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MBA in Recruitment™ Executive Program

Recruitment – An Introduction

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the concept of recruitment.

Recruitment has acquired immense, importance in today’s organizations. Organizations have realized the value of human capital and its role in their development. Recruitment is the first step in the process of acquiring and retaining human resources for an organization. In today‘s rapidly changing business environment, organizations have to respond quickly to requirements for people. Hence, it is important to have a well-defined recruitment policy in place, which can be executed effectively to get the best fits for the vacant positions.

The magnitude of recruitment and the methods to be used by you are determined by the human resource plan. Depending on the HRP, your organization decides on the number of people to be recruited; the jobs for which they have to be recruited; and whether the recruitment is for permanent or temporary staff. Once these decisions are made, the modes of recruitment are finalized. All these decisions are taken in alignment with the recruitment policy of the company and your organization’s long-term goals.

Concept of Recruitment
Byers & Rue define recruitment as “the process of seeking and attracting a pool of people from which qualified candidates for job vacancies can be chosen.” According to Edwin B. Flippo, “Recruitment is the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in the organizations”. Effectively, recruitment is the process of getting the right kind of people to apply for the vacancies in an organization.

Though employment, recruitment and selection are used interchangeably, technically all the three have different meanings. In fact, recruitment and selection together constitute employment. Recruitment, as a process, starts with identification of the need for human resources and ends with getting the prospective employees to apply for the vacancies available. The below figure describes the process of recruitment. Selection starts where recruitment ends and deals with choosing the right candidates and getting the best job-fit.
The aim of an effective recruitment program is to attract the best people for the job and aid you (the recruiter) by making a wide choice available. A good job description helps in attracting the right kind of candidates for the job. The recruitment efforts and the costs involved are generally in proportion to the criticality of the vacant position and the urgency of the need.

Summary:

  1. Recruitment is the first step in the process of acquiring and retaining human resources for an organization.
  2. The magnitude of recruitment and the methods to be used are determined by the human resource plan.
  3. Recruitment is the process of getting the right kind of people to apply for the vacancies in an organization.
  4. The aim of an effective recruitment program is to attract the best people for the job and aid the recruiter by making a wide choice available.

Factors Impacting Recruitment

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the various factors affecting recruitment such as Organizational and Environmental factors.

There are many factors that affect the recruitment program. These factors can be classified as organizational or internal factors, and environmental or external factors.


Factors Effecting Recruitment

Organizational Factors
Several factors influence the success or failure of a recruitment program. Some of these are described below:


Process of Recruitment

  1. A major factor that determines the success of a recruitment program is the reputation of your organization. An organization’s reputation depends on its size, area of business, profitability, management etc., in addition to its philosophy and values. For example, a profitable firm known for its strong values would attract a better response to a recruitment drive than a loss-making firm, known for its lack of values.
  2. Your organizational culture and the attitude of its management towards employees also influence a candidate’s decision to apply to an organization. An organization that is known for its employee-friendly policies would certainly be preferred over an orthodox and rigid organization.
  3. Another factor that contributes to the success of a recruitment program is the geographical location of the vacant position. Prospective candidates might not be too eager to work in a remote place unless they belong to that place.
  4. The amount of resources allocated also determines the success of a recruitment drive. This resource allocation is in turn dependent on the criticality of the vacant position and the time available to fill the vacancy. For example, if a critical position in an organization needs to be filled up in a month’s time, substantial resources may have to be allocated to the task. In contrast, if a non-critical position is to be filled up in three months’ time, the quantum of resources to be allocated for the recruitment would be much lower.
  5. The channels and methods used to advertise the vacancy also determine the success of a recruitment program. The reach of advertising has to be wide and its effect deep enough to attract the right talent.
  6. The emoluments that the company offers also influence the decision of a candidate and thereby the success of the recruitment program.

Environmental Factors
Apart from your organizational/internal factors discussed above, some external/environmental factors also determine the effectiveness of a recruitment program. Some of these are mentioned below.

  1. The situation in the labour market, the demand for manpower, the demographics, the knowledge and skill set available, all determine the response to a recruitment program. For example, today there are more fresh engineering graduates available in the job market than ever before. Therefore, a firm looking for flesh engineering graduates might get a phenomenal response.
  2. The stage of development of the industry to which your organization belongs also influences the results of a recruitment program.
  3. Culture, social attitudes and beliefs also impact the effectiveness of a recruitment program; For example, a pharma company might attract more talent than a cigarette manufacturing company, especially in a culture which has strong value and traditions.
  4. Finally, the law of the land and the legal implications involved also play a role in designing a recruitment program and determining its effectiveness.

