Employee Selection Process (with Steps)

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Employee Selection Process consists of a series of steps. The strategy and method used for selecting employees varies from firm to firm and from one job to another.

Employee Selection Process: 9 Steps, 7 Steps and 12 Steps


Employee Selection Process in HRM:

Employee Selection Process consists of a series of steps. The strategy and method used for selecting employees varies from firm to firm and from one job to another. There is no standard selection procedure to be followed by organizations.

However the commonly followed selection procedure is as follows:

Employee Selection Process # 1. Preliminary Interview:

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It is the process to weed out the applications who do not satisfy the job description. It is usually conducted when the number of candidates are large in number. This interview is essentially a sorting process in which, the necessary information from the candidates relating to their education, skill, expected salary and other attributes related to the job are collected.

If the candidates meet with the requirements of the job, he is selected for further selection process. Care should be taken to ensure that suitable candidates are not turned down in a hurry.

Preliminary interview is the first contact of an individual with the organization. Therefore, the interviewers should be courteous, receptive and informal, particularly when the candidate is being turned down.

Preliminary interview is a sorting process, in which the prospective candidates are given the necessary information about the nature of the job and the organization. Necessary information is obtained from the candidates about their education, skills, experience, expected salary etc. If the candidate is found suitable, then he is selected for further screening.

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This ‘courtesy interview’ helps the department to screen out obvious misfits. Preliminary interview saves time and efforts of both the company and the candidate. It avoids unnecessary waiting for the rejected candidates and waste of money on further processing of an unsuitable candidate.

Preliminary interview is brief and generally carried out by a junior executive across the counter or at the reception office. Since rejection rate is high at preliminary interview, the interviewer should be kind, courteous, receptive and informal. He should give a good account of the company so that the applicant takes a good view of it and hopes to apply again whenever new opening emanates.

Employee Selection Process # 2. Application Blank:

An application form is a structured format with questions pertaining to those details of the candidates which would be most useful for his selection for the job. The information is required to be given in the applicants own handwriting.

Once the screening is over then the application blank, the essential information on various aspects of the applicants social academic background can be analysed which enables the organization to have a specification about the applicants, which serves as the basis to screen and reject candidates.

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The application form should provide all the information relevant to selection. But reference to caste, religion, birth place, should be avoided as it is regarded as an evidence of discrimination among each other.

Application form generally helps in providing a detailed information about the candidate and it can be used as a basic record of personal data for those who are finally selected.

The information connected in blank application relates to the following particulars:

(i) Bio-data – It includes name of the applicant, father’s name, date of birth, place of birth, permanent address, height, weight, identification mark, marital status, physical disability.

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(ii) Educational Qualifications – This part of educational qualifications relates to education acquired, institutions attended, percentage of marks, distinctions achieved, technical education acquired, subjects studied, areas of specialization.

(iii) Work Experience – Application blank also enquires about previous experience, similar or other jobs held, nature of duties, salaries received, names of previous employers, reasons for leaving the present job.

(iv) Curricular Activities – The information about participation in co-curricular activities like N.S.S., N.C.C., debates and declamations, sports, etc. is also received in blank application form.

(v) References – The applicant is also asked to give some references from where an enquiry may be made about this nature and work. The references are normally the persons with whom the applicant has worked but are not related to him.

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(vi) Salary Expected – The salary expected by the applicant is also given in the application blank.

An attempt is made to get maximum information in application blank. The information asked for should be relevant and specific. It should have relevance to the post he has applied for. The information collected should be brief and to the point. Questions requiring essay-type answers should be avoided.

Employee Selection Process # 3. Selection Test:

For further assessment of candidate’s aptitude various types of tests are used in the selection procedure. These tests are developed after a detailed research study so that specification and description of the various jobs can be formulated and a proper selection procedure c.an be conducted.

These tests bring about particular traits, aptitude, likes and dislikes and the performance level in a given situation.

Applicants who pass the screening and the preliminary interview are called for tests. Different types of tests may be administered depending on the job and the company. A test provides a systematic basis for comparing the behaviour attitudes and performance of two or more persons- Tests are based on the assumption that individuals differ in their job related traits which can be measured.

Tests help in reducing bias in selection by serving as a supplementary screening device. Tests help in better matching of candidate and the job. Tests may reveal qualifications which remain hidden in application form and preliminary interview. Tests are useful when the number of applicants are large.

Moreover, to be effective, tests must be properly designed and administered. However, test is not a full proof method. At best, it reveals that the candidates who have scored above the predetermined cut off points are likely to be more successful than scoring below the cut off points.

These are several types of tests that are used in selection process:

(i) Intelligence Test:

This test is used to measures the candidate’s intelligence and ability to understand and interpret a given situation. The intelligence test also measures vocabulary, fluency and numerical ability.

These were first standardized tests developed by psychologists and are the most widely used tests. Intelligence is defined in different ways by different psychologists. Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon two French psychologists, explicitly defined the components of intelligence as “reasoning, judgement, memory and the power of abstraction.”

They measured intelligence as the “general mental ability of individuals in intelligent behaviours” and described intelligence testing as classifying, not measuring.

Thurstone, distinguished mental abilities from the general trait of intelligence and created more specialized intelligence tests based on reasoning, word fluency, verbal comprehension, numbers, memory and space.

The Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale utilizes a multiple measurement of factors such as comprehension, vocabulary, performance, picture management and object assembly.

An Intelligence Quotient test usually measures several factors of intelligence, such as logical reasoning, analytical skills and general knowledge. It also measures a person’s ability to classify things, identify relationship and derive analogies. It does not take into consideration social or emotional intelligence.

(ii) Aptitude Test:

This test is conducted to measure the applicant’s capacity to learn the skills required for the job. Specific jobs require specific skills. This test enables the selector to comprehend whether a candidate is suitable for the particular job.

Aptitude test measure an individual ability to learn a given job, after given adequate training. They do not test the knowledge or proficiency possessed by the individual; instead they test his ability to learn, or gain the required proficiency, mechanical, clerical, linguistic, musical and academic abilities are some of the examples of job-related aptitudes.

Motor capacities such as finger dexterity, hand dexterity, and hand-eye coordination, which can also be termed aptitudes, are tested using psychomotor tests. They are different from clerical aptitudes tests which test spelling ability, comprehension, data processing etc.

(iii) Work Test:

Work test are those in which a candidate is put in a situation which is very much similar to a real situation on pertaining to the nature of the job to be solved by the candidate.

The performance of each task is monitored by an observer who indicates the result of the applicant’s performances. This method of testing is based on measuring performance on actual basic job tasks.

(iv) Personality Test:

It can measure basic aspects of an applicant’s personality such as leadership, motivation, inter personal and communication skills. One of the main criteria of selection is to choose a candidate, who is beneficial to the organization for a longer time. A personality test also confirms the potential usefulness of a person.

As the personality test is very subjective, it is very important to infer and interpret the applicant personality correctly. The personality of an individual plays a decisive role in his performance. Proficient and knowledgeable employees, who have excellent skills and intelligence sometimes fail to deliver because of personality problems.

Personality tests help in understanding the basic job-related personality traits of an employee. These tests help in assessing an individual’s value system, emotions, maturity and other personal characteristics.

These characteristics are expressed in personality traits like self-confidence, tact, optimism, decisiveness, conformity, objectivity, judgement, dominance or submission and impulsiveness or stability.

Interest and personality tests sometimes draw fake response from applicants who try to impress their prospective employer. The applicants may try to hide their actual personality traits and interests and project themselves differently just to gain employment and entry into the organization.

The employer has to employ effective methods of scoring to prevent this. Testing methods like ‘Kuder Preference Record’ have proved to be good at evaluating the occupational interests of the applicants.

