Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Richard Goffin

Second Advisor

Dr. Sampo Paunonen

Third Advisor

Dr. Mitch Rothstein


Personality variables can be a useful addition to personnel selection systems. Although typically measured in this context using self-report measures, there is evidence that employment interviewers can make valid judgments of personality; however, not all interviewers are equally accurate. This dissertation examined the effectiveness of systematic training as a way of improving the accuracy of interviewers’ personality ratings. According to Funder’s (1995) Realistic Accuracy Model (RAM), individuals who are knowledgeable about the behavioral cues of personality traits should be skilled in making accurate judgments of others. According to RAM, such knowledge is obtained through the experience of making judgments and receiving feedback. The purpose of this research was to develop a training protocol to enhance raters’ knowledge of personality and, in so doing, improve the accuracy of their personality judgments. In Study 1, videotaped mock employment interviews were developed, and true score estimates of the targets’ personality traits were developed. Study 2 involved the development of a training program designed to teach participants to make use of personality-related cues. Participants (N= 164) watched videotaped segments of 3 mock employment interviews, and judged the personality of those interviewees. It was hypothesized that participants in the training group would make more accurate personality ratings than would participants in the control group. There was evidence that the training was effective. The trained group was more accurate than the control group for some, but not all, of the rated traits. It was also hypothesized that the training program would increase participants’ knowledge of personality, as evidenced by higher scores on a test of dispositional intelligence. There was no support for this hypothesis, suggesting that dispositional intelligence was not the mechanism though which rating accuracy was improved. This study also investigated the contribution of individual differences to rating accuracy. It was hypothesized that accurate personality judgments of others would be related to judges’ general mental ability, interpersonal orientation, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. There was little support for the relations between individual differences of judges and rating accuracy. These findings are an important contribution in understanding the processes involved in rating accuracy. KEYWORDS: personality, employment interview, individual differences; personality judgment; dispositional intelligence; frame of reference training



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