Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth L. Shoenfelt (Director), Reagan Brown, Aaron Wichman

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Although interest inventories have a long history in the field of career counseling, vocational interests have received limited attention in Industrial-Organizational (I-O) psychology. To assess the potential utility of interest inventories in the field of I-O psychology, 82 I-O psychologists with expertise in employee selection and equal employment opportunity law completed a survey assessing their expert opinion on the utility of interest inventories for employee selection decisions. Opinion on potential legal liability and discriminatory impact of the use of interest inventories was also assessed. Hypothesis 1, which stated a majority of respondents would indicate they have little to moderate knowledge of vocational interests, was supported. Hypothesis 2, which stated a majority of respondents would indicate agreement that interest inventories can be used for employee selection, was not supported. Hypothesis 3, which stated a majority of respondents would indicate agreement that more research into interest inventories is warranted, was supported. Hypothesis 4, which stated majority of respondents would indicate that the use of interest inventories would likely lead to legal liability for the employer, was not supported. Additional analyses were run to investigate other relationships of interest. Results of additional analyses indicated that participants indicated that interest inventories could be utilized in positive selection contexts as interest inventories likely may have incremental validity over traditional selection instruments. However, experts did not expect utility for interest inventories in negative selection contexts. Consequently, the results of this study indicate interest inventories likely have an array of useful applications in I-O psychology. Further research is warranted to determine which of these applications will provide utility and whether or not selection contexts will prove to be among those applications. Additional implications and limitations of findings are discussed, and directions for future research are considered.


Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Psychology