Social Desirability

Personality: Its measurement and validity for employee selection

Hough, L. M., & Dilchert, S.
In J. L. Farr & N. T. Tippins (Eds.),
Handbook of employee selection (2nd ed., pp. 298-325).

In this chapter, we update the issues and evidence, and describe the emerging consensus about the usefulness of personality variables in employee selection. We describe the mega-trends that have influenced the personality variables that are selected for inclusion in selection systems, how they are measured, and the outcomes they are expected to predict. We describe factors that hinder our understanding and those that help increase our knowledge of personality variables and their role in more accurately predicting work-related criteria. We address issues related to taxonomic structure, measurement methods, level of measurement, validity, and factors that threaten and enhance the validity of personality measures.

Application of preventive strategies

Dilchert, S., & Ones, D. S.
In M. Ziegler, C. MacCann, & R. D. Roberts, (Eds.)
New perspectives on faking in personality assessments (pp. 177-200).
New York: Oxford University Press.

This chapter addresses issues surrounding strategies to identify and reduce socially desirable responding, impression management, and faking in applied assessment settings. Strategies are discussed in terms of a framework with four categories based on purpose (identification or prevention) and level (scale/test or person). Three major questions are considered: Which forms do the strategies take (what are recommendations for use in applied assessment practice)? To what degree do test users rely on such strategies in identifying or preventing response distortion (what are the prevalence rates)? What is the effectiveness of each strategy in applied settings (does it lead to the successful identification or prevention of faking under realistic assessment conditions)? The chapter concludes that even those strategies that have received the most research attention so far do not present effective solutions in applied assessment settings.

In support of personality assessment in organizational settings

Ones, D. S., & Dilchert, S., Viswesvaran, C., & Judge, T. A.
Personnel Psychology, 60, 995-1027.

Personality constructs have been demonstrated to be useful for explaining and predicting attitudes, behaviors, performance, and outcomes in organizational settings. Many professionally developed measures of personality constructs display useful levels of criterion-related validity for job performance and its facets. In this response to Morgeson et al. (2007), we comprehensively summarize previously published meta-analyses on (a) the optimal and unit-weighted multiple correlations between the Big Five personality dimensions and behaviors in organizations, including job performance; (b) generalizable bivariate relationships of Conscientiousness and its facets (e.g., achievement orientation, dependability, cautiousness) with job performance constructs; (c) the validity of compound personality measures; and (d) the incremental validity of personality measures over cognitive ability. Hundreds of primary studies and dozens of meta-analyses conducted and published since the mid 1980s indicate strong support for using personality measures in staffing decisions. Moreover, there is little evidence that response distortion among job applicants ruins the psychometric properties, including criterion-related validity, of personality measures. We also provide a brief evaluation of the merits of alternatives that have been offered in place of traditional self-report personality measures for organizational decision making. Given the cumulative data, writing off the whole domain of individual differences in personality or all self-report measures of personality from personnel selection and organizational decision making is counterproductive for the science and practice of I-O psychology.

Response distortion in personality measurement: Born to deceive, yet capable of providing valid self-assessments?

Dilchert, S., Ones, D. S., Viswesvaran, C., & Deller, J.
Psychology Science, 48, 209-225.

This introductory article to the special issue of Psychology Science devoted to the subject of “Considering Response Distortion in Personality Measurement for Industrial, Work and Organizational Psychology Research and Practice” presents an overview of the issues of response distortion in personality measurement. It also provides a summary of the other articles published as part of this special issue addressing social desirability, impression management, self-presentation, response distortion, and faking in personality measurement in industrial, work, and organizational settings.

Personality at work: Raising awareness and correcting misconceptions

Ones, D. S., Viswesvaran, C., & Dilchert, S.
Human Performance, 18, 389-404.

Personality variables have always predicted important behaviors and outcomes in industrial, work, and organizational psychology. In this commentary, we first review empirically supported structural models of personality that show the following: (a) Personality traits are hierarchically organized, (b) the Big Five are not orthogonal, (c) abnormal personality measures assess the same continuum of traits as normal adult personality measures, and (d) there are compound personality traits that are especially useful in the prediction of organizational behaviors. Second, we provide a brief overview of meta-analyses of compound personality variables. The highest operational validities of single scales (.40s) are associated with personality measures assessing broad, compound personality characteristics, such as integrity, violence potential, customer service orientation, and managerial potential, that incorporate aspects from multiple dimensions of the Big Five. Third, we also review meta-analytic evidence that has linked personality attributes to other important organizational attitudes and behaviors, such as job satisfaction, motivation, and leadership, with multiple correlations for the Big Five in the .40 to .50 range. Fourth, we discuss the important role that meta-analysis has had in establishing the predictive and explanatory value of personality variables. We conclude with some caveats and directions for future research.