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LUCRARE DE DIPLOMA LIMBI MODERNE APLICATE - THE RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION PROCESS IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

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UNIVERSITATEA „BABES BOLYAI”

FACULTATEA DE LITERE



CATEDRA DE LIMBI MODERNE APLICATE

LUCRARE DE DIPLOMA

THE RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION PROCESS IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

An Introduction

‘If you don’t recruit and select great people, you won’t have great employees. And without great employees you won’t have a great company’ (Sullivan in Alan Price, 1997: 128).

Finding the right person for the job has always been important and the decision to appoint an individual is one of the most crucial an employer will ever take. The recruitment and selection process is concerned with identifying, attracting and choosing suitable people to meet an organisation’s human resource requirements. They are integrated activities and ‘where recruitment stops and selection begins is a moot point’. Recruitment is often distinguished from selection by the claim that ‘recruitment is a positive act, that is, it is attempting to attract a pool of suitable candidates for a position’, whilst ‘selection is a negative process, that is reducing the likely candidates down to the number that are to be successful’(Bolton, 1997: 32). So a useful definition of recruitment is ‘searching for and obtaining potential job candidates in sufficient numbers and quality so that the organisation can select the most appropriate people to fill its job needs’ (Dowling and Shuler in I. Beardwell and L. Holden, 1997: 212); whereas selection is more concerned with ‘predicting which candidates will make the most appropriate contribution to the organisation – now and in the future’ (Hacket in I. Beardwell and L. Holden, 1997: 212).

G. A. Cole (1993: 128) gives another definition to recruitment and selection: ‘the principal purpose of recruitment activities is to attract sufficient and suitable potential employees to apply for vacancies in the organisation. The principal purpose of selection activities, by comparison, is to identify the most suitable applicants and persuade them to accept a position in the organisation’.

Recruitment is a term applied to the process by which suitable people are identified and allocated to work tasks. It is a function of crucial importance for effective human resource management. Yet, the way resourcing is conducting varies considerably from one organisation to another. In fact, there is no right way to set about employment resourcing – it depends on circumstances and the context of the organisation involved.

Employees are expensive assets to acquire but many businesses approach resourcing in a relatively unstructured manner. However, other employees use sophisticated methods with long-term objectives in mind, often attempting to balance considerations such as: satisfying the immediate need to minimise employee costs while maximising worker contribution to the organisation, fulfilling a long-term aim of obtaining the optimal mix of skills and commitment in the workforce.

At he heart of the cost-efficient resourcing process lies the need to identify work that must be done and the knowledge, skills and abilities required to do it. But it is not sufficient to deal with individual jobs: there are strategic implications to consider. Employers must make choices between hiring permanent employees and using contingent employees or subcontractors. Many businesses outsource non-core activities such as computer support, payroll, catering and cleaning to specialist providers.

In the past, selection has been about matching people to clearly defined jobs. In the twenty-first century, the emphasis is likely to be on wider criteria aimed at identifying flexible people able to fulfil multi-skilled roles. Selectors need a broad gasp of human resource strategy to make such choices. They need to understand the direction in which an organisation is intending to go and the kind of people who are needed over the medium to long-term. Human resource specialists have a high profile role in the selection process. Getting it wrong can have damaging consequences on their status and career and this has implications for the quality of their decision-making.

Selection procedures are costly, but the consequences of choosing unsuitable recruits can be even more costly. Selection is time-consuming and often involves senior staff. Large organisations increasingly use sophisticated tests and computerised packages, which are expensive to buy and require proper training to administer. At face value these procedures may appear to be objective; however, there are underlying issues of validity, reliability, fairness and equality of opportunity.

The recruitment and selection process must be as efficient as possible. It is always expensive and not always easy to rectify mistakes in selection. Often the organisation lives on with the consequences of poor selection for years ahead. If recruits are not the best available, it follows also that money spent on training is likely to be wasted. Finally, the poor performer has an adverse effect on others, leading to a decline in morale. Therefore, time spent on setting up and monitoring the best possible recruitment and selection procedures is time well spent.

The paper describes the essential elements of the recruitment and selection process. It contains both a theoretical part and a case study, where the theory is applied to real life situations.

The theoretical part is structured in three chapters. The first chapter begins by examining the human resource plan and how authorisation is given for starting a recruitment and selection procedure. The effectiveness of job descriptions and person specification is then compiled. The second chapter deals with how candidates are attracted, what recruitment methods can be used and how an effective job advertisement is written. The third chapter begins with a description of the selection methods like application forms, CVs, biodata, interviews, tests, references, graphology, assessment centres pointing out their advantages and disadvantages. The chapter ends with the decision-making procedures and the evaluation of selection methods.

The case study is an example of how an organisation, Delta Motors SRL, organises the recruitment and selection process for the Sales Representative position.

The purpose of the case study is to provide a practical example for the theory and to illustrate what kinds of recruitment and selection methods are used by this particular organisation in order to achieve great results.

Chapter I: Defining requirements

Human resource planning

How do organisations anticipate their resourcing needs? The first requirement is detailed and accurate knowledge of the current and expected position in terms of:

what jobs are being done now, and what jobs will be required soon

by whom

where

the skills and knowledge required for these tasks

the costs implications

From this knowledge base, businesses can plant and forecast resourcing requirements in the short, medium or long-term. Human resource planning is a process of mapping out the implications of business strategy for the number and type of people required by an organisation. In organisations, which take the topic seriously, modern human resource planning is particularly concerned with forecasting skill and competence needs as well as total headcounts. It has consequences for a wide range of human resource activities – such as human resource development, performance management and remuneration – as well as employment resourcing.

Before a recruitment decision can be made, the organisation must reflect upon any vacancy that occurs and link the decisions to the objectives set by the human resource plan of the organisation. The human resource plan sets a strategy for resourcing the organisation and each individual vacancy will need to be linked to this strategy before deciding how to proceed. In some cases, the organisation may be reducing staff overall so the vacancy could provide the opportunity to transfer another employee from an over-staffed area. The promotion and succession plan may have prepared other employees to take on this job so that there is a movement at various levels within the organisation. The job as it stands, may need to be re-designed for future work needs, or the tasks may be divided up differently. Technology may be introduced or upgraded which could reduce the need for some elements of the job. All these factors need to be properly evaluated before the decision to recruit is finally taken.

The number and categories of people required should be specified in the requirement programme, which is derived from the human resource plan. In addition, there will be demands for replacements or for new jobs to be filled, and these demands should be checked to ensure that they are justified. It may be particularly necessary to check on the need for a replacement or the level or type of employee that is specified.

In a large organisation it is useful to have a form of requisitioning staff. However, even when a requisition form is completed, it may still be necessary to supplement the brief information contained in the form about the job, and it will almost certainly be necessary to check on the specification. If a requisition form is not available, then the job analysed and a job description and person specification prepared. Existing descriptions and specifications should be checked to ensure that they are up to date. It is also necessary to establish or check on the terms and conditions of employment at this stage.

Authorisation

Before recruitment procedures are put under way, it is necessary first to confirm that the so-called vacancy does exist. Once this has been done, and probably it is best to confirm with the payroll department that somebody has left (or indeed is about to), the appropriate authorisation can be sought to fill the vacancy. In considering whether to fill the vacancy or not several factors will need to be considered. According to Bolton (1997: 35) these will include:

a)      the human resource plan and the projected demand for labour;

b)      the financial strength of the organisation – when times are tough a “freeze on recruitment” is not uncommon;

c)      consideration on whether the work can be covered by reorganising the duties of others in the department;

d)      questioning whether the job should be replaced “like for like” or should the opportunity be taken to consider alternative options, such as employing somebody with slightly different skills;

e)      considering if the position can be covered by using part-time staff or offering it as suitable for job share;

f)        can and/or should the work be contracted out?

g)       should the organisation take the opportunity to forgo recruitment and instead install capital equipment?

Decisions such as these need to be taken with an overview of the organisation in mind and not by simply referring to the relevant line manager, although he or she should be consulted before any decision is taken. It is generally the case that authorisation to employ will be made by somebody quite senior in the organisation – for example, somebody who is involved with the interpretation of the corporate human resource plan and who is able to take a strategic view of the organisation’s human resources. The decision will not be left to either the personnel officer responsible for recruitment, or the line manager who has lost the member of staff.

Securing authorisation ensures that the need to start the recruitment process is agreed by management as being compatible with the organisational/ departmental objectives. At the same time it provides an opportunity to consider options other than recruitment and selection, e.g.: to debate the potential for restructuring workloads/ departments and redeploying existing staff, to delay or eliminate expenditure on staffing and recruitment budgets.

Both opportunities are not without risk: redeployment of surplus staff may mean the incoming jobholder is not necessarily the best person for the job and result in management resentment against the system; inadequately thought-through restructuring or short-term cost-saving measures may damage the department and organisation in the long term, as opportunities fail be exploited for lack of suitable human resources. Human resource management approaches emphasise the links to wider organisational strategy and effective human resource planning. Debates at this stage may consider long-term human resource development objectives and succession planning alongside the immediate requirement to fill an operational post.

Job description

According to Bolton (1997), a job description is a ‘ portrait of a job at a point in time’. It is a statement of significant facts regarding the job’s duties and responsibilities and their organisational and operational interrelationships. The description should focus solely on the job and not the job holder.

Bolton (1997) clearly emphasises that ‘a job description does not set the employee’s job in cement’, that is it will not stand for all time. In his opinion, the whole business of job description is too bureaucratic, too inflexible and incompatible with modern business practice, which is characterised by devolved responsibility and individual initiative.

Price (2000) also agrees with Bolton’s opinion. In the past job descriptions were regarded as inflexible and definitive lists of tasks. Changes were subject to dispute. Today, employers tend to prefer staff to be ready to take on any required function. Rigid job descriptions would act as a barrier to flexibility and, in any case, technological change would render them out of date almost as soon as they are written.

Conventionally, job descriptions list information such as the job title and the main functions and activities of the job. They have tended to be simplistic and arbitrary, sometimes bearing little relation to everyday reality. Properly compiled, however, they can be valuable statements of purpose and function of specific jobs. To this end, Torrington and Hall (1995: 214) recommend that job descriptions should be written in a particular style:

describe tasks in the present tense, starting with an action verb – for example, ‘enters customer data on to computer database’

keep descriptions short, avoiding duplication

distinguish between tasks carried out personally and those which are supervised, clarifying individual and managerial responsibility

express performance standards in quantitative terms where possible

According to Peel (1995) there are four techniques of developing a realistic job description:

Ø      We should ‘observe’. For jobs that are primarily physical in nature, watching a person perform would give us most of the material we need to write the description. If several people are engaged in the same type of work, we should observe more than one performer. Even a good observer, may not understand what he or she is observing. Sometimes it involves much more than meets the eye. In jobs that are not primarily manual, there is little we can learn from observation alone. Just watching someone sitting at a computer terminal, for example is not enough to learn what is being done.

Ø      We should “question the performer”. We should ask the people who perform a job to describe the activities they perform. This technique fleshes out what we are observing. We must know enough about the work to be able to understand what is being said and to be able to ask appropriate questions. It is a good idea to prepare a series of questions in advance.

Ø      We should “question the supervisor or team leader”. If we are the team leaders, we should review in our mind how we view the position, what we believe the performer should be doing and the standards that are acceptable. If we analyse a job other than the ones we supervise, we should speak to the team leader or supervisor to obtain that person’s perspective of the position.

Ø      We should “make it a team project”. When work is performed by a team, job descriptions cover the work of the entire team. The best way to develop a complete job description is to get our entire team into the act.

Bolton (1997) believes that a job description should contain the following:

a)      The job title.

b)      The department and/ or section in which the job is located.

c)      A job code number.

d)      The title of the person to whom the job holder is responsible.

e)      The date at which the job description was prepared (or updated) and by whom.

f)        The grade of the job.

g)      A brief description of the job purpose.

h)      A statement of the key responsibilities of the job.

i)        A fuller list of the main duties of the job arranged so as to be consistent with key responsibilities.

j)         The date the job description should be reviewed

Additionally, though less commonly, some job descriptions will also contain a small organisation chart showing where the job sits in relation to others around it.

Here is an example of job description format by Price (2000: 112) which is more elaborate:

Identification

Title

Department

Grade

Hierarchical position (and organisation chart)

To whom responsible

For whom responsible

Regular contracts

Job summary

Brief outline of main tasks

Specific areas of responsibility

Sensitive lines of communication

Job content

What is done: analysis (advising, tasks)

How it is done: tools, equipment, treatment, relationships, strengths mental ability, judgement

Why it is done: relate jobs to others – section, department or enterprise

Standard of performance

Conditions of employment

Pay scale, annual leave, other benefits

Physical working conditions: hazards, dirt, heat, noise, fumes, weather, uniform, protecting clothing etc.

Abnormal shift/ hours pattern

Travel away from home

Prerequisites

Skills, knowledge, attitude and behaviour

Physical requirements: strength, eyesight, hearing, touch, dexterity

Figure 1, Job description format

Source: Price (2000: 112)

In fact, job descriptions vary from one organisation to another.

Most larger organisations have written job descriptions for each post. Smaller organisations may not have written descriptions. But even in the smallest organisation, the discipline of writing a description helps to clarify thinking, and to explain the job to everyone else involved. According to Peel (2001), a job description will need to cover at the least:

job title

the purpose of the post

who it reports to

the duties and key objectives

Depending on the needs other the job description may also include:

department

grade or salary range

responsibility for other staff

relations with other departments/posts

external relationships

The vacancy provides the opportunity to take out, review and update the job description. The manager responsible for the post, the personnel professionals and the outgoing occupant may be able to contribute to this review.

There are several pitfalls to look out for according to Peel (2001).

‘The description may not be up to date’. The job will need to be structured and described for the next occupant, not for the last.

‘The description may give little guidance as to what is actually to be done’. For effective recruitment and performance of the job the description may need to be rewritten or supplemented with additional information.

‘The description may be too rigid and restricting’. The way many jobs are performed may legitimately reflect the skills and interests of the job holder. This may be the case, for example, with creative, academic or professional posts, or when an area of work is split between a number of similar posts. In such situations job descriptions need to be flexible, but this should not be an excuse for woolly thinking. A good job description clearly sets out the work to be done, using active verbs. The use of adjectives – what is to be achieved – also helps to explain the job and supports the future review of performance.

The job description has uses for both recruitment purposes and for more general matters. Specifically in recruitment it will be used: to decide what skills should be required of the job holder, to help in deciding the contents of any job advertisements and to help determine a rate of pay (if this is not to be determined elsewhere).

Personnel specification

The information contained within the job description ‘the definition of the job in terms of its role and responsibilities’ and the job specification ‘the definition of the job in terms of skills, knowledge, aptitudes required’ will enable the organisation to decide what kind of person is required to fill the position (Bolton, 1997: 39).

