International Journal of Selection and Assessment

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Volume 12 Issue 1‐2 (March 2004), Pages 1-205

The Impact of Selection Encounters on Applicants: An Experimental Study into Feedback Effects after a Negative Selection Decision (pages 197-205)

This study investigates the role of feedback in minimizing the psychological impact of a negative selection decision on job applicants. The method and findings of a laboratory experiment into subjects' reactions to rejection, combined with feedback on this decision as well as perceptions of procedural and distributive fairness, are discussed. Subjects participating in the experiment (N=119) were asked to complete two GMA tests and were told they had to belong to the 20% best performers to be invited for a selection interview. Upon completion, all subjects received a rejection message, supposedly based on their performance scores on the two tests. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two feedback conditions: either a mere rejection message, or a rejection message including performance feedback. Analyses revealed that core self‐evaluations and affective well‐being of rejected subjects receiving performance feedback significantly decreased compared to that of subjects in the mere rejection message condition. Furthermore, it was found that procedural fairness perceptions interacted with feedback on subjects' core self‐evaluations, while distributive fairness perceptions interacted with feedback on affective well‐being. These findings raise the question whether performance feedback following a negative selection decision is as advantageous as generally assumed. Implications for giving feedback in rejection situations are discussed in the conclusion.

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