An inductive qualitative research on the assessment center experiences of gifted adults

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Prior research on giftedness points out that gifted adults can be of great value for organizations as their typical characteristics allow them to provide unique and significant contribution to innovation in organizations (Nauta & Ronner, 2008; Corten, Nauta & Ronner, 2006). It therefore is important for organizations to properly recognize the characteristics and talents of gifted adults during a personnel selection process. Despite the growing popularity of the assessment center (AC) method, no prior studies have investigated how gifted adults experience an AC or whether an AC is a valid method for the selection of gifted job applicants. The present study provides insight in what and how typical characteristics of gifted adults influence the way gifted adults perform in, and experience, an AC. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with nine gifted adults, after which the obtained data was analyzed and coded using an inductive analysis approach (Thomas, 2006). The inductive data analysis of the transcripts resulted in the following five categories that influence the way gifted adults perform in, and experience, an AC: ‘artificial/role play’, ‘need for authenticity’, ‘need for autonomy’, ‘different way of thinking’, and ‘not being understood’. The present study contributes to the existing literature in two ways. First, the present study contributes to the research on personnel selection methods by adopting an applicant/participant perspective on a popular personnel selection method (i.e., the AC). Second, the present study contributes to research on giftedness and research on gifted individuals without work (Emans, Visscher & Nauta, 2017) by examining how gifted adults experience an AC.
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