Reliability and Validity in Selection Process

Topics: Psychometrics, Validity, Reliability Pages: 10 (2606 words) Published: January 21, 2011

This research work focuses on the various aspects of evaluative standards like reliability and validity. Alongside the research work here describes the various phases in a selection process and a case study which help understand how reliability and validity can be examined and achieved over the entire selection process.


Validity in general is “the accuracy in measurement and it must measure what it purports to measure” (Cooper, Robertson and Tinline, 2003, pp 49)

Different types of validity can be considered as per the research area. Research shows while hiring an employee through a standard recruitment and selection process the construct validity, content validity and criterion based validity play a very crucial role (Cooper, Robertson and Tinline, 2003, pp 53). Validity can also fall under different types like faith validity, face validity, rational validity and synthetic validity (Cook, M., 1998, pp 78).


Reliability can be stated as consistency in the measurement or extent to which an instrument gives the similar results when subjected to same working conditions. Reliability cannot be measured but it needs to be estimated. Reliability can be estimated in two different ways. Test/Retest method emphasizes on getting a same result in two different tests and then computing the correlation with reference to those two tests. Internal consistency the second way in estimating reliability focuses on clubbing questions in such a format that in turn measures the required skills in the same aspect (Gate wood, Field, Barrick, 2004, pp 113)

Reliability can also be referred as “Dependability of a measurement device or test; the underlying principle is consistency of measurement” (Cooper, Robertson and Tinline, 2003, pp 48)

Validity against Reliability

Psychological based research indicates employees hired through interviews and references constitute to the inaccurate methods of selection. The entire process of selection can said to be accurate if reliability and validity is maintained throughout the process. (Cook, M., 1998, pp 83)

Validity and reliability though related but are not the same. It may happen a device may be consistent but may not be valid. For example a watch which is Ten minutes slow and shows 11.50 Am everyday at the noon can said to be reliable but cannot be considered as valid as it is out by ten minutes. On the similar ground a device cannot be held valid if the device is not reliable as well. (IRS Health and Safety Bulletin, Dyer, C., 2001)

The above example indicates that reliability and validity both are important for a process but validity is far important than reliability when compared. Similarly a process of selection can be effective if validity and reliability are critically examined and achieved over the entire process. For a company to have a systematic selection procedure the system should also focus on other evaluating standards like interpretability and practicality along with reliability and validity during the various phases of selection (Cooper, Robertson and Tinline, 2003).

Interpretability refers to the degree till which the scores in a test may be meaningful as well as interchangeable. Similarly practicality can be measured by two perspectives “it’s perceived usefulness and fairness and the extent to which it devours organizational resources.” (Cooper, Robertson and Tinline, 2003)

From the above discussion it can be said that for a selection method to be assessed accurately the entire method need not be only valid and reliable but also need to be practical and well interpreted. For example a selection method which is highly reliable and valid cannot be considered practical if it discriminates a certain group of people during the selection.

Phases in a Selection process

The various phases in selection and recruitment process can be listed out by using...

References: ❖ Cook, M., Personnel Selection: Adding Value through People, West Sussex: Wiley, 1998
❖ Cooper, D., Robertson, Ivan T., and Tinline, G., Recruitment and Selection, A Framework for Success, London: Thomson, 2003
❖ Lewis, C., Employee Selection, London: Hutchinson, 1985
❖ Stahl, M., Achievement, power and managerial motivation: Selecting managerial talent with the job choice exercise’
❖ Taylor, S., People Resourcing, Second edition, London: CIPD, 2002
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