Everything you need to know about the selection process in human resource management.

Finding the interested candidates who have submitted their profiles for a particular job is the process of recruitment, and choosing the best and most suitable candidates among them is the process of selection.

It results in elimination of unsuitable candidates. It follows scientific techniques for the appropriate choice of a person for the job.

Selection is a long and tedious process. Every candidate has to pass through several hurdles before he/she can get selected for job.


The whole exercise might be called a rejection exercise but it has a positive outcome in terms of the appropriate personnel selected.

Therefore, the selection procedure followed by different organizations, many times, becomes lengthy as it is a question of getting the most suitable candidates for which various tests are to be done and interviews to be taken.

The procedure for selection should be systematic so that it does not leave any scope for confusions and doubts about the choice of the selected candidate.

Selection pro­cess involves the following steps:-


1. Preliminary Interview 2. Blank Application 3. Screening of Applicants 4. Selection Tests 5. Selection Interview 6. Checking References

7. Medical Examination 8. Final Approval 9. Evaluation of the Selection Programme 10. Final Selection 11. Placement.

Employee Selection Process in Human Resource Management

Selection Process in HRM – 7 Steps Involved in the Selection Process: Preliminary Interview, Screening of Applicants, Employment Tests, Selection Interview and a Few Others

Selection is a long and tedious process. Every candidate has to pass through several hurdles before he/she can get selected for job. The whole exercise might be called a rejection exercise but it has a positive outcome in terms of the appropriate personnel selected.

Selection pro­cess involves the following steps:

Step # 1. Preliminary Interview:


It is the first step in selection. Initial screening is done in this step and all the undesirable applicants are weeded out. This interview is generally conducted by lower level executives. It is a very important step as it shifts out all the unqualified, not desirable applicants and the HR man­ager can then concentrate on the other applicants without wasting time. The candidates are generally told about job specifications and the skills required for it. This process screens the most obvious misfits.

Step # 2. Screening of Applicants:

These days application forms of almost all organizations can be down­loaded from the website or may even be provided on request. The form asks for basic things like educational qualifications, experience, age etc.

Once the filled application is brought to the screening committee, it checks the details and calls the candidate for selection test. The pur­pose of this screening test is also to read out the hot suitable candidates as spending time on them means waste of money.

Step # 3. Employment Tests:

Employment tests are device to check the areal knowledge of candi­dates for the respective jobs. These tests are very specific as they en­able the management to bring out right type of people for the jobs.

The following tests are given to candidate in most cases:

(a) Intelligence Tests:

They test the mental ability of candidates. These tests measure the learning ability of candidates in understanding questions and their power to take quick decision on crucial points. People who are able to quickly answer to these questions are found to be skilful and can be offered training to improve skills for the job in organization.

(b) Aptitude Tests:

They test an individual’s capacity to learn a par­ticular skill. There are mainly two types of aptitude tests. Cogni­tive tests which measure intellectual, mental aptitudes. The second one is called motor tests which check the hand – eye coor­dination of employees.


(c) Proficiency Tests:

These tests are also called performance or occupational tests. They determine the skills and knowledge acquired by an individual through experience and on the job train­ing.

They are of 4 types:

(i) Job knowledge tests – These tests are used to judge profi­ciency in operating mechanical equipment, dictating, typ­ing, computer applications etc. These tests can be written and practical both. These tests are good in selecting typists, stenographers with supervisor etc.


(ii) Work sample tests – In this test the applicant is given a piece of work to perform in a stipulated time. His performance will judge whether he can be picked up for the job.

(iii) Personality tests – These tests judge the psychological make­up of any person. These tests check a person’s motivational level, emotions, integrity, sympathy, sensitivity etc. These traits in an individual provide the manager with an overall picture of his personality.

(iv) Simulation tests – In this test many situations which an em­ployer will have to face in the job will be duplicate and the candidate will be asked to face the problem. These tests are generally used for recruiting managers in the organization.

Step # 4. Selection Interview:

Interview is an examination of the candidate where he sits face to face with the selection body and answers to their information given by the candidate about his abilities and the requirements of the jobs.


Inter­view gives the recruiter an opportunity to:

(a) Assess subjective aspects of the candidate.

(b) Know about his enthusiasm and intelligence.

(c) Ask questions which were not a part of his application.

(d) Obtain as much information from him as possible about his eco­nomic, social and cultural background.

(e) Give facts about the policies, procedures, culture of the company so that he feels good about joining it.