(v) Interest Tests:

If an individual is genuinely interested in a job, he is likely to perform better in that job. Interest tests help companies to identify and understand the degree of interest a candidate has in a job. For example, a candidate who looks for variety in his job might not be interested in doing a mechanical and monotonous job.

These tests help in assessing an individual genuine interest in a job and its profile. They are generally inventories of the likes and dislikes of candidates in relation of work, job, occupations, hobbies and recreational activities. These provide valuable information regarding the profile of the candidate and his suitability to a job.

(vi) Achievement Tests:

Achievement tests are also termed proficiency or knowledge tests. These tests measure the job-related proficiency and knowledge of the applicants. Organizations use these tests to identify and select experienced applicants. These tests can be classified as ‘job knowledge’ tests and ‘work sample’ tests.

In a job knowledge test, the knowledge of the applicant in his area of experience is tested. In the work sample test, the ability of the candidate to perform the job and is experienced is tested. Basically the second one is a kind of an experiential test, in which the candidate might be asked to perform a few job-related tasks.

(vii) Situational Tests:

Situational tests are generally used in middle and senior level management selection, to test the applicant’s likely responses to real-life business situations. The candidates are exposed to simulated business situations and their responses are recorded and evaluated. Situational tests include ‘group discussions’, ‘in basket exercise’ and ‘simulated business games’.

In a group discussion the group members are usually left to interact on their own, without any leader or moderator specified. The initiative, leadership qualities, negotiating skills, communication skills, and decision-making skills of the candidates can be assessed by observing the group discussion.

Many organization use ‘group discussion’ as a selection tool as it can be completed quickly and the evaluation can be done on the spot. The objective of the exercise is also clear to all the candidates in the group. The other advantage of group discussion is that it drastically reduces the number of people going on to the next round, which in most of the cases, is an interview.

The ‘in-basket exercise’ tests the managerial and administrative skills of the candidate. The candidate is exposed to a simulated office situation where he has to respond to letters, clear important documents, schedule his meetings, meet his colleagues and make some important business related decisions-all activities which are normally a part of a day’s work.

This exercise brings out the capabilities of a candidate in an office environment. In simulated business games, candidates play the role of a simulated character and are evaluated within a group. These are used for a variety of executive activities, from capital asset management to marketing. The games vary from stock market simulation to battle simulations.

(viii) Polygraph Tests:

Polygraph tests are conducted to test the validity and truthfulness of an applicant’s answer, by monitoring the physical changes in his body as he answers a series of questions.

The law prohibits the use of such tests for normal employment. However, these tests are used in screening applicants for defense and high-profile security jobs where it is essential that an employee is completely trustworthy.

Employee Selection Process # 4. Employment Interview:

The interview is used extensively in requirement and promotion. The element of subjectively is often responsible for variations in assessment, even under a similar set of conditions.

To make the interviewing technique more objective, not only does the training of the interview board members need to be orgainsed the rating practice also needs to be continuously upgraded and improved. The information collected through application and test can be cross checked in the interview.

Employee Selection Process # 5. Checking References:

Once the candidate has cleared various tests and has been found satisfactory at the interview, the organization would like to get some important personnel traits of the candidate, such as his character traits, past history, previous employment etc.

Two main reasons to conduct background investigation and referenda check are first to verify the information provided by the applicant, second to verify his criminal record, if any, for many employment e.g. Police job. A reference form is sent to the person whose names are mentioned in the applicant bio data.

The references may provide significant information about the candidate if they happened to be his former employers or with whom he might have been working earlier. The applicants are normally asked to name two or three persons who know about his experiences, skill, ability, etc. but should not be related to him.

The prospective employer normally makes an investigation on the references supplied by the candidate and undertakes search into his past employment, education, personal reputation, etc. Though checking references may be a good source of information but referees may not give frank opinion about the candidate.

If the referee happens to be a former employer he will, generally, either praise the candidate or criticize his work and ability. Such extreme postures may not help in knowing the exact position of candidates. There may be persons who will not say bad things about a candidate when it is a question of his future. They will say good things about the candidates.

It may be said that checking references does not serve much of a purpose because no impartial evaluation of the candidates is received from the referees.

Employee Selection Process # 6. Physical Examination:

A physical examination revels whether or not a candidate possesses the perquisite physical fitness as specified in the job specification. The medical examination establishes a record and base line of the applicant’s health for the purpose of future insurance claims or compensation claims.

It also identifies communicable diseases, which could hinder the working of the applicant in a team. Many big organizations maintain a separate medical department which conducts the medical examination and various tests required. Once all these various test are conducted on the candidate, he is then introduced to the organization and the staff.

After the selection decision and before the job offer is made, the candidate is required to undergo physical fitness test. Candidates are sent for physical examination either to the company’s physician or to a medical officer approved for the purpose.

Such physical examination provides the following information:

(i) Whether the candidate is physically fit for the specific job or not?

(ii) Whether the candidate has health problems or psychological attitudes likely to interfere with work efficiency or further attendance?

(iii) Whether the candidate suffers from bad health which should be corrected before he can work satisfactorily?

(iv) Whether the candidate’s physical measurements are in accordance with job requirements or not?

A job offer is, often contingent upon the candidate being declared fit after the physical examination. The result of medical fitness test are recorded in a statement and preserved in the personnel records.

Such records will protect the employer from worker’s compensation claims that are not valid because the injuries or illnesses were present when the employee was hired.

Employee Selection Process # 7. Induction/Final Approval:

Once the selection process is complete, the new employee must be inducted in order to make a productive contribution to the organization. An induction or orientation programme is a must as it makes a new employee comfortable in the new situations.

Up to this stage selection is handled by personnel department or staff executives. Since the persons employed are to work under line officers, the candidates are referred to them.

Employee Selection Process # 8. Contract of Employment:

After the job offer has been made and the candidate accepts the offer, a contract for employment is executed by the employer and the candidate. The basic information that is included in a written contract varies according to the level of the job.

Generally, the following details are included in the contract Job title, Details of duties, Date when the continuous employment starts, Remuneration and method of payments, Hours of work including lunch break, overtime and shift arrangements, Holiday arrangements and details of holidays, Sickness leave rules, Length of notice due to and from employee, Grievance procedure, Work rules, Terms of Termination of employment, Terms for union membership Employers right to vary terms of the contract subject to proper notification being given.

Great care is taken in drafting the contracts. Often services of law firms are obtained to get the contracts drafted and finalized. Employers who belong too high employee turnover sectors, insist on agreements being signed by newly hired employees.

The limitation of contracts is that it is almost impossible to enforce them. A determined employee will leave the organization, contract or no contract it is for this reason that several companies have scrapped the contracts altogether.

Employee Selection Process # 9. Evaluation:

The selection process, if properly performed, will ensure availability of competent and committed personnel. A period audit, conducted by people who work independently for the human resource department, will evaluate the effectiveness of the selection process. The auditors will do an intensive analysis and evaluate the employment programme.


Employee Selection Process (7 Steps):

The selection of candidates typically follows a standardized process beginning with an initial screening interview and concluding with the final employment decision.

A typical selection process involves the following steps:

I. Preliminary screening interview.

II. Completion of application form.

III. Employment tests, interview, or other methods of evaluation.

IV. Medical examinations.

V. Background investigations, references, and medical check-up.

VI. Final decision to employ or hire.

The purpose of the selection process is to select the most suitable candidate who would meet the requirements of the job. The most suitable person is selected after eliminating the unsuitable applicants through successive stages of the process of selection. Even though the above steps are identified, the order and emphasis on each of these aspects may differ from company to company.

Some may give more importance to tests, some emphasize not just one but two or three rounds of interviews, some rely on background or reference checks, and some others on graphology, etc. However, let us examine the process of selection with reference to the steps identified.