Summary:

  1. Organizational factors that impact the success of recruitment includes:
    • Reputation of the organization
    • Organizational culture
    • Geographical locations of vacant positions
    • Amount of resources allocated to recruitment drive
    • Channels and methods used to advertise the vacancy
    • Emoluments offered by the organization
  2. Environmental factors include:
    • Situation of labour market of the country
    • Demand for manpower
    • Demographics
    • Knowledge and skill-set availability
    • Stage of development of the industry
    • Culture, social attitudes and beliefs
    • Legal implications

Recruitment Policy

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the recruitment policy of an organization

The recruitment policy of an organization would normally be in alignment with the objectives and policies of your organization. It lays down the objectives of recruitment and the channels and sources of recruitment.

According to Yoder, ‘the recruitment policy is concerned with quantity and qualifications of manpower’. He also says that a recruitment policy establishes broad guidelines for the staffing process.

A good recruitment policy

  1. Complies with government policies on hiring.
  2. Provides optimum employment security and avoids frequent lay-offs or lost-time.
  3. Assures the candidates of the management’s interest in their development.
  4. Prevents the formation of cliques (small exclusive groups) which result in employing the members of the same household or community in your organization.
  5. Reflects the social commitment of your organization by employing handicapped people and other underprivileged people of the society whenever there is a possibility of job fit.
  6. Is in alignment with the objectives and people-policies of your organization.
  7. Is flexible enough to accommodate changes in your organization.
  8. Is designed in such a way that it ensures long-term employment opportunities for its employees.
  9. Stresses and reflects the importance of job analysis.
  10. Is cost effective for your organization.

A good recruitment policy is based on your organization’s objectives, identification of the recruitment needs, preferred sources of recruitment, criteria for selection and preferences, the cost of recruitment, and other financial implications. It should reflect the reputation and image of your organization. Following case study shows the recruitment policy of C-DAC.

Case Study: Recruitment Policy of C-DAC
…An organization is known by the quality of its people.

C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) follows all modes in the recruitment approach i.e. press advertisement, campus recruitment, search through consultants, special recruitment drives and headhunting agencies. The basic qualifications of induction in the technical grade is BTech/BE, MSc (pure sciences), MCS, MCA, MTech and PhD and for the administrative streams qualifications like MBA and diplomas with specific specializations. The quality of academic inputs, level of competition faced to obtain the degree, relevant experience and the demands of the role in C-DAC shall determine the suitability of a particular member at C-DAG. C-DAC also recruits specialists with experience at various levels from time to time to add value to specific areas and functions. Importance is given to specific qualifications and experience for fixing the grades and salaries at the time of induction, thus giving due recognition to member’s qualifications and experience. Once on board, the employee progresses fast enough through a defined career path to higher positions.

Summary:

  1. A good recruitment policy is based on the organization’s objectives, identification of the recruitment needs, preferred sources of recruitment, criteria for selection and preferences, the cost of recruitment, and other financial implications.
  2. It should reflect the reputation and image of the organization.

Talent Sourcing For Recruitment

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the various sources of recruitment including:
    • Internal Search
    • External Sources
    • Advertisements
    • Employee Referrals
    • Employment Agencies
    • Educational Institutions
    • Other Sources

The objectives of recruitment are more likely to be achieved if the recruiting sources used are suitable for the kind of position that is to be filled. The selection of recruitment sources should also be economically viable for your organization. For instance, if an organization is looking for a young, fresh technician, it would be better to advertise in the local newspapers than in a magazine like Business Today. Similarly, for an organization scouting for fresh bright talent in large numbers, a visit to some of the best colleges around might perhaps prove to be more beneficial than advertising in newspapers or magazines.

Different sources of recruitment can be employed, depending on various factors like the level of the position, number of people required, time available and the funds allocated for recruitment. The different sources of recruitment are internal search, advertisements, employee reference, employment agencies, educational institutes, and interested applicants. The comparative strengths and weaknesses of these sources in attracting candidates for different levels in your organization are discussed below.


Sources of Recruitment

Internal Search
Many organizations try and identify employees from within the organization, to be groomed to take on higher responsibilities. The human resource inventory, an outcome of human resource planning, forms the basis for internal search. This along with the personal information of the individual employee collected from his employee record, provides valuable information for internal search. In today’s technologically advanced world, many organizations depend on their HRIS (Human Resource Information System), which is a ready source for storing and retrieving information about their employees.

Organizations which go in for an internal search normally announce the vacancy through the displays on notice boards, circulars sent to different departments or through the company’s intranet. Candidates from within the organization respond to this ‘job posting’ by sending in their applications. It is the responsibility of the HR department to ensure that the information about the vacancy reaches all the prospective candidates in the organization. The management then evaluates all the applicants and makes the final selection.

The policy of developing employees from inside instead of searching for new talent from outside has various advantages.