Designing and Conducting Effective Interviews:

Utmost care has to be taken while designing and conducting the inter­views, otherwise, they become in-effective.

In creating structured situ­ational interviews, these steps need to be followed:

Step 1 – Make thorough job analysis – There should be a thoroughly prepared job description with a list of job duties, required knowledge, skills, abilities and other worker qualifica­tion.

Step 2 – Rate the job’s main duties – Identify job’s main duties. Rate each job duty based on its importance to job success and on the time required to perform it compared to other tasks.

Step 3 – Create interview question – Some questions should be situational, while some should be behavioural They all should be based on actual job duties with more ques­tions on important duties.


Step 4 – Create benchmark answers and a rating scale for each – An ideal answer may be given the rating of 5 on a 5 point scale whereas, an average answer 3 marks and a poor one just 0 mark.

Step 5 – Appoint the interview panel and conduct interviews – Employers conduct interview generally with a panel consisting of tal­ented and skilful interviewers from the company. They review the ans­wers and rank the candidate accordingly. They indicate where the an­swers of the candidate fall marginally short of bench mark and where they are ideal or good. They may follow-up the panel discussion with interview for some good candidates.

Step # 5. Checking of References:

Once the candidates interview is over, the reference he had mentioned are checked by the personnel department. His old employers may be asked some quick questions on phone about the candidate’s behavior with co-workers, management etc. Further his/her regularity at work and his character can also be inquired about from other references.

Step # 6. Medical Examination:

After a candidate has been approved for the job, his physical fitness is examined through medical specialists of the company. If the report says that he or she is medically fit for the job they are then finally selected. In case there is a problem with the fitness, the candidates are given reasons for rejection.

Step # 7. Final Selection/Hiring:

The line managers are then asked to give final decision after all techni­cal and medical tests are cleared by the candidate. A true understand­ing between the line manager and the HR manager facilitates good selection. Therefore, the two together take final decision and intimate it to the candidate. The HR department may immediately send appointment letter to the selected person or after some time as the time sche­dule says.

Selection Process in HRM – 8 Steps Involved in Employee Selection Process

The basic principle for the recruitment and selection is, the “right man for the right job.”


Presuming that all the requirements that are necessary for inviting applications have been fulfilled and the applications have been received in the office, the following steps are generally performed for the selection of employees:

1. Preliminary Interview:

The Executive of the organisation conduct a brief interview of the candidates to determine whether it is worthwhile for the candidate to fill up the blank application. Minimum qualifications and experience of the candidate, his age, etc., are ascertained. Preliminary interview helps to eliminate those candidates who are obviously unfit for the job.

2. Blank Application:

The candidates who succeed in preliminary interviews are required to fill in a specially drafted blank application form. It provides a written record of the qualifications, experience age, etc., of candidates. It can be used as a good test device for the expression, handwriting and other abilities of the candidates. Therefore, it should be designed carefully so as to secure all relevant information about the candidate. There is no standard form of blank application for all firms. As far as possible, it should be simple and brief.

3. Selection Tests:

Candidates may have to undertake selection tests to establish their claim for the job. These tests are based on the assumption that, human behaviour in an actual work situation can be predicted by sampling it.

Selection tests are classified into six types.

They are as follow:


(i) Aptitude Tests:

Aptitude means the potential which an individual has for learning the skills required to do a job efficiently. Aptitude tests measures an applicant’s capacity and his ability to learn a given job if given adequate training. These tests are the most promising indices for predicting employee’s success. Aptitude tests can be divided into general and mental ability or intelligence tests and specific aptitude tests such as mechanical aptitude tests, clerical aptitude tests, etc.

(a) Intelligence Tests:

These tests are used to measure a person’s capacity for reasoning and comprehension in terms of his memory, mental alertness, vocabulary, and grasping capacity. A candidate’s IQ or mental alertness can be estimated through intelligence tests. The tests consists of logical reasoning ability, data interpretation, comprehension skills and basic language skills. Though these tests are accepted as useful ones, they are criticized to be against deprived sections of the community.

(b) Mechanical Aptitude Tests:

These tests deal with the ability of the candidate to do mechanical work. They are used to judge and measure the specialised knowledge, perceptual speed and problem solving ability. These tests are useful for selecting apprentices, skilled mechanical employees, technicians, etc.