Step-I – Preliminary Screening Interview:

A large number of applications may be pooled by the organization at the end of the recruitment process. The larger the pool, the wider will be the choice for the organization. It is not essential for the organization to invite all the candidates for the interview or for group discussion or testing.

A preliminary screening or an initial interview may be undertaken so that some of the candidates may be eliminated at the first step. The criteria for elimination may differ from job to job and from company to company. For example, only first class graduates will be called for interview or candidates with minimum three years of experience only will be considered, etc.

At times, companies conduct campus interviews and give a pre-placement presentation about the company. At the end of the process, interested students apply and a preliminary screening interview may be conducted then and there and a short list of candidates may prepared, to be considered for the final interview.

Sometimes in an organization, a junior manager may be assigned the responsibility of conducting the preliminary interview. He may elicit information on some important items as age, education, experience, pay, aptitude, location choice, etc. This usually helps the organization to screen out the misfits.

At the end of this step, a selection ratio may be worked out from the total number of applicants and the number or candidates to be considered for interview, with reference to the number of posts to be filled.

Selection ratio = Total No. of applicants/No. of posts to be filled

Some of the criteria to be considered for screening of applications are:

i. Personality characteristics

ii. Language proficiency

iii. Experience

iv. Technical knowledge

v. Aptitude

vi. Other factors

Since, preliminary interview is the first point of contact for the candidate with the company, the interviewer may conduct the process very smoothly and courteously.

Those candidates who are chosen at the end of Step-I may be required to fill an Application Form.

Step-II – Application Blank or Form:

An application blank is a comprehensive document, which elicits information from the candidate in a systematic codified manner. It is a useful device for an interview as it provides all the basic and necessary information including areas of interest, extracurricular activities, etc.

It is also a convenient device for circulating information about the applicant to appropriate members of management and as a useful one for storing information for later reference.

Most of the organizations have a standardized format, which elicits broadly the basic information about the candidate. Some of the formats may be too detailed or descriptive, while some others may be brief and comprehensive.

Information is usually collected in the following lines:

(i) Biographical data- Name, father’s name, place of birth, age, sex, identification marks, and marital status.

(ii) Educational background- Education completed, degrees awarded, grades obtained, year of passing, training undergone, awards, distinctions obtained, any other diploma or related course completed.

(iii) Past experience data- Previous employment, position held, salary drawn, nature of work, and reasons for shifting of work.

(iv) Other information- Hobbies, interests, participation in sports, participation in NCC, NSS, or other voluntary services.

(v) Reference checks- Names of two or more people who can certify the suitability of the candidate.

An application blank is a brief history sheet of an employee’s background and can be used for future reference in case of need. The data submitted should help predict the candidate’s chances of being successful in his job. The information sought should be relevant to the objective of selection. To ensure truthfulness, the application carries a threat of discharge at any time after employment if the information provided is false.

At the senior level, recruitment advertisements are released through various publications or, alternately, placement consultants hunt suitable candidates. The short-listed candidates have three levels of interviews, i.e., at the first stage with the placement consultants, at the second stage with technical heads/ project heads/regional heads, and finally with the HR functionaries to assess the suitability and also fitment of compensation to the short-listed candidate.

Weighted Application Blank (WAB):

Certain forms of application may be especially prepared by the companies to generate weighted scores. Any job would require a few skills or personal factors that directly influence the performance of the job. These are identified and candidates who had earlier experience in them are given extra points during the application screening.

This process facilitates speeding up of the recruitment and selection processes. For example, the job of a sales represent­ative would require good communication skills, young age and dynamic personality, and high levels of mobility and adjustment.

Candidates, who have undergone training in communication skills, are not married, and willing to travel would score higher than those who lack these criteria. It takes time to develop the necessary format for each job. However, it provides good data for scrutiny. It reduces employee turnover and helps the management to place an individual in the appropriate position.

In general, an application blank introduces the individual to the company and also provides a relative ranking of the candidate in relation to others.

Step-III – Use of Selection Methods:

1. Employment Tests:

As organizations become complex, the number and variety of jobs that employees have to perform also increase. To choose appropriate candidates from a pool of candidates, it is necessary to use tests, which are objective and multipurpose.

i. Standardized Tests:

A standardized test usually satisfies the following criteria-

a. Standardization:

Standardization implies uniformity of procedure in administering and scoring the test. The test constructor provides detailed instructions regarding the exact materials employed, time limits, oral instruction, preliminary demonstrations, and any other detail about handling a testing situation. An important aspect of standardization is the inclusion of ‘norms’.

Norms refer to average or normal performance. The obtained raw scores from a test can be interpreted against the backdrop of norms and the performance of the candidate can be assessed. A psychological test should satisfy the criteria of standardization in terms of prescribing the conditions of administration and providing norms to interpret the raw scores.

b. Reliability:

The second criterion for a good test is ‘reliability’, i.e., how good is this test? Reliability refers to consistency of scores obtained irrespective of who or when the test is administered. This is inbuilt in the construction of statements in the test with a statistical procedure. Reliability is usually stated in the form of an index in the manual. Reliability index is an indication of repeatability.

c. Validity:

Another criterion that has to be met is ‘validity’. Validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it purports to measure. It tells us what the test is actually measuring. A validity index for the text is developed before the test is published.

The above three criteria are necessary for a test to be considered as standardized and ready to use. Over the years, there is an increase in the usage of tests in the industry.

ii. Intelligence Tests:

Intelligence tests are basic mental ability tests. Intelligence refers to the application of knowledge to a given situation leading to efficient resolution of a problem. Since intelligence does not refer to any single trait, the test also comprises a variety of aspects, such as vocabulary, numerical ability, reasoning, spatial reasoning, and memory.

Some of the popular intelligence tests are Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale, Stanford Binet Test, etc. Intelligence tests are frequently used in preliminary or screening tests, which are followed by tests of special aptitudes. Another general use of intelligence test in a clinical setting is the identification and classification of the mentally retarded. In almost all competitive examinations, these tests are used.

iii. Aptitude Tests:

While intelligence tests may yield a score of IQ, the presence of job-specific skills does not get measured or identified through them. Aptitude tests are especially designed to assess the presence of such skills in an individual. The aptitudes assessed may vary, such as clerical, numerical, mechanical, spatial, verbal, etc. Aptitude tests when used in combination with intelligence tests or personality tests give good results.

iv. Personality Tests:

Personality refers to both intellectual and emotional traits of an individual. Since personality is popularly interpreted as a combination of traits, most of the tests try to identify the various dimensions that are included in personality. Some of the popular personality tests are the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) test, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test. These tests are very exhaustive and lengthy.

A psychological test is essentially an objective and standard measure of a sample of behaviour.

Psychological tests are used for a variety of purposes, namely:

a. Counselling students seeking admission to various courses

b. Diagnostic purposes to assess personality for research on human behaviour

c. Selection of candidates into organizations

v. Projective Tests:

Projective tests involve presentation of ambiguous pictures to the candidate and ask him or her to interpret the picture or write a story on it. Normally, when an individual interprets, his motives, attitudes, aspirations get projected onto the theme. By presenting these pictures, the projections and the underlying motives, frustrations or aspirations can be known. Some of the popular projective tests are Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), inkblot test, etc.

vi. Interest Tests:

The strength and direction of the individual’s interests, attitudes, motives, and values represent an important aspect of personality.

