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.
(See Section VI for a summary of each article)
Hough, L. M. (1984). Development and evaluation of the "accomplishment record" method of selecting and promoting professionals. Journal of Applied Psychology, 69(1), 135-146.
Hough, L. M., Keyes, M. A., & Dunnette, M. D. (1983). An evaluation of three "alternative" selection procedures. Personnel Psychology, 36(2), 261-276.
Sackett, P. R., Schmitt, N., Ellingson, J. E., & Kabin, M. B. (2001). High-stakes testing in employment, credentialing, and higher education: Prospects in a post-affirmative-action world. American Psychologist, 56(4), 302-318.
Schmidt, F. L., Caplan, J. R., Bemis, S. E., Decuir, R., Dunn, L., & Antone, L. (1979). The behavioral consistency method of unassembled examining. Washington, DC: U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Personnel Resources and Development Center.
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124(2), 262-274.
Back to Top