Another legal aspect could be the avoidance of litigation – applicants who experience the selection process as fair are less likely to sue or become litigious if they are not selected (Bauer et al., 2020).
Besides these legal aspects, there are other benefits to the organisation that fairness in the selection process can bring about. Research into the perception of fairness in the US Military’s selection process showed that applicants who experienced the process to be fair were more likely to accept the job offer than those who did not (Harold et al., 2016).
The credibility of the business is also improved when applicants perceive the process to be fair (Bauer et al., 2020). There is some evidence that fairness in the selection process has a positive influence on job performance (Konradt et al., 2016).
And finally, having a fair selection process also improves the likelihood that the organisation will take more diverse employees on board and be more inclusive in their processes (Bonaccio et al., 2019).
Fairness in the selection process holds different meanings depending on the perspective from which a person views the process.
Generally, it is accepted that fairness is a social construct, not a psychometric one (SIOP, 2018), so it has more to do with the process followed and decisions made, than an actual property of any assessment or technique used in the process..
However, the quality of assessments will have an impact on whether the selection process is perceived to be fair or not.
According to SIOP (2018), fairness can be described in a number of ways. One possible meaning of fairness is equal group outcomes or equal passing rates, where, for example there are no group differences on a score to be considered.
The problem is that just because there are differences in scores across groups, these do not necessarily indicate unfairness or bias.
This definition was rejected out of hand by the committee responsible for compiling the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, and subsequently the committee that compiled the 5th edition of the Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures (SIOP, 2018).
A second meaning has to do with the equitable treatment of candidates and their access to the selection process. The third potential definition has to do with the candidate’s ability to perform on any psychological construct without being disadvantaged in some way, and the last definition is that fairness is a lack of bias.
The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines fairness as “the equitable treatment of test takers in order to eliminate systematic variance in outcome scores among people with different racial or cultural experiences and other background influences”. Equitable treatment has to do with the testing conditions and access to the testing process for candidates (SIOP, 2018).
Some of the principles have to do with inclusivity and making sure that people are not unnecessarily excluded from the assessment process due to factors that are unrelated to their ability to do the job.
This definition covers some elements of procedural justice, which is discussed under the candidate experience below.