The impact of employment selection devices on the reactions of simulated applicants was investigated. In Study 1, 141 subjects were "failed" on either a biographical inventory, a cognitive ability test, a trainability test or a work sample test. Subjects rejected on the basis of biographical inventory scores perceived the test as less difficult, coped more adaptively, and had better moods than subjects tested with the other instruments. The biographical inventory was also seen as more fakable, but less amenable to improvement through feedback or training than the other devices. We hypothesized that differences among tests in cognitive demand is a primary cause of differences in applicant reaction. In Study 2 (N=151) the comparison of the effects of two biographical inventories to two cognitive ability tests supported our hypothesis, and replicated the findings of Study 1 across failure and success conditions.