  • It helps in maintaining good employee relations.
  • It boosts the morale of the employees as they feel important and valued.
  • It encourages competent and ambitious individuals as their performance is rewarded.
  • There is complete information about the individual’s performance and his credentials are established.
  • The cost of recruitment is minimal.
  • Time and resources are saved on the selection and induction processes.
  • The return on investment on the workforce is increased for your organization.
  • If carefully planned and well-executed, promoting from within can also act as a training and development device for middle and top level management.

There are also certain disadvantages associated with the process of internal search. An organization might miss out on talent that is available in the market. It is also possible that talent pool within your organization might stagnate without fresh inflows from outside. It is important for any business to have fresh flow of ideas and opinions. New employees recruited from outside would be in a position to rejuvenate your organization by providing fresh perspectives and ideas on systems and processes.

External Sources
An organization will have a much greater choice in human resources if it decides to go in for external recruitment. There are various methods of recruiting from external sources. Some of the popular methods are advertisements, campus recruitments, employee referrals, employment exchanges, private placement agencies etc. Each of these methods is discussed in detail in the following paragraphs.

Case Study: Jobs for Netizens
JobsAhead is a top career portal connecting high quality talent with the very best organizations in all across the globe. According to Forrester Research, the online recruitment market is expected to grow from $500 million in 2000 to $1.7 billion in 2003. Leveraging the fast growing netizen population in the world, JobsAhead pioneered the development of e-recruitment.

Some of the features of JobsAhead:

  • JobsAhead boasts of 24 lakh job seekers, 7.5 million page views, 6000 corporate clients and 100,000 plus jobs.
  • JobsAhead offers complete confidentiality which is essential for any recruitment agency.
  • JobsAhead as an e-recruitment site organizes a comprehensive job fair, ‘FastTrak’ which also serves as a promotional activity.
  • JobsAhead caters to the job sections of some of the large portals like Yahoo.
  • Jobs Ahead claims a customer response time of less than 48 hours.

Advertisements
Advertisements have the widest reach and are quite effective for an organization in search of external talent. Different media can be used for advertising, depending on the cost, the need, and the reach desired. The nature of the job, its level and criticality in your organization, all together determine the mode and medium of advertisement. For example, an advertisement for unskilled labor might just be displayed on the walls of the manufacturing unit. The advertisement for the position of a Manager in the same unit might find its way into the classified pages of popular regional dailies. However, the advertisement for the Vice President of the Operations division of the same company might be carried in the employment pages of a national daily or a business magazine. The costs involved would also vary with the changing importance of the position in question and the availability of manpower.

Organizations, while using the print media to advertise, sometimes resort to blind advertisements. They conceal their identity for two reasons. They do not want their competitors to know that a critical position in your organization is vacant or soon going to be vacant and at the same time, they would like to avoid the cumbersome task of responding to all the applicants for the position. Most organizations prefer to respond only to the candidates they feel could be suitable for the position, and try to avoid intimating the rejected candidates. There are other media for advertising like the television, the radio, the internet and posters.

Television and radio have taken a back seat in the recent times as media for job advertisements, with more and more private entertainment channels on the air. However, there are still some companies which dare to tread the path less travelled. For example, Bangalore based i-Flex solutions recently aired its recruitment advertisements on the local FM radio channel.

Job search and talent search have both benefited immensely with the onset of the internet era. Communication has become much easier and faster. Many internet portals like jobsahead.com and monster.com cater exclusively to the needs of various companies which are in search of suitable people, and individuals who are in search of a suitable job. Most of the large organizations today maintain their own websites which give information on vacancies in the organization to visitors to the website. Interested candidates can contact the organization through the internet itself. All these have made recruitment easier and faster. Above case study explains the fast expanding role of internet in recruitment.

The kind of information that has to be furnished to the candidates in an advertisement is determined by various factors. For example, some organizations would like to announce the pay package in the advertisement; others prefer not to do so, because the pay might vary over a wide range, especially for the middle and higher level management cadres and they would like to finalize it only after determining the worth of the applicant. In some cases – for example in the case of most public sector units in various countries – where the company has a fixed pay policy, it would have no hesitation in disclosing the pay for a position.

The important information that has to be furnished in an advertisement includes:

  • Nature of business and size of your organization
  • The nature of the job
  • Location or place of work
  • Tasks and responsibilities attached to the position
  • Reporting hierarchy and work culture
  • Emoluments, benefits and other facilities available
  • Requirements of the job in terms of qualification, knowledge, skills and experience
  • Last date to respond
  • Ways to respond — by e-mail, telephone or post

Some of these components of information are optional. For example, if an organization is proud of its work culture, it might talk about it in the advertisement. Information on the requirements of the job, the nature of work and location etc. are however essential as the candidate would not have complete information about the job, in their absence.

