Selection is the process of examining the applicants with regard to their suitability for the given job or jobs and choosing the best from the suitable candidates and rejecting the others. Thus, you will notice that this process is negative in nature in the sense that rejection of candidates involved.
It is the process of securing relevant information about an applicant to evaluate his qualification, experience and other qualities with the view of matching with the requirement of a job. It is the process of picking out the man or men best suited for the organization’s requirement.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
The selection process involves rejection of unsuitable or less suitable applicants. This may be done at any of the successive hurdles which an applicant must cross. These hurdles act as screens designed to eliminate an unqualified applicant at any point in the process. This technique is known as “successive hurdle technique” Figure-1 gives these hurdles.
Yoder calls these hurdles ‘go on go’ gauges. Those who qualify a hurdle go to the next one; those who do not qualify are dropped out. The complexity of the process usually increases with the level and responsibility of the position to be filled. Moreover, these hurdles need not necessarily be placed in the same order. Their arrangement may differ from organization to organization.
Initial Screening or Preliminary Interview : 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 expectation etc. If the candidate is found to be suitable, he is selected for further process and, if not he is eliminated. This is a crude screening and can be done across the counter n the organization’s employment office. Due care should be taken so that suitable candidates are not turned down in hurry.
Different types of application forms are used by the organization for different types of positions/posts. Some forms are simple, general and easily answerable, while others may require elaborate, complex and detailed information. Sometimes applications are asked in plain sheet.
Application forms are designed to serve as a highly effective preliminary screening device, particularly when applications are received in direct response to an advertisement and without any preliminary interview.
The applications are used in two ways : 1) to find out on the basis of information contained there in as to the chances of success of the candidate in the job for which he is applying, and 2) to provide a starting point for the interview.
A test is a sample of an aspect of an individual’s behavior, performance or attitude. It can also be a systematic procedure for comparing the behavior of two or more.
Purpose of the test : the basic assumption underlying the use of tests in personnel selection is that individuals are different in their job-related abilities and skills and that these skills can be adequately and accurately measured.
Test seek to eliminate the possibility of prejudice on the part of the interviewer or supervisor. Potential ability only will govern selection decisions.
The other measure advantage is that the tests may uncover qualifications and talents that would not be detected by interviews or by listing of education and job experience.
Types of tests: The various tests used in the selection can be put into four categories.
1)Achievement or Intelligence Tests 2) Aptitude or potential ability test.
3) Personality test 4) Interest Test
These tests and what they measure are described below.
A) Achievement or Intelligence Tests
These are also called ‘proficiency tests’. These measure the skill or knowledge which is acquired as a result of a training programme and on the job experience. These measure what the applicant can do. These are of two types:
Test for Measuring job Knowledge: These are known as ‘Trade Tests’. These are administered to determine knowledge of typing, shorthand and in operating calculators, adding machines, dictating and transcribing machines or simple mechanical equipment. These are primarily oral tests consisting of a series of questions which are believed to be satisfactorily answered only by those who know and thoroughly understand the trade or occupation. Oral tests may be supplemented by written, picture or performance types.
Work Sample Tests: These measure the proficiency with which equipment can be handled by the candidate. This is done by giving him a piece of work to judge how efficiently he does it. For example, a typing test would provide the material to be typed and note the time taken and mistakes committed.
B) Aptitude or Potential Ability Tests
These tests measure the latent ability of a candidate to learn a new job or skill. Through these tests you can detect peculiarity or defects in a person’s sensory or intellectual capacity. These focus attention on particular types of talent such as learning, reasoning and mechanical or musical aptitude..’Instruments’ used are variously described as tests of ‘intelligence’, ‘mental ability’, ‘mental alertness’, or simply as ‘personnel tests’. These are of three types:
i) Mental Tests: These measure the overall intellectual ability or the intelligence quotient (I.Q.) of a person and enable us to know whether he has the mental capacity to deal with new problems. These determine an employee’s fluency in language, memory, interaction, reasoning, speed of perception, and spatial visualisation.
ii) Mechanical Aptitude Tests: These measure the capacity of a person to learn a particular type of mechanical work. These are useful when apprentices, machinists, mechanics, maintenance workers, and mechanical technicians are to be selected.
iii) Psychomotor or Skill Tests: These measure a person’s ability to do a specific job. These are administered to determine mental dexterity or motor ability and similar attributes involving muscular movement, control and coordination. These are primarily used in the selection of workers who have to perform semi-skilled and repetitive jobs, like assembly work, packing, testing, inspection and so on.
