Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Dr. Emily Hause


Personality testing is widely used in the employee selection process, particularly to determine leadership potential for management positions. Recent research has established personality tests as potentially valuable predictors of job performance. However, a reliance upon personality testing in the employment setting raises a common concern about the prevalence of response distortion and its effect on criterion validity and applicant ranking.

This paper provides background information on personality definition and construct validity and then discusses the two primary types of response distortion, self-deception and impression management. Areas of focus include the prevalence of impression management in personality testing for employee selection, the fakeability of personality tests, attempts to reduce response distortion through test design, and the use of validity scales to detect response distortion. Primary focus is given to the effects of response distortion on the criterion validity of personality tests and applicant rankings based on corrected and uncorrected scores.


SC 11.MAL.2000.Stacke.ME