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Keywords:

  • personality;
  • conscientiousness;
  • nonlinearity;
  • heteroscedasticity;
  • job performance

The application form currently used in police officer recruitment neither measures competencies necessary ‘on the job’, nor screens out inappropriate applicants. To improve this situation, a competency-based application form was developed and trialled in three police forces. Results were compared with those obtained via the assessment centre acting as the first competency screening stage of the current selection process.

A high level of correspondence was found between the two sets of results raising a query as to whether the application form could be a valid replacement for the assessment centre. A future validation study, in which the performance of recruited police officers is compared with application form results, will better answer this question. In the meantime, it is proposed that the competency-based application form questions are incorporated into the current form to reduce the number of inappropriate applicants reaching expensive, labour-intensive stages of the selection process.