C) Personality Tests
These discover clues to an individual’s value system, his emotional reactions, maturity and his characteristic mood. The tests help in assessing a person’s motivation, his ability to adjust himself to the stresses of everyday life and his capacity for interpersonal relations and for projecting an impressive image of himself. They are expressed in terms of the relative significance of such traits of a person as self-confidence, ambition, tact, emotional control, optimism, decisiveness, sociability, conformity, objectivity, patience, fear, distrust, initiative, judgement, dominance, impulsiveness, sympathy, integrity, and stability. These tests are given to predict potential performance and success for supervisory or managerial jobs.
The personality tests are basically of three types:
i) Objective Tests: These measure neurotic tendencies, self-sufficiency, dominance, submission and self-confidence.
ii) Projective Tests: In these tests, a candidate is asked to project his own interpretation onto certain standard stimuli. The way in which he responds to these stimuli depends on his own values, motives and personality.
iii) Situation Tests: These measure an applicant’s reaction when he is placed in a peculiar situation, his ability to undergo stress and his demonstration of ingenuity under pressure. These tests usually relate to a leaderless group situation, in which some problems are posed to a group and its members are asked to reach some conclusions without the help of a leader.
D) Interest Tests
These tests are designed to discover a person’s areas of interest and to identify the kind of work that will satisfy him. The interest tests are used for vocational guidance, and are assessed in the form of answers to a well-prepared questionnaire.
Limitations of Selection Tests: From the basic description of tests described above, one should not conclude that a hundred per cent prediction of an individual’s on-the job success can be made through these tests. These tests, at best, reveal that candidates who have scored above the predetermined cut-off points are likely to be more successful than those who have scored below the cut-off point.
Tests are useful when the number of applicants is large. Moreover, tests will serve no useful purpose if they are not properly constructed or selected or administered.
Precautions in using Selection Tests: Test results can help in selecting the best candidates if the following precautions are taken:
i) Norms should be developed as a source of reference on all tests used in selection and on a representative sample of people on a given job in the same organization. This is necessary even though ‘standard’ tests are available now under each of the above categories. Norms developed elsewhere should not be blindly used because companies differ in their requirements, culture, organization structure and philosophy.
ii) Some ‘Warm up’ should be provided to candidates either by giving samples of test, and/or answering queries before the test begins.
iii) Tests should first be validated for a given organization and then administered for selection of personnel to the organization.
iv) Each test used should be assigned a weightage in the selection.
v) Test scoring, administration and interpretation should be done by persons having technical competence and training in testing.
We shall now discuss the post application form interview and not the preliminary interview. Personal interview is the most universally used tool in any selection process.
Meaning and Purpose: An interview is a conversation with a purpose between one person on one side and another person or persons on the other. An employment interview should serve three purposes, viz., (i) obtaining information, (ii) giving information, and (iii) motivation. It should provide an appraisal of personality by obtaining relevant information about the prospective employee’s background, training work history, education and interests. The candidate should be given information about the company, the specific job and the personnel policies. It should also help in establishing a friendly relationship between the employer and the applicant and motivate the satisfactory applicant to want to work for the company or organization.
In practice, however, it may turn out to be a one-sided affair. It helps only in obtaining information about the candidate. The other two purposes are generally not served.
TYPES OF INTERVIEW
Informal Interview: This is may take place anywhere. The employer or a manager in the personnal department, may ask a few questions, like name, place of birth, previous experience, etc. It is not planned and is used widely when the labour market is tight and you need workers very badly. A friend or a relative of the employer may take a candidate to the house of the employer or manager where this type of interview may be conducted.
Formal Interview: This held in a more formal atmosphere in the employment office by the employment officer with the help of well-structured questions. The time and place of the interview are stipulated by the employment office.