The purpose of a personnel specification, or candidate profile as it is sometimes called, is to make explicit the attributes that are sought in candidates for the job in question. Thus, the personnel specification becomes a summary of the most important knowledge, skills and personal characteristics required by the successful candidate in order to be able to carry out the job to an acceptable standard of performance. The specification depends for its relevance on the nature and the scope of the job, as described in the job description, amplified where necessary by comments from the manager concerned. Naturally the nature of the job will determine the type and level of knowledge and skills required, but the job will be performed in a particular social context, and so it is important to have the manager’s view as to the sort of personal qualities that would permit the newcomer to fit into to the team.

Together, job description and personnel specification are intended to (Corbridge and Pilbeam, 1998: 158):

provide an objective focus for matching applicants to job requirements

communicate a clear idea of the job to applicants – in other words, a realistic job preview

provide an ongoing basis for performance and training needs assessment

Drawing up adequate specifications is not easy. As Munro Fraser (1954) puts it:

‘Each human being is unique and can only be understood as a complete entity. III-conceived attempts to force him into classifications usually lead to essential elements being either concealed or missed out altogether. But when trying to select from among a group of candidates, we want to be able to compare one with another. Thus we must describe each in terms which have a common application

Munro Fraser (1954: 56)

Fortunately for current practitioners in personnel work, there have been several useful attempts to draw up a practicable if not ideal classification of personal attributes for the purposes of selection.

One of the most common formats for personnel specification is Rodger’s (1952), which is commonly known as the ‘ Seven Point Plan’. The seven points are:

Physical Make-up: health, strength, personal appearance, and energy.

Attainments: educational qualifications, vocational training, and experience.

General Intelligence: thinking and mental skills, specific intellectual skills.

Special Aptitudes: the particular skills needed for this job.

Interests: the personal interests that could be relevant to the performance of the job.

Disposition: the personality type that is most suitable for the position.

Circumstances: the special circumstances that might be required of candidates.

To make the seven point plan operational would mean specifying essential and desirable characteristics under each of the above headings. More modern interpretations are likely to place emphasis on skills, work attitudes and interests apart from the above factors. In particular, restrictive personality requirements and criteria such as having a likeable disposition could introduce an element of bias into the process, and so tend to be treated very carefully.

In recent years the labour market has swung back in favour of employers. Now the problem is not so much of attracting candidates, but in deciding how best to select them.

‘ In practical terms, attracting applicants is less of an issue, but administration and deciding whom to offer employment to are more difficult with large numbers’

Lewis quoted in Cole (1993: 191)

The present situation encourages employers to set tight specifications for all but the scarcest of jobs. Even with this strategy, employers are being faced with large numbers of well-qualified candidates, and so selection processes become more time-consuming and problematic.

Another well-known classification of human characteristics for personnel selection is the ‘ Five-fold Grading System’ developed by Munro-Fraser (1954). Briefly the five aspects of the individual are as follows:

Impact on Others: physical make-up, appearance speech and manner.

Acquired Qualifications: education, vocational training, work experience.

Innate Abilities: natural quickness of comprehension and aptitude for learning.

Motivation: the kinds of goals set by the individual, his or her consistency or determination in following them up, and success in achieving them.

Adjustment: emotional stability, ability to stand up to stress and ability to get on with people.

Fraser is aware of the over-simplification of personal characteristics implied by his model: ‘We cannot chop a human being up into five separate sections…’ However, he justifies his position as follows:

Separating out these five groups of characteristics is no more than a means to an end. Its justification is its utility in concentrating attention on one facet at a time, each of which is a reasonably self-contained and distinct pattern of traits or personal qualities.’

Fraser (1954: 126)

Fraser’s model, like Rodger’s does make an important contribution to the recruitment and selection processes in organisations. It provides a practical framework for enabling selectors to make reasonably consistent comparisons between one candidate and another. Many organisations have adapted one or other of these two models to meet their particular needs for defining the personnel specification and then measuring candidates against it. Both can provide a good framework for interviewing. However, more and more recruiters are now using the language of competencies as a basis for the personnel specification and for a structured interview. According to Armstrong (1996) these competencies will be defined as:

‘work-based competencies’ – which refer to expectations of what people have to be able to do if they are going to achieve the results required in the job – these are the areas of competence which will be expressed in terms of outputs and the standards of performance they must reach in all the job’s main elements

‘behavioural competencies’ – which refer to the personal characteristics and behaviour required for successful performance in such areas as interpersonal skills, leadership, personal drive, communication skills, team membership and analytical ability.

Armstrong (1996: 451) also points out a personnel specification form:

Education, qualifications and special training

Experience

Work-based competencies

Essential

Desirable

Behavioural competencies

Essential

Desirable

Figure 2, Personnel specification form

Source: Armstrong (1996: 451)

Different cultures adopt alternative perspectives. For example, writing before the economic crises of the late 1990s, Whitehill quoted in Price (2000) observed that Japanese companies tended to take a greater interest in personality than technical attributes and looked for a personal philosophy compatible with the corporate climate. They sought employees who desired a stable life. Further, they had to be able to work as part of a group and have no unconventional political or social beliefs. Job-related criteria, such as knowledge of finance and marketing, were regarded as being of little importance, except in industries that demanded highly trained technical specialists.

The important point here being that the organisation is at least trying to introduce a greater element of predictability and control into an aspect of personnel management in which personal judgement and individual prejudice blend rather uneasily together in a situation where objective information may be in short supply.

Agree terms and conditions

The terms and conditions of employment to be offered with a particular job can be decided at any one of several stages. Where rigid pay scales are in place it is likely that the new employee will be placed on the same scale as his or her predecessor. The point on the scale may be determined by age, experience, qualifications or previous salary. The officer who authorises the position to be filled may influence the make-up of the job by putting constraints on the level of salary to be offered. This will also influence the recruitment method to be used. If pay is severely constrained, the recruiter may wish to place emphasis on the future potential that the job offers the successful candidate. A maximum age restriction may be used to deter the expensive applicant.

There is a case for deciding the salary band (if not the specific amount) and other elements of the reward package before attracting candidates. This can take time (for example, if the position has to be processed through a job evaluation exercise), but potential candidates may fail to apply without some indication of the reward offered as this often gives an indication of the level and status of the position. An independent survey carried out by Price Waterhouse in 1988 reported that 64% of respondents (typically middle and senior managers) would probably not apply to an advertisement that did not state a salary, although a similar figure would continue to read it if the salary was not attractive, as they regarded the stated figure as negotiable (Golzen in Beardwell and Holden, 1997).

The alternative is to wait and see who applies and then negotiate terms and conditions with the favoured candidate. This is a less restrictive approach and may provide a better chance of employing high-calibre people who match the long-term aims of the organisation. On the other hand, the organisation may project a poor image by appearing to be disorganised and unsure of what is on offer. Additionally, the perception that the company is trying to take advantage of a weak labour market and pay “what they can get away with” may damage its reputation in the long term. The most appropriate approach is, at least partially, determined by the organisation’s reward strategy, including the relative importance of internal pay equity and external competitiveness and the emphasis on individual and collective pay-setting.

Bolton (1997) considers that the job analyst should determine how the job compares with others that are similar and should be able to make a recommendation on pay. However, many employers (while having an idea of the appropriate salary level in mind) prefer to wait and see who applies for the job and then make a judgement on pay according to the experience, qualifications, and previous salary of the successful candidate.

Chapter II: Attracting candidates

Now that the organisation has a good idea of the profile of the candidate suited to the vacant position, the next step is to attract the attention of suitable applicants. The personnel specification will be used as a basis to create a shortened profile of the ideal candidate and likewise the job description will be used to extract information on the duties and responsibilities of the job holder. This information is then used to advertise the position and to send an information pack to applicants.

This is an important stage in the process because the primary aim of the organisation is to attract a sufficient number of good candidates. It should be noted that it is disadvantageous to attract too many candidates, because sorting out large number of applications is time consuming and costly. It is also disadvantageous to attract too few applicants because the organisation is faced with insufficient numbers, which limits choice.

The likelihood of attracting ‘suitable’ applicants depends on the detail and specificity of the recruitment advertisement or literature. Key factors such as salary, job title, career and travel opportunities obviously influence response rates. Considerable effort and money can be invested in the effectiveness of recruitment advertisements. However, employers do not wish to be swamped with applications from clearly unsuitable people. In some instances, honest job descriptions are designed to put off unwelcome applicants. For example, at Nissan UK job adverts emphasised the demanding nature of work, clearly stating that (Price, 1997):

the pace of work will be dictated by a moving production line and will be very demanding

work assignments will be carefully defined and will be repetitive

2.1 Recruitment methods

How does the organisation go about finding suitable applicants? A number of options are open to it. Before exercising these options a decision will be made on whether to handle the process internally or externally.

2.1.1 Internal recruitment

Many organisations fill vacancies from their existing staff whenever they can, and use procedures to ensure that this procedure is followed. These usually involve the publication of single job advertisements or regular lists of vacancies. Such advertisements will not usually need to be as detailed as external advertisements, as the background and such matters as salary and conditions of employment will generally be well known to possible candidates.

Internal recruitment, using word of mouth, staff notices, newsletters and vacancy journals may be on a one-off basis or form part of a planned development programme. In recent years, corporate Intranets have been introduced which provide information and data capture facilities on an organisation’s system of networked computers. Intranets are increasingly used to advertise internal job vacancies before details are made available to a wider public.

People who already work for the company may make valuable members of the team. They may work at jobs which they don’t use their full potential, or they may be ready for new challenges. Joining the team would be a move up for them. Even if an operating isn’t an immediate promotion, a lateral transfer might enable that person to take a step forward in reaching his or her career goals.

According to Peel (1995) there are many advantages from seeking to fill a team vacancy from within a company:

Ø People who already work in the company know ‘the lay of the land’. They are familiar with the company’s rules and regulations, customs and culture, and practices and idiosyncrasies. Hiring these people rather than someone from outside the company saves time in orientation and minimises the risks of dissatisfaction, with the company.

Ø It is known more about these people than it can possibly be learnt about outsiders. Detailed and honest information can be obtained about a candidate from previous supervisors and company records.

Ø Offering opportunities to current employees boosts morale and serves as an incentive for them to perform at their highest level.

Ø An important side effect is that it creates a positive image of the company in the industry and in the community. This image encourages good people to apply when jobs for outsiders do become available.

Although the advantages of internal promotion usually outweigh the limitations, there are disadvantages Peel (1995) to consider:

Ø If people are promoted only from within , there is a limitation of the sources from which to draw candidates and there may be a restriction to promoting a person significantly less qualified than someone from outside the company

Ø People who have worked in other companies bring with them new and different ideas and know-how that can benefit the team.

Ø Outsiders look at the activities with a fresh view, not tainted by overfamiliarity.

First consideration should be given to internal candidates, although some organisations with powerful equal opportunity policies (often local authorities) insist that all internal candidates should apply for vacancies on the same footing as external candidates.

2.1.2 External recruitment

In the discussions that follow it is assumed that the organisation has decided to recruit externally, that the vacant position needs to be brought to the attention of the wider labour market. There are numerous organisations willing to assist the organisation in the search for new employees. Some offer their services for no charge, others will take a considerable fee (based on a percentage of the position’s salary) and also expenses. Some illustrative examples are considered below:

Advertising

Advertising is the most obvious method of attracting candidates. These days, jobs are more frequently advertised in newspapers.

Less specialised jobs, which are likely to be filled by those, already living within easy travelling distance may be advertised in local newspapers. Higher level or more specialist jobs may be advertised in national newspapers, and senior specialist jobs may be advertised in the appropriate professional journals.

National advertising is a costly business, and early decisions will be needed regarding how much to spend. Space is expensive and in a competitive labour market, good design and copy writing can make all the difference. Some employers find it cost effective to use the services of a recruitment agency to design and place the advert.

According to Armstrong (1996) the objectives of an advertisement should be:

to attract attention – it must compete for the interest of potential candidates against other employees

to create and maintain interest – it has to communicate in an attractive and interesting way information about the job, the company, the terms and conditions of employment and the qualifications required

to stimulate action – the message needs to be conveyed in a manner which will not only focus peoples eyes on the advertisement but also encourage them to read to the end, as well as prompt a sufficient number of replies from good candidates

Writing good recruitment advertisements is not easy. A good advertisement is one that sells the job and the organisation, and attracts suitable candidates, ones that have a reasonable chance of being appointed. It tells potential applicants clearly and concisely what the job demands, what attainments and abilities are essential and what rewards are available to the person appointed. If the advertisement does its job well, it will discourage applications from those who do not meet the essential criteria, thereby saving everyone’s time and effort.

Peel (2001) considers that a good advertisement should contain details of:

The job’s title and its key duties.

The employer’s name – some employers prefer to remain anonymous and use PO Boxes or the services of a recruitment consultancy; others use their reputation as a means of attracting attention to the vacancy.

Location – sometimes jobs are not located in only one place and there is an expectation that employees will be prepared to move between sites; however some candidates may be reluctant to change their home base and will want to know where they will be based if successful before they apply for the job.

Salary and other rewards – there may be times when the employer does not want to give details of the rates of pay, for example, for competitive reason or because of labour market volatility; however, the lack of information may lead to applications from individuals whose expectations are too high. If at all possible, it is better to give an indication of the salary range by using ‘circa’. Details of other rewards can be included to attract applicants who may be seeking benefits such as membership of pension or health schemes, access to training and development opportunities or the potential of career advancement.

Attainments and abilities that are essential requirements – these can be taken straight from the personnel specification.

Other benefits – these can include being in a friendly team, interesting work, access to learning resources

How to apply – applicants should be told whether to send for an application form or to submit a letter with or without a CV; some employers provide additional information in the form of a recruitment pack or have someone available to answer questions.

The closing date for the receipt of applications.

The main types of an advertisement are the following according to Armstrong (1996):

Classified/ run-on, in which copy is run-on, with no white space in or around the advertisement and no paragraph spacing or indentation. They are cheap but suitable only for junior or routine jobs.

Classified/ semi-display, in which the headings can be set in capitals, paragraphs can be indented and white space is allowed round the advertisement. They are fairly cheap and semi-display can be much more effective than run-on advertisements.

Full display, which are bordered and in which any typeface and illustrations can be used. They can be expensive but obviously make the most impact for managerial, technical and professional jobs.

Generally it is better to use the services of a professional agency that can use its buying power to negotiate rates with the publisher, design the advertisement in its entirely and draft the copy. The design of the advertisement is what attracts the jobseeker’s eye as it competes with all the others on the page for attention.

Job centres

A job centre is a free external service, which the organisation could find to be of great assistance. It will advertise the job and help with choosing suitable candidates. This can be most helpful where there is a large pool of available candidates. Job centres can offer quick and efficient help with less specialised vacancies. The staff of the centre will advise on the wording of the advertisement, which will be displayed in the centre and on the Employment Service’s Web site. These are drawn to the attention of suitable job seekers. They are still largely associated with trying to get unemployed people into jobs rather than helping those who wish to change their job, although their services are available to all regardless of employment status. There are a number of government schemes aimed at helping disadvantaged job seekers obtain employment. Some of these offer inducements and support to employers to encourage them to give these people an opportunity. Details are available from job centre staff.

