to prehire attitudes and applicant self-perceptions, but not related to most behaviors. Research has also demonstrated substantial consistency in applicant reactions across gender, race, and cultures. Generally, applicants react most favorably toward work sample tests and interviews, negatively toward graphology and honesty tests, and moderately toward cognitive ability tests, biodata, and personality inventories. We conclude by highlighting a number of areas for future research, suggesting that with broader perspectives applicant reactions research can continue to be as productive as it has been in the past.

Keywords: applicant reactions; test fairness; organizational justice

Article.  26395 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Research Methods in Psychology

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