(c) Psychomotor Tests:

These tests judge abilities like manual dexterity, motor ability and eye-hand coordination of candidates. These tests are useful to select semi­skilled workers and workers for repetitive operations like packing, watch assembly, quality inspection, etc.

(d) Clerical Aptitude Tests:

These tests measure specific capacities involved in office work, like spelling, computation, comprehension, copying, word measuring, etc.

(ii) Achievement Tests:

The candidate’s achievement in his career is tested regarding his knowledge about the job and actual work experience. These tests are more useful to measure the value of specific achievement when an organization wishes to employ experienced candidates.

These test are classified into:

(a) Job Knowledge Tests:

Under this test, a candidate’s knowledge is tested for a particular job. For example, if a junior lecturer applies for the job of a senior lecturer in Economics, he may be tested in job knowledge where he is asked questions about microeconomics, macroeconomics, central bank, etc.

(b) Work Sample Test:

Under this test a portion of the actual work is given to the candidate as a test and the candidate is asked to do it. If a candidate applies for a post of a lecturer in Management, he may be asked to deliver a lecture on Management Information System as work sample test.

(iii) Situational Tests:

These tests evaluate a candidate in a similar real life situation. In these tests, the candidate is asked either to cope with the situation or to solve critical situations of the job.

Situational tests are classified into:

(a) Group Discussion:

Under this test, candidates are observed in the areas of leadership, proposing valuable ideas, conciliating skills, oral communicating skills, coordinating and concluding skills.

(b) In Basket:

Situational test is also administered through ‘in basket’. The candidate, in this test, is supplied with actual letters, telephone and telegraphic message, reports and requirements by various officers of the organization. The candidate is asked to take decisions on various items based on the in basket information. The candidate is then evaluated by the decisions he took, during the test.

(iv) Proficiency Tests:

Proficiency tests seek to measure the skill and abilities which the candidate already possesses at the time of testing. Trade tests or skill tests are examples of proficiency tests. They determine whether the claims made by the candidate about his skills and abilities are proved by his actual test performance.

(v) Interest Tests:

Interest tests identify patterns of interest, that is, areas in which the individual shows special concern, fascination and involvement. These tests will suggest what types of jobs may be satisfying to the employees.

(vi) Personality Tests:

Personality tests are aimed at finding out emotional balance, maturity, temperament, etc., of the candidate. It is very difficult to design and use these tests as they are concerned with discovering clues to an individual’s emotional reactions, maturity, etc. Personality tests have disadvantage in the sense that they can be faked by sophisticated candidates and most candidates give socially acceptable answers. Further, personality tests may not successfully predict job success.

4. Selection Interview:

Interview serves as a means of checking the information given in the application forms and the tests results. It also provides an opportunity to the candidates to enquire about the job during interview. Managers get an opportunity to take a decision about their suitability for employment. Selection interview should be conducted in an atmosphere which is free from disturbance, noise and interruption. Interview should be conducted in great depth to judge the suitability of the candidates.

5. Checking References:

References are generally required to enquire about the conduct of those candidates who have been found suitable in the interviews and tests. References can be collected from the previous employers, colleges last attended or from any other reliable source.

Before forming a balanced opinion, it is necessary to enquire from three to five persons about the conduct of the prospective candidate. However, this exercise may not always produce the desired results because (i) no candidate will cite the name of a referee who might speak unfavourably about him; (ii) the referee may not always respond; and (iii) due to a prejudice the referee may deliberately speak against the candidate.

6. Medical Examination:

A physical examination of the potential employee is necessary for the company, to protect itself against the risk of claims for compensation from individuals who are afflicted with disabilities. The medical examination should be both general and thorough. The findings should be carefully recorded so as to give a complete medical history, the scope of current physical capacities, and the nature of disabilities, if any.

But, it needs to be remembered that the medical examination is an aid to selecting employees who, besides fulfilling the requirements as to abilities and skills, also possess necessary physical characteristics. In other words, medical examination should not be used unfairly to reject an otherwise suitable candidate.

7. Final Approval:

After a candidate has cleared all the hurdles in the selection procedure, he is formally appointed by issuing him an appointment letter or by making a service agreement with him. No selection procedure is fool proof and the best way to judge a person is by observing him working on the job.

8. Employment:

Candidates who give satisfactory performance during the probationary period are made permanent.

Selection Process in HRM – 10 Steps in Selection Procedure

Finding the interested candidates who have submitted their profiles for a particular job is the process of recruitment, and choosing the best and most suitable candidates among them is the process of selection. It results in elimination of unsuitable candidates. It follows scientific techniques for the appropriate choice of a person for the job.