Recruitment agencies

They vary enormously in range, quality and price of the service offered. These agencies operate by building up a file of people who may be interested in and qualified for certain kind of vacancy. They will usually interview people before putting their detail on their files. These agencies charge a certain percentage of the salary attached to the job for making these available to the organisation. They will be responsible for advertising the vacant position and choosing candidates. The obvious advantage to the organisation using the services of recruitment agencies is the saving of time; and the small organisation without an adequate personnel or human resource function has the advantage of having specialist advice and assistance. The disadvantages are the costs involved and the fact that control of such important process is outside the organisation. Another drawback might be that some agencies do not adhere to the organisation’s equal opportunities policy and its implementation in a way an organisation would do when dealing internally with job applicants.

Executive search agencies

When the organisation wishes to fill a very senior position, or a highly specialist position where applicants are in short supply, it may resort to the use of executive search agencies. These agencies charge very high fees, but organisations using them believe that the benefits outweigh the cost. To obtain benefits will certainly necessitate providing the search consultant or head-hunter with a thorough job specification related to the vacancy.

Executive search consultants or headhunters first approach their own contacts in the industry or profession concerned. The good ones have an extensive range of contacts and their own data bank. They will also have researchers who will identify suitable people who may fit the specification or can provide a lead to someone else who may be suitable. The more numerous the contacts, the better the executive search consultant.

When a number of potentially suitable and interested people have been assembled, an informal meeting takes place and the head-hunter forwards the names of suitable candidates to the organisation.

Casual callers

These are respondents who read vacancy notices at, say, a factory gate, and could be attracted by the image of the company as an employer. They may show a reluctance to register with a job centre or agency, or to respond to a newspaper advertisement.

Word of mouth

This method must not be neglected, as many vacancies are filled by candidates who have learnt of them from friends, colleagues or neighbours. The advantage is that the prospective employee gets an insight into the nature of the job and conditions within the company. However if used alone this method may be regarded as discriminatory as only a limited pool of potential applicants are made aware of the vacancy. Also, this method denies possible good candidates the chance to apply. Therefore, word of mouth must be supplemented by correct, adequate advertising – especially when the appointment or promotion process needs to be transparent and the decision made on the basis of merit.

Schools, colleges, universities

Organisations that have traditionally taken on young people directly from the education system have operated a number of processes to recruit from this source. These include the ‘milk round’, where employers visit universities publicising their vacancies and interviewing final-year students. Organisations also attend recruitment fairs held around the country at universities. This can be both a time-consuming and expensive exercise. It can also generate a number of general enquiries rather than specific ones. Many organisations that recruit graduates with specialist skills will use the milk round as one way only in which they maintain a close liaison with those universities that supply the graduates with those skills they most desire.

Telephone hotlines

In most cases, the first major contact between a candidate and the organisation after receiving the appropriate information will be a written submission in the form of either a completed application form or a CV. An alternative first contact is a telephone ‘hotline’. This may be publicised through an advertisement, and candidates will be encouraged to contact the organisation to discuss the vacancies, conditions of work and so on. This has the advantage of facilitating a fast response and can encourage a larger pool of recruits, which may be important if there is a tight external supply of labour.

Open days

Some organisations use open days to encourage recruitment. Potential candidates are invited to come into the organisation to meet managers or team leaders, and to see what working for the organisation involves. This allows people to decide whether or not they are attracted to the vacant positions and to the organisation, and it can encourage them to enter the next phase of recruitment. As with telephone hotlines, open days can be useful where there are a number of similar vacancies and a relatively tight supply of labour.

Internet

The biggest single innovation in advertising has, of course, been the advance of the Internet. Although still in its infancy it’s growing rapidly. Soon Internet advertising will be the norm. At senior level it enables search and selection to be on a global scale. But the Internet is only a tool to bring people together more quickly. Ultimately we have to assess if a certain individual is going to be suitable for a particular job and fit into the organisation. The Internet may help us reach that point more quickly and more cheaply, but the final recruitment stage is a human decision.

A prime benefit of on-line recruitment is speed, with instant access to job details for applicants (advert, plus as much supplementary on-line information as the organisation wishes to provide). Costs can also be a fraction of what would be charged but this will depend on the service provider and the level of sophistication built into their site.

Gallager (2000) believes that an organisation normally has a choice of two Internet routes:

Using their own web sites – this requires both technical expertise and the ability to handle what could potentially be large volume of applications

Job boards, provided by third party – some of these market themselves as ‘career management sites’, giving advice on CV preparation and using psychometric exercises

The table below shows the relative use of some recruitment methods. Note that the table is based on a survey taken prior to the widespread availability of the Internet.

Method

Usage

Personal recommendation

Recruitment advertising

Direct approach by employer

Job centre

Recruitment agencies

Unspecified

Figure 3: Popularity of different recruitment methods



Source: Survey of UK employers, Price (2000: 122)

2.2 Recruitment monitoring and evaluation

Recruitment can be evaluated using a number of methods that consider both short- and long-term objectives. According to Bolton (1997) in the short term, evaluation will be by consideration of:

a)      The number of inquires received.

b)      The number of applications received.

c)      The suitability of the applicants for the position.

d)      Equal opportunities – is the position attracting applications from all groups within the labor market?

e)      The relative success of each of the places/ times in which the position was advertised.

f)        The average cost of recruitment:

Recruitment costs/ Number starting work = Average cost of recruitment

A number of conclusions can be reached from information gathered from the evaluation. For instance, if many inquiries about a job are received but very few applications, then it is possible that the quality of the information sent to interested parties should be reconsidered. If many applications but few are suitable, then it is possible that advertisements have been either incorrectly worded or inappropriately placed. If the profiles of the applicants (in terms of race, sex, etc.) do not match the profile of the labor market in which the job was advertised, then the organization should check its recruitment methods in relation to equality of opportunity.

The result of the evaluation should be fed back to improve the recruitment process for the future.

In the long term, evaluation will be concerned with considering the performance of those appointed and trying to correlate method and source of recruitment with eventual on-the-job performance. Clearly, such evaluation will only be possible if the numbers recruited are sufficiently large to make analysis meaningful.

Chapter III: Selecting candidates

Once the organization’s recruitment activities have succeeded in attracting sufficient numbers of relevant applicants from the external labor market, the aim of the subsequent selection activities is to identify the most suitable applicants and persuade them to join the organization. Selection is a two-way process, with the candidate assessing the organization as the other way round.

3.1 Choosing selection methods

It is unusual for one selection method to be used alone. A combination of two or more methods is generally used, and the choice of these is dependent upon a number of factors according to Torrington and Hall (1995):

Selection criteria for the post to be filled: for example, group selection methods and assessment centers activities would only be useful for certain types of jobs, as managerial and supervisory.

Acceptability and appropriateness of the methods: for the candidates involved or likely to be involved, in the selection. The use, for example, of intelligence tests may be seen as insulting to applicants already occupying senior posts.

Ability of the staff involved in the selection process: this applies particularly in the use of tests and assessment centers. Only those staff who are appropriately qualified by academic qualifications and/ or attendance on a recognized course may administer psychological tests.

Administrative ease: for administrative purposes it may be much simpler to, for instance, to arrange one or two individual interviews for a prospective candidate rather than organize a panel consisting of four members, each needing to make themselves available at the same time.

Time factors: sometimes a position needs to be filled very quickly and time may be saved by organizing individual interviews rather than group selection methods which would mean waiting for a day when all candidates are available.

Accuracy: accuracy in selection generally increases in relation to the number of appropriate selection methods used.

Cost: the use of tests may cost a great deal to set up once the initial outlay has been made they are reasonably cheap to administer. Assessment centers would involve an even greater outlay and continue to be expensive to administer. Interviews on the other hand, cost only a moderate amount to set up in terms of interviewer training and are cheap to administer. For the costlier methods, great care needs to be taken in deciding whether the improvement in selection decision-making would justify such costs.

3.2 Sorting applications

Applications are usually sorted in the following way. They are divided into three groups:

Clearly suitable

Possibles

Unsuitable

Clearly suitable applicants are called for interview, possible candidates are held temporarily in reserve, while unsuitable candidates are rejected. If the numbers accepting the invitation for interview are disappointing, then some of the possible candidates may be invited. In the current economic climate, it is more than likely that personnel departments will be overwhelmed with applications from prospective employees. In this situation, only two categories are likely to be used – suitable and unsuitable.

Application forms

One of the biggest advantages of using application forms is that the information about candidates comes in a standardized format. Every applicant is more or less obliged to complete all sections of the form, and any omissions are obvious. A well-designed application form should enable applicants to give a full and fair account of themselves, and thus be provided with an opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for the vacancy in question. The application form can be used as the basis for the job interview since it is the fullest evidence about the candidate available before the interview.

According to Gallager (2000) an application form should:

Ø      Be realistic and appropriate to the level of the job

Ø      Be piloted for readability and ease of completion

Ø      Not request personal information unless relevant to the job

Ø      State the procedure for taking up references, how these will be used and at what stage in the recruitment process they will be taken

Ø      Use clear language

Ø      Be accompanies by details of the job and clear information about the application and selection procedure

Forms were considered to act as a useful preliminary to employment interviews and decisions, either to present more information that was relevant to such deliberations or to arrange such information in a standard way rather than the inevitably particular display in the CVs. This made sorting of applications easier and enabled interviewers to use the form as the basis for the interview itself, with each piece of information on the form being taken and developed in the interview.

More recently the application form has been extended to by some organizations to play amore significant part in the employment process. One form of extension is to ask for very much more, and more detailed, information from the candidate.

Most organizations find that they need to have two or three different application forms to meet the differing demands of major employee groups, e.g. managers, clerical and manual staff.

One way of differentiating between application forms is to employ ‘closed’ forms, requiring only routine information for unskilled manual and clerical posts, and ‘open’ forms, requiring candidates to express opinions and judgements as well as providing some routine information, for managerial, executive and professional grades. An example of a ‘closed’ form is shown in Figure 4 below.

Job applied for:

Surname:

Address:

Date of Birth:

Marital Status:

First name:

Telephone No.:

Place of Birth:

Children:

Educational Qualifications:

School:

College:

Training Courses Attended:

Work Experience:

Present/Last job:

Employer:

Previous Jobs:

Weekly Pay:

Bonuses:

Notice Required in present job:

Referee:

Signed:

Date:

Figure 4, An example of a ‘closed’ form

Source: Cole (1993: 200)

As it can be seen, this form merely asks applicants to supply basic information about themselves. It does not ask why the applicant changed jobs, what work roles he/she prefers, what attracts them about the new job, and other probing questions. The merit of such a form is that it is simple to complete and the resulting information is standardised between applicants.

By comparison, an ‘open‘ application form asks for questions that provide clues to the applicant’s motives, personality and communication skills. An example of an ‘open’ form is given below, Figure 4.

Post Applied for:

Surname:

Address:

Date of Birth:

First Name:

Telephone No.:

Place of Birth:

Educational/Professional Qualifications:

School:

College:

University:

Other:

Career Details:

Current Position & Salary:

Brief details of Previous Posts: (commencing with most recent)

Principles Interests/Hobbies:

What attracts you to this post?

What contribution do you think you can make?

What has given you the greatest satisfaction at work to date?

How do you see your career developing in the next few years?

Notice required by present employer:

Referees: Please supply the names of two persons able to provide a reference on your behalf.

Signed:

Date:

Figure 5, An example of an ‘open’ application form

Source: Cole (1993: 201)

The ‘open’ form enables applicants to supply sufficient routine details about themselves, but then encourages them to reflect on their experience so far, and to explain something of their motives and aspirations. Such a form presents quite a challenge to a prospective applicant – those who are motivated will complete to the best of their ability, those who are not sufficiently interested will pass by the opportunity. Because this kind of form encourages a fair amount of self-selection to take place in the labor market, which, of course saves time and effort on the part of the organization’s selectors. Another advantage of the form is that it produces distinctive replies between candidates, which may also be very useful in deciding whom to choose. The slight disadvantage of this kind of form lies in the extra and varied amount of detail that selectors need to absorb before deciding whom to choose.

The curriculum vitae

The CV or résumé as it is usually known, is a candidate’s own description of haw he/she sees their personal history in relation to a job application.

According to Gallager (2000) most CV’s are a combination of two elements: standard routine/ routine information and personalized information. The first describes basic details such as:

Name, address and telephone number

Age, marital status

Education: secondary school/ college/ university etc.

Qualifications: certificates, diplomas and degrees

Professional memberships

The second element is a personalized view of such matters as the candidate’s job history, personal interest and motivation. Thus, the candidate may choose the order in which he/she describes previous experience, and can decide on how much or how little to say about time in particular posts, or in developing particular interests. CVs are designed to make us want to hire him or her. It can hide undesirable aspects of a person’s background and overplay positive factors. Many CVs do not list every employer - only those the candidate wants us to know about. Others do not give dates of employment, salary history, and other information we may need. A candidate has the scope to elaborate on his/ her experience rather as in the open application form described above.

Since CV’s unlike applications forms, do not come readily prepared and printed it is important for candidates to realize that they must make a good presentation of their information. Thus, recruiters require a neat and clear typescript or computer printout.

Biodata

A highly structured method of sorting applications is provided by the use of biodata. These are items of biographical data, which are criterion based. They relate to established criteria in such terms as qualifications and experience which indicate that individuals are likely to be suitable. These are objectively scored and, by measurements of past achievements, predict future behavior.

The items of biodata consist of demographic details (sex, age, family circumstances), educational and professional qualifications, previous employment history, and work experience, positions of responsibility outside work, leisure interests and career/ job motivation. These items are weighted according to their relative importance as predictors, and a range of scores is allocated to each one. The biodata questionnaire, which is essentially a detailed application form, obtains information on each item, which is then scored.

Biodata are most useful when a large number of applicants are received for a limited number of posts. The scores can then be determined, based on previous experience. These scores would indicate who should be accepted for the next stage of the selection process and who should be rejected, but they would allow for some possible candidates to be held until the final scores can be fixed after the first group of applicants have been screened.

There are certain advantages from the use of the biodata approach. It is a useful technique when it is necessary to screen very large number of applications in response to an advertisement. It is relatively objective and underlines the importance of using a systematic approach to compiling biographical information as a means to improving selection procedures. An obvious disadvantage is the large amount of time needed to establish the essential biographical items in the first instance, as well as the cost of such an exercise.

There are certain potential dangers in the use of biodata. The futures of personal background, which are accorded to the status of highly rated desirable features, might be favoured against certain minority groups. For example, favouritism could occur where the sample of employees from whom the biodata profile is drawn – which form the standard used to judge the candidates – is an unrepresentative group, or has distinctive features that could unfairly exclude others. For instance, if all the successful performers coincidentally had a particular type of family background, to use this as a discriminative factor would introduce favouritism.

Biodata criteria and predictors are selected by job and functional analysis, which produces a list of competencies. The validity of these items are predictors and the weighting to be given to them are established by analysing the biota of existing employees who are grouped into low and high performers. Weights are allocated to items according to the discriminating power of the response. Biodata questionnaires and scoring keys are usually developed for specific jobs in an organisation. Their validity compares reasonably well with other selection instruments but they need to be developed and validated with great care and they are only applicable when large groups of applicants have to be screened.

