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J Appl Psychol. 2019 Sep;104(9):1089-1102. doi: 10.1037/apl0000401. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Using practice employment tests to improve recruitment and personnel selection outcomes for organizations and job seekers.

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Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship.
Strome College of Business.
Krannert School of Business.


This study introduces the use of practice employment tests during recruitment as a tool with the potential to improve outcomes for both an organization and its (potential) applicants during personnel selection. Synthesizing research on recruitment, selection, job search, adverse impact, signaling theory, and human capital theory, we propose that practice tests reduce information asymmetry regarding the nature of an organization's assessment procedures, thereby acting as short-term human capital investment opportunities. Using a large sample of potential applicants and applicants who later decided to apply for jobs within a professional occupation in a large organization, we demonstrate that (a) those who took the practice tests scored higher on the actual tests; (b) score gains between practice tests and actual tests were greater for Blacks and Hispanics when compared to Whites; (c) the practice test exhibited a self-selection effect, encouraging those with higher scores to apply; and (d) score gains between practice tests and actual tests were similar to scores observed for those retesting on the actual tests. These findings suggest practice tests may be capable of simultaneously enhancing organizational outcomes (e.g., increased quality of applicants, reduced cost of testing unqualified applicants, and reduced adverse impact) and applicant outcomes (e.g., increased human capital, increased chances of eventual employment, and reduced disappointment and wasted effort from unsuccessful application). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).


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