The recruitment process has a wide coverage as it collects the applications of interested candidates, whereas the selection process narrows down the scope and becomes specific when it selects the suitable candidates.

Stone defines, ‘Selection is the process of differentiating between applicants in order to identify (and hire) those with a greater likelihood of success in a job’.

A scientific and logical selection procedure leads to scientific selection of candidates. The criterion finalized for selecting a candidate for a particular job varies from company to company.

Therefore, the selection procedure followed by different organizations, many times, becomes lengthy as it is a question of getting the most suitable candidates for which various tests are to be done and interviews to be taken. The procedure for selection should be systematic so that it does not leave any scope for confusions and doubts about the choice of the selected candidate.

Brief details of the various steps in selection procedure are given as follows:

1. Inviting Applications:

The prospective candidates from within the organization or outside the organization are called for applying for the post. Detailed job description and job specification are provided in the advertisement for the job. It attracts a large number of candidates from various areas.

2. Receiving Applications:

Detailed applications are collected from the candidates who provide the necessary information about personal and professional details of a person. These applications facilitate analysis and comparison of the candidates.

3. Scrutiny of Applications:

As the limit of the period within which the company is supposed to receive applications ends, the applications are sorted out. Incomplete applications get rejected; applicants with un-matching job specifications are also rejected.

4. Written Tests:

As the final list of candidates becomes ready after the scrutiny of applications, the written test is conducted. This test is conducted for understanding the technical knowledge, attitude and interest of the candidates. This process is useful when the number of applicants is large. Many times, a second chance is given to candidates to prove themselves by conducting another written test.

5. Psychological Tests:

These tests are conducted individually and they help for finding out the individual quality and skill of a person. The types of psychological tests are aptitude test, intelligence test, synthetic test and personality test.

6. Personal Interview:

Candidates proving themselves successful through tests are interviewed personally. The interviewers may be individual or a panel. It generally involves officers from the top management.

The candidates are asked several questions about their experience on another job, their family background, their interests, etc. They are supposed to describe their expectations from the said job. Their strengths and weaknesses are identified and noted by the interviewers which help them to take the final decision of selection.

7. Reference Check:

Generally, at least two references are asked for by the company from the candidate. Reference check is a type of crosscheck for the information provided by the candidate through their application form and during the interviews.

8. Medical Examination:

Physical strength and fitness of a candidate is must before they takes up the job. In-spite of good performance in tests and interviews, candidates can be rejected on the basis of their ill health.

9. Final Selection:

At this step, the candidate is given the appointment letter to join the organization on a particular date. The appointment letter specifies the post, title, salary and terms of employment. Generally, initial appointment is on probation and after specific time period it becomes permanent.

10. Placement:

This is a final step. A suitable job is allocated to the appointed candidate so that they can get the whole idea about the nature of the job. They can get adjusted to the job and perform well in future with all capacities and strengths.

Selection Process in HRM – 7 Steps of Selection Process Suggested by Yoder et al

Although selection procedures change from one organization to another in terms of size, industry, location, and scalar levels of jobs being filled, the selection process depends upon effective job – analysis and recruitment.

As Yoder et al, suggest the selection process involves seven steps as follows:

(1) Preliminary screening of applicants,

(2) Review of application blank,

(3) Checking references,

(4) Physical examination,

(5) Psychological testing,

(6) Employment interview, and

(7) Evaluation of the programme.

The above seven steps can also be classified as techniques of selection.

Step # 1. Preliminary Screening:

This is a sorting process in which prospective applicants are given the necessary information about the nature of the job and also, necessary information is elicited from the candidates about their education, experience, skill, salary expected, etc.

As regards screening interviews, they should be conducted by skilled and trained interviewers instead of some lower cadre clerk in the personnel department. The rejection standards for applications should be well defined.

Two kinds of screening are normally done – the first is the rough and the second is the fine screening. The rough screening is more of the mechanical variety, where the basic eligibility requirements are checked. It is the fine screening that is not too easy to deal with, as judgments, based on informed opinion, have to be made.

Yoder et al suggest Toops’ successive – hurdles techniques as an effective screening device. According to this technique, all selection factors are arranged in the decreasing order of importance. For example, if the aptitude test has the highest correlation among all the selection devices with job success, it would be ranked first.

