We recently chatted with Filip Lievens about his article "Assessing Personality–Situation Interplay in Personnel Selection: Toward More Integration into Personality Research", which is featured as a target article in the special issue of EJP on integration of personality pathology and beyond. Filip is professor at the Department of Personnel Management and Work and Organizational Psychology at Ghent University.
Read more about Filip's view on the article, the current state of the field, and possible future directions below.
Q: Hi Filip, can you tell us a bit about your article? How did you come up with the idea? What was the process like?
I gave keynotes in which I presented an early version of the article at the European Personality Conference in Lausanne, and at the American Psychological Science Conference in Chicago. People from both the selection domain and the personality domain reacted enthusiastically to my talk and some encouraged me to submit it as a target article to the European Journal of Personality. I then proposed the idea to the editors.
Q: You already mentioned the special issue of EJP that is about the integration of personality psychology both within the field and in conjunction with other disciplines, in which your article is featured. Why do you think this is such an important topic?
Both of these fields (the personality domain and the personnel selection domain) have evolved relatively independently from each other. However, in personnel selection, candidates’ personality is also typically assessed via self-reports, other-reports, interviews, situational judgment tests, and assessment center exercises. Whereas personal selection relied on developments in the personality domain in the past, there is a general sentiment that personality researchers are not always aware of research in the personnel selection domain. That’s why it might be important to connect these domains better. This paper especially highlighted the value of research on situational judgment tests and assessment center exercises. In general, I also feel that there should be much more cross-fertilization among psychology disciplines.
Q: We noticed lively discussion regarding your article. Could you describe some particularly interesting reactions to your article?
I was really overwhelmed by the great variety of excellent commentaries that I received on my target article. Apparently, it made people "think" and that is also what I aimed to do. These authors wrote thoughtful, insightful, and open-minded comments. I was also amazed about the number of additional opportunities that they gave for extending my initial ideas and propositions. Two specific issues raised that sparked my interest were the idea of how to measure personality-driven situation experience (i.e., people not only react to situations, but also select the situations they enter and shape them), and how to extend situational judgment tests in a variety ways (nonlinear format, open-ended format, etc.) in various fields (work psychology, clinical psychology, social psychology, etc.).
Q: Were do you think the field of personality psychology is heading in the next years?
This is a question one should ask personality psychology researchers; I come more from the personnel selection domain. However, if you ask about my five cents, I’d say that especially more dynamic concepts/measures of personality hold a lot of potential to provide new answers to old research questions and to tackle new research questions. As one example, the use of tracking devices opens a lot of possibilities to study group dynamics (e.g., in companies, schools, etc.) and the work-life interface.
Q: Do you have any tips or advice for young researchers that wish to contribute to the developing field of personality psychology?
I would not label personality psychology a developing field; it is already a mature field. In my opinion, advancing research on the Dark personality traits (e.g., narcissism, Machiavellism) would be helpful both from a conceptual and practical point of view. In my field of personnel selection, screening out "bad apples" and derailers right from the start is of paramount importance. If one considers the need to identify possible terrorists for example, the same is true for the society at large. So, I believe we need to diversify and improve our measures of Dark personality traits.
Q: Thank you for the chat, Filip!
To read the companion piece of this interview with Anna Baumert, author of the other target article for the special issue of EJP, click here.