These characteristics materially affect educational and occupational adjustment, interpersonal relations, recreational pursuits, and other aspects of life. The basic idea behind the use of interest tests is that people are likely to be successful in jobs they like. In that case, they can be used as effective selection tools. Examples of interest are Strong’s vocational interest blank (SVIB), strong complete interest inventory (SCII), etc. Interest is an indicator of aptitude, which predicts later achievement.

vii. Achievement Tests:

Achievement tests measure the effects of learning. The emphasis is on what the individual can do at a given time. We may use these tests to study the effect of learning or training that an individual has undergone, such as learning French language or computer programming.

Some examples of achievement test are tests of achievement and proficiency (TAP), Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK), and California Achievement Tests (CAT).

2. Other Tests:

There are other tests that may be used singularly or in combi­nation, such as graphology tests, lie detector tests, psychomotor tests, etc.

In general, tests can be used as selection devices in that they elicit the latent or innate abilities that cannot be detected otherwise. The information thus obtained can also be objectively assessed. However, the information or data obtained from the tests need to be supplemented with group discussions, interviews, background checks, application blanks, etc.

Tests usually identify the degree of absence or presence of a trait or ability, but these do not predict the success of the candidate. Nevertheless, these serve as effective selection devices.

Other Selection Methods:

1. Work Simulations:

A typical work simulation exercise is simulated so that a candidate’s ability to do the job effectively can be assessed. For example, a managerial candidate may be asked to give solutions to a set of problems that are placed in the ‘in-tray’. An accountant may be given some financial data and asked to prepare statements.

The candidate then will be assessed on the relevance of content. The basic procedure involves choosing several scientific tasks that are crucial to performing the job for which a candidate is being recruited. The performance on the tasks is used as a predictor of later success.

It is a useful device for selection purposes as the actual work is being assessed. The fear of failing as might be in case of employment tests has no scope here.

2. Assessment Centres:

An assessment centre has been described by Lewis (1985) as a selection procedure that uses multiple methods of selection. An assessment centre is a programme of tests, work simulations, exercises, and interviews designed to measure and assess a wide range of different abilities, skills, behavioural characteristics, and potential required for effective performance on the job.

AT&T was the first company to use them in 1955. It is argued that setting up an assessment centre requires a database about all the skills required for all the jobs in an organization. Employees and candidates are subjected to periodic assessment of the skills and are provided feedback on the processes. It is not yet popular but a useful selection device.

The following is a brief description of the various assessment centre exercises:

i. Customer Situation:

A large equipment user (a national customer) has been experiencing recent problems involving a particular piece of equipment, culminating in a systems down situation. The problem with the equipment could be faulty software or that parts received to fix the equipment were damaged.

The participant, will be required to review information about the problem for 30 minutes and generate a potential course of action. Participants will then meet in groups to devise a consensus strategy to deal with the problem.

Assessors should expect a plan of action from the participants and may probe the participants for additional contingency plans. The participants will have 45 minutes to discuss the problem and develop a strategy.

ii. Employee Discussion:

In this exercise, the participants must develop a strategy for counselling a subordinate (a senior customer service engineer) who has been experiencing recent performance problems. The participant will have 30 minutes to review information regarding the technician’s declining performance over the last few months.

The participant will then have 15 minutes to prepare a brief report on the individual with recommendations for submission to the general manager. The participant will then meet two assessors to discuss the strategy.

iii. In-Basket:

In this exercise, the participant will assume the role of a newly transferred branch manager. The participant will have 90 minutes to review information related to various issues (technical developments, equipment maintenance specifications, customer information, etc.).

The participant will be instructed to spend this time identifying priorities and grouping related issues as well as indicating courses of action to be taken. The participant will then take part in a 15- minute interview with an assessor to explain the actions taken and the logic behind the decisions made.

iv. Problem Analysis:

In this exercise, the participant will be required to review information on three candidates and provide a recommendation on which of the three should be promoted to a branch manager position. The participant will have 90 minutes to review information and prepare a written recommendation.

The participants will then meet in groups to derive a consensus recommendation for the general manager.

Step-IV – Interviewing the Candidate:

Interview is the most popular method of selection. It is used along with employment tests and sometimes it is the only method used in the selection process. Its scope is quite comprehensive in that it integrates all the relevant characteristics about the applicant.

It gives a great opportunity to assess the individual on a personal level. In organizations, interviewing is used for a variety of purposes, such as selection, promotions, appraisals, counselling, disciplinary actions, etc. When used as a selection method, it provides an excellent assessment of the applicant’s personality, including his or her intelligence, interests, general attitudes towards life, etc.

Interview is an attempt to obtain the maximum amount of information from the candidate concerning his or her suitability for the job under consideration. Hence, an interview is the process wherein there is exchange of information between the interviewer and interviewee.

To optimize this process and use it as an effective tool, both the interviewer and interviewee should do their homework properly and help to make it a success.

An interview may be conducted by one interviewer or a panel of interviewers. It may be conducted in one sitting or in a sequence of sittings. Interviews may be classified in many ways. The main differences arise from the way the interviewer communicates with the interviewee, responds to his answers, asks questions, and forms the structure of the interview. Generally, interviews fall into the following categories.

i. Structured Interview:

This is the most common method of interview. Before the conduct of the interview, details of the information to be obtained are worked out and questions prepared accordingly. The questions include personal details, work experience, past life information, job shifts, future plans, family details, etc.

The interviewer first establishes a rapport with the interview and starts asking the questions in the same order that is prepared. As far as possible, the interviewer prevents the dialogue form deviating from the planned structure and keeps the dialogue on track. While the process is on, the interviewer also observes the facial expressions and body language of the candidate to assess his or her emotional maturity and sincerity and honesty in responses.

Since lie questions are all prepared beforehand, information can be recorded and verified later on. Comparison between candidates also becomes easy. The only disadvantage is that there is limited scope for the interviewer to give a detailed analysis.

ii. Unstructured or Open-Ended Interview:

In an unstructured interview, essentially, there are no pre-planned questions. The interviewer first asks some leading questions, which elicit some detailed information about the candidate. The interviewee usually narrates his or her past and the interviewer records important information such as achievements, crisis management, risk-taking behaviour, etc.

The interviewer looks for traits of character, nature of aspirations, and manifest and latent strengths and weaknesses in the interviewee. The purpose of such an interview is more to determine what kind of person the candidate really is.

iii. Stress Interview:

In a typical stress interview, the interviewer assumes a hostile role and asks questions rapidly, criticizes the interviewer, interrupts in between, makes derogatory remarks, floods the interviewee with a volley of questions, etc. The purpose is to find out how a candidate behaves in a stressful situation. This type of interview has to be handled carefully and the interviewer should be sufficiently trained and skilled to handle it.

Errors in Interviewing:

There are certain common errors in interviews, which need to be guarded against:

i. The Halo Effect:

Normally it is said that within 4-9 minutes of the start of the interview, the assessor arrives at a judgment about the candidate. The rest of the time is spent in justifying the impression. The impression may be a positive or a negative one. Basing on one observed characteristic feature, a generalization about the candidate is made.

This is referred to as the ‘halo effect’. What is needed is a holistic assessment of the candidate at the end of the process.

ii. Leniency:

A single assessor may be at times too lenient in rating the candidate. It signifies lack of interest, the attitude of playing safe, or lack of confidence on part of the interviewer. On the contrary, a low rating may be due to high expectations, lack of understanding, and rigidity of personality of the interviewer.

iii. Projection:

Errors of projection arise when an interviewer expects his or her own qualities, skills, and values in an applicant. Therefore, such selectors select candidates who resemble themselves.

iv. Stereotyping:

General stereotypes exist in the minds of people about gender issues, certain communities or categories of people, etc. When such biases in the interviewer affect the rating of a candidate, it is considered as the influence of stereo typing.

