Positive manifold limits the relevance of content-matching strategies for validating selection test batteries.J Appl Psychol. 2009 Jul; 94(4):1018-31.JA
Inferences about the relationships between scores on selection tests and measures of job performance are often made on the basis of an assessment of the match between the content of the test and the content of the job. However, there is little evidence that these test-to-job comparisons have any bearing on the criterion-related validity of selection tests. The authors show that conclusions reached in analyses of cognitive tests-that content matching is largely irrelevant to criterion-related validity-can be generalized to most sets of selection tests (e.g., psychomotor and performance tests, interview ratings, biodata scores, knowledge tests, work sample tests) that are positively correlated with one another and with the criterion. When the universe of potential predictors shows positive manifold, almost all possible sets of test batteries will yield similar outcomes and show similar validities, regardless of whether the content of these tests matches the content of the job.