Getting Right People: Know The Best Selection Process

Process of Selection – Selection is a process which follows soon after recruitment. Recruitment is a process that deals with sourcing. It is only concerned with getting as many applicants as possible from as many sources as possible.

Selection is the process involving short listing of applicants with respect to a particular role. Since recruitment deals with adding as many applicants, it can be viewed as a positive process while selection could be viewed as a negative process as it involves filtering out the resumes or applicants based on the role in question.

Selection can be defined as a process of screening the resumes in order to identify the most suitable candidate for the role being looked at.

Selection would involve zeroing onto candidates with a greater likelihood of success in the job. Simply put, Selection involves finding the “Ideal fit” between the person and the job.

Let us now understand the process of selection. A generic selection process is graphically represented below :

Process of Selection



Candidate Summary Sheet

  • The resumes received through various hiring sources are posted onto a candidate summary sheet (a sample of which is shown above).
  • The rationale for posting the resume on this summary sheet is that the interviewer or the panel of interviewers will have a ready reconer available in front of them before the interview process starts.
  • This is mandatory as the panel should know a brief about the candidate who is walking in for the interview, especially in terms of the qualifications, experience and the skills sets he/she carries.
  • This would enable the panel to assess the individuals properly and ask pertinent questions about the role.

Preliminary Interview

A preliminary interview can be conducted by the HR manager or a senior recruiter to have a prima-facie check on the candidate’s skill sets, relevant experience and qualifications necessary for the interview. Thus, a filter is important to short list the resumes from a whole lot of resumes that have been received.

  • This preliminary check can be through a telephonic conversation or could be a face-to-face interview if it is convenient for the candidate to attend.
  • However, looking at the time that an individual spends in cutting across the traffic and reaching at the venue, it becomes more prudent to conduct the same through a Video Conference (VC), especially if the candidates shortlisted are not local.
  • Such out stationed candidates find it very convenient to attend the interview round through a VC. It is good for the interviewer also as he /she is able to see the candidate and take the process further.
  • Once the preliminary round of interview is over, the next round could involve a proper interview.
  • However, here it is worth mentioning that the interviewer should be knowledgeable enough with respect to the role being considered.

Hence, it is important for the HR manager to identify and prepare the panel beforehand. It would also be important here to mention that the interviewer should have a thorough knowledge of the Job Description (JD) of the profile being looked at. Many a times, it is observed that any senior member of the organization who is not engaged in any important work is dragged into the interviewing process irrespective of the fact that he/she is aware about the role. This could be detrimental as there is great likelihood that a less deriving student may get shortlisted for subsequent rounds. A wrong selection could even lead to demotivating others in the team. Further, to this step, is a quick step of conducting ‘Reference check’.

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Reference Check

  • This reference check should be conducted from the past employers and not from past acquaintances.
  • Past acquaintances are incorrect source of information about the performance of a candidate.
  • Reference checks should be done from previous bosses as they would be in a better position to articulate things and portray a clear and correct picture of the past performance of the candidates.
  • Ideals two are three reference checks should be sufficient.
  • However, if the candidate is a trainee and carries no past experience, reference may be conveniently skipped.
  • Reference checks can also be carried out after the roll out of offer letter. And, after doing so, if anything adverse comes to the notice then the candidate may be asked to leave or the offer letter may be declined.
  • A reference check may also be conducted once the candidate is on board. And, if any adverse remarks are received from the previous employers, an action as deemed fit may be initiated by the current employer.
  • However, it is imperative to mention here to mention that reference checks may not always be reliable and hence the HR manager or the recruiter needs to be matured enough to understand and interpret the reference checks properly.
  • He should have the ability to read between the lines and pose questions properly to elicit data related to performance, etc from their previous bosses.
  • Many a times, it happens that when reference check is being sought from his / her previous boss, for one reason or the other or may be due vengeance, the boss speak ill about the candidate (contradicting to what the candidate might have said during the interview), which may actually not be the case.
  • Just because, the candidate left the other company abruptly, his / her previous manager may not speak good about the candidate, instead, the candidate’s image may be tarnished by manipulated feedback from their previous bosses. Hence, the recruiter must be extremely matured to comprehend the reference check and should not take them on the face of it.