Elements in an Interview Form:

The following are the most common elements in an interview form:

i. Name.

ii. Tell us about your most recent job. Why did you decide to change?

iii. As you look back on your recent job, what did you like most about it? What did you like least about it?

iv. What do you feel are your three most significant achievements in your last position?

v. Could you tell us if you have any idea about what an effective manager should do?

vi. How do you feel your subordinates would describe you as a supervisor?

vii. Were you satisfied with the progress you made on your job? Why? Why not?

viii. What plans do you have for self-improvement during the next twelve months?

ix. What does success mean to you?

x. What do people criticize about you the most?

xi. Many of us improve our ability to relate to people as we develop more maturity. In what way would you say you have improved over the last two years?

xii. What or who has contributed most to your self-development? Think about a difficult decision you have had to make recently regarding your work. Tell us how you went about making this decision.

xiii. What has been the heaviest pressure situation you have had to face in the last year? Describe the circumstances.

xiv. What goals you have set for the next three years?

Step V – Medical and Physical Examinations:

Any job requires basic physical fitness of the candidate. Apart from this, certain jobs demand greater physical stamina, clear vision, etc. After the admini­stration of tests and completion of the interview process, the candidate is recommended for a thorough medical check-up.

This is done primarily to establish the fact that the candidate has a sound physical system, does not suffer from disabilities, and is not carrying any contagious diseases.

Step VI – Background Information and Reference Check:

The next step in the selection process is to check the background of the candidate. Normally, the candidate is expected to give two references at the end of the bio-data or application blank. If the candidate is already employed, the previous employer’s name is given. The personnel department contacts the referees and obtains the required information about the candidate.

The following are the broad areas on which information is sought regularity at work: punctuality, character, progress in work, absenteeism, willingness of the previous employer to relieve the employee, etc. This step will also clarify whether some cases are pending against the employee. Once the above procedure is completed satisfactorily, the hiring decision may be made.

Step-VII – The Hiring Decision:

After all the above steps are completed, the management makes the final decision as to hire the candidate. Each step has to be undertaken carefully and judgments have to be made about the candidate cautiously. A wrong judgement or choice will cost the organization dearly as it may lead to impairing the morale of the employees and loss of confidence in the selection process.

Hence, suitable candidates are intimated about the hiring decision after careful assessment. Then the organization offers an appointment letter to the successful candidate, with which the selection process comes to an end.


Employee Selection Process (Steps in Scientific Selection Process):

The aim of recruitment and selection is to find out the right man for each job, the procedure for recruitment and selection depends upon the nature of the job to be filled up. In the case of jobs which involves responsibility and decision-making, the procedure is rather elaborate.

But in the case of the ordinary workers, the procedure is to entrust the selection of men for higher jobs to the top management and the selection of ordinary workers to the foreman or supervisor of the first rank. But this practice is now being replaced by a more systematic system.

Under this system, the task of recruitment and selection is entrusted to a central department called personnel or employment department which consists of technical experts and psychologists.

Selection procedure employs several methods of collecting information about the qualifications, experience, aptitude, knowledge, nature and behaviour, physical and mental ability etc. of the candidates to find out the suitability of the candidates for the posts to be filled up.

Therefore, the selection procedure is not a single act but it is essentially series of acts or steps or stages by which different types of information can be collected through various selection techniques. At each step, important facts may come to light which may be very useful for comparison with the job-requirements and ultimate selection of the candidates.

Steps in Scientific Selection Process:

The important steps involved in the scientific selection process are as follows:

1. Job Analysis

2. Recruitment

3. Application Form

4. Written Examination

5. Preliminary Interview

6. Business Games

7. Tests

8. Final Interview

9. Medical Examination

10. Reference Checks

11. Line Manager’s Decision

12. Job Offer & Employment

Briefly discuss each of the above steps:

1. Job Analysis:

Job analysis is the basis used for selecting the right candidates. The first step to be taken by the organisation is to finalize the job analysis, job description, job specifications, and employee specifications. This is also known as requisition or human resource planning. The organization is therefore required to get the requisition of the workers from the supervisor who is in need of such workers. The requisition should clearly state the number and nature of workers required.

2. Recruitment:

Then the employment department will write to the employment exchange or advertise the vacancies in the newspapers and calls for the applications from the candidates. On receipt of the names of candidates from the employment exchange or the applications from the candidates, the employment or personnel department should scrutinize them carefully and eliminate the ineligible candidates and prepare a list of eligible candidates.

3. Preliminary Interview:

The preliminary interview is usually very short and aims at finding out if the applicant is apparently suitable for the kind of job for which he has applied. It seeks to get answers from him to the most important questions about the job. In case he is found to be apparently fit for the job, he will be given an application blank.

The advantage of preliminary interview to the company is that it saves the expenses of processing all the applicants through the remaining steps of the procedure. It is also advantageous to the applicant since he also saves his time and trouble of passing through the same procedure.

It avoids unnecessary waiting for the rejected candidates and waste of money on further processing of rejected candidates. It also helps the candidate to determine whether it is worthwhile for him to fill the application form or not.

Preliminary interview is generally carried out by a junior executive across the counter or at the reception office. The interviewer should be very careful to see that unsuitable candidates such as the over-aged, physically handicapped, less educated or inexperienced etc. are rejected outright but suitable candidates are not turned down in a hurry.

Preliminary interview is the first contact of the job-seekers with the organisation. Therefore, the interviewers should be very courteous, receptive and informal particularly when they have to turn down unsuitable candidates.

4. Application Blanks:

Applicants who are found to be apparently meeting the requirements of the job are supplied with application blanks. They are to be filled up by the applicants. They seek to obtain information from the candidates in their own hand-writing sufficient to identify them and make tentative inferences regarding their suitability for employment. Therefore, the application blank covers questions which relate to the fitness of the applicants.

The technique of application blank is traditional and widely used for securing information from the candidates. Many organisations formulate their own style of application forms depending upon the information required. They formulate different application forms for different jobs, at different levels, in order to solicit the required information for each job.

But some firms do not formulate their application forms but they ask the prospective applicants to write details about their age, qualifications, experience etc. on a plain sheet of paper. Some organisations use such application forms which are brief and general and in which information is available easily.

But some other organisations use such application forms which are elaborate and complicated to answer and which require detailed information about the applicants.

Generally, an application form seeks to get information on the following items:

I. Identifying information such as name, address, telephone number etc.

II. Personal information such as age, date of birth, place of birth, marital status etc.

III. Physical features such as height, weight, eye sight, etc.

IV. Educational qualifications- academic, technical, professional, special etc.

V. Experience in the previous jobs, duties performed, salary drawn, salary expected etc.

VI. References of two respectable persons.

VII. Miscellaneous information- games and sports, hobbies, extracurricular activities etc.

The use of application forms serves the following purposes:

(i) It helps to weed out candidates who do not fulfill the requirements of a job, e.g. lack of education, experience etc.

(ii) It helps the management in formulating questions to be asked to the candidates at the time of interview.

(iii) The information contained in the application forms may be used for future reference.

(iv) It can be used as a basic record of personal data for the candidates finally selected.

5. Business Games:

Business games are widely used as a selection technique for selecting management trainees, executive trainees and managerial personnel at different levels of the management. Business games are very useful in evaluating the applicants in decision-making areas, identifying the potentialities, problem-solving skills, human relations skill, handling different situations etc.

The applicants will be placed in a hypothetical work situation and they will be required to play the role situations in the game. Those who succeed in such games will also succeed on the job in which they are placed.

6. Employment Test:

Employment test is an important test in the selection of suitable candidates. In case of jobs involving technical knowledge, such a test becomes quite essential. But even in the case of clerical jobs, such tests are now held with a view to select the most suitable candidates for these jobs. For recruitment of a typist, a test can be given to check his speed and accuracy.