Similarly, with work experience, a mechanical screening can determine basic cut – offs like the specific period of work, but the type of work – relevance, level, variety and richness are factors where some degree of judgement will be needed. Aptitude tests can be used to screen out the applicants. Some organizations use non – objective methods such as observational technique (i.e., facial expression) and length of experience, in screening applicants.

This is a highly arbitrary method having only a chance validity. The screening thus need to be done by a person, who has a high degree of awareness and analytical skills. In many cases the HR department and the identifying department form a joint committee and do the screening.

Step # 2. Application Blanks:

Application blanks are frequently used as selection devices. These blanks vary from small one – paged sheet to several folders consisting of hundreds of items regarding the applicant’s history.

Application blanks generally have two functions:

(i) They provide pertinent information about the employee which the organization will need if the individual is hired. For example, age, sex, marital status and so on.

(ii) They are designed to gather information about job applicants which the personnel officer feels pertinent to the hiring process. For example, work experience and references.

If the application blanks consist of the proper items, the personal history items can be effectively used. Usually, the past provides indications regarding the future. The most effective predictor of job success is his demonstrated ability to perform effectively on a similar job.

In general, application blanks is a highly structured instrument in which the questions have been standardized and determined in advance. Information requested on an application blanks is concerned with ‘personal history’. It includes items dealing with the previous work and life -history of the applicant. Weighted application blanks can be prepared on the basis of information regarding personal history items associated with job success.

Suppose, if academic achievement is markedly associated with success in executive jobs, it is assigned a relatively high weight. It is not possible to prepare a weighted application blank for all jobs in general. Rather, attempts should be made to prepare weighted application for specific jobs and specific organizations.

Application blanks are not as effective practically as they appear theoretically sound. Sometimes, the applicants tend to exaggerate their abilities. Sometimes the personnel department members are not aware of the proper evaluation procedure of blanks and accordingly cannot make their effective use.

Notwithstanding these limitations, the application blanks have been proved highly effective in several jobs. Used properly as an aid to selection, the application blank can be and sometimes is one of the better selection devices at the disposal of the personnel technician. One advantage of the application blank is that response bias does not usually play as great a role.

Even if a person did tend to bias his answers on the application on matters to which he felt some concern about giving an honest answer, in many cases such data is subject to rather easy verification from other sources. Intuitively, it would be expected that many questions on the application blank should be related to job success.

Similarly, past personal life history items have been found to be associated with turnover. These ought to give some indication of the emotional and personality characteristics of the applicant, which may have some bearing on eventual job adjustment. Thus, application blanks are quite effective in the selection process. These do not contain questions that discriminate unfairly. The information obtained from application blanks is job – related.

Step # 3. Reference Checking:

Many times job applicants are required to produce some sort of documentary evidence that they performed satisfactorily in one or more of their past positions. The previous employers and schools can provide useful information. Attempts may be made to make personal visits and telephone calls to procure objective responses.

It is an effective practice to send a brief questionnaire involving checking answers instead of requiring a great deal of writing. The enquiries should be as specific and precise as possible.

The difficulties with using references as guides in the selection of job applicants are many. One must always be concerned with the accuracy of the description provided in the recommendation.

There are perhaps four major reasons for a letter of reference to be inaccurate in content:

(i) Knowledge of Applicant:

Many times employers are asked to provide letters of reference to terminating employees of whom they have little or no direct knowledge. Indeed, in some organizations “form” letters of recommendation are provided to all employees who terminate on a voluntary basis, such letters merely indicate that the employee was not fired, and certainly are totally useless to other employers as far as providing any real information about the applicant’s talents or potential for success.

(ii) Ability to Assess Applicant:

Even if the employer has had sufficient exposure or contact with the worker to become familiar with his talents, there is then the question of the degree to which the employer is capable of getting an accurate impression of the worker.

(iii) Ability to Describe Applicant:

Assuming that the employer has both the ability and the opportunity to evaluate his workers, many people do not have the writing skill to transmit their impressions accurately to another person via letter. To the extent that the employer lacks the ability to communicate in this fashion, the accuracy of the recommendation is going to suffer.

(iv) Willingness to be Accurate:

Reluctance on the part of the employer to portray the unfavourable aspects of those he is asked to recommend is the most serious obstacle of all. Sometimes such reluctance arises out of a general tendency to be “kind” or “charitable” to the departing employee. In other words, the employer makes a bad employee sound good just to get rid of him.