3.3 The selection interview

3.3.1 Types of interviews

Individual interviews

The individual interview is the most familiar method of selection. It involves face-to-face discussion and provides the best opportunity for the establishment of close contact – rapport – between the interviewer and the candidate. If only one interviewer is used, there is more scope for a favoured or superficial decision, and this is one reason for using a second interviewer or an interviewing panel.

Interviewing panels

Two or more people gathered together to interview one candidate may be described as an interviewing panel. The most typical situation is that in which a personnel manager or line managers see the candidate at the same time. This has the advantage of enabling information to be shared and reducing overlaps. The interviewers can discuss their joint impressions of the candidate’s behaviour at the interview and modify or enlarge any superficial judgements.

Selection boards

Selection boards are more formal and, usually larger interviewing panels convened by an official body because there are a number of parties interested in the selection decision. Their only advantage is that they enable a number of different people to have a look at the applicants and they compare notes on the spot. The disadvantages are that the questions tend to be unplanned and delivered at random, the prejudices of a dominating member of the board can overwhelm the judgements of the other members, and the candidates are unable to do justice to themselves because they are seldom allowed to expand. Selection boards tend to favour the confident and articulate candidate, but in doing so they may miss the underlying weaknesses of a superficially impressive individual. They can also underestimate the qualities of those who happen to be less effective in front of a formidable board, although they would be fully competent in less formal or less artificial situations that would face them in the job.

3.3.2 Interviewing

The purpose of the interview is to obtain and assess information about a candidate, which will enable a valid prediction to be made of his or her future performance in the job in comparison with the predictions made for any other candidates. Interviewing therefore involves processing and evaluating evidence about the capabilities of a candidate to the job specification. Some of the evidence will be on the application form, but this must be supplemented by the more detailed or specific information about experience and personal characteristics that can be obtained in a face-to-face meeting. Further evidence may be obtained from selection tests or from references, but the interview is generally regarded as the most useful source of information although its accuracy has often been questioned.

The aim of the interview

According to Armstrong (1996) selection interviews aim to provide answers to three fundamental questions:

Can the individual do the job? Is he or she competent?

Will the individual do the job? Is he or she motivated?

How is the individual likely to fit in the organisation?

The nature of an interview

An interview can be described as a conversation with a purpose. It is a conversation because candidates should be induced to talk freely with their interviewers about themselves and their careers. But the conversation has to be planned, directed and controlled to achieve the main purpose of the interview, which is to make an accurate prediction of the candidate’s future performance in the job for which he or she is being considered.

Interviews, however, have other aims. One is to provide the candidate with information about the job and the company. An interview is basically an exchange of information which will enable both parties to make a decision: to offer or not to offer a job; to accept or not to the offer. It may be better for the candidates to ‘de-select’ themselves at this stage if they do not like what they hear about the job or the company rather than take on a disagreeable job. A further aim is to give the candidate a favourable impression of the organisation to encourage the good candidate to join.

But it is unwise to make the company look too good or the job. This might only create dissatisfaction when the employee finds out what it is really like. The aim should be to provide what has been termed as a ‘realistic job preview’. This presents the unfavourable as well as the favourable aspects of the job and spells out the expectations of the business about what the employers have to achieve. It can provide the basis for a mutually agreed psychological contract.

Good interviewers know what they are looking for and how to set about finding it. They have a method for recording their analyses of candidates against a set of assessment criteria which will be spelt out in a person specification.

According to Armstrong (1996) the main elements of a good interview are:

o       Preparation

o       Sequence and timing

o       Starting and finishing

o       Structuring

o       Interviewing techniques

o       Analysing the result

Preparation

Careful preparation is essential and this means a careful study of the person specification and the candidate’s application form and/or CV. It is necessary at this stage to identify those features of the applicant, which do not fully match the specification so that these can be probed more deeply during the interview. It can be assumed that the candidate has only been chosen because there is a reasonable match, but it is most unlikely that this match will be perfect. It is also necessary to establish if there are any gaps in the job history or items, which require further explanation.

As Fowler (1991) suggests, there are two fundamental questions that need to be answered at this stage:

What more do I need to find out at the interview to ensure that the candidate meets the essential selection criteria?

What further information do I need to obtain at the interview to ensure that I have an accurate picture of how well the candidate meets the desirable and useful, though not wholly essential criteria?

The preparation should include making notes of the specific questions the interviewer needs to ask to establish the relevance of the candidate’s experience and the extent to which he or she has the skills, knowledge and levels of competence required. It is essential to probe during an interview to establish what the candidate really can do and has achieved. Applicants will generally aim to make the most of themselves and this can lead to exaggerated, even false, claims about their experience and capabilities. There is no one best sequence to follow. As Fowler points out: ‘Some interviewers prefer to go through the candidate’s history chronologically, some work backwards from the current job, others may choose to examine various aspects in turn, but not necessarily in date order’. What is important is to decide in advance what sequence to follow. It is also important to get the balance right. We should concentrate most on recent experience and not dwell too much on the distant past. We should allow time not only for the candidate to talk about his or her career but also to ask probing questions as necessary. You should certainly not spend too much time at the beginning of the interview talking about the company and the job. It is highly desirable to issue that information in advance to save interview time and simply encourage the candidate to ask questions at the end of the interview.

Starting and finishing

We should start the interview by making the candidates feel comfortable. We want them to provide us with information and they are not going to talk freely and openly if they are given a cool reception.

In the closing stages of the interview candidates should be asked if they have anything they wish to add in support of their application. They should also be given the opportunity to ask questions. At the end of the interview the candidate should be thanked and told what the next step will be. If some time is likely to elapse before a decision is made the candidate should be informed accordingly. It is normally better not to announce the final decision during the interview. It may be advisable to obtain references and, in any case, time is required to reflect on the information received.

Structured and behaviourally-based interviews

The problems with interviews is that they are often inadequate as predictors of performance – an hour’s interview may not cover the essential points unless it is carefully planned and, sadly, the general standard of interviewing is low. This is not simply a result of many people using poor interviewing techniques. More importantly it is a result of not carrying out a proper analysis of the competencies required with the result that they do not know the information they need to obtain from the candidate as the basis for structuring the interview.

The aim of a structured interview, also known as a targeted or behaviourally based interview, is to assess the degree to which candidates have the competencies which have been identified by the organisation as being necessary to attain the required standard of performance in a job. Such interviews are behaviourally based in the sense that that they are founded on the assumption that past performance is best predictor of future performance. Predetermined questions are put to candidates which are designed to elicit from their behavioural evidence as proof that they are competent in specific areas. Typical questions could be:

Describe a situation in which you persuaded others to take an unusual course of action

Describe an occasion when you completed a task in the face of great difficulties

Describe any contribution you have made as a member of a team in achieving a successful result

Describe any situation in which you took the lead in getting something worthwhile done

‘Behavioral event’ questions can also be put to candidates on how they would behave in situations which have been identified as critical to effective job performance. A typical interview may include about 10 pre-prepared questions and the answers provided by candidates are assessed by means of specially developed scales. Behaviorally based structured interviews are particularly useful when large number of candidates have to be assessed, for example when interviewing graduates. It was noted by Armstrong (1996) that interviews using this technique produced reasonably consistent and reliable assessments.

Interviewing techniques

An interview is a conversation with purpose. The interviewee should be encouraged to do most of the talking. The interviewer’s job is to draw the candidate out at the same time ensuring that the information required is obtained. It is desirable to ask a number of open-ended questions, which cannot be answered by yes or no and which promote a full response.

According to Armstrong (1996) a good interviewer will have prepared lots of other types of questions to be asked as appropriate, such as:

Probing questions which ask for more detailed and specific explanations of a candidate’s work experience, knowledge skills and competencies

Play-back questions which test the interviewer’s understanding of what a candidate has said by playing back what a candidate appears to have told him or her

Closed questions to clarify a point or fact

Hypothetical questions which involve putting a situation to candidates and asking how they would respond.

The questions to avoid are leading questions, which supply their own answer and do not tell us anything, and multiple questions, which only serve to confuse the candidate and the interviewer.

To enable a valid prediction to be made about likely success in a job it is useful to take the job description and help the candidate to identify areas of the past experience which positively relate to it. In these areas, the interviewer has to make a judgement on the importance of such gaps and how readily they can be filled by training and experience. If a complete analysis has been carried out (and this is highly desirable) the interviewer can similarly go through the essential competence areas and discuss with the candidate how he or she feels they match the competence profile.

Interviewers should always bear in mind that the quality of the answers provided by candidates depends on the quality of the questions. That is why it is a good idea to have prepared in advance some basic questions although these should be used with discretion – it is no good firing a string of questions at candidates. They should be introduced naturally and at appropriate times, and interviewers should be prepared to ask follow-up questions. The sort of general questions which can be put to candidates to get them talking about themselves and thus to reveal the information required include:

q       Now you know more about the job, which parts of your experience do you believe are most relevant?

q       Is there any aspect of the job that you are not sure you are qualified to do at present?

q       What steps have you taken recently to extend you knowledge or develop your skills?

q       What are the most significant things you have achieved over the last year or two?

q       What has been the most difficult aspect of your present job and why?

q       Is there anything else you would like to tell me about your qualifications, experience, and achievements that we have not covered?

The things we should do and we should not do when interviewing are summarised in Figure 5, below.

Do

Don’t

Plan the interview

Establish an easy and informal relationship

Encourage the candidate to talk

Cover the ground as planned

Probe when necessary

Analyze career and interests to reveal strengths, weaknesses, patterns of behavior

Maintain control over the direction and time taken by the interview

Start the interview unprepared

Plunge too quickly into demanding questions

Ask leading questions

Jump to conclusions on inadequate evidence

Pay too much attention to isolated strengths or weaknesses

Allow the candidate to gloss over important facts

Talk too much

Figure 5: Dos and don’ts of interviewing

Source: Armstrong (1996: 471)

Analyzing the result

The analysis of the result of the interview should concentrate on establishing the extent to which the candidate has met the specification. Reference should be made to each of the essential and desirable requirements set out on the person specification and an indication given of how the candidate measures up to them. Candidates who fail to demonstrate that they have the essential qualities required can be eliminated. The final choice will be made on the basis of the candidate who rates highest on both the essential and desirable characteristics.

It is essential not to be fooled by a pleasant, articulate and confident interviewee who is all surface without any substance in the shape of a good record and the potential to succeed in the job for which he or she is considered.

Advantages and disadvantages of interviews

The advantages of interviews as a method of selection are:

They enable a face-to-face encounter to take place so that the interviewer can make an assessment on how the candidate might fit in the organisation and what they would be like to work with

They allow the interviewer to describe the job and the organisation in more detail

They provide opportunities for interviewers to asking probing questions about the candidate’s experience

They provide opportunities to candidates to asking questions about the job and clarify issues

They enable a number of interviewer’s to assess candidates, where appropriate

The disadvantages of interviews are:

They generally lack validity as a means of predicting performance and reliability in the sense of measuring the same the same thing for different candidates (but a structured or behaviourally based approach and the use of tests or an assessment centre can help to overcome this problem

They rely on the skill of the interviewer, but many people are in fact very poor at interviewing (this problem can or should be solved by training)

They do not necessarily assess directly competence in carrying out the various tasks which the job involves (again this problem can be solved by structured interviews, tests and, where appropriate, assessment centres)

They can lead to favoured and subjective judgements by interviewers (again, training helps and it is generally desirable to get a second or even third opinion and compare notes).

3.4 Assessment centres

A more comprehensive approach to selection is provided by the use of assessment centres. Assessment centres are procedures and not necessarily places. They are expensive to set up, requiring considerable time and effort. Not surprisingly, they have been described as the Rolls Royce of selection methodology. They were first used during the Second World War to evaluate officer candidates and have since then spread to industry. They are regarded as being particularly good predictors of performance as since they can serve to improve reliability and validity by integrating multiple selection techniques (Corbridge and Pilbeam, 1998).

According to Blanksby and Iles (1990) there are several classic characteristics of assessment centers:

A number of assessment techniques must be used, of which at least one must be a simulation. Simulations could take the shape of work sample, group exercises and in-baskets. Simulations are designed to bring out behaviors, which are related to dimensions of performance of the actual job in question.

There must be multiple trained assessors.

Ratings must be pooled between assessors and assessment techniques in order to provide a judgement on selection, training or development program.

Overall, assessment of behavior has to take place at a different time from the observation of the behavior.

Simulation exercises must be pre-developed to elicit a number of desired behaviors. They must be tested in advance to ensure that the results are relevant to the organization and that they are reliable and objective.

All dimensions, qualities, attributes or characteristics to be measured by the assessment center must be determined by some form of job analysis.

The assessment techniques used must be designed to provide evidence for the evaluation of these dimensions.

Assessment centers can vary considerably, often being designed to meet the needs of individual organizations. They can also be used for promotion and assessing the development needs of existing staff. Typically, six or more participants are assessed as a group, but not in competition with each other.

The procedure may last from one to three days. Candidates are presented with a number of selection procedures, including at least one work simulation. This may consist of practical work samples, role plays, group exercises or in-baskets designed to demonstrate key competencies for the job in question. Other items normally include interviews and tests. Three or more trained assessors observe the simulation and conduct interviews. They take notes and rate candidates on predetermined criteria. They take it in turns to observe different applicants.

When the procedures are completed, assessors take one or more days to share observations and reach agreement on their evaluations. The final assessment for each candidate is typically presented in a summary report. This gives details of the candidate’s strengths and development needs and an overall rating of his or her suitability for the job.

According to Price (2000) there are some advantages and disadvantages to using assessment centres. Advantages include:

the focus on key elements of the job directly addresses the suitability of candidates to the position; the variety of techniques and assessors gives a full and balanced picture;

they are interesting for candidates, allowing them to meet several people from the organisation; they give candidates a flavour of the work involved, providing a realistic job preview;

there is some evidence that assessment centres are better at predicting successful candidates than other methods.

On the other hand, there are several disadvantages:

the exercises involved can seem demeaning to some applicants, particularly at senior level;

exercises may seem to be obvious so that candidates can ‘act’ for the short period of time required – this might not be suitable in a real job;

this is an expensive technique which is also very demanding on management time.

There are also issues of stereotyping and discrimination, which need to be carefully watched. The selection of exercises involves a degree of prejudgement about the candidate expected. Physical exercises can be discriminatory against some candidates.

3.5 Selection tests

Selection tests are tests, which are designed and used for the purpose of selecting and allocating people. The tests can be used in a number of situations; for example, in selecting people for jobs, in promoting or transferring people to other departments or jobs. They are also known as psychometric or psychological tests.

Selection tests are one way of establishing or confirming an applicant’s competence for the job. They can be useful if they are reliable and valid for the job for which they are being used. Selection tests are standardized sets of questions or problems, which allow an applicant’s performance to be compared with that of other people of a similar background.

The purpose of a psychometric selection test is to provide an objective means of measuring individual abilities or characteristics. These involve the application of standard procedures to subjects, which enable their responses to be quantified. The differences in the numerical scores represent differences in abilities or behavior.