For recruitment of clerical staff, a general knowledge test can be held. Candidates for various jobs in a factory may be given similar tests known as trade tests. For example- a mechanic may be asked to repair the machine which he has to operate. There are many types of tests.

Important among them are- 1. Performance Test, 2. Trade Test, 3. Psychological Test, 4. Intelligence Test, 5. Interest Test, 6. Personality Test, 7. Aptitude Test etc.

7. Interview:

The aim of interview is to find out the candidate’s mental and social make-up and know whether the qualities possessed by him are suitable to the job for which he has applied. It also helps in finding out the physical appearance and mental alertness of the candidates. It is important to note that the aim of the interview is not to confuse the candidates and to detect them. It should therefore be conducted in a friendly atmosphere so that the candidates feel at ease during the interview.

A candidate should be received well by the interviewers and this will have a lasting impression on the mind of the candidate. During the interview, only the relevant questions should be asked to the candidate. In case irrelevant questions are asked to him, he is likely to feel that no justice is done to him.

Interview is invaluable as a means of evaluating such factors as poise or appearance, establishment of friendly relationship between the applicants and the concern and obtaining additional information or getting clarification or information already on the application blank.

If the interview is to be successful from the point of view of both, the employer and the applicant, the interviewers must know the principles and purpose of interview as well as the requirements of the jobs to be filled up.

8. Written Examinations:

Some organizations conduct written examinations for the qualified candidates after they are screened by the management on the basis of the application blanks and interview in order to measure the ability of the candidates in general knowledge and to know the candidates’ attitude towards the job, aptitude, reasoning, knowledge of English language and the subject knowledge etc.

9. Medical Examination:

Physical fitness of the candidates selected is checked up through the medical examination. Therefore, once the candidates are selected they will be asked to undergo medical examination. The primary aim of medical examination of the candidates selected is to determine whether the candidates selected for different jobs are best fitted for the jobs for which they are selected.

Medical examination of candidates serves to ascertain the candidates’ capabilities, protects the concern against the unwarranted claims under workers’ compensation laws and other laws and prevents communicable diseases entering the concern.

10. Reference Checks:

After completing the final interview and medical examination, the personnel department will undertake checking the references given by the candidate’s, who have furnished the names of two eminent persons who are not relatives. Such references may be from persons who know the candidates personal history, qualifications, character, achievements etc. and from the previous employers.

If the reference is from the previous employers, information about the job held previously, job description, period of employment, character, progress etc. pay and allowances, gross emoluments, benefits provided, rate of absence, willingness of the previous employer to employ the candidate again etc.

Sometimes, a telephone call is much quicker. However, the method of mail provides detailed information about the character, behaviour, performance etc. of the candidates in detail. Reference are made as a matter of routine and treated casually. Sometimes, they are not at all considered.

11. Final Decision by the Line Manager (On-the-Job Test and Selection):

The applicants who pass all the above mentioned screening tests are sent to the line managers for final selection. The line managers, usually the foremen or the first line supervisors, may try the candidates through on-the-job test before they are given a particular job on permanent basis.

This is quite essential because no procedure of selection can find out the whole reality of the suitability of the candidates selected. It is only by observing a candidate at work that it is possible to find out how he behaves with his fellow beings and supervisors and how he performs his job.

Even a competent person may not be found to be working satisfactorily at a particular job. In such a case, he will be considered as a misfit and will be required to be transferred to some other job. Thus, a candidate is finally selected for a particular job only after he has been tried by the line manager for a week or two.

12. Job Offer and Employment or Placement and Induction:

Placement and induction is the final phase in the recruitment and selection procedure. Candidates selected have to be placed in a job on a permanent basis. After conducting on-the-job test, a candidate will be placed on a particular job and will be introduced to his fellow-workers and supervisor. He is also assisted in making personal adjustments which are quite essential for his effective performance of the job as a member of the work team.


Employee Selection Process (8 Steps in Selection Process in HRM):

There is no standard selection process that can be followed by all the companies in all the areas. Companies may follow different selection techniques or methods depending upon the size of the company, nature of the business, kind and number of persons to be employed, government regulations to be followed, etc. Thus, each company may follow any one or the possible combinations of methods of selection in the order convenient or suitable to it. Following are the selection methods generally followed by the companies.

Selection procedure employs several methods of collecting information about the candidate’s qualifications, experience, physical and mental ability, nature and behaviour, knowledge, aptitude and the like for judging whether a given applicant is or is not suitable for the job.

Therefore, the selection procedure is not a single act but is essentially a series of methods or stages by which different types of information can be secured through various selection techniques. At each step, facts may come to light which are useful for comparison with the job requirement and employee specifications.

Steps in scientific selection process:

(1) Job Analysis.

(2) Recruitment.

(3) Application Form.

(4) Written Examination.

(5) Preliminary Interview.

(6) Business Games.

(7) Tests.

(8) Final Interview.

(9) Medical Examination.

(10) Reference Checks.

(11) Line Manager’s Decision.

(12) Employment.

Step # (1) Job Analysis:

Job analysis is the basis for selecting the right candidate. Every organisation should finalise the job analysis, job description, job specification and employee specifications before proceeding to the next step of selection.

Step # (2) Recruitment:

Recruitment refers to the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in an organisation. It is the basis for the remaining techniques of the selection and the latter varies depending upon the former.

Step # (3) Application Form:

Application Form is also known as application blank. The technique of application blank is traditional and widely accepted for securing information from the prospective candidates. It can also be used as a device to screen the candidates at the preliminary level. Many companies formulate their own style of application forms depending upon the requirement of information based on the size of the company, nature of business activities, type and level of the job, etc.

They also formulate different application forms for different jobs at different levels so as to solicit the required information for each job. But a few companies in our country do not have prescribed application forms. But they ask the prospective applicant to apply on white paper giving particulars about his name, date of birth, mailing address, educational qualifications, experience, etc.

Applications of some of the organisations are brief, general and easily securable while those of the others are quite elaborate, complex to answer and require detailed information about the applicant. Some firms ask the candidates to fill up the application forms in their own handwriting so as to draw tentative inferences about their suitability for employment. This is so particularly for the clerical positions.

Information is generally required on the following items in the application forms:

(i) Personal background information.

(ii) Educational attainments,

(iii) Work experiences,

(iv) Salary.

(v) Personal details,

(vi) References.

(i) Personal background information – It includes name, present and permanent addresses, sex, date of birth, marital status, health, height and weight, nationality, number of dependents, annual income of applicant’s parents, etc. This information can be used by the management to know the suitability of the candidate regarding his socio-economic background, neighbourhood, family status and background, sociological outlook, impact of these factors on employee behaviour, etc.

(ii) Educational attainments – These include list of schools, colleges, institutions attended, period of study, major subjects, class, percentage of marks, rank secured, extra-curricular activities, positions and membership held during educational career, hobbies, and interests, study either through regular course, or correspondence course or through private study, etc. This is the major area of information gathered by the organisation through application forms.

(iii) Work experience – It covers experience in all previous jobs with greater particulars about the nature and quantum of work handled, period of experience in each job, reasons for leaving the past employers, duties and responsibilities involved, name of the immediate supervisor, salary drawn, etc. This information enables the organisation to know the stability of the employee, his aptitude for the nature of work, nature of relationship he maintained with the past employers, etc.

(iv) Salary drawn in the present employment and salary and benefits expected.

(v) Personal items – Association membership, personal likes and dislikes, hobbies, etc.

(vi) References – Organisations ask candidates to send the names and addresses of persons who can be contacted for reference purposes.

