First Advisor

Donald Truxillo

Term of Graduation

Fall 2008

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science


Systems Science




Applications for positions -- Evaluation, Employee selection -- Evaluation, Employment tests -- Validity, masters theses dissertations, doctoral dissertations, theses, Academic theses



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vii, 280 pages)


The increased prevalence of technology in organizations has had significant impacts on the recruiting, screening, and hiring processes. However, little is known regarding whether preliminary applicant evaluation methods provide meaningful candidate information beyond possession of minimum qualifications. To address this gap in the literature, two preliminary applicant evaluation procedures used at a major utility company were examined across two separate studies.

Study 1 examined online applicant prescreening protocols across three positions. Archival prescreening data from 5,619 applicants were analyzed in terms of item characteristics that distinguished candidates at different points in the score distribution (high vs. low; highest vs. high), as well as their ability to predict key criteria (e.g., preemployment test scores). Item characteristic ratings were provided by 11 graduate students across the three positions. Items differentiating top- from bottom-scorers were expected to have higher minimum qualifications and job-relatedness ratings; items differentiating among the top-scoring candidates were hypothesized to have higher objectivity and equivalent minimum qualifications ratings. Items predictive of key criteria were hypothesized to be more objective and verifiable. Although most results were inconclusive, items that were more objective and verifiable were found to better predict later selection stage performance across two of the three positions.

Study 2 examined the online résumé screening process and whether structuring the evaluation process would result in more consistent résumé evaluation across raters. Twelve graduate students evaluated 20 résumés for a professional position under both structured and unstructured conditions. Results suggest that a more structured rating process resulted in increased reliability in résumé ratings.

Results from the prescreening study underscore the need to take a content validity approach to the development and scoring of these protocols, as differences among candidates in terms of their performance on individual items and the assessment as a whole provided inconclusive, unsystematic results. Moreover, total prescreening scores did not predict preemployment test scores or hiring decisions, further underlining the need for content validation. Results from the résumé evaluation study also illuminated deficiencies in this screening tool. Likewise, a content validity- oriented approach to the development of a brief, structured evaluation system for résumés may dramatically increase decision-making consistency.


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