Psychological Testing in Personnel Selection

The article under review is entitled ‘Psychological Testing in Personnel Selection, Part III: The Resurgence of Personality Testing,’ by Scroggins et al. (2009). The document was published in the first issue of Public Personnel Management Journal, volume 38, in the spring of 2009 (Scroggins et al., 2009). The authors aimed to explore the development and usage of personality testing, emphasizing the creation of the Big Five personality framework as well as the utility of incorporating personality assessment during employee recruitment. They recognized the dynamic nature of personality models and the present time tools apart from discussing the utility and fairness of personality testing for today’s organizations.

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The article is credible because it was published in a scientific research journal, which is also a member of the Committee on Public Ethics (COPE). Moreover, Public Personnel Management was founded by a reputable organization named the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR). It presents various article editions containing rich information on case studies, article trends, and the latest works by the leading human resource scientists and industry experts. Moreover, Public Personnel Management mediates between management research and public administration practice by offering a discussion forum among scholars from organizations and learning institutions. Therefore, the article was peer-reviewed, and it focuses on research considering individuals, organizations, and all aspects of work environments.

Moreover, the authors of this article are well-educated, and they have significant experience in this field. For instance, Wesley Scroggins and Steven Thomas hold PhDs, apart from being professors of management at Missouri State University. Jerry Morris has vast and fundamental experience in management because he was working as a consultant at Morris & Morris Inc. by the time the article was published. Therefore, their article is credible and reliable to guide scientific decisions.

The article is a typical descriptive research document, focusing on presenting current issues in recruitment. It adds information to the first and second article series, which examined selection testing. The authors note that the initial presentation was published in 2008 when the authors concluded that the significance of personality testing had not been established (Scroggins et al., 2009). However, using some selection techniques such as cognitive ability assessments has been accepted by a larger population. Their second article series explored recruitment validity and utility, focusing on disparities in the selection, which is related to psychological evaluation. The current presentation is developed based on the previous article series and focuses on a personality test, which led to the Big Five personality framework.

The article was supported by various credible literature, amounting to 45 and including books, journals, and websites that published relevant information. The authors presented opinions arising from interpretations of facts. For example, Scroggins et al. (2009, p. 67) state, “Reviews of the research exploring the validity of personality testing has generally not supported the validity or utility of personality testing. Nevertheless, recent research in personality testing has been promising, and there seems to be considerably more optimism about the role of personality testing in selection (Schepers & Van der Borgh, 2020; Buil et al., 2019). It is to these issues we now turn.” The opinions are well researched and supported by information from other researchers.

Furthermore, the article did not recruit participants despite being qualitative. The population included would have helped to answer the research questions and enhance understanding of the issue under study. This article is contrary to Bui (2017), who explored the big five personality characteristics and job satisfaction, taking a national sample. The author recruited a national sample comprising 7662 people from the United Kingdom (Bui, 2017). He measured outcomes by evaluating 15 psychological items related to the leading traits, including agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, extraversion, and conscientiousness (Bui, 217). This article uses facts, as opposed to Scroggins et al. (2009), which uses researched-based opinions.

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One weakness of Scroggins et al. (2009) is the authors’ failure to define important terms. For example, they should have explained the difference between personality testing and cognitive ability tests for the audience to comprehend the content easily. General mental ability (GMA), which is “a solid predictor of job performance,” is also uncommon, and the authors should have defined it to increase understanding of their arguments (Scroggins et al., 2009, p. 68). Bui (2017) and Lievens & Johnson (2017) researched the same field and defined significant terms. For example, agreeableness refers to the pleasant and satisfactory associations with others, while extraversion describes an individual’s level of assertiveness, activity, and enthusiasm (Bui, 217). On the other hand, Lievens & Johnson (2017) defined situational judgment tests as the job-related tasks presented to candidates to gather their various response options. Explaining such important terms is crucial to increase the clarity of concepts used in the paper to present particular arguments. It eases the audience’s understanding and conceptualization of the overall information.