Evaluation of Application Forms:

There are two methods of evaluating an application form, viz., clinical method and weighted method.

i. Clinical Method:

The clinical method takes the help of the psychology. Under the clinical method the application forms will be analysed in detail, drawing all possible inferences, projecting the applicant’s personality and forecasting future job success. A properly designed form can provide clues to a person’s leadership ability, emotional stability, assertiveness, writing ability, attitude towards his superiors, etc.

ii. Weighted Method:

Under the second method, certain points or weights are assigned to the answers given by the applicant in the application form. In developing a weighted application form it is necessary to identify those items of the personal history of the employees that differentiate between groups of successful and unsuccessful employees. Assigning weights to the responses in an application gives certain amount of objectivity to this device. But this approach requires a different application blank for each occupation group as it is a statistical technique.

iii. Biographical Inventories:

In some cases, management may wish to select the existing employees for the higher positions. In such a case, the employee is asked to submit for up-to- date bio-data which include name, address, educational qualifications, marital status, habits and attitudes, health, human relations, parental home, childhood, personal attitudes, present home, spouse and children, self-impression, recreation hobbies, interests, values, openings and preferences, etc.

Step # (4) Written Examination:

The organisations have to conduct written examination for the qualified candidates after they are screened on the basis of the application blanks so as to measure the candidate’s ability in arithmetical calculations, to know the candidates’ attitude towards the job, to measure the candidates’ aptitude, reasoning, knowledge in various disciplines, General knowledge and English language.

Step # (5) Preliminary Interview:

The preliminary interview is to solicit necessary information from the prospective applicants and to assess the applicant’s suitability to the job. This may be conducted by an assistant in the HR department. The information thus provided by the candidate may be related to the job or personal specifications regarding education, experience, salary expected, aptitude towards the job, age, physical appearance and other physical requirements, etc.

Preliminary interviews are short and known as stand-up interviews or sizing-up of the applicants or screening interviews. However, certain required amount of care is to be taken to ensure that the desirable workers are not eliminated. This interview is also useful to provide the basic information about the company to the candidate.

Step # (6) Business Games:

Business games help to evaluate the applicants in the areas of decision­-making, identifying the potentialities, handling the situations, problem-solving skills, human relations skills, etc. Participants are placed in a hypothetical work situation and are required to play the role situations in the game. The hypothesis is that the most successful candidate in the game will be the most successful one on the job.

Group Discussion:

The technique of group discussion is used in order to secure further information regarding the suitability of the candidate for the job. Group discussion is a method where groups of the successful applicants are brought around a conference table and are asked to discuss either a case study or a subject-matter. The candidates in the group are required to analyse, discuss, find alternative solutions and select the sound solution.

A selection panel then observes the candidates in the areas of initiating the discussion, explaining the problem, soliciting unrevealing information based on the given information and using common sense, keenly observing the discussion of others, clarifying controversial issues, influencing others, speaking effectively, concealing and mediating arguments among the participants and summarising or concluding aptly.

The selection panel based on its observation judges the candidates’ skill and ability and ranks them according to their merit. In some cases, the selection panel may also ask the candidates to write the summary of the group discussion in order to know the candidates’ writing ability as well.

Step # (7) Tests:

The next stage in the selection process is conducting different tests as given below. The objective of tests is to solicit further information to assess the employee suitability to the job.

The most vital technique of selection which gained significance in recent years is testing. It would be difficult for the organisations to evaluate the candidate’s performance only on the basis of application blank and/or interviews.

Employment-tests help the management in evaluating the candidate’s suitability to the job. These tests are also called psychological tests because psychologists have contributed a lot in developing these tests. Employment test is an instrument designed to measure the nature and degree of one’s psychological potentialities, based on psychological factors, essential to perform a given job efficiently.

The purpose of these tests is to help in judging the ability of a candidate in a given job-situation. The tests help in ranking candidates and are valuable in determining subsequent success on the job.

Thus, tests are useful in selection, placement, promotions, performance appraisal and potential appraisal.

Guides to Testing:

Dale S. Beach suggested the following guidelines for the employment test:

i. Tests should be in addition to other selection techniques as entire tests can only provide information about a part of total behaviour of a candidate.

ii. Test information should be taken into consideration to find out candidate’s weaknesses rather than strengths (as tests are more accurate at predicting failures than success).

iii. Tests are helpful in picking a most likely successful group from a larger group rather than successful individuals.

iv. A test should be tested in one’s own organisation as “a valid test is one that measures what it is supposed to measure.”

v. Tests can be held only in case of failure of other selection devices in providing satisfactory information.

vi. Test administrators should not heavily depend upon test score in making decision regarding selection of a candidate.

Relationship between test score and job success is not always linear. Hence, decision-makers should use the test score judiciously.

Concepts of Testing:

Testing concepts include job analysis, reliability and validity.

I. Job Analysis:

One of the important testing concepts is job analysis as it provides basic information about the type of the candidate needed by the organisation. Job specification and job requirements provide information about the demands made by a job on the incumbent, whereas employee specification gives the information about the characteristics, qualities, behaviour of the employee needed to perform a job successfully.

Thus, employee specification is the basis to decide upon a particular test or tests and minimum acceptable score in order to test whether the candidates possessed the required amount and degree of behaviour and qualities like intelligence, aptitude to perform the job successfully.

II. Reliability:

After identifying the test(s), the administrator of test should ensure the reliability of test/instrument. Reliability of a test refers to the level of consistency of score or results obtained throughout a series of measurements. If a person obtains same or similar score in the tests conducted in first, second and third time, under the same conditions, it is said that the test is reliable.

The reliability of any selection technique/test refers to its freedom from errors of measurement or its consistency under different conditions. A test is unreliable if the score differs considerably in first, second and third measurements. The causes of low reliability are-conducting the rest under non-standardised conditions, administering the test by different persons and under different psychological states of candidate, existence of factor of luck and ill-luck, etc.

Generally, as suggested by Beach, the reliability coefficient should be between + 0.85 and + 1.00. In general, higher reliability can be obtained from written tests.

III. Validity:

Any selection device should aim at finding out whether a candidate possessed the skills or talents required by a particular job or not. Each selection test aims at finding out whether a candidate possessed that particular skill/talent or not. For example, intelligence test aims at testing whether a particular candidate possessed the nature and level of intelligence essential to perform a job.

If intelligence test is effective in measuring the level of intelligence, then it can be said that the test is a valid one. The validity of a test is the degree to which it measures what it is intended to measure. A valid test predicts accurately the level of success or failure of a candidate on the job. According to Dale S. Beach, there are five kinds of validity viz., concurrent validity, predictive validity, content validity, construct validity and face validity.

After the tests’ reliability and validity are tested, the personnel manager has to develop a testing programme.

The following steps can be followed in installing a testing programme:

(i) Formulation of the objectives of testing programme.

(ii) Analysis of jobs to identify those characteristics that appears necessary for job success.

(iii) Making of a tentative choice of tests for a try-out.

(iv) Administering of those tests to an experimental group of people.

(v) Establishing of criteria for job success.

(vi) Analysis of results and making of decisions regarding test application.

Testing Terminology:

Setting Passing Stores:

i. A minimum score is that which should generally be at least twice as large as a chance score.

ii. A chance score is one which can be obtained even if a person knows nothing about the test’s subject-matter.

iii. A norm is the percentage of people who get less than or equal to certain scores.

iv. Alternative form means two or more versions of the same test which are identical in length, difficulty and type of coverage of questions but whose specific questions are different

v. A multiple choice test is one in which two or more possible choices are listed.

vi. A true or false test contains a list of statements and the test indicates which are true and which are false.

vii. A completion test contains sentences with one or more words or facts omitted, the task of the test is to insert the missing word or fact.

viii. An equivalency test is one of knowledge which indicates whether an applicant without the prescribed education or experience has the knowledge implied by an educational or work standard.

ix. An omnibus test is one which, although it contains diverse items, provides only a single score.

x. A test battery means that the applicant is required to take two or more tests, each, individually-timed, scored and weighed.

xi. A work limit test is one in which the applicant is permitted to finish the given work and the amount of time he takes is recorded.

xii. A time-limit test is one in which the applicant is permitted to take fixed time and the amount of work he finishes is recorded.

