Improving Selection Outcomes With the Use of Situational Interviews: Empirical Evidence from a Study of Correctional Officers for New Generation Jails


The post-Watson case legal environment calls into question the too frequent reliance upon interviews for attaining good 'bottom line' representativeness in the work force—both in the initial selection and in promotional selection. The 'situational interview'—entailing the use of questions about appropriate behavior in actual job situations—has been touted as a way to improve the typically unreliable interview to an extent that validatable scores can be derived from group-rater interview sessions. A comparison of selection outcomes for correctional offi cers in New Generation jails employing first no situational content and then including situa tional content reveals that the situational interview-based scores reflect a higher level of inter- rater agreement (reliability) and a higher correlation with performance on the job as reflected in performance appraisal scores (validity) than occurs in interview sessions lacking situation al content. The policy implications of these findings are discussed briefly, and a plea is made for further replication of such research in additional public sector settings.


Criminology and Criminal Justice

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Review of Public Personnel Administration