The central arguments and conclusions of the authors are numerous. They contend that the unmatched history of applying scientific methods and testing in workforce selection and management reveals a transition from traditional approaches to quite scientific and validated ones (Scroggins et al., 2009; Buil et al., 2019). This is also evident in Lievens & Johnson (2017), which analyzed the personality-situation relationship in employee selection. He concluded that situational judgment tests and evaluation center activities tend to address key research concerns related to personal differences, individual disorders, character-behavior links, and personality expression and opinion (Lievens & Johnson, 2017). Moreover, the authors concluded that personality testing is among the useful approaches used to select employees in the 21st century (Schepers & Van der Borgh, 2020). This allegation is supported by Woods et al. (2018, p. 2), who state, “Management of innovation requires differentiated strategies based on the personality traits and tenure of individual employees.” Their research is robust because it critically analyzes the implications of personality on recruitment, socialization, and employee development.

One of the strengths of this article includes the qualitative data used, which presented descriptive attributes, qualities, and characteristics. The significant qualitative data used include agreeableness, extraversion and surgency, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and personal openness to experience (Scroggins et al., 2009). Most of this information can also be gathered easily and cheaply to standardize the arguments and guide future research. However, these terms were not defined as other researchers did to ease understanding of the overall argument.

Although the article is informative, it is outdated, compromising its applicability in guiding current research. It was written in 2009, apart from using literature from old sources published in the 1980s, to provide evidence (Scroggins et al., 2009). The topic of study is related to the recent breakthroughs in human resource management. Therefore, an up-to-date source written five years ago would be more applicable to meet the current demands in employee selection. The article lacks representativeness and inclusiveness, which are the primary ways of exploring a wide range of possible explanatory domains to address particular research issues.

Researchers have focused their attention on this field, hence refining personality measures to best suit recruitment. The arguments in Scroggins et al. (2009) are well stated and supported by other people’s research, although the authors did not perform a critical analysis to increase its robustness.

The authors’ language is objective and not charged with bias and emotion. They aimed to explore the development of personality testing and found that they are used alongside cognitive ability assessments to predict job performance. The authors urge organizations to remain aware that personality testing does not reduce the chances of facing group differences in the company. They should make vigilant decisions regarding the use of individual traits as predictors of job performance. Additionally, employers should consider the potential adverse effects of people’s traits, organizational needs, values, and strategies. Scroggins et al. (2009) conclude that cognitive ability and personality traits should work hand in hand to ensure maximum predictive validity in employee selection.

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Another strength of Scroggins et al.’s (2009) article is the logical organization that makes it easy to follow. First, they presented a clear introduction on how the topic was developed from previous writings. Scroggins et al. (2009) provided a clear thesis statement, which is the research’s comprehensive claim supported by accurate details from other researchers and the authors’ previous examination of selection testing. They also used headings and subheadings to distinguish what the article covers. Regarding consistency, complete, clear, and meaningful sentences have been used throughout the report.


Bui, H. T. (2017). Big Five personality traits and job satisfaction: Evidence from a national sample. Journal of General Management, 42(3), 21-30.

Buil, I., Martínez, E., & Matute, J. (2019). Transformational leadership and employee performance: The role of identification, engagement and proactive personality. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 77, 64-75. Web.

Lievens, F., & Johnson, W. (2017). Assessing personality–situation interplay in personnel selection: Toward more integration into personality research. European Journal of Personality, 31(5), 424-440. Web.

Schepers, J. J., & Van der Borgh, M. (2020). A Meta-Analysis of frontline employees’ role behavior and the moderating effects of national culture. Journal of Service Research, 23(3), 255-280. Web.

Scroggins, W. A., Thomas, S. L., & Morris, J. A. (2009). Psychological testing in personnel selection, part III: The resurgence of personality testing. In Public Personnel Management, 38(1), 67-77.

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Woods, S. A., Mustafa, M. J., Anderson, N., & Sayer, B. (2018). Innovative work behavior and personality traits. Journal of Managerial Psychology. Web.

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