Planned Interview: This is a formal interview carefully planned. The interviewer has a plan of action worked out in relation to time to be devoted to each candidate, type of information to be sought, information to be given, the modality of interview and so on. He may use the plan with some amount of flexibility.
Patterned Interview: This is also a planned interview but planned to a higher degree of accuracy, precision and exactitude. A list of questions and areas are carefully prepared. The interviewer goes down the list of questions, asking them one after another.
Non-directive Interview: This is designed to let the interviewee speak his mind freely. The interviewer is a careful and patient listener, prodding whenever the candidate is silent. The idea is to give the candidate complete freedom to ‘sell’ himself without encumbrances of the interviewer’s questions.
Depth Interview: This is designed to intensively examine the candidate’s background and thinking and to go into considerable detail on a particular subject to special interest to the candidate. The theory behind it is that if the candidate is found good in his area of special interest, the chances are high that if given a job he would take serious interest in it.
Stress Interview: This is designed to test the candidate and his conduct and behaviour by putting him under conditions of stress and strain. This is very useful to test the behavior of individuals under disagreeable and trying situations.
Group Interview: This is designed to see how the candidates react to and against each other. All the candidates may be brought together in the office and they may be interviewed. The candidates may, alternatively, be given a topic for discussion and be observed as to who will lead the discussion, how they will participate in the discussion, how each will make his presentation and how they will react to each other’s views and presentation.
Panel Interview: This is done by members of the interview board or a selection committee. This is done usually for supervisory and managerial positions. It pools the collective judgement and wisdom of members of the panel. The candidate may be asked to meet the panel individually for a fairly lengthy interview.
Interview Rating: Important aspects of personality can be categorized under the following seven main headings:
- Physical Make-up: Health, physique, age, appearance, bearing, speech.
- Attainments: Education, occupational training and experience.
- Intelligence: Basic and ‘effective’.
- Special Aptitudes: Written and oral fluency of expression, numeracy, organizational ability, administrative skill.
- Interests: Intellectual, practical, physically active, social, artistic
- Disposition: Self-reliance, nature, motivation, acceptability.
- Circumstances: Domestic, social background and experience, future prospects.
This is called ‘The Seven Point Plan’. The importance of each of these points will vary from organization to organization and from job to job. Hence, these should be assigned weightage according to their degree of importance for the job.
On the basis of information gathered through an interview, each candidate should be rated in respect of each point given above as: (i) outstanding, (ii) good, (iii) above average, (iv) below average or (v) unsatisfactory. Marks should be allotted to each of these, and the score for each point is arrived at by multiplying it by weights and the total of all these will determine the final position of a candidate at the interview.
Limitations of Interviews: Interviews have their own limitations in matters of selection. Some of these are mentioned below:
- Subjective judgement of the interviewer may be based on his prejudices, likes, dislikes, biases, etc.
- One prominent characteristic of a candidate may be allowed to dominate appraisal of the entire personality.
- The interviewer’s experience may have created a close association between some particular trait and a distinctive type of personality.
- Some managers believe that they are good at character analysis based on some pseudo-scientific methods and are guided by their own abilities at it.
Qualities of ‘Good’ lnterviewers as: A good interviewer should have the following qualities:
- Knowledge of the job or other things with which interviews are concerned.
- Emotional maturity and a stable personality.
- Sensitivity to the interviewee’s feelings and a sympathetic attitude.
- Extrovert behavior and considerable physical and mental stamina.
Guidelines for Improving Interviews: Not all interviews are effective. Their effectiveness can be improved if the following points are kept in mind by an interviewer:
- An interview should have a definite time schedule with ample time for interview. It should not be hurried.
- The impersonal approach should be avoided.
- Interview should have the necessary element of privacy.
- The interviewer should listen carefully to what the applicant says and the information collected should be carefully recorded either while the interview is going on or immediately thereafter.
- Attention should be paid not just to the words spoken, but also to the facial expressions and mannerisms of the interviewee.
- The interview should end when sufficient information has been gathered.
- The interviewee should be told where he stands—whether he will be contacted later, whether he is to visit another person, or it appears that the organization will not be able to use his abilities.