According to Armstrong (1996: 473) a good test has the following good characteristics:

It is a sensitive measuring instrument, which discriminates well between subjects.

It has been standardized on a representative and sizeable sample of the population for which it is intended so that any individuals score can be interpreted in relation to that of others.

It is reliable in the sense that it always measures the same thing. A test aimed at measuring a particular characteristic, such as intelligence, should measure the same characteristic when applied to different people at the same time or a different time, or to the time person at different times.

It is valid in the sense that it measures the characteristic, which the test is intended to measure. Thus, an intelligence test should measure intelligence and not simply verbal facility. A test meant to predict success in a job or in passing examinations should produce reasonably convincing predictions.

3.5.1. Types of tests

The main types of tests used for selection purposes are: intelligence tests, aptitude tests, trainability tests, attainment tests, personality tests and interest tests.

Intelligence tests

Intelligence tests are the oldest and the most frequently used psychological tests. These are aimed at measuring the general intelligence of the candidate. Testing intelligence is a very controversial area and the tests used are, generally speaking, far from infallible. For instance test scores, can be improved with practice, and examples of intelligence tests are available in many bookshops. Intelligence tests are probably best used for diagnostic purposes and for this reason, ‘intelligence’ is grouped into a number of areas. These include mathematical skills, reasoning skills, skills of logic, problem solving skills etc. The relative performance of the candidate in each of the areas can then be assessed and a diagnosis of strengths and weaknesses made.




The difficulty with intelligence tests is that they have to be based on a theory of what constitutes intelligence and then have to derive a series of verbal and non-verbal instruments or measuring the different factors or constituents of intelligence. However, intelligence is a highly complex concept. There is no agreed definition of it among psychologists and the variety of theories about intelligence and the consequent variations in the test instrument make the choice of an intelligent test a difficult one. For general selection purposes, a test which can be administered to a group of candidates is the best, especially if it has been properly validated, and it is possible to relate test scores to ‘norms’ in such away as to indicate how the individual taking the test compares the with the rest of the population, in general or in a specific area. Such tests do not usually attempt to measure IQs.

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are designed to predict the potential an individual has to perform a job or specific tasks within a job they can cover such areas as clerical aptitude, numerical aptitude, mechanical aptitude and dexterity. All aptitude tests should be properly validated. The usual procedure is to determine the qualities required for the job by means of a job analysis. A standard test is then obtained from a test agency. Alternatively, a special test is devised by or for the organization. The test is then given to employees already working on the job and the results compared with a criterion, usually managers’ or team leaders’ ratings. If the correlation between the test and criterion is sufficiently high, the test is then given to applicants. To validate the test further, a follow-up study of the job performance of the applicants selected by the test is usually carried out. This is a lengthy procedure, but without it no real confidence can be attached to the results of any aptitude test.

Trainability tests

These are an attempt to return to measuring actual performance, rather than the aptitudes which are thought to underlie it. They are a means of resolving the dilemma of how to measure the performance of someone who has not yet learnt how to do a task. For example, it would be useful to attempt to administer a sewing machine performance test to someone who had never learnt to sew on a machine. But if we were prepared to teach recruits to use the machine once they had joined us, what we really need to know is whether they will be able to learn to use it within a given time. So we take a small part of the job, and under standardised conditions, instruct the applicants how to carry it out. Then we test them to see if they can do the task.

This method has been used successfully for jobs as diverse as building society manager and sewing machinist. It has the added advantage that it enables the applicant to experience some of the actual job content. This can be a very powerful self-selection device. Either he likes what he sees, in which case his motivation to do well is increased, or he does not like it, in which case he may decide to withdraw his application. Both parties will then be saved the expense and frustration that would be caused if the candidate’s aversion to the job was not discovered until after he had joined the company. Trainability tests require more time to administer than ordinary aptitude tests, as the candidate must be taught the task first. They also need a trainer to give instruction and a careful analysis of the task and relevant standards of performance. Even so, the benefits can certainly outweigh the extra effort.

Attainment tests

Whereas aptitude tests measure an individual’s potential, attainment or achievement tests measure skills that have already been acquired. There is much less resistance to such tests of skills. Few candidates for a typing post would refuse to take a typing test before interview. The candidates are sufficiently confident of their skills to welcome the opportunity to display them and be approved. Furthermore, they know what they are doing and will know whether they have done well or badly. They are in control, while they feel that the tester is in control of intelligence and personality tests, as the candidates do not understand the evaluation rationale. The employer often devises these tests.

From an employer’s point of view an attainment test may provide a better assessment than simply looking at a past record of achievements or non-achievements as the case may be. A standardized test of arithmetic or spelling may give a more reliable indication of relevant present ability than a comparison of school qualifications in Maths and English.

From the candidate’s point of view, an attainment test score will say more to an employer than simply talking about his of her skills. This is particularly useful when the candidate does not possess many, or even any, qualifications.

Personality tests

‘Personality’ is an all-embracing and imprecise term, which refers to the behaviour of individuals as the way it is organised and co-ordinated when they interact with the environment. There are many different theories of personality and, consequently, many different types of personality tests. These include self-report personality questionnaires and other questionnaire which measure interests, values or work behaviour.

Self-report personality questionnaires are the ones most commonly used. They usually adopt a ‘trait’ approach, defining a trait as a fairly independent but enduring characteristic of behaviour which all people display but to differing degrees. Trait theorists identify examples of common behaviour, devise scales to measure these, and then obtain ratings on these behaviours by people who know each other well. These observations are analysed statistically, using the factor analysis technique to identify distinct traits and to indicate how associated groups of traits might be grouped loosely into ‘personality types’.

‘Value’ questionnaires attempt to assess beliefs about what is ‘desirable or good’ or what is ‘undesirable or bad’. The questionnaires measure the relative prominence of such values as conformity, independence, achievement, decisiveness, orderliness and goal-orientation.

Specific work behaviour questionnaires cover behaviours such as leadership and selling.

There is a recognition that personality has a bearing on the competence of the individual to perform effectively at work, and that personality defects can nullify the beneficial aspects resulting from having the appropriate aptitude or ability. It goes without saying that a highly motivated, psychologically well-adjusted employee is of greater value to a company than an employee who is emotionally unstable and demotivated.

We could refer to personality as that part of us that is distinctive and concerned more with our emotional side and how it is reflected in our behaviour. In a recent major theory called the ‘Big Five’ factor theory (see the figure below), five basic dimensions of personality are introduced. This theory can be used to illustrate personality characteristics.

Dimensions

Traits

Desirable

Undesirable

Extraversion (1)

Agreeableness (2)

Conscientiousness (3)

Emotional stability (4)

Intellect or openness (5)

Outgoing, sociable, assertive

Kind, trusting, warm

Organized, thorough, tidy

Calm, even tempered, imperturbable

Imaginative, creative, intelligent

Introverted, reserved, passive

Hostile, selfish, cold

Careless, unreliable, sloppy

Moody, temperamental, nervous

Shallow, unsophisticated, imperceptive

Figure 6, The ‘Big Five’ personality dementions and representative traits

Source: Hampson (1999: 156)

By contrast, intelligence is concerned with the cognitive or thinking side of us, though, there are some areas of overlap. For example in Cattell’s (1963) 16 personality factors (16 PF) inventory or test, one factor refers to intelligence and the same applies to intelligence.

After the administration of a test such as Cattell’s 16 PF, a profile of the job applicant is produced. There are a number of personality inventories on the market with the same basic aim as Cattell’s 16 PF, such as Saville and Holdworth’s occupational personality questionnaire. When personality is assessed using one of the published tests, the next step would be to compare the resulting profile with some standard profile believed to be appropriate or relevant to the job for which the candidate is being considered. Obviously, a good fit would be advantageous, but one must be aware of the extreme difficulty of creating the standard or ideal profile of a job occupant. When a person is completing a personality questionnaire the organization would like to think that honest responses are given, and that the respondent avoids giving socially acceptable answers. In practice there could be problems meeting these conditions, as there could be difficulties in establishing clear links between certain personality traits and job outcomes (good performance).

Interest tests

Strictly speaking, interest tests like personality tests are not tests at all, because they are not about obtaining a good or bad score, or about passing or failing. It is for this reason that they are usually referred to as interest inventories or interest questionnaires. The aim of these interest inventories is to find out an individual’s interest in particular occupations. Interest tests cover interests in activities such as: scientific/technical (how and why things work or happen); social/welfare (helping or caring for people); persuasion (influencing people and/or ideas or selling goods and services); arts (designing or creating things or ideas); clerical/computing (handling data, systems).

The use of interest tests is limited compared to, say, aptitude tests in the selection of applicants. This is because the interest tests appear, at least on the face of it, easy to fake. For example, if a person ids applying for a position as a clerk, he or she may deliberately indicate a stronger interest in tasks related to the office environment.

The interest tests are probably most useful in vocational guidance where one assumes that people are less likely to fake them.

Computerized tests

Kleeman (1998) argues that computers are excellent for assessment and testing purposes. Assessment is repetitive, and every candidate should be tested in exactly the same time. Human assessors will vary in their approach from one applicant to the next, so computer tests increase the reliability of the test. Other advantages of using computers include:

the assessment procedure is precisely controlled – computers will follow specific instructions exactly

the assessment benefits from speed – applicants appreciate rapid feedback

people are not good assessors – humans make mistakes, are liable to personal favouritism and get bored marking test papers

There are several difficulties in using computers for testing. Traditional test formats may not be suitable for present-day computer software packages. The rigidity, which is useful for standardising the delivery of tests, can cause big problems. Multiple choice or simple factual formats can be readily computerised but the computer must be told the ‘right’ answer to mark them correctly. Any input which is allowed to deviate by as much as a comma from these answers will be marked as incorrect. An open-ended or essay type response cannot be reliable assessed by a computer.

3.5.2. Choosing tests

It is essential to choose tests, which meet the four criteria of sensitivity, standardisation, reliability, and validity. It is very difficult to achieve the standards required if an organisation tries to develop its own tests unless it employs a qualified psychologist or obtains professional advice.

The use of tests in a selection procedure

Tests are more likely to be helpful when they are used as part of as selection procedure for occupations where a large number of recruits are required, and where it is not possible to rely entirely on examination results or information about previous experience as the basis for predicting future performance. In these circumstances, it is economical to develop and administer the tests, and a sufficient number of cases can be built up for essential validation exercise.

Intelligence tests are particularly helpful in situations where intelligence is an essential factor, but there is no other reliable method of measuring it. It may, incidentally, be as important to use an intelligence test to keep out applicants who are too intelligent for the job as to use one to guarantee a minimal level of intelligence.

Aptitude and attainment tests are most useful for jobs where specific and measurable skills are required, such as typing or computer programming. Personality tests are potentially of greatest value in jobs such as selling where ‘personality’ is important, and where it is not too difficult to obtain quantifiable criteria for validation purposes.

Tests should be administered only by staff who have been thoroughly trained in what the tests are measuring, how they should be used, and how they should be interpreted.

It is essential to evaluate all tests by comparing the results at the interview stage with later achievements. To be statistically significant, these evaluations should be carried out over a reasonable period of time and cover as large number of candidates as possible.

In some situations, more tests may be used, including various types of intelligence, aptitude and personality tests. These may be a pack of standard tests supplied by a test agency or a custom-built pack may be developed. The biggest mistake to avoid is adding extra tests just for the sake of it, without ensuring that they make a proper contribution to the success of the predictions for which the pack of tests is being used.

Mckenna and Beech (2002) believe the advantages of the selection tests are the following:

tests provide quantitative data on the person’s temperament and ability that makes it possible to compare individuals on the same criteria (e.g. emotional stability, intelligence).

Tests are based on comprehensive theoretical foundations that underpin various behavioural patterns; they are reliable and valid and allow us to draw distinctions between people.

Tests are fair because they prevent corruption and favouritism in the selection and promotion of people.

Test data can be referred to again at a later stage to see how good it was in predicting actual success in the job

But there are also disadvantages to using selection tests:

Those tests may lack the ability to give responses that reflect their true feelings, so their responses are meaningless.

Questions in the booklet could be misinterpreted due to a lack of understanding on the part of some subject, and this affects the accuracy of the response.

The performance of an individual test is not what one might expect because the person is feeling unwell.

There could be some individuals who try to confuse the situation by giving irrelevant and stupid responses.

There could be others, particularly in personality tests, who are intent on creating a false impression; this amounts to faking in order to project a good image.

Tests fail to measure certain important personal characteristics (e.g. trust-worthiness)

Tests are unfair because they disadvantage members of particular racial and gender groups.

Tests are invalid because they do not measure what they are supposed to measure, and test scores are not good at predicting the work performance of the person tested over time.

There are certain weaknesses in the way testers administer tests, such as lack of skill in interpreting the results, and using inappropriate ‘norms’ (the figures to which the raw scores are related).

Given the widespread of tests nowadays, subjects could be motivated to get hold of copies of them to obtain practice of the tests. If so, performance in the real tests may reflect prior preparation more than the candidates’ true ability.

Whatever the shortcomings of selection tests, there has been a growth of their use in the field of selection, but this has been most pronounced in managerial positions and larger organizations.

3.6 Work samples

An important component of an assessment center is the work sample test, which is designed to be an accurate representation of performance in the job itself. The candidate is placed in a situation, which they are likely to face, if they are selected. The quality of their job is then assessed. Normally the test will have a time limit. Candidates will have to prioritize the work they are presented with and carry out as many tasks as they can.

For a secretarial position, this may include typing sample correspondence, dealing with inquiries and so on. As an extension to this approach applicants could be presented with a series of hypothetical situations, and then asked how they would respond. This is similar to situational interviewing.

Another example of work sample tests is evident in the selection of social workers, where candidates join in the examination of hypothetical cases to decide on the appropriate program of action and care.

A further variant of the work sample test arises in situations where an assessment is made of the individual ‘s performance in a group setting. In this case, two or more applicants meet to discuss a particular topic. Subsequently, their performance in the discussion is assessed.

Work sample tests are valuable in that they provide evidence in the candidate’s competence in actually carrying out specific tasks. However, as the situation of the test is simulated, rather than real, certain factors may affect the performance of candidates. Candidates may perform poorly if they are nervous or lack of background information and experience they would have if they were actually in the job. Work sample tests concentrate on the current competencies of candidates. However, where the organisation is concerned with flexibility and the future potential of candidates, it would be necessary to use other selection methods as well.

3.7 References

The purpose of a reference is to obtain in confidence factual information about a prospective employee and opinions about his character and suitability for a job.

Armstrong (1996) believes that the factual information is essential. It is simply necessary to confirm the nature of the previous job, the period of time in employment, the reason for leaving, the salary or rate of pay and, possibly, the attendance record.

Opinions about character and suitability are less reliable and should be treated with caution. The reason is obvious. Previous or present employers who give references tend to avoid highly detrimental remarks either out of charity or because they think anything they say or write may be considered as defamatory. Actually, references are privileged as long as they are given without bad intention and are factually correct.

