Employers must make sure that the right people with the right skills are recruited for roles within their organisation. There are two main processes involved in recruitment selection – short listing candidates and assessing candidates against job related criteria to make a final decision. Effective selection is essential in order to recruit people with the right skills and experience to drive your business forward. Recruiting new staff is both a costly and a timely process so it is important to get it right first time. If you follow good practice, this shouldn’t be a problem!
Employers should consider the “reliability” and “validity” of the methods they use as part of the selection process. This means that the selection methods should be consistent and measure what they are intended to measure. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to selection and employers should choose the combination of selection tools most appropriate for the role. Employers should ensure that the opportunity for self-selection by applicants runs throughout the recruitment and selection process, and that there is effective two-way communication between the employer and the candidate.
Competencies can underpin each stage of the selection process, from preparation of the job description and person specification to short listing, testing and interviewing. Screening is the first stage of the selection process and is particularly important in cases of volume recruitment. Employers need to screen out unsuitable candidates so that short listing can commence.
Short listing against the job-related criteria is a key early stage of the selection process. If the employer carries out the short listing stage effectively, this means that it will need to interview and test only the most suitable candidates for the role. Telephone interviews can be used at any stage of the selection process but are particularly useful when the employer wants to screen out the least suitable candidates for the role.
Employers commonly use interviews as part of the selection process. They should use a structured interview format to help avoid unintentional bias creeping into the process.
Many employers use psychometric testing to support the selection process by testing candidates’ ability, aptitude or personality. The employer should ensure that tests are fair, effective and administered by a trained professional. Work-sample tests can provide the employer with a powerful prediction of future performance because they allow assessment of candidates performing the same or similar tasks to those performed in the role for which they have applied. A presentation exercise could be useful if the employer wishes to assess candidates’ verbal communication skills.
An assessment centre involves the employer using a range of selection tools to assess candidates. Assessment centres can be expensive but, if well designed and administered, can produce high levels of validity. The employer needs to decide which individuals are responsible for the final selection decision and how they should make this important decision.
Employers need to be aware of the possibility of discrimination occurring during all stages of the selection process and make every attempt to mitigate this risk. Employers should also provide job-related feedback to unsuccessful candidates.
Accurate records of the selection process should be kept, including test results and decisions. This is to use as evidence for possible future employment tribunal claims!