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Situational judgment tests: a review of recent research

Filip Lievens (Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Helga Peeters (Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Eveline Schollaert (Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 6 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to give an empirically‐based review of the strengths and weaknesses of situational judgment tests (SJTs).

Design/methodology/approach

The features, history, and development of SJTs are discussed. Next, a computerized search (from 1990‐2007) is conducted to retrieve empirical studies related to SJTs. The effectiveness of SJTs is discussed in terms of reliability, criterion‐related validity, incremental validity, construct‐related validity, utility, adverse impact, applicant perceptions, fakability, and susceptibility to practice and coaching effects.

Findings

Strengths of SJTs are that they show criterion‐related validity and incremental validity above cognitive ability and personality tests. SJTs have also less adverse impact towards minorities (especially if the cognitive loading of the SJT is low). Furthermore, applicant reactions towards SJTs are positive and SJTs enable to test large applicant groups at once (through the Internet). In terms of weaknesses, SJTs might be prone to faking, practice, and coaching effects. There is also debate about what constructs are measured by SJTs.

Research limitations/implications

Five avenues for future research are discussed: construct‐related validity of SJTs, utility of SJTs vis‐à‐vis other predictors, impact of SJT features on validity and adverse impact, examination of alternative stimulus and response formats, and cross‐cultural transportability of SJTs.

Practical implications

Practitioners receive evidence‐based information about the features, development, and strengths and weaknesses of SJTs.

Originality/value

Apart from the USA, SJTs have not made strong inroads in selection practice in Europe and other parts of the world. This evidence‐based paper might highlight the value of SJTs.

Keywords

Citation

Lievens, F., Peeters, H. and Schollaert, E. (2008), "Situational judgment tests: a review of recent research", Personnel Review, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 426-441. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483480810877598

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited