Employee selection refers to the process of interviewing and evaluating the candidates for a specific job and selecting an individual for employment based on certain criteria (qualifications, skills and experience). Selection is much more than just choosing the best available person. Selecting the appropriate set of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)—which come packaged in a human being—is an attempt to get a “fit” between what the applicant can and wants to do, and what the organization needs.
Throughout the history of Industrial, Work and Organisational (IWO) psychology, issues of employee selection and assessment have featured prominently in the scientific research. Indeed, selection research has been one of the critical pillars of the scientific foundations of IWO psychology in North America, Europe, and the rest of the world. According to Schmidt & Hunter (2001), any retrospective of research in this area would doubtless suggest that it has remained robustly vibrant, topical, and multifaceted over several decades now (Schmidt & Hunter,2001).
Despite years of research designed to match jobs and people, employee selection decisions are not always based on an exact fit between the person and the job. According to Merchant and Van der Stede (2017), employee selection has long been recognized as a key management control mechanism to align employees with a company’s values and goals. Fitting a person to the right job is called placement. How well an employee is matched to a job is very important because it directly affects the amount and quality of employee’s work. . Any mismatch in this regard can cost an organisation a great deal of money, time and costs in terms of money invested in training and operating costs. Selection is the process of determining which people in the applicant pool possess the qualifications necessary to be successful on the job.
What is the purpose of employee selection?
Employee selection plays an increasing role in an organization as a mechanism for aligning employee preferences with organizational objectives. To achieve this goal, the company obtains and assesses information about the applicants in terms of age, qualifications, skills, experience, etc. Among other purposes employee selection helps:
- To pick up the most suitable candidate who would meet the requirements of the job in an organisation
- to find out which job applicant will be successful if hired
Employee Selection and Recruitment
Recruitment and selection of staff can be seen as processes clearly defined by several sequential steps, each of which holds great significance in the sourcing and employing of appropriate candidates. Recruitment is a process marked by a series of successive stages that include a request to fill the open positions, develop the job description, advertise the job, source, attract, shortlist, assess, interview, background check, job offer and placement of the most potential and suitable candidates for vacant positions. Selection is the process by which an organisation chooses from a list of applicants the person or persons who best meet the selection criteria for the position available, considering current environmental conditions (Ivancevich & Konopaske, 2013)
Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures
Organisations need to draft a recruitment and selection policy that is deemed to be transparent and fair. Recruitment policy is a formal document with expansive guidelines of how an organisation should conduct the recruitment policy. In brief, the recruitment policy stipulates the organisation’s position concerning the general objectives of recruitment and the principle of equal opportunities in recruitment. According to Benedict (2012), a proper recruitment policy includes transparent procedures, which assist in recruiting the right calibre of people for the job at the right time, and by so doing contributes to the high-performance team culture. The correct implementation of the recruitment and selection practices is crucial for the organisation to fill the right positions with the right people who are experienced and competent.
Every organisation must have a recruitment policy as it can be used as a guideline to determine whether to recruit within the organisation or from outside. Therefore, proper recruitment and selection of competent employees should be conducted without flaws. For instance, preliminary screening of candidates in the recruitment and selection process should be seen to be transparent, reasonable and fair. The equity of all candidates is ensured with due regard to all applicable legislation. Under no circumstances is canvassing, favouritism, nepotism or similar practices allowed.
What Employee Selection Methods can be used to recruit the best and suitable employees?
The employee selection process can be marked by successive stages that include but not limited to:
This involves a thorough review of the candidates’ resumes based on the following criteria: experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications.
- Cognitive Tests
According to Schmidt & Hunter (1998), tests of cognitive ability are highly valid predictors of job performance and training success in large-scale meta-analyses in both the USA and more recently across European Union countries (Salgado & Anderson, 2002;). It is therefore beholden upon HR practitioners to evaluate cognitive ability during the selection process and to give such measures appropriate weight in recruitment decisions.
- Personality Assessment Tests
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. The Myers-Briggs personality assessment has been identifying introverts, extroverts and other personality types since 1943. Based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs questionnaire has been gauging personalities through attitude, style and cultural changes occurring during the past 60 years.
- Assessment Centres
They comprise of a series of exercises that evaluate the suitability of the candidate for the position based on certain competencies. Assessment centres combine expert judgment with a variety of assessment techniques including work samples, interviews, group exercises and, in some cases, paper-and-pencil tests.
- Situational Tests
These are the situational judgment tests that should be recommended to every single institution for application of a potential employee. It will determine in knowing how an individual will handle the situation. Generally, crisis management is the most given situation in these tests as it showcases how well an individual handles it and leads the company in worst times too.
- Work Samples
These tests are of utmost importance in knowing how well an individual deals in a particular situation. Work sample tests allow the individual to showcase his/ her abilities in working as a potential candidate. These tests can be called as a mirror in determining how well an employee performs in a given situation. A certain work task is given and the individual is asked to work upon it.
7: Competency-Based Interviews
Competency-based interviews are structured interviews that assess the suitability of a potential employee for a particular role based on certain competencies like strategic orientation, leadership, teamwork among other competencies.
These tests are of little importance as it does not give us the freedom to know more about the employee. It shows how well the employee has performed in his/ her previous workplaces and asks the employer to determine the employee’s ability in this way. You can ring up the contact number mentioned in the reference section and know the details about your employee. This would work either way even. Hence, this method is least used in the selection assessment methods.
9. Conduct Background Checks
This can focus on checking the candidates’ driving record, criminal record and civil court, credit history, education verification and other sensitive items.
10. Medical Examination
Medical tests are conducted to ensure the physical fitness of the potential employee. It will decrease the chances of employee absenteeism
10. Appointment Letter
A reference check is made about the candidate selected and then finally he is appointed by giving a formal appointment letter.
Anderson, N., Born, M., & Cunningham-Snell, N. (2001). Recruitment and selection: Applicant perspectives and outcomes
Schmidt, F.L., & Hunter, J.E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection research methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings.
Abernethy, M. A., H. C. Dekker, and A. K. D. Schulz. 2015. Are employee selection and incentive contracting complements or substitutes?
Newturn Wikirefu is the Talent Acquisition Manager at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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