Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Psychology of Personnel Selection

The Psychology of Personnel Selection by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic & Adrian Furnham introduces the key techniques, theories, research and debates in selecting new employees, encompassing a broad range of factors. Well-supported by research, it is a guide for HR staff, students, and employers  to help them navigate the morass of conflicting efficacy evidence for selection tools.

It will also assist employees - the job hunter - in identifying their unique selling points.

The authors provide a balanced review of assessment models, encompassing those that evaluate candidate intelligence, personality, creativity, leadership and talent, offering research-based argument to discuss whether various models have predictive validity for determining individual on-job performance.

The book reviews, summarises and evaluates both selection methods and models including unscientific selection methods such as phrenology, astrology and graphology; interviews; recommendation letters; bio-data; situational judgement tests and intelligence; and selection models such as general mental ability personality traits; creativity, leadership and talent.

Each chapter ends with a summary of the argument presented, detailing the authors conclusions of validity and reliability. A substantial list of references is supplied, as well as supporting graphs and diagrams drawn from the underlying research consulted. 

It is a great summary of selection techniques and what evidence there is for using each. While I don’t agree with everything that Tomas and Adrian have written, the arguments they provide to underpin their materials will encourage a careful reader to question their own beliefs and double-check the veracity of their own views. I have, and am currently further researching some information on Extraversion - which they list as a predictor for leadership success, but I disagree with as being a key predictor in New Zealand. While the authors acknowledge that this is not a factor in Eastern cultures, I feel the work of Jim Collins on Level 5 leadership and others on authentic leadership throw doubt on the validity of extraversion in many non-US cultures.

However, that one small fact does not detract from the book: in fact it bolsters it. It is easy for the reader to follow the references to deepen their knowledge in particular areas of reader interest.

The authors have written a clear, concise, balanced and easily digestible book, presented without any apparent bias or sensationalism. Their arguments are cogent. This book was good enough for me to buy it, argue with it, and write a review about it. I enjoyed it!
  • Reference: Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas & Furnham, Adrian (2010). The Psychology of Personnel Selection. UK: Cambridge University Press. Buy at


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