Traditionally, there are four approaches to securing letters of reference. Usually, the former employer is asked to write a letter describing various aspects of the candidate, sometimes a questionnaire is used or a form is provided and the former employer is asked to give detailed information where known.

The U.S Civil Service Commission uses the questionnaire approach, sending the Employment Recommendation Questionnaire (ERQ) to an applicant’s list of references. Extensive research on the ERQ has demonstrated that even this objective – questionnaire approach has limited predictive validity.

An interesting and potentially useful way of checking references involves the forced – Choice Questionnaire.

In this situation, the person giving the reference is forced to choose the one item in each of a number of pairs of items that best describes the former employee. What makes this unique is that the items in each pair appear to be equally favourable to the employee. The forced – choice reference check is usually limited to selection for clerical or other types of jobs that an organization fills in large numbers.

Another way of checking references is to interview the persons over the telephone. A skilful interviewer can obtain a more accurate and thorough evaluation of a candidate in this manner than with a questionnaire or letter. More specific as well as follow-up questions can be asked in a telephone conversation because it is a more flexible interview situation.

A costly and time – consuming approach is the field investigation in which references are interviewed in person. It can elicit a great deal of information not obtainable through letters.

The amount of effort a prospective employer is willing to expend on checking an applicant’s references depends on the level and importance of the job, a point equally applicable to all selection techniques.

Step # 4. Physical Examinations:

Physical examinations are frequently conducted and used for differential placement purposes rather than rejection of applicants. Most jobs are subject to the candidate being medically fit, as certified by the company doctor or the civil surgeon. Large organizations have their own medical clinics while the small organizations refer to private clinics.

Physical examination helps in effective manpower utilisation by stressing differential placement involving assessment of an individual’s capacities and matching them with several job possibilities in the organizational setting.

Companies have now started taking interest in employee health and welfare by conducting periodic health camps, providing insurance cover, conducting safety programmes, designing safety equipment and providing a safer working environment. A healthy employee is in the interest of the organization, as sickness, leave and benefits could be costly and counterproductive. Physical examinations are of the utmost significance in selective or differential placement.

A physical examination serves the following purposes:

(i) It gives an indication regarding fitness of a candidate for the job concerned.

(ii) It discovers existing disabilities and obtains a record thereof, which may be helpful later in deciding the company’s responsibility in the event of a workman’s compensation claim.

(iii) It helps in preventing employment of those suffering from some type of contagious diseases.

(iv) It helps in placing those who are otherwise employable but whose physical handicaps may necessitate assignment only to specified jobs.

Physical examination covers the following:

i. The applicant’s medical history.

ii. Physical measurements – height, weight, etc.

iii. General examination – skin, musculature and joints.

iv. Special senses – visual and auditory activity.

v. Clinical examination – eyes, ears, nose, throat and teeth.

vi. Examination of chest and lungs.

vii. Check-up of blood pressure and heart.

viii. Pathological tests of urine, blood etc.

ix. X-ray examination of chest and other parts of the body.

x. Neuro – psychiatric examination, particularly when medical history or a physician’s observations indicate an adjustment problem.

Following Hanman, physical – demands analysis can be conducted by three methods; (i) the disability method, (ii) the rating method, and (iii) specific method. The disability method stresses upon employee disabilities rather than abilities. The rating method involves rating of jobs demanding “heavy lifting”, “moderate lifting”, “light lifting”, etc. This is a highly subjective method. The specific method stresses what the employee can do.

Attempts are made to state job demands as well as employee capacities in specific, objective terms enabling matching and comparison. This method also involves development of specific physical and environmental demands of a job through job analysis, enabling the personnel manager to assess specific abilities and demands for specific applicants for several specific jobs.

Step # 5. Psychological Testing:

An important personnel selection technique is the psychological test. As virtually everyone can attest, the use of psychological tests is widespread at all levels and periods of life. Psychological tests are used in organizations for several purposes including selection and placement of employees, transfer and promotion of employees, determining training needs and evaluation of training programmes, and counselling.

Many organizations administer tests not only to applicants but also to current workers to determine which ones have the ability to be promoted.

Some people believe that organizations rely too heavily upon psychological tests. Others suggest, with good reason, that many of the tests in the daily use are worthless. Still other critics, including the U.S. Congress, argue that testing constitutes an unwelcome and unwarranted invasion of privacy.

And, finally, the problem of providing equal employment opportunities offers a massive challenge to the use of tests as selection devices, a challenge severe that the use of testing in industry is experiencing a sharp decline for the first time in its long history.

