“Selection is increasingly important as more attention is paid to the costs of poor selection, and as reduced job mobility means that selection errors are likely to stay with the organization for longer.” (Torrington and Hall, 1998, p221)
The selection decision has always been important as the way for a company to obtain the human resource that is appropriate for the job and company. There are many methods for selection such as: testing, advertising, completing application form, screening, corresponding with the prospective employee. Among these, the two principal selection methods, which most are used, are application forms, and interviews. In fact, it is not just one selection method used in practice. Generally, two or more methods are often used in combination.
Comparison Of Strengths
Selection is two-way process. The interview is a necessarily medium of two-way communication. It supplements the information in the pre-procedures such as application form and reference. It also provides the further particulars respectively to help both ends take decisions.
On one side, the interviewer usually has some basic information from the application form or test, and these may require further face-to-face communication to clarify. For the selector, the interview can provide some further evidence and clues concerning the applicant’s personal data, circumstances, career pattern and attainments, powers of self-expression, range and depth of interests, intelligence and special aptitudes, behavioural patterns and preferences which selectors are interest in. On the other side, because interview has a broad range of topics, the employer has the opportunity to introduce the company and explain job details in depth. Applicant also has a chance to ask questions about the job and the company. Therefore, he/she can collect the information he/she required for his/her own selection decision. For the applicant, the main purpose of the selection interview is to get the information, which can help he/she to make an informed decision of whether to accept the job.
Selection interview enhances the reliability of pre-process (such as application form and reference test). As above, the reliabilities of application form and reference need to be proved. “Actions speak louder than words”, a skilled interviewer can find some attestations form the feedback and behaviour of the applicant. It is also an opportunity for both ends to clarify misunderstands between them.
Some functions that other methods cannot instead. In an interview, some assessment like the potential compatibility of two people who will have to work together cannot be approached by any other way. The interview, therefore, is valuable in that the way to both potential employee and potential employer.
Application form on the other hand provides preliminary information about candidates that will help further selections especially for interview. It makes the selection procedure easier and encourages interviewer to use those forms as the basic information for their interview. It saves the time spent in the interview, and makes it more pertinent. As employers pay more attention to the validity of interviews for employment purposes, the application forms are increasing used as one of the ways of improving the quality of decision-making. They provide sufficient amount of data for selectors to analyse. Therefore, the selectors will have enough time to prepare the further questions and topics before the face-to-face discussion comes in.
It makes it easy to compare and contrast the candidates. Generally, application forms provide standardised synopsis of the applicant’s history and abilities. It is easy for the selector to assess education and experiences between candidates. Because application form provides standard information, it is less likely to be influenced by the subjective of the selectors. Compared with the interview where the judgement of the selector is influenced by individual characteristics such as dress and appearance, the application form is a databased method. It is more objective.
It is save time. It can filter out the distinctly unsuitable candidates and make the further selection focus on the most promising candidates. Therefore, it will save the time of further selection. It provides human resource backup. Even if some applicants are not selected, they may more suitable for another job that is not recruited this time. Therefore the organization can set up a Human Resource Bank to keep and sort those forms for a period. When that job needs recruit, the Human Resource Bank can provide suitable candidates immediately, especially in the case of emergency recruitment.
Comparison Of Weaknesses
Selection interview is a subjective selection method: Early information from application form or reference has a disproportionate influence on the final outcome. Some interviewers make their decisions very quickly. Occasionally interviewer only needs few minutes to make the decision on whether accept or reject a candidate. The remainder time of the interview they will use to seek some evidences to confirm that their first impression was right. Interviewer seldom changes his/her tentative opinion formed from the application form and reference or the appearance of the candidate. Interviewer places more weight on evidence that is unfavourable than favourable for the candidates.
When interviewer has made up his/her mind very early, his/her behaviour betrays the decision to the candidate. That will influence the candidate’s confidence.
It always has an ideal applicant stereotype in the interviewer’s mind to compare with candidates. That will heavily influence the search for information and decision-making. The stereotype and the related concept of implicit personality theory will substitute to seek specific information from the candidates.
Generally, the applicant’s non-verbal behaviour will has a significant impact on interviewer. However, some applicants feel nervous during the interview. Their behaviours therefore, may give a bad impress to the interviewer. Although the behaviour may not their original character, at last, that bad impress may lead to the fatal decision.
Age, disability, appearance, gender, race, physical attractiveness, interviewer’s ratings may influence the interviewer’s decision. This maybe is the fatal weakness of interview, because the interviewer picks people whom he/she likes. He/she likes people who are similar in some way to himself/herself.
Interview has low validity and reliability when used on its own. Interview is limited to find answers to questions such as what is the motivation for work of the candidate, his/her potential compatibility for adjusting to the social context of the job. It takes time. There is only one candidate to be interviewed in a time. The more candidates the more time it taken. However, in order to find more suitable person, it always as many candidates as possible. Interview therefore is taking the most time of whole selection procedures. Different candidate has different advantages and shortages. It is difficult to compare.
Application Form on the other hand is incomprehensive. The recruiter always tries to make the application form brief and standard. The form, therefore, only provides limited information. Further more, this kind of selection method is based on the certification and work experience. The logic of an application form is that because the candidate has been taught or trained to do something (or has done it already), he/she must be good at it. However, the logic is faulty — even if someone has been trained or has done the same job before, it is not to say he/she must be better than other candidates. Some jobs, like designer, need not only knowledge but also inspiration. This sill is hard to judge by this kind of selection method. Therefore, the information provided by the application form is insufficient.