Step # (8) Final Interview:

Final interview is usually followed by testing. This is the most essential step in the process of selection. In this step the interviewer matches the information obtained about the candidate through various means to the job requirements and to the information obtained through his own observation during interview.

Types of Interviews:

The types of interviews are:

(i) Informal Interview,

(ii) Formal Interview,

(iii) Planned Interview,

(iv) Patterned Interview,

(v) Non-directive Interview,

(vi) Depth Interview,

(vii) Stress Interview,

(viii) Group Interview, and

(ix) Panel Interview.

I. Preliminary Interview:

(a) Informal Interview:

This is the interview which can be conducted at any place by any person to secure the basic and non-job related information. The interaction between the candidate and the personnel manager when the former meets the latter to enquire about the vacancies or additional particulars in connection with the employment advertisement is an example of informal interview.

(b) Unstructured Interview:

In this interview the candidate is given the freedom to tell about himself by revealing his knowledge on various items/areas, his background, expectations, interest, etc. Similarly, the interviewer also provides information on various items required by the candidate.

II. Core Interview:

It is normally the interaction between the candidate and the line executive or experts on various areas of job knowledge, skill, talent, etc.

This interview may take various forms like:

(a) Background Information Interview:

This interview is intended to collect the information which is not available in the application blank and to check that information provided in the application blank regarding education, place of domicile, family, health, interests, hobbies, likes, dislikes, extracurricular activities of the applicant.

(b) Job and Probing Interview:

This interview aims at testing the candidate’s job knowledge about duties, activities, methods of doing the job, critical/problematic areas, methods of handling those areas, etc.

(c) Stress Interview:

This interview aims at testing the candidate’s job behaviour and level of withstanding during the period of stress and strain. Interviewer tests the candidate by putting him under stress and strain by interrupting the applicant from answering, criticising his opinions, asking questions pertaining to unrelated areas, keeping silent for unduly long period after he has finished speaking, etc. Stress during the middle portion of the interview gives effective results.

(d) Group Discussion Interview:

There are two methods of conducting group discussion interviews, viz., group interview method and discussion interview method. All the candidates are brought into one room, i.e., interview room and are interviewed one by one under group interview. This method helps a busy executive to save valuable time and gives a fair account of the objectivity of the interview to the candidates.

(e) Employment Interview:

Under the discussion interview method, one topic is given for discussion to the candidates who assemble in one room and they are asked to discuss the topic in detail. This type of interview helps the interviewer in appraising, certain skills of the candidates like initiative, inter-personal skills, dynamism, presentation, leading, comprehension, collaboration, etc.

Interviewers are at ease in this category of interview because of its informality and flexibility. But it may fail to cover some significant portions of the candidates’ background and skills.

Problems of Employment Interview:

i. Excessive talking by the interviewer may limit the amount of job related information obtained from interviewees.

ii. Inconsistency in questions used with applicants may result in different types of information being gathered from applicants.

iii. Asking unrelated or less job related questions.

iv. Instability in questioning makes it difficult to gather spontaneous or follow-up information.

v. Overconfidence of interviewers in evaluation process may result in ineffective decisions.

vi. Nepotism and favouritism in evaluation may reduce the candidates’ confidence in the process.

vii. Bias towards sex, colour, race, community, tribe and ethnic groups.

(f) Formal and Structured Interview:

In this type of interview, all the formalities, procedures like fixing the value, time, panel of interviewers, opening and closing, intimating the candidates officially, etc., are strictly followed in arranging and conducting the interview. The course of the interview is preplanned and structured, in advance, depending on job requirements.

The questions items for discussion are structured and experts are allotted different areas and questions to be asked. There will be very little room for the interviewers to deviate from the questions prepared in advance in a sequence.

(g) Panel interview:

Interviewing of candidates by one person may not be effective. Hence most organisations invite a panel of experts, specialised in different areas/fields/ disciplines, to interview candidates. A panel of experts interviews each candidate, judges his performance individually and prepares a consolidated judgment based on each expert’s judgment and weightage of each factor. This type of interview is known as panel interview.

(h) Depth Interview:

In this type of interview, the candidates would be examined extensively in core areas of knowledge and skills of the job. Experts in that particular field examine the candidates by posing relevant questions as to extract critical answers from them, initiating discussions regarding critical areas of the job, and by asking the candidates to explain even minute operations of the job performance. Thus the candidate is examined thoroughly in critical/ core areas in their interview.

III. Decision-Making Interview:

After the candidates are examined by the experts including the line managers of the organisation in the core areas of the job, the head of the department/section concerned interviews the candidates once again, mostly through informal discussion. The interviewer examines the interest of the candidate in the job, organisation, reaction/adaptability to the working conditions, career planning, promotional opportunities, work adjustment and allotment, etc.

The HR Manager also interviews the candidates with a view to find out his reaction/acceptance regarding salary, allowances, benefits, promotions, opportunities, etc. The head of the department and the personnel manager exchange the views and then they jointly inform their decision to the chairman of the interview board, which finally makes the decision about the candidates’ performance and their ranks in the interview.

Step # (9) Medical Examination:

Certain jobs require certain physical qualities like clear vision, perfect hearing, unusual stamina, tolerance of hard working conditions, clear tone, etc. Medical examination reveals whether or not a candidate possesses these qualities.

Medical examination can give the following information:

(i) Whether the applicant is medically suited for the specific job.

(ii) Whether the applicant has health problems or psychological attitudes likely to interfere with work efficiency or future attendance,

(iii) Whether the applicant suffers from bad health which should be corrected before he can work satisfactorily (such as need for spectacles),

(iv) It reveals the applicant’s physical measurements,

(v) And it is used to check the special senses of the candidates.

Step # (10) Reference Checks:

After completion of the final interview and medical examination, the personnel department will engage in checking references. Candidates are required to give the names of reference in their application forms. These references may be from the individuals who are familiar with the candidate’s academic achievement or from the applicant’s previous employer, who is well versed with the applicant’s job performance, and sometimes from co-workers.

In case the reference check is from the previous employer, information for the following areas may be obtained. They are- job title, job description, period of employment, pay and allowances, gross emoluments, benefits provided, rate of absence, willingness of the previous employer to employ the candidate again, etc.

Further, information regarding candidate’s regularity at work, character, progress, etc., can be obtained. Often a telephone call or an e-mail is much quicker. The method of e-mail provides detailed information about the candidate’s performance, character and behaviour.

However, a personal visit is superior to the mail and telephone methods and is used where it is highly essential to get the detailed, actual information which can also be secured by observation. Reference checks are taken as a matter of routine and treated casually or omitted entirely in many organisations. But a good reference check used sincerely will fetch useful and reliable information to the organisation.

Step # (11) Final Decision by the Line Manager Concerned:

The Line Manager concerned has to make the final decision whether to select or reject a candidate after soliciting the required information through different techniques. The line manager has to take much care in taking the final decision not only because of economic implications and of the decisions but also because of behavioural and social implications.

A careless decision of rejecting would impair the morale of the people and they suspect the selection procedure and the basis of selection of this organisation. A true understanding between line managers and personnel managers should be established to take proper decisions.

Step # (12) Employment:

Thus, after taking the final decision the organisation has to intimate this decision to the successful as well as unsuccessful candidates. The organisation sends the appointment orders to the successful candidates either immediately or after sometime depending upon its time schedule.


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