ORIENTATION : Growing research has shown that not only test validity considerations but also
the test-taking attitudes of job applicants are important in the choice of selection instruments
as these can contribute to test performance and the perceived fairness of the selection process.
RESEARCH PURPOSE : The main purpose of this study was to determine the test-taking attitudes
of a diverse group of job applicants towards personality and cognitive ability tests administered
conjointly online as part of employee selection in a financial services company in South Africa.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : If users understand how job applicants view specific test types, they
will know which assessments are perceived more negatively and how this situation can
potentially be rectified.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD : A non-experimental and cross-sectional survey
design was used. An adapted version of the Test Attitude Survey was used to determine job
applicants’ attitudes towards tests administered online as part of an employee selection
process. The sample consisted of a group of job applicants (N = 160) who were diverse in terms
of ethnicity and age and the educational level applicable for sales and supervisory positions.
MAIN FINDINGS : On average, the job applicants responded equally positively to the cognitive
ability and personality tests. The African job applicants had a statistically significantly more
positive attitude towards the tests than the other groups, and candidates applying for the sales
position viewed the cognitive ability tests significantly less positively than the personality test.
PRACTICAL AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : The choice of selection tests used in combination as
well as the testing conditions that are applicable should be considered carefully as they are the
factors that can potentially influence the test-taking motivation and general test-taking
attitudes of job applicants.
CONTRIBUTION : This study consolidated the research findings on the determinants of attitudinal responses to cognitive ability and personality testing and produced valuable empirical findings
on job applicants’ attitudes towards both test types when administered conjointly.