The information provided by the application form needs to be further proved. There are at least two probabilities that will influence the reliability. One is whether all the information of the forms is true. Evidently, not all applicants are honest. It is possible that the information was magnified, omitted or even not existed. The other is whether the selector misunderstands the information of the form. Because the selection only based on the data without confirmed, then the selectors use some models or logic make some conclusions. It is probably to misunderstand.
Application form cannot get feedback. On one hand, the selector cannot let the applicants to clarify whether the selector has misunderstood them; on the other hand, some applicants know nothing about the organization. They argue: “I have that ability, but I just don’t know they want to know that. If only they give me a chance to explain…” cannot feedback is an unmistakably shortage of application form for both sides.
It is a heavy job for file work. Generally, application form provides maximum applicants. Some books, therefore, argued that the application form provided sufficient candidates. It was an advantage. However, if the organization puts its advertisement in a right media for other selection methods, it will attract enough applicants too. What they lack to consider is, the application form also provides more inappropriate applicants than any other selection methods do. Evaluate them and subsequent administration becomes a heavy task.
Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. No one is perfect. So, the best way for selection is that the two methods combined together to use their strengths and limited their weaknesses. For example, interview has low validity and reliability but if use it in association with biographical information (from the application form) may increase both of them. One combination is use application form to collect preliminary information about the applicants’ background and the performance of their previous job. Using two or three references increase reliability. After evaluated all the performance of the candidate form the two steps, the decision can be made.
Employer Responsibility and Individual Development
There’s no doubt about it – companies have to invest in employee training if they want to stay competitive in business and recruiting. An employee puts in his time and expertise to keep the company competitive. Hence, it’s the company’s responsibility to do the same for the employee. A company should provide such positive reinforcements to get the best out of its employees. If a company wants to retain trained and skilled staff, it needs to invest in continuing that training and those skills. Employees like to feel that their employers are invested in their (the employees’) success. Equally important is the credibility of the company to the public. If the employees are not perceived as highly trained and informed, the perception of competence is damaged
There is a widespread agreement that employers have a key role in enabling individual employees to develop their skills. Though some responses questioned the level of employer commitment to employee learning, particularly in relation to development opportunities, which are not directly job-related. Commitment to part-time staff and staff on short-term contracts is also raised. Employers can encourage employees to increase their skill levels by creating an organisational learning climate with organisational and personal training strategies which links participation in training to staff appraisal. Individual action plans leading to enhanced salaries and promotion prospects were seen as the best means of motivating staff to develop their skills. In addition to offering opportunities through, the organisation employers can provide valuable practical support such as study time off, paying fees, providing loans for books and materials and mentoring. It is also important that employers are seen to value learning and to recognise and reward the efforts of staff who pursue learning opportunities. Employers and employees may not always agree on training priorities and the emphasis of company training needed to shift somewhat from strictly job-related skills training to a broader learning base, which encourages employees to seek opportunities for learning. There is much praise for those large organisations, which had invested in in-house learning centres but a recognition that only very large companies could afford to do this. On a smaller scale other possibilities such as employers’ scholarships is worth development. Employees will take the development transferable skills seriously if they feel that training is something, which they are directly involved in, responsible for, and gives them options, not something that is ‘being done to them’.
Increasing individual responsibility for skills transferability, in which employees and managers are expected to be aware of the potential relevance of their skills across diverse functions of the organisation, has problems. As organisations become increasingly complex it becomes more difficult for individuals to keep up with the ways in which their skills can contribute to organisational success. To combat this problem line managers are taking on the role of learning facilitators, coaches and mentors. This, in turn, creates the need for a new type of training in ’soft’ people skills for these managers.
It is important for industries today to update and continuously improve employee skills. This not only keeps the employees current, it allows for standardization of practices and procedures that can result in more uniform work practices. Most employees will appreciate the upgrades and be more apt to produce more as they will know that they are working to current practices. This updating will also reduce mistakes, paying for the upgrade in the long run.
In addition to these, adequate training is a major component of an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace. Employer can’t assume people know how to work safely without instruction. He must make sure everyone knows and uses proper work procedures, and don’t let people devise their own techniques. Some workers may feel intimidated or confused by new equipment and processes. Employer must encourage these people to speak up, and ensure they have lots of time to familiarize themselves with new routines or machines.
An organization has many responsibilities to its employees but continual training is not enough for the “good” employee. A “good” employee has also responsibility to keep him or herself able to serve their company as best they can — this includes keeping themselves up to date on all industry changes. It is the employee’s responsibility to continually be aware of new happenings. The employee needs to take the initiative to either take advantage of classes or to take courses at a local college or attend workshops. It certainly is the employee’s responsibility to keep abreast with developments. In almost all professions, those who stay up-to-date are leaders, while those who prefer to rest on previously gained laurels are left behind.
http://www.managementfirst.com/career_management/art_interview.htm A brief history of the selection interview: may the next 100 years be more fruitful
http://www.dbm.com/hr/what/new12.html Ten Steps to establishing a “Learning Organization”
http://careerplanning.about.com/careers/careerplanning/library/weekly/aa052498.htm The Virtual Job Club: Your Guide to Succeeding On the Job Search Job Interviewing