HR Guide to the Internet:
Personnel Selection: Methods: Self-Assessments

  • Self-Assessments
    1. This technique involves applicants generating self-ratings on relevant performance Over time, self-assessments can be useful to clarify job performance expectations between employees and supervisors (Bassett & Meyer, 1968; Campbell & Lee, 1988), but initial discrepancies in understanding of what job requirements and performance dimensions between self- and supervisor ratings cause problems in a performance appraisal system (e.g., Ash, 1980).
    2. Problems with this approach:
      1. Self-ratings show greater leniency, less variability, more bias, and less agreement with the judgments of others (Ash, 1980; Harris & Schaubroeck, 1988; Johns, Nilsen & Campbell, 1993; Thornton, 1980; van Vliet, Kletke, & Chakraborty, 1994; Williams & Levy, 1992).
      2. The predictive validity of this technique is questionable (Mabe & West, 1982). The predictors related to self-assessments and supervisor's ratings may show a lack of congruence (e.g., self-efficacy related to self-ratings) (Lane & Herriot, 1990).
      3. Research suggests that applicants may not honestly respond to this type of technique (Love & Hughes, 1994).
      4. Self assessment scores tend to be inflated (Gupta & Beehr, 1982; Ash, 1980).
      5. Evidence suggests there is low face validity and perceived fairness associated with using this technique to promote law enforcement personnel.
      6. The evidence suggests low accuracy compared to objective measures (George & Smith, 1990; DeNisi & Shaw, 1977).
      7. Self-assessments may not correspond to ratings from other sources (e.g., peers) due to a lack of congruence on which specific job dimensions are to be assessed and the relative importance of specific job dimensions (Zalesny & Kirsch, 1989; Zammuto, London, & Rowland, 1982).
      8. Congruency in ratings between supervisors and employees may be affected by the decision of supervisors to agree with the self-assessments of employees to avoid potential employee relation conflicts (Farh, Werbel, & Bedeian, 1988).
  • Future Autobiographies
    1. A candidate is asked to write a future autobiography stating what he/she would be doing in five years. The autobiographies are then scored by two judges for differentiation, demand, and agency. Agency is defined as the extent to which a person sees himself/herself as the prime agent in determining the course of his/her future life. Demand is defined as the extent to which an individual portrays his/her life as a long-term, continuing effort on his/her part. Differentiation is defined as the extent to which an individual has created a complex, detailed mapping of his/her future (Tullar & Barrett, 1976).
    2. Problems with this technique:
      1. This test does not measure any of the KSA's that were identified through the job analysis.
      2. There is no evidence that this method would reduce adverse impact.

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