Cognitive ability in personnel selection decisions

Ones, D. S., Viswesvaran, C., & Dilchert, S.
In A. Evers, O. Voskuijl, & N. Anderson (Eds.),
Handbook of personnel selection (pp. 143-173).
Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Our main objective in this chapter is to provide an overview of the vast literature on CA tests in selection contexts. We first discuss the unique status of CA in selection, and clarify its psychometric and psychological meaning. We then review information on the prevalence of CA test use in personnel selection from around the world. We also discuss acceptability of ability testing and applicant reactions. Next, we review the evidence supporting the use of CA tests for selection by summarizing results from meta-analyses examining their criterion-related validity in occupational settings, across national boundaries. The overwhelming evidence suggests that CA tests are predictive of job performance across jobs and cultures. Given this conclusion, we explore the causal mechanisms through which CA comes to influence job performance. Next, we briefly note research on race, ethnic group, gender, and age differences on CA tests and their implications for adverse impact. We conclude our chapter with a discussion of current and new directions for research on CA, including the assessment of CA using various selection methods such as interviews, assessment centers, situational judgment tests (SJTs), and newly proposed intelligences (such as practical intelligence, emotional intelligence, etc.).