Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Lisa L. Scherer

Second Advisor

C. Raymond Millimet

Third Advisor

James M. Thomas


The employment interview has traditionally been regarded as having low reliability and validity for predicting job performance. This assumption has been challenged recently by research findings which indicate improved reliability and validity for structured interview formats (Arvey & Campion, 1982). The situational interview in particular is associated with strong predictive accuracy; this fact has sparked debate regarding the source of this enhanced validity. This study tested Hunter and Hirsh's (1987) notion that situational interview validity is derived from its measurement of cognitive ability. In addition, their theory that the situational interview operates as an orally administered intelligence test for new employees and as a job knowledge test as well for job incumbents was assessed. Subjects were 113 graduate and undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university who took part in a simulated Graduate Teaching Assistant selection procedure. Results indicate that situational interview performance contains a cognitive component as predicted, but that other structured interview formats contain this component as well. Job experience was found to moderate the relationship between intelligence and situational interview performance as predicted, but only some of the time. Job knowledge was not supported as a mechanism by which this moderation might occur. The results of this investigation suggest that situational interview validity may be due to factors beyond the measurement of cognitive aptitude, and that intelligence and job knowledge may be measured for different types of interviewees only under certain conditions.


Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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