Current Recruitment and Selection Practices: A National Survey of Fortune 1000 Firms

By Piotrowski, Chris; Armstrong, Terry | North American Journal of Psychology, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Current Recruitment and Selection Practices: A National Survey of Fortune 1000 Firms


Piotrowski, Chris, Armstrong, Terry, North American Journal of Psychology


This study reports the findings of survey data on recruitment and pre-employment selection methods in use by human resources departments in major companies in the USA. In addition, data on use of online pre-employment tests, currently and in the near term future, were also collected. The analysis is based on responses from 151 firms. The findings indicate that the majority of companies rely on traditional recruitment and personnel selection techniques over the use of online assessment instruments. Personality testing is popular in about 20% of the firms and one-fifth of the respondents plan to implement online testing in the future. Furthermore, screening for honesty-integrity (28.5%) and violence potential (22%) was found to be somewhat popular. It would be helpful if future research could pinpoint the reservations that companies have about online pre-employment tests.

Psychological tests and assessment instruments that tap prospective employees' personality, interpersonal style, and response to stress situations have received increased attention from both human resource professionals and researchers in I/O psychology over the past 20 years (e.g., Gatewood & Feild, 1998; Ryan & Sackett, 1987). Indeed, the nexus between personality factors and personnel selection and placement has spawned major investigatory efforts, conceptual reformulations, and pragmatic applications in both research and practice (Hogan, 2001; Landy et al., 1997). Moreover, to enhance the chances for successful recruitment and long-term benefits for employers, a plethora of research studies has investigated and endorsed the utility of the 'person-fit' paradigm (Anderson et al., 2004; Chan, 2005; Hollenbeck et al., 2002).

However, there has been recent concern and thoughtful discussion on the potential threat of unscientific claims about personnel selection methods that include personality testing on the Internet and the use of online testing for selection purposes specifically (see Anderson et al., 2004, for a discussion). At the same time, and largely based on the public's acceptance of the Internet and related technological applications, both public and private companies, including governmental agencies, are re-thinking traditional personnel selection processes and recruiting methods (e.g., Mooney, 2002). Yet several feature articles in human resource publications, while touting the benefits of online testing of job applicants, caution that online selection firms are not regulated. Moreover, most person job-fit tests have not been standardized, lack norms, and developers have not presented predictive validity data on their selection measures (Barbian, 2001; Bates, 2002). Undoubtedly, these concerns about personnel testing on the World Wide Web have attracted the attention of rigorous research efforts by scholars worldwide and the findings are receiving coverage in peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Bartram, 2004; Ployhart, Weekley, Holtz, & Kemp, 2003). However, in the contemporary business environment, companies are faced with a critical challenge to recruit and retain qualified employees (Langan, 2000).

Thus, it appears that companies now have at their disposal a conceptually sound framework (person job-fit) and a cost-effective, speedy, and convenient system (online testing) to meet their personnel selection needs in a highly competitive environment. However, recent reviews of the literature report that employers continue to rely on traditional (i.e., general IQ, integrity, structured interviews, work-samples, references, official transcripts) methods for personnel selection (see Schmidt & Hunter, 1998; Wilk & Cappelli, 2003). To obtain a clearer perspective on these issues, the current study was designed to obtain empirical data from major companies in the U.S.A. on the extent of their use of traditional selection techniques and use (if any) of online personality testing for selection and hiring purposes. …

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