Study shows calm candidates perform better on tests used to screen job applicants
PostedNovember 5, 2013
Applying for a job can be stressful at the best of times and even more so in today’s very competitive job market. For some it is especially daunting when standardized tests—a proven tool in the selection process—are required. A new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that candidates’ reactions impact their performance on the test and on the job, but don’t change the ability of the tests to reliably predict job performance.
Julie McCarthy, an associate professor in the Department of Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough who is cross appointed to the Rotman School of Management, says tests remain reliable predictors of job performance regardless of how candidates respond to this step in the selection process. How candidates react does, however, impact how well they can perform on these tests. “Candidates who experience high levels of anxiety for instance, will have low test performance while those who are motivated by tests will perform better, both on the test and on the job.”
Prof. McCarthy points out that it is these types of behavioural responses that can also positively or negatively affect job performance. Reactions considered situational, such as general skepticism about the tests themselves or about the fairness of using these tools, are also linked to test performance but are not directly linked to performance on the job.