However, in spite of these growing criticisms, it is still true that in most walks of life it is impossible to progress without being asked to take some kind of psychological test.

A test is a sample of an aspect of an individual’s behaviour, performance or attitude. It can also be a systematic procedure for comparing the behaviour of two or more persons. A Psychological test is standardised instrument designed to measure objectively one or more aspects of a total personality by means of samples of verbal or non-verbal responses, or by means of other behaviour.

Step # 6. Employment Interview:

The interview is the most frequently used selection instrument, as it is one that provide an opportunity for a face-to-face interaction with the candidate, an opportunity to check out and clarify the data given in the application. It is extremely unlikely that anyone is hired now a days without being subjected to a personal interview.

Regardless of what other selection techniques are used, every prospective employer seems to want the chance to meet a job candidate in person.

The term “Interview” refers to a conversation with a purpose. It is a face-to-face conversation for the purpose of obtaining factual information, assessing the individual personality, or counselling or therapeutic purposes. The employment interview is easily the most pervasive personnel practice, and it is a critical part of the employment process.

The purpose of employment interview is three-fold- obtaining information, giving information, and motivation. It provides an appraisal of personality by obtaining relevant information about the prospective employee’s background, training, work history, education and interests.

Further, it provides information regarding the enterprise, its personnel policies and the specific jobs to the applicants. It seeks to establish a positive relationship between the employer and the employee and motivate the prospective employees to accept the offer of appointment with the company.

The interview is an artificial situation, where the candidate is putting on the best ‘face’, and the panel is trying to find out the ‘real face’. Each individual is unique and therefore, each interview should be tailored to tap that ‘uniqueness’ and relate the data to the job competency requirements.

Personnel departments and managers rely heavily on the interview as a selection tool and art extremely reluctant to hire persons without the chance to meet and question them. Personnel psychologists on the other hand, are considerably less enthusiastic and optimistic about the value of the interview for selection; the evidence shows consistently that the interview is not a good predictor of job success.

The predictive validity of the interview remains embarrassingly low, a conclusion first demonstrated in 1915 by Walter Dill Scott. Experience has demonstrated that no matter how many validity studies personnel psychologists conduct, the interview continues to be used for selection purposes.

As a result, personnel psychologists are focusing on the mechanics and dynamics of this complex face- to-face meeting in the hope of understanding its process and problems. The more we learn about what actually happens during an interview, the better chance there is of improving its usefulness.

Step # 7. Evaluation of the Selection Programme:

As it has rightly been asserted, a selection programme is no better than its evaluation. Attempts should be made to assess the effectiveness of selection and placement through intensive research studies. For this purpose, adequate records must be maintained. There is an urgent need to determine the criteria of evaluation in advance.

Employee attitude and opinion surveys can provide effective measures for evaluation. Various statistical techniques such as correlation and variance analysis can be used to indicate the efficacy of different selection methods and techniques.

Although at present most of the selection programmes are accepted on faith, there is a growing tendency to assess selection policy, programmes, methods and techniques. Public policy has compelled management to demonstrate the effectiveness of selection practices.

Beach outlines the areas and issues to be covered in a systematic evaluation of the selection programme. First, attempts should be made to analyse the programme with a view to determining as to whether it is in line with sound personnel management theory and practice.

Second, care should be taken to assess how effectively are the programmes and its procedures communicated to all the participants. Third, attempts should be made to ascertain how adequately the programme has been implemented.

Fourth, steps should be taken to obtain feedback on the image of the programme among applicants and the employment agencies. Fifth, an analysis of results of the selection programme should be conducted, explicitly; evaluation should be performed by individuals independent of the personnel department.

Successful selection has been rendered even more difficult in recent years by the requirements of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). All job applicants, regardless of race, religion, sex, or national origin, must be given equal opportunities for employment.

This problem has special relevance for members of minority groups. It has been alleged that some of the selection procedures used by employing organizations discriminate against educationally and culturally deprived individuals. Not only is such discrimination unethical and immoral, but it is also illegal. Employing organizations must try to ensure that all persons have equal access to job and training opportunities.

The law requiring equal opportunity of employment has placed specific limitations on virtually all selection devices. Because of this legislation, there is only one valid basis for criterion on which to select new employees – actual job performance. Every method of selection must be clearly related to performance on the job, and the burden of proof rests on the employing organization.