Letters of Recommendation: Controversy and Consensus from Expert Perspectives

16 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2009

See all articles by Jessica M. Nicklin

Jessica M. Nicklin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sylvia G. Roch

State University of New York - University of Albany - Department of Psychology

Abstract

Letters of recommendation (LORs) are a widely used selection tool with many issues associated with their use. To address some of these issues, 575 professionals in personnel-related professions reported their experiences with LORs. We separated items into consensus, polarized, or neither categories. Experts reached consensus that letter inflation is a problem that may never be alleviated and that more weight is placed on letters written by someone the reader knows or from a prestigious institution or organization. Most items were polarized, suggesting substantial controversy in the field regarding LORs. Some items originally polarized reached consensus within profession (academic vs applied). Academic professionals reported using LORs more and placing more weight on their contents than applied professionals. Implications discussed include recommendations for future research and practice, such as the appropriate use of LORs, LOR formats, and training.

Suggested Citation

Nicklin, Jessica M. and Roch, Sylvia G., Letters of Recommendation: Controversy and Consensus from Expert Perspectives. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, Vol. 17, Issue 1, pp. 76-91, March 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1378231 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2389.2009.00453.x

Jessica M. Nicklin (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Sylvia G. Roch

State University of New York - University of Albany - Department of Psychology ( email )

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
United States
518-442-5962 (Phone)

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