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Are You Hiring the Right Person?

Good-looking Transcript-Study says a high GPA can help applicants find a decent job but the hiring managers’ choice might be poor because they rely strictly on generic performance measures but never consider situational context.

How to find a decent job? How to get admission for your dream school? First, let’s learn what the hiring managers value most. In a recent study published in PLOS ONE, Samuel Swift and colleagues from University of California, Berkeley, found that when reviewing graduate or job applications, employment managers tend to assign the applicants’ outstanding performance to their personal qualities and ignore the context of past performance.

If the applicants were previously studying in a school with high average GPAs or working in places where tasks were relatively easy, the applicants can easily stand out when compete with others. In this study, hiring managers – the subjects of the study – were provided with cases of fake, high GPAs from schools known for easier grading systems and relative low GPA from schools with stricter grading policies. The researchers found that the participants were more likely to choose the applicants with high GPA, regardless of the fact that these applicants usually came from school known for easier grading systems; moreover, the participants were prone to attribute the high GPA to personal abilities of the applicants. In addition to graduate school admissions decisions, the researchers also studied hiring decisions by human resource manage and found similar results.

 “Our finding suggested that alumni from institutions with lenient grading had a leg up in admission to graduate schools, and the reason for that is the admissions decision makers attributed the high grades to high abilities mistakenly. In addition, the decision makers tended not to –though they said they wanted to – consider situational influences on performance when given the opportunity,” said Swift.

Swift further noted, “The hiring managers were failed to distinguish real abilities from simply being fortunate when reviewing applications and making decisions. From the hundreds of thousands of MBA admissions data from two labs suggested that in job hiring and school admissions decision making, being in a lenient grading system is equally important with having genuine abilities.”

Editor’s note: This is a common problem for both applicants and hiring managers. If you are a capable applicant from a strict-grading system, you may miss the opportunity. On the contrary, if you are a hiring manager and you are just looking for good-looking transcript, you might have ignored the situational factors or context and thus missed better candidates.

Source: EurekAlert!
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