Final round of Interview

  • After one or two rounds of interview, the final round of interview could be with a single individual or with a panel of two wherein the other person could be interviewed by the HR manager and the business manager (generally a manager from the line function or the manager from the respective business).
  • This makes more sense since the candidate ultimately needs to be given “a go ahead” by the concerned business manager where he /she is going to join.
  • Once a principal “go ahead’ is received, what follows is a quick negotiation of salary.
  • It is observed that some of the candidates are hard negotiators and do not crack down easily. Their expectation could be much higher and may not often fit into the compensation bracket. As a result, you may lose such god candidates purely during the salary negotiation stage.
  • Hence, it is recommended that have a backup of shortlisted candidates ready so that once a candidate does not fall through the salary negotiation stage and the second one does not like the role and rejects the organization, you have the next best ready, else you may have to start the selection process right from the scratch which may eat up quite a bit of your qualitative time.
  • Assuming that the salary negotiation happens successfully, a medical checkup of the selected follows immediately and finally an offer letter is rolled out.

There are some important points which a recruiter needs to bear in mind. The number of rounds in the selection process should not be too many, else it puts off the candidate. One or two rounds are common which should be followed by a final round. The number of interview rounds actually depends on the profile that is being looked at. For senior level employee, since the stakes of the position are higher, more number of rounds may be desirable.

Barriers in Effective Selection

  • While we have understood the process of selection, it would be prudent to also have an insight into the barriers in effective selection.
  • Incorrect perception of a candidate who has come for interview may bias the interviewer and may result into inappropriate process of selection. For instance, an interviewer may not interpret the answers correctly leading to inappropriate decision in perception.
  • One such type of perceptual error is Halo effect, where in a single trait of an individual may overshadow all other traits of a candidate.
  • In other words, a single characteristic of an individual or a trait of a candidate may cast its influence over all other traits of that individual, resulting in a biased selection/rejection of a candidate. For example, a person may be a good sportsman and this sportsmanship or swiftness or agility may also be the qualities that the interviewers may be eyeing for, in a candidate for a salesman’s job. Therefore, we see here that the candidate’s sportsmanship has cast his influence over all other traits, thus developing a bias in the interview.
  • An interviewer may have incorrect perception about a particular set of people which may sway the decision to the other side while short listing a candidate in the interview process.“Obese people do not make good salesmen”, “back benchers in the class are poor attention payers” – statements like these can be called “stereotypes”, which may bias the mindset of interviewers.
  • The interviewers should be free from such bias while conducting the interview. Stereotype, therefore is also a kind of perceptual error. At times during an interview, it may so happen that an interviewer among a panel of interviewers, may rate a candidate much higher because the interviewer sees his projection of personality in the candidate. The interviewer may be fond of golf and the candidate when asked about his hobby also tells playing golf as his hobby. The interviewer therefore perceives the candidate as his projection as both have of them have some commonality in them. This may lead to a high rating by the interviewer thus biasing the process of selection . Projection, therefore can also be viewed as a perceptual error.

Tests in the process of selection

There are various types of tests that could be used in the process of selection. For example, a short listing process may involve psychometric test of assessing a candidate’s personality.

  • Psychometric assessment

This is expensive and psychometric analysis of responses demands special skills. Not everyone in the process of selection team may be knowledgeable about such tests An example of such test is used in Thomas profiling is DISC analysis – where D stands for Dominance, I stands for Influence, S stands for Steadiness and C for Compliance.

These tests being expensive are introduced for specific positions only like Team Manager or Team Leader type profiles, wherein it becomes imperative to assess the stress taking capability of the leader or the manager.

