The various methods of staff selection

This report is intended to evaluate the various methods of staff selection and to give examples of when each method might be most appropriate. Selection is the second half of the recruitment and selection process. Recruitment involves writing a job description, person specification and finding suitable candidates. Selection is the process by which employers select potential job candidates and the various selection methods available enable positive and negative differences to be highlighted between candidates, to create and environment in which the correct candidate can be selected.

The process culminates in a selection decision being made by employers. Selection is therefore a decision making process, with both employers and candidates making decisions. Selection is all about trying to make a selection decision which is certain. It is almost impossible to be one hundred per cent certain about a candidate. The right selection methods enable the employer to come as close to certainty as they can about the prospects of the prospective candidate. “The type of job available is the most significant influence on the choice of selection methods for any one vacancy.

” (Beardwell I, & Holden L, 2001). There are various selection methods, which need to be considered. The first tool to be mentioned in the selection process is the application form, or alternatively the CV (Curriculum Vitae). These documents allow a shortlist of candidates to be drawn up from the information contained within them. It is noted that many public sector organisations do not allow CV’s because the candidate is then trying to sell themselves to the employers. Both documents create an impression of the candidate and provide information, which can then be used for discussion at an interview.

Application forms need to be well designed to avoid putting candidates off applying and they include biographical information, educational information and previous work experience. They are a useful tool when used to draw up a shortlist, as stated. In this respect application forms/CV’s are a valuable selection tool because they save time and money for the potential employer. However, used on their own, they are not a good selection method. In this respect they are a secondary method of selection.

Interviewing can take on different forms, a one to one interview, a two-person interview and a panel interview, as well as a group interview. All methods are used in today’s business environment. An Interviews principal role is to confirm impressions of the candidates, noting, “Perception is all there is” (Tom Peters). Interviews provide a two-way information transfer about the job and the candidates, and they can convince the right candidate to take the job once the interview has successfully predicted the candidate’s likely behaviour and performance.

In most cases interviews are structured and can be scored to enable successful candidate comparison. Interviewing is popular and used by all, and has a low cost relative to other selection methods. It is a straightforward method of selection and has the benefit of being expected by applicants. However, because the interview is the most widely used selection method it is also the most widely abused. The disadvantage of a one to one interview rests with the interviewer. They are crucial as to the validity of the interview as a selection tool.

Interviewers can be prone to errors, such as not treating each interview individually, and assuming the subject will behave in the job as they do at interview. Hence some interviews take the form of two interviewers or even a panel of interviewers. This reduces the scope for mistakes being made. However, this means that a time needs to be arranged when the panel are free to conduct an interview. This can be problematic. The interview has a negotiation function, which sets it apart from other selection methods.

Poor selection, which leads to negative public relations, is less likely with a panel of interviewers. Interviewing is universally used and universally popular. It can be used for example when selecting for an office worker or a shop worker, and a panel interview would be used when there are solicitors to be selected. References are a selection method used in conjunction with an interview and an application form. References are widely used even though they are shown to have a limited value. The question posed by the prospective employer is “would you re-employ this person?

” states Stephen Taylor, 2001. They are rarely crucial because they are used to assist in job performance prediction and to confirm general impressions of the subject. References are of more value when more than two are sought. It is also useful for the employer to have the reference prior to the interview. There is rarely a bad reference given, which questions their validity when used as a selection tool without calling on other methods for confirmation. References are used when applying for most jobs, including factory workers and coffee shops.

Testing can be a valid selection tool. This is referred to as ability testing and encompasses attainment, general intelligence, cognitive ability and trainability testing. Testing is generally used as a back up to other selection techniques, although can also be used to draw up a shortlist. It can easily be seen where such testing is appropriate, for example shorthand and typing tests for secretaries. Testing can also be easily done on computer where the test allows for this and is therefore easy to administer, with only the time for an invigilator to pay.

Testing also provides valuable performance indicators for when the candidate is on the job: “Test of intelligence or intellectual ability are among the most effective predictors of job performance available. ” (Taylor, S, 2001) Testing can be used for a variety of jobs without changing the test, so that there is no need for job analysis or test development. Testing has another positive point in that it doesn’t unfairly discriminate between candidates. Tests are successfully used in fields of computer programming and various apprenticeships.

However tests do need to be well designed and must be fair, and they cannot be used purely on their own. It can also be argued that candidates may get better with practice. It is also hard for the employer to get the right test because there are so many available. When used properly, there is the fact that they are a valuable tool in the selection process. Testing is also a relatively cheap option compared to the cost of an assessment centre. The validity of personality testing is constantly being called into question. Again, the right personality test needs to be used to successfully determine a personality.

All personality testing is open to unfairness because the candidate is likely to give the answer that they feel the employer wants to hear. For this reason some tests have a built in lie index. The meaning of the test sometimes requires interpretation from a psychologist which pushes up the cost of the test and feedback must be given to each candidate regardless of whether or not they get the job. It is controversial because it measures personality, one view is that personality cannot be measured and the test also assumes that personality remains stable over time.

Personality tests are used for sales people and those going into the management and finance sectors. Personality tests are not standard although individual differences can be a good thing to measure and have a record of from a managerial view, a good manager can make a team work well when understanding the use of individual differences. The right test needs to be taken as again there are lots available, and “Nothing can over-emphasise the potential danger of such tools in the hands of people with power over others’ careers. ” (Cuming, M W, 1994)