Armstrong (1996) also believes that personal referees are entirely useless. All they prove is that the applicant has at least one or two friends.

Written references save time, especially if they are standardised. They may take the form of an invitation to write a letter confirming the employment record and commenting on the applicant’s character in general. If brief details about the job are included, previous employers can be asked to express their views about the suitability of the individual for the job. However, this is asking a lot. Unless the job and the companies are identical, how well can existing or ex-employers judge the suitability of someone they may not know particularly well for another job in a different environment?

More precise answers may be obtained if a standard form is provided for the employer to complete. According to Armstrong (1996: 482), the questions asked on this form should be the following:

What was the period of employment?

What was the job title?

What work was carried out?

What was the rate of pay or salary?

How many days’ absence over the last 12 months?

Would you re-employ (if not, why not)?

The last question is the key one, if it is answered honestly.

Telephone references may be used as an alternative or an addition to written references. The great advantage of a telephone conversation is that people are more likely to give an honest opinion orally than if they have to commit themselves in writing. It may also save time to use the telephone.

Employer references are necessary but they are unreliable. A satisfactory reference has to be treated at its right value. A very glowing reference may arouse suspicion, and it is worth comparing it with a reference from another employer (two employment references are desirable in any case). Poor references must create some alarm if only because they are so infrequent. But allowance should be made for prejudice and a check should be made, by telephone if possible.

3.8 Graphology

Graphology is a technique that makes predictions about future performance based on handwriting analysis. The basic premise is that applicants reveal their personality characteristics through their handwriting. Employers using this method would ask candidates to submit handwriting samples for analysis. Generally, handwriting analysis would not be used alone as a method of assessment. Where it is used, it is more likely to be one of a number of techniques selected to provide a total profile of the candidate.

Exponents of handwriting analysis believe that graphology can show the potential and ability of a person which does not appear in a CV or in an application form. The British Institute of Graphologists claims that analyses from trained graphologists are generally described by clients as extremely accurate and compare favourably with other methods of personality assessment, such as psychometric testing (McKenna and Beech, 2002).

A graphologist will require a candidate to submit at least one page of spontaneous writing in fountain or ball-point pen, preferably on unlined paper. The content of the submission is unimportant, but the writer is told not to copy a piece of text as this impedes the flow of writing. Precise rules are followed to measure the writing size, page layout, and width of the letter and pressure on the paper. These measurements are interpreted to reveal the emotions and talents of the writer. Apparently, the degree of pressure on the page conveys the writer’s level of energy.

According to Altman (1995), nowadays more than 75% of French companies use graphology as a standard selection procedure, and its use by Swiss companies is even higher. Companies in countries such as Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland, and Italy also use graphology regularly. Job advertisements in Continental European newspapers frequently ask for hand-written letters, and applicants expect their handwriting to be analysed. Therefore, it is not surprising to find many Continental European companies having in-house graphologists on their staff.

Clues about personality characteristics can be deducted by skilled graphologists. Nevertheless, the use of graphology as a single or standard predictor cannot be recommended.

3.9 Making the decision

Deciding on the outcome of the selection procedure is seldom an easy task. We are dealing with people all of whom are likely to find failure or rejection unthinkable. We are also trying to determine based on a few samples of behaviour something, which has an important bearing on the future success of our business. There are a number of things that we should do to try to make sure that our decision is the right one.

We should make sure that we have gathered all the information we need from the applicants: there should be no unanswered questions or gaps in our data. An assessment record, constructed along the same lines as our personnel specification, can be very helpful here. It should include space for us to relate our interview findings, test and assessment centre results and reference data to the criteria that we laid down in the specification at he start of the procedure.

We should evaluate all the information, bearing in mind the points we have made about favouritism, prejudice and the role of unfavourable information, and about the limitations of test and reference information.

We should use a rating system to record how each of the candidates matches our criteria. The best candidate will be the one who is closest to overall match, not necessarily the one with the highest total.

3.10 Evaluation of selection methods

The final stage of the recruitment and selection process concerns measurement of its success, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Any recruitment and selection system should be based on four fundamental principles: validity, reliability, fairness and effectiveness.

Validity

Validity measures how successful a selection technique is in predicting the future performance of the job occupant. Before we can measure validity, criteria have to be established as to what constitutes successful performance in the job, and also what constitutes successful performance during, for example, the interview process, or test. Measuring performance on a psychological test, for example, is not too difficult, but measuring performance when another selection device is used (e.g. the interview) is much harder. Statistical methods are used to relate measures of performance during the selection process to measures of subsequent job performance.

A valid selection process could be expressed as follows: those who score highly on a selection test perform better on the job than those registering lower test scores. A statistical relationship showing the correlation between test scores and indicators of performance could amount to +1 (a perfect positive correlation), -1 (a negative correlation) and 0 where there is no evidence of correlation and no predictive value. We should realise that validation of a selection method is by no means an easy task, and psychologists use different types of validity.

Reliability

The reliability of a test is the extent to which it measures consistently whatever it does measure. For example, all candidates for a job are subjected to the same tests and are questioned by the same interview panel, and if the procedures remain the same, the selection methods are said to be reliable. If a test is highly reliable, it is possible to put greater reliance on the scores individuals receive than if the test is not very reliable.

An example of an unreliable test is as follows: a person is examined on two separate occasions, using a finger dexterity test. He or she scored highly on the test on the first occasion, and was placed near the top of the group. However, without any material change in factors affecting the individual that person scores badly on the test on the second occasion and is placed near the bottom of the group.

Reliability of tests is something we might consider in the context of the implementation of an equal opportunities policy. It is important that all candidates have an equal chance to express themselves and show their competencies.

Fairness

If standards of fairness were universally accepted in the selection process, it would be commonplace for all applicants to be provided with equal opportunity to gain employment. Such an ideal is difficult to attain, as practice bears witness to a number of situations where people are discriminated against in the selection process on the grounds of, for example, race, colour, sex or disability. There is a view that some racial and ethnic minorities do not do as well as other applicants in many tests of intelligence and aptitude, and consequently are not selected at the same rate. We should recognise that a good test is not unfair simply because members of different societal groups obtain different scores. However, it has to be acknowledged that despite relevant legislation and guidelines, unfair discrimination still exists.

Cost effectiveness

It is important that the selection techniques used are cost effective. The cost of a selection mistake can be very high and this has to be balanced against the cost extensive procedures to minimise mistakes. Consequently, many organisations will use assessment centres (which are costly) for managerial jobs, and other positions considered important, but would not incur the same cost for lower level positions in the organisation. Similarly, biodata and psychological tests can be expensive to set up and use because the services of specialist professionals will generally be required. As a result they tend to be used for more senior positions.

3.11 Induction and follow-up arrangements

Induction is the process of receiving and welcoming employees when they first join a company and giving them the basic information they need to settle down quickly and happily and start work. According to Armstrong (1996), induction has three aims:

To smooth the preliminary stages when everything is likely to be strange and unfamiliar to the starter

To establish quickly a favourable attitude to the company in the mind of the new employee so that he or she is most likely to stay

To obtain effective output from the new employee in the shortest possible time

Company induction

The first stage in induction is when the employee arrives at the company. He or she should be welcomed by a responsible person who can provide basic information about the company and terms and conditions of employment. Some of the information will confirm what the employee has already been told, some will be new, but there is a limit to how much can be conveyed at this stage.

An employee handbook is useful for this purpose. It need not be too glossy but it should convey clearly and simply what new staff need to know under the following headings: a brief description of the company, basic conditions of employment, pay scales, leave of absence, company rules, disciplinary procedure, promotion procedure, education and training facilities, health and safety arrangements, medical and first-aid facilities, social and welfare arrangements, telephone calls and correspondence, travelling and subsistence expenses.

Company induction procedures, however, should not rely on the printed word. The member of the personnel department or other individual who is looking after new employees should run through the main points with each individual or, when large numbers are being taken on, with groups of people. In this way, a more personal touch is provided and queries can be answered.

When the initial briefing has been has been completed, new employees should be taken to their place of work and introduced to their manager or team leader for the departmental induction program. Alternatively they may go straight to training school and join the department later.

Departmental induction

The departmental induction program should start with the departmental manager, not the immediate team leader. The manager may give only a general welcome and a brief description of the work of the department before handing new employees over to their team leaders for the more detailed induction. However, it is important for the manager to be involved at this stage so that the new employee does not see him or her as a remote figure. At least this means that the starter will not be simply a name or a number to the manager.

Follow-up

It is essential to follow up newly engaged employees to ensure that they have settled in and to check on how well they are doing. If there are any problems, it is much better to identify them at an early stage rather then allowing them to grow.

Following up is also important as a means of checking on the selection procedure. If by any chance a mistake has been made, it is useful to find out how it happened so that the selection procedure can be improved. Misfits can be attributed to a number of causes – for example, inadequate job description or specification, poor sourcing of candidates, weak advertising, poor interviewing techniques, inappropriate or invalidated tests, or prejudice on the part of the selector. If any of these are identified, steps can be taken to prevent their recurrence.

Chapter IV: Case Study

Introduction

The recruitment and selection process is concerned with identifying, attracting and choosing suitable people to meet an organisation’s human resource requirements.

As an application to the recruitment and selection process I tried to find an organisation and to assist at a recruitment and selection process for a job in order to see if the theory applies to the real life situations.

The company Delta Motors SRL allowed me to assist the Human Resource Manager at a recruitment and selection process for a Sales Representative job. Delta Motors SRL is the local dealer of Iveco Sales Consulting, an Italian company which sales IVECO trucks and vans.

The purpose of this case study is to provide a practical example for the theory and to see what kinds of recruitment and selection methods are used by this particular organisation in order to achieve great results.

Human resource planning and authorisation

After consulting the human resource plan, which sets the strategy for resourcing the organisation, the Human Resource Manager tried to obtain authorisation for recruiting a new employee as a Sales Representative. Because one employee left the organisation another sales representative was definitely needed. This job could not be contracted out or the other employees in the department could not cover the duties. The position could also not be covered by using part-time staff and could not be offered as suitable for job share.

After presenting these convincing arguments to his boss the Human Resource Manager got authorisation to organise a recruitment and selection process for the Sales Representative position because it was compatible with the organisational objectives.

Job description and person specification

The new Sales Representative had to be in place before the end of March and it was already December. This was not a long time. The Human Resource Manager knew he had to prepare a job description, which is the definition of the job in terms of its role and responsibility, and a person specification, which is the definition of the job in terms of skills, knowledge and aptitudes required, for the position of Sales Representative as soon as possible. He discovered that his predecessor had already prepared a job description for that position, which only needed to be revised and renewed.

The Human Resource Manager reconsidered the role and the responsibilities of the Sales Representative and here’s the job description he came up with.

DELTA MOTORS SRL

JOB DESCRIPTION

JOB TITLE: Sales Representative

LOCATION: Cluj-Napoca

SUPERVISED BY: Sales Manager

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Sales Assistant

PREPARED: TM 15/5/2002

JOB SUMMARY: To assist and advise customers in the selection of IVECO trucks and vans and to arrange delivery and finance where appropriate

Objective is to sell as much as possible, and for customers and potential customers to see ‘Delta Motors’ staff as helpful and efficient

JOB CONTENT:

Most frequent duties in order of importance

1. Advise customers about vans and trucks

2. Organise delivery of equipment by liasing with distribution department

3. Answer all after-sales queries from customers

4. Contact each customer two weeks after delivery to see if they need help

5. Advise customers about the variety of payment methods

6. Develop and keep up to date a computerised stock control system

Occasional duties in order of importance

1. Arrange for trucks and vans to be repaired

2. Monitor performance of sales assistant

3. Advise and guide, train and assess sales assistant where necessary

WORKING CONDITIONS:

Pleasant ‘business-like’ environment in new purpose built centre in the city. There are two other members of staff and regular contact is also required with the Delivery Department and Head Office. Salary is 8,000,000 ROL per month plus 10% bonus on every truck or van sold. Five weeks’ holiday per year plus statutory holidays. A five-day week is worked.

OTHER INFORMATION:

There is the eventual possibility of promotion to sales manager in another location depending on performance and opportunities.

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS:

There are two critically important areas:

1. Sales volume. Minimum sales of 4 trucks or vans over each three-month accounting period.

2. Relations with customers:

Customers’ queries answered immediately

Customers always given a demonstration when they request this

Delivery times arranged to meet both customer and delivery department’s needs

Complaints investigated immediately

Customers assured that problem solved as soon as possible

Customers never blamed

Problems that cannot be dealt with referred immediately to Manager

The Human Resource Manager reconsidered the skills, knowledge and aptitudes required for the Sales Representative position and here’s the person specification he came up with.

PERSON SPECIFICATION

SALES REPRESENTATIVE

The successful candidate will possess many if not all of the qualities listed below.

essential

desirable

University degree

X

Qualification in Sales Management

X

The ability to make objective decisions based on analysis

X

Ability to learn from mistakes

X

Ability to learn new techniques/processes rapidly

X

PC knowledge ( Windows XP, Microsoft Office)

X

Ability to achieve the sales volume

X

Knowledge of marketing

X

Experience of working in the sales department

X

Residence in Cluj-Napoca

X

Experience of working as a sales representative

X

Ability to learn in a variety of ways, from experience, books, people, etc.

X

Prepared to change approach in the light of experience

X

Ability to identify the key people to influence

X

Ability to identify the needs and wants of those to be influenced

X

Ability to use logical argument based on fact when persuading

X

Clean driving licence

X

Ability to present counter arguments in a constructive, neutral way.

X

Record-keeping skills, including the ability to use computerised records.

X

Willing to work long/flexible hours

X

Ability to value differences and treats people with respect

X

Excellent communication skills

X

Ability to communicate own needs/feelings in a clear way



X

Ability to break complex activities into manageable plans

X

Ability to identify possible obstacles to planned achievements

X

Ability to estimate in advance the resources and time scales needed to meet objectives

X

Ability to complete tasks set to time/budget/quality

X

Able to find ways around problems

X

Willingness to volunteer for extra tasks/duties

X

Inspires others to put in extra effort

X

Designing the selection process as a whole

The Human Resource Manager knew that the decision to run a recruitment and selection process was just the first of many. For example, where would he advertise? What should he put and not put, in the ad? Should he ask for a CV, or send an application form, or both? Did he need one or two interviews? What would be the implications of using some psychological tests? Should he use an assessment centre to help make the final appointment decision? That could really stretch the budget.

The answers to these questions depend on many parameters, but especially time scales, budget and projected number of applicants. The Human Resource Manager knew that a mistake at this stage could have big consequences, so he decided to get some outside help. So he invited a consultant to make his life easier and together they agreed on the following plan.

Numbers

Stage

Method

N = 250

Recruitment advertisement

N = 160

I

CV and application form

N = 20

II

Interview

N = 6

III

Assessment centre

The numbers were estimations, but having some figures would give the Human Resource Manager an idea of decision making if the number of replies to the advert exceeded or fell short of the target.

Attracting candidates

Now that the Human Resource Manager has a good idea of the profile of the candidate suited to the vacant position, the next step is to attract the attention of suitable applicants.

