Focus of Research

Assessing personality and leadership behaviors in personnel selection

Although assessment centers and structured interviews are widely used as tools of managerial employee selection, they often seem to fail in accurately measuring the intended constructs. One reason might be that these selection procedures tend to be developed in an ad hoc-manner instead of being driven by theory. Our research focuses on the development and validation of useful methods for the measurement of theoretically established concepts such as the Big Five personality and transformational leadership in assessment centers and structured interviews in order to improve the validity of selection procedures.

Validity of assessment centers

Assessment centers (AC) are a widely used diagnostic tool for personnel selection and employee development. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that AC are criterion valid, that is, they predict job performance. In contrast, findings on the internal construct-related validity of AC indicate that it is unclear whether AC measures the constructs they are designed to measure. This is problematic when considering the far-reaching consequences AC ratings can have. Therefore, we are examining the effects of factors that might improve AC validity.

Impression Management

Most people actively try to make a good impression on others, hence they show self-presentation behaviors (also termed impression management). Self-presentation behaviors are shown for selection purposes and on the job, and this applies to (potential) employers and (potential) employees. For instance, interviewees vividly talk about their past accomplishments on the job, whereas the interviewer highlights the career opportunities in their company. Our research focuses on what effects self-presentation has on personnel selection and recruitment on behalf of organizations and candidates.

Ability to identify criteria (ATIC)

Candidates often face ambiguous situations when in the selection process and are not sure what is required and how they should behave. Our former research has shown that people differ with regard to the ability to identify what is expected from them in the respective selection procedure (e.g., whether assertive behaviors are evaluated in a group discussion). People who have a higher ability to identify the evaluation criteria of the respective selection procedure (Ability to identify criteria, ATIC) do not only perform better in the selection procedure, but they also seem to do better on the job. Our current research contributes to the question why selection procedures predict job performance by examining whether ATIC contributes to the prediction of job performance and how situational characteristics influence this prediction.

Applicant reactions in personnel selection

For today’s organizations, it is vital to attract, select, and retain promising candidates. As such, taking into consideration applicant reactions is critical because these reactions have been found to have a notable impact on test as well as interview scores, and applicants’ attitudes and intentions towards the company. In our research, we want to contribute to the question of how interviews and tests can be conducted to enhance favorable applicant reactions. Furthermore, we focus on applicant characteristics that may influence how applicants react to personnel selection procedures, such as applicants’ personality traits and expectations regarding the selection process.

Meetings

Meetings are a prominent organizational activity. Employees spend a large portion of their time attending, leading, and preparing for meetings. Despite the potential utility of meetings, complaints about poorly run meetings are commonly found in the literature. Previous research and literature on meetings indicate that there are a variety of factors that influence meeting success. In our research, we investigate factors and conditions that affect meeting quality.

Job insecurity

Job insecurity is defined as a person’s (subjective) concern about future job permanence. Due to increasing globalization, outsourcing to foreign countries, and related strategies that aim at flexibilizing the workforce, job insecurity is a prevailing topic. In our research, we focus on predictors of a person’s subjective job insecurity perceptions. Moreover, we investigate personal, situational, and cultural boundary conditions that affect how employees react to and deal with job insecurity.

Overqualification

Overqualification is defined as a situation in which an employee has surplus education, skills and/or experience relative to his or her job. In our research, we focus on situational and person-related boundary conditions that mitigate the relationship between overqualification and its negative outcomes. Moreover, we investigate contexts in which being overqualified might constitute a beneficial resource and whether/when employees engage in proactive behavior to change the situation of being overqualified.