The rating policies of corporate and school district recruiters: effect of prototypes on the judgement and retrieval of personal data sheet information of college seniors

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of occupational prototypes on the evaluation and retrieval of information provided in hypothetical personal data sheets of college seniors. Prototypes for mechanical engineers and elementary school teachers were generated by college students majoring in engineering and education. These prototypes were used to construct a simulated personal data sheet evaluation exercise. A total of 36 personal data sheets [2(replications) X 3(GPA: high, medium, low) X 2(extracurricular activities: prototypic, nonprototypic) X 3(work experience: high, medium, low)] were developed for each occupation. Each of the 36 personal data sheets were rated by corporate or school district recruiters.

Based on the results of the study, several conclusions were proposed. First, it was apparent that prototypes differed structurally between occupations, and that these prototypes may differ slightly between students and recruiters. Second, it was noted that not all aspects of a prototype were weighted equally during information processing. One dimension, GPA, was heavily emphasized by the majority of recruiters, with little consideration given to work experience and extracurricular activities. Third, it was suggested that schematic organization affected the recruiters rating process because 85% of the engineering recruiters and 87% of the education recruiters used the same rating policy. Furthermore, while prototypes differed structurally between occupations, the weighting, or importance, of a particular dimension in the rating process may be equivalent for all occupations, Thus, although the underlying structure of the prototypes differed between occupations, the emphasis on GPA by both groups of recruiters resulted in the identical rating policies of both engineering and school district recruiters. Finally, recruiters tended to remember prototypic rather than nonprototypic information from the Personal Data Sheets. These results suggest that schematic organization and prototypes are affecting the judgement and retrieval of Personal Data Sheet information of college seniors.