The consultant pointed out that the organisations fell into one or two categories, the ones that receive too many applications, from both appropriate and inappropriate applicants, and the ones that do not receive enough applications. That was usually determined by the organisation’s image – high profile organisations attract a large pool of candidates while lower profile organisations receive less interest. The Human Resource Manager argued that although they didn’t have a strong public image, and indeed they had difficulty in recruiting graduates, they were well known for their sales department, particularly within the sales community. So he believed they should not have too much trouble attracting enough candidates.

Then the consultant pointed out that they had a different problem: how to make sure that only good candidates apply. Sorting out large number of applications was time consuming and costly.

Advertising

Now they had to decide which recruitment methods to use. The external recruitment was preferred to internal recruitment because people who worked in other companies bring with them new and different ideas and know-how that can benefit the team.

Together they decided to put an ad in ‘Piata de la A-Z’, specifically in the employment offers page because advertising is the most obvious method of attracting candidates. The ad could be a little larger as he was not on a budget and it had to make an impact. The ad was structured around six competencies and contained the details of a good advertisement: the title’s job and key duties, the employer’s name, location, attainments and abilities, how to apply and the closing date for the receipt of applications.

Here’s the advertisement that was published in the newspaper.

IVECO SALES CONSULTING  DELTA MOTORS SRL

ROMANIA I.S.C. DIVISION

Iveco Sales Consulting operates in more than 80 countries and has nearly 50 years of experience in international sales markets. We are the market leaders in over 50 countries, providing over 70% of the market needs. Our successful business is driven by more than 60,000 dynamic employees world-wide. Success, a global presence and continued growth – this is Iveco Sales Consulting.

IVECO SALES CONSULTING

Exclusive distribution

DELTA MOTORS SRL

In search for ambitious and dynamic candidates for the following position:

SALES REPRESENTATIVE

with residence in Cluj-Napoca

Requirements:

University degree, preferably in the sales domain

Excellent communication skills

PC knowledge (Windows XP, Microsoft Office)

Clean driving licence

Willing to work long/flexible hours

Experience of working in sales

Responsibilities:

Analysing global performance data and make decisions

Influencing people and negotiating a competitive deal

Communicating clearly with a wide range of people

Achieving results when under pressure

Achievement of sales volumes

Planning and organising a team of salesmen

Please send your CV with application letter and photo in the attention of the Human Resource Department, at the following address:

42, Petru Maior, Cluj-Napoca

or fax it to: 0264 570424

Closing date is January 31st 2004.

All applications and interviews are strictly confidential.

Recruitment monitoring and evaluation

The ad the Human Resource Manager placed brought many requests for an application form but it resulted in substantially fewer completed application forms.

Together they decided in which order to put the competency questions on the application form in order to eliminate those who don’t meet the criteria, hence saving time and money.

Here is the application form they came up with for this particular job.

DELTA MOTORS SRL

APPLICATION FORM – Competency section

Achievement drive

Please give an example of when you achieved something difficult. Please cover: what the objective was; any obstacles you encountered; how you overcame them; how you felt about these obstacles; what the outcome was.

Influencing

Please give us an example of when you persuaded someone to do something for you. Please cover: what the stakes were; what the consequences of failure would have been; what exactly you did; what the outcome was.

Analysis

Please describe a complex problem you dealt with outlining in detail how you set about solving it. Please cover: how you identified the problem, what information you gathered; what analysis you carried out; the options you considered; your rationale for doing what you did; what the outcome was.

When marking the application forms they took into consideration the following instructions:

Each competency should be assessed using the following rate scale: A – strong evidence; B – acceptable evidence; C – poor evidence.

The shortlisting rule is as follows: applicants who score no Cs should be invited to an interview; applicants who score one C only should be put on hold for a period of one month; applicants who score two or more Cs should be automatically rejected.

The interview

The consultant told the Human Resource Manager that despite being the most popular method of selection by far, interviews were pretty blunt tools, prone to favouritism, and it was not really known what they measured. ‘Interviews are not perfect – they never have been and they never will be. They are simply one or two people making a judgement about another person’s potential to work efficiently in an incredible complex environment. Perfection can never be delivered and should never be promised. But we can do everything possible to maximise the effectiveness of every method we use, including the interview, and minimise possible favouritism’. He also added that they were used so much because it gave the interviewer the security of having seen the candidate face-to-face.

The consultant prepared some questions for the interview. The Human Resource Manager found them very useful. Here are some examples:

‘In the application form, you described a situation where you achieved something difficult. Tell me a little about this…’

Why did you pursue this particular objective?

Did you face any problems? How did you handle them?

Was anyone else involved?

What was the outcome?

‘Could you describe me a time when you have tried to accomplish something but failed?’

How did the situation arise?

What did you learn?

How have you put this into practice?

‘Describe a time when you have accomplished a task through effective utilisation of others.’

Who else was involved?

What was your approach?

What difficulties did you face? How did you deal with them?

What was the outcome?

The consultant also prepared a rating scale to be used during the interview in order to help the Human Resource Manager rate the candidate. Here the interview rating scale:

Rating

NE

Outstanding

Good

Development

Poor

No evidence

Assessment centre

The Human Resource Manager and the consultant decided to use an assessment centre for the final stage of the Sales Representative recruitment process. They settled on a one-day assessment centre. The centre was to consist of:

A written case study where the candidate had to analyse information relating to an imaginary company not unlike Delta Motors

A presentation, with recommendations, based on the case study

A role play with a potential buyer, again following the information given in the case study

A personality questionnaire and a feedback interview

In the end the Human Resource Manager was very happy with the assessment centre design. Then they set up the date and invited the candidates.

Decision making and evaluation

Making the decision is the most difficult thing in the selection process. In the end two candidates passed but there was only one job. The Human Resource Manager and the consultant looked over their scores again in order to make the final decision. Here are their scores:

Delta Motors Criteria

Victor

Maria

Achievement

Influencing

Problem solving

Learning ability

Interpersonal skills

Planning and organising

Victor’s two highest scores were Achievement and Planning – he was sharp, focused and driven – he would get things done. The only worry was his interpersonal skills. He was going to get on with some demanding senior managers inside the organisation, as well as building up rapport and relations with old and new buyers. The question was – could he handle all that?

Maria’s high points were her interpersonal and influencing skills. She was likely to get on with other people and use these skills to really get what she wanted. But her planning and organising skills were not so great. She might need some people around her who could make sure the details get done.

They agreed that the choice came down to what they could live without interpersonal skills or planning and organising skills.

The consultant told the Human Resource Manager that the lack of detail could be compensated with a good administrative support and an appropriate assistant and that interpersonal skills were hard to learn at that stage. So he advised the Human Resource Manager to choose Maria because she had the best scores on the competencies. Jim was close but she definitely had the edge on ‘influencing’. Her negotiating style looked very sharp and she wanted to join the team. So the Human Resource Manager decided to hire Maria.

Conclusion

In my opinion the whole recruitment and selection process was very well planned and organised. After consulting the human resource plan, the Human Resource Manager tried to obtain authorisation from his boss in order to organise a recruitment and selection process. He got the authorisation because he presented convincing arguments and because the position was compatible with the organisational objectives.

Then the Human Resource Manager elaborated the job description and the person specification for the Sales Representative position and asked the help of a consultant in order to design the whole process because a mistake at this stage could have big consequences. The process they designed gave good results because the candidates who did not fit the position were eliminated stage by stage. In the first stage the CV and the application form were evaluated, then the remaining candidates were interviewed, and then an assessment centre evaluated only the best candidates.

At the end two candidates passed but they had to choose only one of them. One had very good planning and organising skills and the other had very good interpersonal and influencing skills. For the Sales Representative position the interpersonal and influencing skills are more important in order to get things done. So the person who had good negotiating skills was preferred in this position although they had to compensate the planning and organising skills with the help of a good assistant.

An advertisement in the newspaper was preferred to other recruitment methods in this case because it gave a fair chance to all types of candidates without making any favouritism. For example recruiting candidates from universities did not fit the position because a candidate with experience was needed.

The selection methods used like the CV and application form, the interview and the assessment centre were preferred to references, graphology and biodata, as they were considered more relevant for this position. Actually most known methods of selection were used for selecting the candidates and the result was a positive one for the organisation.

I believe that the recruitment and selection process for the Sales Representative position at Delta Motors SRL was very efficient and that the person chosen would do great in that position. Although the recruitment and selection process was expensive it is not easy to rectify mistakes in selection. I believe that the organisation would not have to live on with the consequences of poor selection for years ahead. It was actually a very good selection process. The new recruit is truly the best available, so the money spent on training her is likely not to be wasted. Nevertheless, the time spent on setting up and monitoring the best possible recruitment and selection procedures, in my opinion, was time well spent.

The recruitment and selection process was kind of expensive, but the organisation afforded it. The Human Resource Manager organised quite a complex process, which requested the help of a consultant, and together they planned and organised the whole process. Hiring a consultant is not something that any organisation can do, because it’s expensive, but the result is very advantageous for the organisation. The whole recruitment and selection process was improved and the outcome definitely outweighed the costs.

The result of the recruitment and selection process was advantageous to the organisation because the expert was a person well trained who knew what methods to apply in order to achieve best results and to select the candidate, which fits best the position.

All in all I would say that assisting at this recruitment and selection process used by this organisation made me understand better the whole process, how the theory applies to the real life situations and how best results are achieved.

Conclusion

The purpose of the paper was to prove how important the recruitment and the selection process is for an organisation in achieving best results.

Finding the right person for the job has always been important and the decision to appoint an individual is one of the most crucial an employer will ever take. The recruitment and selection process is concerned with identifying, attracting and choosing suitable people to meet an organisation’s human resource requirements. The recruitment and selection process must be as efficient as possible. It is always expensive and not always easy to rectify mistakes in selection. Often the organisation lives on with the consequences of poor selection for years ahead. If recruits are not the best available, it follows also that money spent on training is likely to be wasted.

Selection procedures are costly, but the consequences of choosing unsuitable recruits can be even more costly. Selection is time-consuming and often involves senior staff. Large organisations increasingly use sophisticated tests and computerised packages, which are expensive to buy and require proper training to administer. At face value these procedures may appear to be objective; however, there are underlying issues of validity, reliability, fairness and equality of opportunity.

The role of recruitment and selection has become increasingly important in a human resource management environment. A key development is the increased emphasis on attracting and selecting people with the personal characteristics and attitudes believed necessary for effective organisational performance, rather than a requirement for particular work experience and acquired skills. Organisations, which claim to practice human resource management, have tended to adopt more elaborate methods of selection, including the use of psychological tests and assessment centre techniques. In spite of this there has been little decline in the importance of traditional methods such as interview and references in the selection decision.

There is a wide variety in the effectiveness of various recruitment and selection techniques. Although the use of selection methods with higher predictive validity is increasing, the most popular methods are not necessarily the most effective in terms of differentiating between people who can do the job and people who cannot. In measuring effectiveness organisations need to balance the costs involved in the actual process against the costs of choosing the wrong person.

Recruitment and selection is an area with many difficulties for the unwary or ill prepared. The paper has attempted to outline some of the techniques that managers should use in order to avoid common pitfalls. It is easy to be wise about selection errors after they have been made, less easy to put them right. It is always better not to employ someone in the first place rather then to have to dismiss them once they have commenced work and been found to be unsatisfactory. Dismissal is difficult because an employee is someone that you know, and despite their shortcomings as an employee, they may have personal qualities that make them popular with their colleagues. The manager may have come to know the employee’s partner or family and also to be aware of the financial and other difficulties that loss of employment would do to that family. Given the circumstances, it is not surprising that many employers are very reluctant to dismiss unsatisfactory employees, and where they do, they find the experience to be both stressful and distasteful. It is far better not to have employed the person in the first place. That’s way the recruitment and selection process is so important for an organisation.

The paper describes the essential elements of the recruitment and selection process. It contains both a theoretical part and a case study, where the theory is applied to real life situations.

The theoretical part is structured in three chapters. The first chapter began by examining the human resource plan and how authorisation is given for starting a recruitment and selection procedure. The effectiveness of job descriptions and person specification was then compiled. The second chapter dealt with how candidates are attracted, what recruitment methods can be used and how an effective job advertisement is written. The third chapter began with a description of the selection methods like application forms, CVs, biodata, interviews, tests, references, graphology, assessment centres pointing out their advantages and disadvantages. The chapter ended with the decision making procedures and the evaluation of selection methods.

The case study is an example of how Delta Motors SRL organises the recruitment and selection process for the Sales Representative position.

The purpose of the case study was to provide a practical example for the theory and to illustrate what kinds of recruitment and selection methods are used by this particular organisation in order to achieve great results.

In my opinion the organisation planned very well its recruitment and selection process. After elaborating the job description and the person specification for the Sales Representative position the Human Resource Manager asked the help of a consultant in order to design the whole process because a mistake at this stage could have big consequences. The process they designed gave good results because the candidates who did not fit the position were eliminated stage by stage. In the first stage the CV and the application form were evaluated, then the remaining candidates were interviewed, and then an assessment centre evaluated only the best candidates. For the Sales Representative position the interpersonal and influencing skills are more important in order to get things done. So the person who had good negotiating skills was preferred in this position.

An advertisement in the newspaper was preferred to other recruitment methods in this case because it gave a fair chance to all types of candidates without making any favouritism.

The selection methods used like the CV and application form, the interview and the assessment centre were preferred to references, graphology and biodata, as they were considered more relevant for this position. Actually most known methods of selection were used for selecting the candidates and the result was a positive one for the organisation.

The recruitment and selection process was kind of expensive, but the organisation afforded it. The Human Resource Manager organised quite a complex process, which requested the help of a consultant, and together they planned and organised the whole process. Hiring a consultant is not something that any organisation can do, because it’s expensive, but the result is very advantageous for the organisation. The whole recruitment and selection process was improved and the outcome definitely outweighed the costs.

The result of the recruitment and selection process was advantageous to the organisation because the expert was a person well trained who knew what methods to apply in order to achieve best results and to select the candidate, which fits best the position.

This case study pointed out the most essential elements of the recruitment and selection process used by this organisation how good results for the company were obtained after taking into account the advice of a well-trained specialist in the domain.

All in all I would say that this paper made me understand the importance of the recruitment and selection process for an organisation and the case study helped me see the theory put into practice. It made me understand better what Sullivan said: ‘If you don’t recruit and select great people, you won’t have great employees. And without great employees you won’t have a great company’.

Bibliography:

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Rezumat

“Daca nu recrutam si selectam oameni minunati, nu vom avea angajati minunati. Si fara angajati minunati nu vom avea o organizatie minunata”(Sullivan citat in Alan Price, 1997: 128).

Gasirea persoanei potrivite pentru o anumita slujba a fost intotdeauna importanta si decizia de a angaja pe cineva este una dintre cele mai cruciale pe care un angajator trebuie sa o ia. Procesul de recrutare si selectie se bazeaza pe identificarea, atragerea si alegerea oamenilor potriviti pentru a satisface nevoile de resurse umane ale organizatiei.