Pseudo-Scientific Methods of Selection: In the past, and to some extent even now, stereotyped impressions of personality and characteristics were used as a basis of selection. These impressions were gathered through pseudo-scientific methods, like phrenology, physiognomy and graphology.
We shall briefly describe below these methods for your background knowledge only:
Phrenology: Here it is believed that the strength of each faculty is indicated by prominent bumps on certain parts of the skull.
Physiognomy: Here it is believed that there is a definite correlation between facial features and psychological functions and behaviour, for example, thin lips indicate determination, broad jaws signify tenacity and so on.
Graphology: Here it is believed that there is a close relationship between handwriting and personality.
Applicant who get over one or more of the preliminary hurdles are sent for a physical examination either to the organization’s physician or to a medical officer approved for the purpose.
Purposes: 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
iv) It helps in placing those who are otherwise employable but whose physical handicaps may necessitate assignment only to specified jobs.
Contents of Physical Examination: Physical examination covers the following:
- The applicant’s medical history.
- His physical measurements—height, weight, etc.
- General examination—skin, musculature and joints.
- Special senses—visual and auditory activity.
- Clinical examination—eyes, ears, nose, throat and teeth.
- Examination of chest and lungs.
- Check-up of blood pressure and heart.
- Pathological tests of urine, blood etc.
- X-ray examination of chest and other parts of the body.
- Neuro-psychiatric examination, particularly when medical history or a physician’s observations indicate an adjustment problem.
You would realize that the importance of these characteristics varies from job to job and, therefore, different weightages have to be given to each far an overall evaluation.
The applicant is asked to mention in his application the names and addresses of three such persons who usually know him well. These may be his previous employers, friends, or professional colleagues. They are approached by mail or telephone and requested to furnish their frank opinion, without incurring any liability, about the candidate either on specified points or in general. They are assured that all information supplied would be kept confidential. Yet, often either no response is received or it is generally a favourable response.
Applicants who cross all the hurdles are finally considered. If there are more persons than the number required for a job the best ones, i.e., those with the highest scores are finally selected.
Sometimes a particular person is selected for a given job. Often more than one person may be selected for the jobs of similar nature. In the second case, individual employees have to be put under individual supervisors with the approval of the latter.
In the first case also his approval is also necessary but it should be done early in the selection process. A proper placement reduces employee turnover, absenteeism and accident rates and improves morale.
This is the last activity in relation to a newly employed person before he is trained for his job.
As explained earlier, it is introduction of an employee to the job and the organization. The primary purpose is to ‘sell’ the company to the new employee so that he may feel proud of his association with the company.
Purpose and Need
An employee has to work with fellow employees and his supervisor. For this he must know them, the way they work and also the policies and practices of the organization so that he may integrate himself with the enterprise. Any neglect in the area of induction and orientation may lead to high labour turnover, confusion, wasted time and expenditure.
A good induction programme should cover the following:
- The company, its history and products, process of production and major operations involved in his job.
- The significance of the job with all necessary information about it including job training and job hazards.
- Structure of the organization and the functions of various departments.
- Employee’s own department and job, and how he fits into the organization.
- Personnel policy and sources of information.
- Company policies, practices, objectives and regulations.
- Terms and conditions of service, amenities and welfare facilities.
- Rules and regulations governing hours of work and over-time, safety and
- accident prevention, holidays and vacations, methods of reporting, tardiness and, absenteeism.
- Grievances procedure and discipline handling.
- Social benefits and recreation services.
- Opportunities, promotions, transfer, suggestion schemes and job satisfaction.
An induction programme consists primarily of three steps:
General orientation by the staff: It gives necessary general information about the history and the operations of the firm. The purpose is to help an employee to build up some pride and interest in the organization.
Specific orientation by the job supervisor: The employee is shown the department and his place of work; the location of facilities and is told about the organization’s specific practices and customs. The purpose is to enable the employee to adjust with his work and environment.
Follow-up orientation by either the personnel department or the supervisor: This is conducted within one week to six months of the initial induction and by a foreman or a specialist. The purpose is to find out whether the employee is reasonably well satisfied with him. Through personal talks, guidance and counselling efforts are made to remove the difficulties experienced by the newcomer.