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Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures

The fourth edition of the Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures was approved by the APA Council of Representatives and released in 2003. The fifth edition is in the final stages of review and will be released in 2018. Check back to this page for news and updates

Paperback copies are no longer available. Please download the PDF here.

Read Online: This document is available in two different forms: the document in its entirety or in sections (see table of contents below). The electronic copies are for the use of the recipient only.  

Complete Principles Document (PDF) 

Table of Contents

     Statement of Purpose 
          Principles as Guidance 
     Selection Procedures Defined 
Overview of the Validation Process
     Sources of Evidence 
          Evidence Based on the Relationship Between Scores on Predictors and Other Variables 
          Content-Related Evidence 
          Evidence Based on the Internal Structure of the Test 
          Evidence Based on Response Processes 
          Evidence Based on Consequences of Personnel Decisions 
     Planning the Validation Effort
          Existing Evidence 
          Proposed Uses 
          Requirements of Sound Inference 
     Analysis of Work 
          Purposes for Conducting an Analysis of Work 
          Level of Detail 
Sources of Validity Evidence
     Evidence of Validity Based on Relationships with Measures of Other Variables 
     Criterion-Related Evidence of Validity 
          Feasibility of a Criterion-Related Validation Study 
          Design and Conduct of Criterion-Related Studies 
          Criterion Development 
          Choice of Predictor 
          Choice of Participants 
          Data Analysis for Criterion-Related Validity 
     Evidence for Validity Based on Content 
          Feasibility of a Content-Based Validation Study 
          Design and Conduct of Content-Based Strategies 
          Defining the Content Domain 
          Choosing the Selection Procedure 
          Procedural Considerations  
          Evaluating Content-Related Evidence 
     Evidence of Validity Based on Internal Structure 
Generalizing Validity Evidence
     Synthetic Validity/Job Component Validity 
Fairness and Bias
          Predictive Bias 
          Measurement Bias 
Operational Considerations in Personnel Selection
     Initiating a Validation Effort 
          Defining the Organization's Needs, Objectives, and Constraints 
          Communicating the Validation Plan 
     Understanding Work and Worker Requirements 
          Strategies for Analyzing the Work Domain and Defining Worker Requirements 
          Considerations in Specifying the Sampling Plan 
          Documentation of the Results 
     Selecting Assessment Procedures for the Validation Effort 
          Review of Research Literature 
          Psychometric Considerations 
          Administration and Scoring Considerations 
          Format and Medium 
          Acceptability to the Candidate 
          Alternate Forms 
     Selecting the Validation Strategy 
          Fit to Objectives, Constraints, and Selection Procedures 
          Individual Assessments 
     Selecting Criterion Measures 
          Performance-Oriented Criteria 
          Other Indices 
          Relevance and Psychometric Considerations 
     Data Collection 
          Pilot Testing 
          Match Between Data Collection and Implementation Expectations 
          Quality Control and Security 
     Data Analyses 
          Data Accuracy 
          Missing Data/Outliers 
          Descriptive Statistics 
          Appropriate Analyses 
          Differential Prediction 
          Combining Selection Procedures Into an Assessment Battery 
          Multiple Hurdles Versus Compensatory Models 
          Cutoff Scores Versus Rank Orders 
          Communicating the Effectiveness of Selection Procedures 48
     Appropriate Use of Selection Procedures 
          Combining Selection Procedures 
          Using Selection Procedures for Other Purposes 
     Technical Validation Report 
          Identifying Information 
          Statement of Purpose 
          Analysis of Work 
          Search for Alternative Selection Procedures 
          Selection Procedures 
          Relationship to Work Requirements 
          Criterion Measures (When Applicable) 
          Research Sample 
          Scoring and Transformation of Raw Scores 
          Normative Information 
          Caution Regarding Interpretations 
     Administration Guide 
          Introduction and Overview 
          Contact Information 
          Selection Procedures 
          Information Provided to Candidates 
          Guidelines for Administration of Selection Procedures 
          Administration Environment 
          Scoring Instructions and Interpretation Guidelines 
          Test Score Databases 
          Reporting and Using Selection Procedure Scores 
          Candidate Feedback 
          Nonstandard Administrations (See Also Candidates With Disabilities) 
          Reassessing Candidates 
          Corrective Reassessment 
          Security of the Selection Procedure 
     Other Circumstances Regarding the Validation Effort and Use of Selection Procedures 
          Influence of Changes in Organizational Demands 
          Review of Validation and Need for Updating the Validation Effort 
     Candidates With Disabilities 
          Responsibilities of the Selection Procedure Developers, Researchers, and Users 
Glossary of Terms