Such psychometric analysis therefore will tell you about Dominance or influence or Steadiness or Compliance characteristics of the Team leader or the Team Manager – How influential the team leader is, how much compliant the team leader is, to the rules or processes laid down, etc.

Such a psychometric analysis definitely value adds the selection process. However, this being an expensive tool, cannot be used for all the positions as mentioned earlier. It therefore becomes vital for the organization to develop resources with such capability in the system and empower the process of selection.

Organizations may adopt customize their selection tests based on the profiles that are being looked at for selection. For example, if the selection is for management trainees from a campus, then apart from a Group discussion, aptitude tests can also used for screening the candidates.

  • Ink -blot test

It would be appropriate to mention the names of other tests like Ink -blot test which are not commonly used in organizations. This Ink-blot test involves the participants taking this test to imagine and weave a story when an ink drop blots a paper. The moment the ink starts blotting on the paper, it creates a weird design based on which the participants are encouraged to write a story. The examiner or the selector keeps a close watch on the responses, time taken and emotional expressions of the participants. Such types of tests, though uncommon, find their ways in organization where creative skills are important or creative writing is of paramount significance, example : Advertising industry.

  • It would also be important here to mention that the selections tests need to valid and reliable.
  • Validity of tests implies that the test measures what it is intended to measure.
  • Reliability implies that the tests are dependable and would yield a similar kind of data whenever they are conducted. For instance, a questionnaire has been developed and is administered to a set of individuals to assess their personality.
  • Thus test would be valid, if this instrument really measures the personality of individuals and would be considered as reliable if similar kind of data is received if these tests are repeated with the same set of individuals after a certain time period.

The candidate after passing through the process of selection tests end up at the final round of interview. This final interview is essentially a face-to-face interview where the role that the candidate is going to perform, is discussed especially, with respect to the work settings and complexities or challenges.

In this stage of interview, the candidate is often advised regarding some idea about the team that the candidate is going to manage or a little information about the team whose part the candidate would become and what would be the expectations from him/her.

This stage also involves with negotiation of salary and ends with the roll out of an offer letter. The negotiation stage may fall out as well, meaning thereby the candidate may not fit into the compensation structure and may fall out. In that case, the next best candidate is taken into the process of selection which has been identified earlier. It has of late been noticed that the candidates are quite smart these days.

Once they acquire an offer letter, they may smartly negotiate with another employer for a higher salary package. Hence, to avoid this or minimise such casualty, the recruiter or the HR manager has to keep in touch constantly with the offered candidate till on-boarding happens. If the selection team takes a casual approach, then they may lose out their selected candidate. Once the person joins on the designated day, a letter of appointment is released to confirm the joining and the candidate then becomes an employee of the company.

It would be a good exercise to monitor the recruitment and selection process. Ratios can be ascertained at each stage of the process to have a close watch on the success rate of the process. Various ratios for close monitoring of the process can be put in place. Following is a list of ratios that would certainly help in close monitoring of the selection process.

  1. The ratio of the number of applications (or resumes) received to those sent for selection.
  2.  The ratio of the number of resumes short listed to the number of resumes received.
  3. The ratio of the number of candidates attending the tests to the number of candidates short listed to take the test.
  4. The ratio of the number of the number of candidates who successfully cleared the test to the number of candidates who took the test.
  5. The ratio of the number of candidates finally selected to the number of candidates who underwent the selection process… (This is selection percentage).
  6. The ratio of the number of offer letters accepted to the number of offer letters rolled out…. (Offer letter acceptance percentage).
  7. Finally, the number of candidates joined to the number of candidates offered…… (Joining ratio). This is also an indication of the lost offers. Simply put, it indicates the number of lost offers or the number of candidates who have backed out.

The above ratios (or percentages) could be important indicators of monitoring the process of selection. Such ratios also help in identifying the stage where a lapse occurs and needs to be tightened.

Needless to mention, proper selection of candidates is very important as it renders the organization a competitive edge over others and also contributes significantly towards decreasing the overall training costs.

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