Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Finkelstein, Lisa M.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Organizational behavior


The Similar-to-Me effect has a substantial and healthy empirical history and has been demonstrated across a variety of social contexts, including in education settings, in the formation of friendships and romantic relationships, and in the workplace. For instance, perceived and relational similarity has been found to play a factor in supervisor-employee relationships via leader member exchange and may impact job performance ratings. Not only is the effect robust, it also appears to have real implications upon workplace outcomes (i.e., performance). Despite this body of research, the similar-to-me effect has not been investigated within the context of individual psychological assessments. Moreover, the body of research investigating similarity effects in regard to personality is limited with mixed findings. Namely, past research has found perceived similarity effects of certain personality traits (i.e., conscientiousness, agreeableness) in interview contexts. However, evidence of an effect of relational similarity between interviewers and job candidates has not been found. This may for one of two reasons 1) the effect does not exist in the interview context or 2) data on one's relational similarity to a job candidate on distinct personality traits is lacking and thus impossible to incorporate into interviewer's inferences on candidate suitability for a job. Using an individual assessment scenario in which interviewers (assessors) are trained to key into relevant personality data when making inferences, the motivation and data for relational similarity effects exist. Therefore, in this study I investigated the effects of assessor and job candidate (i.e., assessee) personality traits (as measured by the Hogan Personality Inventory) on assessors' hiring and promotion recommendations provided as a result of individual psychological assessments. I also draw upon social psychological theory (i.e., the Similar-To-Me-Hypothesis and Social Categorization) to provide rationale for the use of hierarchical linear modeling to investigate the effect of relational similarity between assessor and assessee personality traits on these same hiring and promotion recommendations. Analyses did not support hypotheses. With the exception of ambition, candidate personality did not have an effect upon assessors' hiring and promotion recommendations. Furthermore, this relationship was not affected by the assessor's personality (i.e., the hypothesized similar-to-me effects were not found). Implications of these findings upon the ever-growing individual assessment practice, and whether this signifies a divide between personnel research and practice or signals even greater complexity in assessor's inference processes are discussed.


Advisors: Lisa M. Finkelstein.||Committee members: Larissa Barber; Angela Castellani; Amanda Durik; Brad Sagarin; Thomas Smith.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vii, 80 pages




Northern Illinois University

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