The accomplishment record is a systematic procedure used to collect information about applicants’ training, education, experience, and past achievements related to critical job competencies. The accomplishment record is based on the behavioral consistency principle that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Applicants are typically asked to submit information on personal accomplishments to best illustrate their proficiency on critical job competencies (generally between four and eight).
Specifically, applicants are often required to provide written descriptions of what was
accomplished, including detailed information about the problem or situation, the specific actions
taken, and the results or outcomes achieved by those actions. The name and contact information
of an individual who can verify the statements is also usually required. Accomplishments do not
need to be limited to those demonstrating previous experience on the specific job in question.
Rather, experience gained from other jobs or through community service, school, volunteer
work, military service, or even hobbies may also be used to provide examples of
accomplishments relevant to the targeted position.
Accomplishment statements are evaluated by a panel of trained raters using competency-based
benchmarks created for the targeted occupation. The competency-based benchmarks typically
provide specific behavioral examples of what constitutes high, medium, and low levels of
proficiency. Scoring is typically based on the degree to which the behaviors and outcomes
described within the accomplishments reflect the benchmark levels of proficiency. The length of
the rating process, generally between two and six weeks, is determined by the number of
applicants and the number of competencies being assessed. Because the accomplishment
descriptions are in the form of a written narrative, the method assumes applicants are able to
communicate in writing.
Variations of the traditional accomplishment record method involve the collection of alternative
types of applicant proficiency or experience information. For example, applicants may be asked
to complete a self-report measure by checking off job-related tasks they have performed, rating
their degree of proficiency in performing job-related tasks, or rating the extent to which they
possess a critical job competency. This approach is also considered a variation on the training
and experience evaluation method, discussed later in this section. Often, accomplishments are
later collected to support the self-reported information. In cases where an accomplishment
record cannot be implemented, self-report questionnaires are sometimes used as an alternative
pre-screen tool. It is important to note the validity and reliability evidence for some of these self-report
measures have not been substantiated by research, and may not be comparable to levels
associated with traditional accomplishment records.
Another variation of the accomplishment record is a process requiring formal verification of the
statements (e.g., via references) made by applicants in their written accomplishments (and self-report
information, if applicable). This technique is intended to discourage applicants from
inflating or otherwise distorting their submitted accomplishment descriptions.
• Validity – If developed properly, the critical dimensions of job performance to which
applicants respond will be representative of those required for the job (i.e., they have a
high degree of content validity) and scores on the assessment will relate strongly to
measures of overall job performance (i.e., they have a high degree of criterion-related
• Face Validity/Applicant Reactions – Reactions from professionals who feel they should
be evaluated on their experience is typically favorable; Less favorable reactions may be
observed for entry-level applicants having relatively brief employment histories; When
applied to entry-level positions, it is important to give credit for accomplishments gained
through other than paid employment (e.g., school, volunteer work, community service);
Some prospective applicants who dislike writing detailed narratives may be discouraged
• Administration Method – Can be administered individually via paper and pencil or
electronically to a large group of applicants at one time
• Subgroup Differences – Generally little or no performance differences are found between
men and women or applicants of different races, although the presence of subgroup
differences may depend on the specific competencies being assessed
• Development Costs – Accomplishment records can be developed for any occupation
within two to four weeks, depending on the number of dimensions measured; Time and
cost requirements are associated mainly with benchmark development, scoring
procedures, and rater training
• Administration Costs – Highly time consuming for applicants to complete and the scoring
may be more time consuming compared to other assessment methods with clear right or
wrong answers (e.g., job knowledge tests); The length of the rating process depends on
the number of applicants and competencies measured
• Utility/ROI – High return on investment for managerial, professional, or other jobs where
applicants may prefer to be evaluated on the basis of their actual work experience rather
than an impersonal, standardized test; Investment of time and effort to develop and
administer may not be worthwhile in situations where applicant reactions to traditional
tests are not a concern
• Common Uses – Commonly used when negative applicant reactions to traditional tests or
test “look-alikes” such as biodata are expected; Also commonly used as a screening
device prior to an interview
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