Management Faculty Publications and Presentations

Using Practice Employment Tests to Improve Recruitment and Personnel Selection Outcomes for Organizations and Job Seekers

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This study introduces the use of practice employment tests during recruitment as a tool with the potential to improve outcomes for both an organization and its (potential) applicants during personnel selection. Synthesizing research on recruitment, selection, job search, adverse impact, signaling theory, and human capital theory, we propose that practice tests reduce information asymmetry regarding the nature of an organization’s assessment procedures, thereby acting as short-term human capital investment opportunities. Using a large sample of potential applicants and applicants who later decided to apply for jobs within a professional occupation in a large organization, we demonstrate that (a) those who took the practice tests scored higher on the actual tests; (b) score gains between practice tests and actual tests were greater for Blacks and Hispanics when compared to Whites; (c) the practice test exhibited a self-selection effect, encouraging those with higher scores to apply; and (d) score gains between practice tests and actual tests were similar to scores observed for those retesting on the actual tests. These findings suggest practice tests may be capable of simultaneously enhancing organizational outcomes (e.g., increased quality of applicants, reduced cost of testing unqualified applicants, and reduced adverse impact) and applicant outcomes (e.g., increased human capital, increased chances of eventual employment, and reduced disappointment and wasted effort from unsuccessful application).


© 2019 American Psychological Association. Original published version available at

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Psychology