Scopul principal al activitatii de recrutare este de a atrage un numar de candidati suficienti si potriviti pentru a candida pe locurile vacante dintr-o organizatie. Prin comparatie scopul principal al selectiei este de a identifica cei mai potriviti candidati si de a-i convinge sa accepte sa lucreze pentru organizatie. Bolton (1997) vede procesul de recrutare “ca un act pozitiv, deoarece se refera la atragerea unui numar de candidati potriviti pentru slujba”, in timp ce procesul de selectie este vazut “ca un act negativ, deoarece se refera la reducerea numarului de candidati la cei care vor fi angajati”.

Recrutarea este un termen care se refera la procesul prin care oamenii sunt identificati si sunt atrasi pentru posturile vacante respective. Este o functie de o importanta cruciala pentru succesul managementului resurselor umane. Felul in care se realizeaza procesul de recrutare difera considerabil de la o organizatie la alta. De fapt nu exista o cale corecta pentru a organiza procesul de recrutare, el depinde de circumstantele si de contextul organizatiei implicate.

Procedurile de selectie implica costuri mari dar consecintele alegerii unor candidati nepotriviti pot fi si mai costisitoare. Procesul de selectie consuma timp si de multe ori implica personal calificat. Organizatiile mari folosesc tot mai mult teste sofisticate si pachete computerizate, care sunt destul de scumpe si implica o pregatire adecvata pentru a le putea folosi. La prima vedere aceste proceduri pot parea obiective, dar exista fara indoiala probleme de validatate, incredere, obiectivitate si egalitatea sanselor.

Procesul de recrutare si selectie trebuie sa fie cat mai eficient cu putinta. Este scump si nu intotdeauna usor sa corectam greselile din procesul de selectie. Adesea organizatia traieste cu consecintele unei selectii proaste ani de-a randul. Daca persoanele recrutate nu sunt cele mai bune este foarte posibil ca banii cheltuiti cu pregatirea lor sa fie irositi. De asemenea un candidat nepotrivit are un efect negativ asupra celorlalti, ducand la o scadere a eficientei generale. Astfel ca timpul petrecut pentru organizarea unui proces de recrutare si selectie cat mai bun nu este timp pierdut ci este folosit eficient.

Lucrarea descrie elementele esentiale ale procesului de recrutare si selectie. Contine o parte teoretica cat si un studiu de caz, in care teoria este aplicata in viata de zi cu zi.

Partea teoretica este structurata in 3 capitole. Primul capitol incepe cu examinarea planului de resurse umane si primirea autorizatiei pentru inceperea procesului de recrutare si selectie. Apoi este descrisa importanta fisei postului si a descrierii persoanei. Capitolul al doilea trateaza modul in care sunt atrasi candidatii, ce metode de recrutare pot fi folosite si cum trebuie scris un bun anunt pentru un post. Capitolul al treilea incepe cu descrierea metodelor de selectie, a unui CV, a unui formular pentru angajare, a interviului, a referintelor, a testelor, a analizelor grafologice, a centrelor de evaluare aratand atat avantajele cat si dezavantajele lor. Capitolul se incheie cu luarea deciziilor si evaluarea metodelor de selectie.

Studiul de caz este un exemplu despre cum o organizatie, Delta Motors SRL, isi desfasoara procesul de recrutare si selectie pentru postul de reprezentant vanzari. Delta Motors SRL este dealer autorizat al Iveco Sales Consulting, o companie italiana care se ocupa cu vanzarea camioanelor si a dubelor Iveco.

Scopul acestui studiu de caz este de a oferi un exemplu pactic pentru teorie si de a a ilustra ce fel de metode de recrutare si selectie sunt folosite de aceasta organizatie pentru a obtine rezultatele cele mai bune.

Organizatia nu da rezultate avantajoase daca nu dispune de resurse umane bine pregatite, bine calificate. De calitatea persoanelor depinde functionarea eficienta a organizatiei. Calitatea ceruta a personalului depinde de organizarea unui proces de recrutare si selectie eficient.

Dupa parerea mea Delta Motors SRL si-a organizat intr-un mod foarte eficient procesul de recrutare si selectie. Faptul ca s-a intocmit o fisa a postului corecta si un anunt bun au dus la o mobilizare adecvata a candidatilor, adica au atrasi foarte multi candidati bine pregatiti si au fost foarte putini cei care au dorit doar sa se verifice. Este de asemenea important cum sunt atrasi candidatii si cum sunt triati. Dupa elaborarea unei fise a postului pentru postul de reprezentant vanzari, managerul de resurse umane a apelat la ajutorul unui consultant pentru a planifica intregul proces deoarece o greseala in aceasta etapa ar putea avea consecinte serioase. In cazul de fata procesul elaborat a dat rezultate bune, deoarece candidatii care nu se potriveau cu cerintele postului au fost eliminati etapa cu etapa. In primul stadiu au fost fost evaluate formularul de angajare si CV-ul, apoi candidatii ramasi au fost chemati la interviu, si in final un centru de evaluare a examinat doar candidatii cei mai buni.. Pentru pozitia de reprezentant vanzari abilitatile de comunicare si de influentare erau mai importante pentru a rezolva problemele. Astfel ca persoana care a avut bune calitati de negociere a fost preferata in aceasta pozitie.

Publicarea unui anunt in ziarul “Piata de la A-Z” a fost preferata altor metode de recrutare in acest caz deoarece a dat o sansa egala tuturor candidatilor fara a se face favoruri.

Metodele de selectie folosite cum ar fi CV-ul si formularul de angajare, interviul si centrul de evaluare au fost preferate in defavoarea referintelor si a analizelor grafologice deoarece au fost considerate mai relevante pentru acest post. Metodele folosite in procesul de selectie au avut un rezultat pozitiv pentru organizatie.

Procesul de recrutare si selectie elaborat a fost destul de costisitor dar rezultatul obtinut a meritat toate eforturile. Managerul de resurse umane a organizat un proces destul de complex, care a necesitat ajutorul unui consultant. Angajarea unui consultant nu este un lucru pe care si-l poate permite orice organizatie deoarece implica costuri ridicate dar rezultatul poate fi foarte avantajos pentru organizatie. Intregul proces de recrutare si selectie a fost imbunatatit iar efectul depaseste costurile.

Rezultatul procesului de recrutare si selectie a fost avantajos pentru organizatie deoarece expertul a fost o persoana bine pregatita care a stiut ce metode sa aplice pentru a obtine cele mai bune rezultate si pentru a selecta candidatul care se potriveste cel mai bine postului. Eficienta rezultatului depinde in acest caz si de intocmirea unei bune fise a postului, de corecta mobilizare a candidatilor, de folosirea corecta a metodelor de recrutare si de felul in care au fost triati candidatii.

Datorita folosirii unui consultant bine pregatit punctajul candidatilor a fost bine intocmit, astfel incat sa surprinda calitatile necesare unui bun reprezentant de vanzari, iar rezultatul obtinut a fost cel scontat.

Acest studiu de caz a scos in evidenta elementele esentiale ale procesului de recrutare si selectie folosite de organizatie si cum au fost obtinute rezultate avantajoase dupa ce a fost luat in considerare sfatul unui specialist in domeniu.

In concluzie, as spune ca aceata lucrare m-a facut sa inteleg mai bine procesul de recrutare si selectie pentru o organizatie, iar studiul de caz m-a ajutat sa vad cum teoria se aplica in practica. M-a facut sa inteleg mai bine ce a spus Sullivan: “Daca nu recrutam si selectam oameni minunati, nu vom avea angajati minunati. Si fara angajati minunati nu vom avea o organizatie minunata”.

Compte rendu

« Si on ne recrute et on ne sélectionne pas des personnes excellentes, on n’aura pas des employés excellents. Et sans employés excellents on n’aura pas une organisation excellente » (Sullivan cité en Alan Price, 1997: 128).

Trouver la personne juste pour un certain emploi a été toujours important et la décision d’embaucher quelqu’un est un des plus cruciales qu’un embaucheur doit prendre. Le processus de recrutement et de sélection est basé sur l’identification, l’attraction et le choix des personnes justes pour satisfaire les besoins des ressources humaines de l’organisation.

Le but principal de l’activité de recrutement est d’attirer un nombre des candidats suffisants et indiqués pour postuler sur les places vacantes dans une entreprise. En revanche, le but principal de la sélection est d’identifier les candidats les plus indiqués et de les convaincre à accepter de travailler pour l’organisation. Bolton (1997) caractérise le processus de recrutement «comme une action positive, parce qu’il se refère à l’attraction d’un nombre des candidats indiqués pour l’emploi, tandis que le processus de sélection est vu comme une action négative parce qu’il se réfère à la réduction du nombre des candidats à ceux qui vont être embauchés ».

Le recrutement est un terme qui se réfère au processus par lequel les personnes sont identifiées et sont attirées pour les emplois vacants respectifs. Il est une fonction d’une importance cruciale pour le succès du management des ressources humaines. La façon dans laquelle chaque entreprise organise son processus de recrutement est très différent. En fait il n’y a pas une voie précise pour organiser le processus de recrutement, il depend des circonstances et du context de l’organisation impliquée.

Les procédures de sélection impliquent de grands coûts mais les conséquences du choix des candidats incompatibles peuvent être plus cher. Le processus de sélection prend du temps et implique un personnel qualifié. Les grandes organisations utilisent de plus en plus de testes toujours plus sofistiqués qui sont assez chers et qui supposent une préparation adéquate pour pouvoir les utiliser. À première vue, ces procédures peuvent sembler objectives, mais il y a sans doute des problèmes de validation, confiance, objectivité et égalité des chances.

Le processus de recrutement et de sélection doit être au plus efficient possible. Cela coût cher et il n’est pas toujours facile de corriger les fautes dans le processus de sélection. Si les personnes recrutées ne sont pas les meilleures il est très possible que l’argent dépensé pour leur formation soit gaspillé. Ensuite un candidat incompatible a un effet negatif sur les autres, en résultant dans une baisse de l’efficacité générale. Par conséquent, le temps utilisé pour organiser un processus de recrutement et de sélection au plus meilleure n’est pas du temps predu, mais il est utilisé efficacement.

L’ouvrage décrit les éléments essentiels du processus de recrutement et sélection. Il contient une partie théorique et un étude de cas, où la théorie est appliquée dans la vie quotidienne.

La partie théorique est structurée en trois chapitres. Le premiér chapitre débute avec l’examination du plan des ressources humaines et la réception d’autorisation pour commencer le processus de recrutement et sélection. Ensuite l’importance de la fiche du poste est décrite. Le deuxième chapitre traite la manière dont les candidats sont attirés, quelles méthodes peuvent être utilisées et comment on doit écrire un bonne annonce pour un emploi. Le troisième chapitre comprend la description des méthodes de sélection, d’un CV, d’un formulaire pour embauche, d’un interview, des références, des testes, des analyses graphologiques, des centres d’évaluation en montrant les avantages mais aussi les inconvénients. Le chapitre finit avec la prise de décissions et l’évaluation des méthodes de sélection.

L’étude de cas est un exemple sur comment une entreprise, Delta Motors SRL, déroule le processus de recrutement et sélection pour le poste de représentant de ventes. Delta Motors SRL est le représentant local d’Iveco Sales Consulting, une société italienne qui s’occupe avec la vente des camions et des fourgons Iveco.

Le but de cet étude de cas est d’offrir un exemple pratique pour la théorie et d’illustrer quelle sorte de méthodes de recrutement et de sélection sont utilisé par cette organisation pour obtenir les meilleurs résultats.

L’organisation ne donne pas des résultats positifs si elle ne dispose pas des ressources humaines bien préparées, bien qualifiées. Le fonctionnement efficient de l’organisation dépend de la qualité des presonnes. La qualité demandée au personnel dépend de l’organisation d’un processus de recrutement et sélection efficient.

À mon avis Delta Motors SRL a très bien organisé le processus de recrutement et de sélection. Le fait qu’on a élaboré une fiche de poste correcte et une bonne annonce a conduit à une mobilisation adéquate des candidats, c’est-à-dire ont été attirés beaucoup de candidats bien préparés et peu des candidats qui ont voulu seulement se vérifier. Il est aussi important la façon dans laquelle les candidats sont attirés et comment ils sont triés. Après l’élaboration d’une fiche de poste pour l’emploi de représentant de ventes, le manager de ressources humaines a demandé l’aide d’un consultant pour planifier tout le processus parce qu’une faute à cette étape peut avoir des conséquences graves. Dans le cas échéant le processus élaboré a donné des bons résultats car les candidats qui n’étaient pas bons pour le poste ont été éliminé étape par étape. Dans le premier stade ont été évalués le formulaire pour embauche et le CV, ensuite les candidats restés ont été appelés pour un interview, et finalement un centre d’évaluation a examiné seulement les meilleurs candidats. Pour l’emploi de représentant de ventes les habilités de communication et d’influence étaient plus importantes pour resoudre les problèmes. Donc, la personne qui a eu des bonnes qualités de negotiation a été préférée pour ce poste.

La publication d’une annonce dans le journal « Piata de la A-Z» a été préférée aux auters méthodes de recutement dans ce cas parce qu’une chance égale a été donnée à tous les candidats sans faire des faveurs.

Les méthodes de sélection comme le CV et le formulaire d’embauche, l’interview et le centre d’evaluation ont été préférées parce qu’elles ont été considerées plus appropriées pour ce poste. Les méthodes utilisées dans le processus de sélection ont eu un résultat positif pour l’organisation.

Le processus de recrutement et de sélection a été assez cher mais le résulat obtenu a mérité tous les efforts. Le manager des ressources humaines a organisé un processus assez complex, qui a nécessité l’aide d’un consultant. Tout le processus de recrutement et sélection a été perfectionné et le résultat dépasse les coûts.

Le résultat du processus de recrutement et de sélection a été avantageux pour l’organisation parce que l’expert a été une personne bien qualifiée qui a su quelles méthodes appliquer pour obtenir les meilleurs résultats et pour sélectionner le plus indiqué candidat pour le poste. Dans ce cas, l’efficience du résultat dépend de l’élaboration d’une bonne fiche du poste, de la bonne mobilisation des candidats, de l’utilisation correcte des méthodes de recrutement et de la façon dont les candidats ont été triés.

Vu qu’on a utilisé un expert dans le domaine le pointage des candidats a été bien préparé et ainsi le résulat obtenu a été celui attendu.

Cet étude de cas a mis en évidence les éléments essentiels du processus de recrutement et de sélection utilisés par l’organisation et comment on a obtenu des résultats positifs après avoir pris en considération le conseil d’un spécialiste dans le domaine.

En conclusion, je voudrais dire que l’ouvrage m’a fait comprendre mieux le processus de recrutement et de sélection pour une organisation, et l’étude de cas m’a aidé à voir comment la théorie est appliquée dans la vie quotidienne. Elle m’a fait comprendre mieux ce que Sullivan avait dit: «Si on ne recrute et on ne sélectionne pas des personnes excellentes, on n’aura pas des employés excellents. Et sans employés excellents on n’aura pas une organisation excellente».



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