Employee Referrals
Employee referrals form a very good source of recruitment, especially for the lower and middle level management. Employees working with your organization recommend their friends or acquaintances for vacant positions in the organization. The reputation and credibility of the employee is at stake when he or she recommends or refers a candidate. Hence, the employee would take care to recommend good candidates. The second advantage of the referral system is that the candidate seeking employment has an insider’s view of the job as he has gathered information from the employee and is more realistic in his expectations from the company. Consequently, there will be greater possibility of his continuing in the job. The employee would also feel that his contribution is valued, and his opinion respected, when the candidate he has referred is selected by the organization. A more direct advantage of referrals is in terms of time and cost savings for the organization. Some organizations in competitive industries, where it is difficult to find suitable manpower, even pay their employees if the candidates referred by them are selected. This is less costly than hiring a private agency and at the same time, more rewarding for the existing employees. There are however some disadvantages to this system. Employees may sometimes refer relatives or who may not be suitable for the job. It might also lead to the formation of cliques in the organization, with the members of the same group or clan getting together. Below case study describes the employee referral program at Coca Cola.

Employment Agencies
Based on the type of clientele they serve, employment agencies can be broadly classified into public or state agencies, private agencies and head hunters.


Employment Agencies

Case Study: ‘OK 4 KO’
Coca-Cola has chosen this unusual name for one of its HR programs. OK 4 KO is actually the company’s employee referral program which enables employees to be partners in the company recruitment process. Says Mr. Adil Malia, director HRD: “this program enables our employees to earn money when the person referred by them is selected by the company. The cost of recruitment has come down dramatically after the program was introduced.” The Coca Cola philosophy says “Our policy is to foster an inclusive environment that encourages all employees to develop and perform at their fullest potential. Our workplace must be a place where everyone’s ideas and contributions are valued.” This philosophy guides the company to include their employees in selecting their colleagues.

Public or State Agencies
Till a few years ago, Employment Exchanges (state sponsored placement agencies) were extremely popular in many countries. Fresh graduates and technicians in search of suitable employment would first register themselves with the local employment exchange. It was and still is mandatory for any company, which is not exempted, to register its vacancy positions in the employment exchange. The exchange facilitates communication between the candidates it finds suitable, and the company. Employment exchanges were initially established to handle the problem of unemployment in the country. Today however, they have become somewhat outdated. With the changing market needs and demand for different skill sets, more and more companies and job-seekers are looking at other contemporary avenues for recruitment.

Private Agencies
Private employment agencies do well in dynamic job markets, where companies scout aggressively for talent, and potential candidates constantly look out for better jobs. Private agencies provide a meeting ground for both the parties and simplify the whole process of recruitment. Private agencies or ‘management consultants’ perform many of the jobs traditionally done by the HR department of the company. They invite applications from interested candidates, scan them for the first round of shortlisting, test them or interview them for a second round of shortlisting and finally arrive at the list of the most suitable candidates for the vacant positions in your organization. The HR department of the company has to conduct a final round of interviews to select the best fit. Private agencies normally cater to the recruitment needs at the junior, middle and top levels of management. They charge a percentage of the pay package offered to the candidate as fees for their services. ‘Head Hunters’, a more specialized category of private agencies, cater mostly to top management level recruitment needs. They handle ‘executive search’ for organizations and usually charge high fees for their services.

Educational institutions
During the placement season, educational institutions, especially the reputed ones turn into hunting grounds for organizations looking for fresh talent. These institutions offer placement services to their students by trying to get some of the best companies in the market to their campus for recruitment. Organizations shortlist the institutions which can provide the kind of resources that they are looking for and visit them during the placement season. For example, a technology company would have most of the top engineering colleges on its list of institutes for campus recruitment. Similarly, an organization looking for management trainees would visit the top ranking management schools. Long-term relationships are built between organizations and educational institutions through this exercise of campus recruitment. Campus placements at some of the top institutions in the country reflect the condition of the economy and the industry. Following case study describes the trends in campus recruitment at top B-schools for the year 2003.

Case Study: Campus Placements
Two years of recession, US corporate scandals and flat senses have forced lndian B-Schools and graduates of 2003 to look at campus placements more carefully.

The B-schools went into the placements with an air of uncertainty. The atmosphere was charged with expectations and excitement, tinged with a touch of apprehension over the economic downturn spilling over from the last year. But as the placement process got under way, it proved the initial fears unfounded as it took only a matter of two days at most B-schools to place the majority of the batch.

One major trend of 2003 placements was the resurgence of IT. And IT consulting emerged as the star of the placements. Leading IT firms were there to choose the best for the range of IT areas like business development and customer relationship. Happy days are here again.

FMCG, the perennial giant, recruited quite a few. Excellent marketing profiles were there for the students with a flair for marketing. Banking spearheaded the Finance sector drive to pick the best. Overall, placement 2003 showed some sign of economic recovery as IT marched back into the B-Schools with renewed vigour and finance also performed better than expected. Probably good times have come for the class of 2004.
Interested Applicants
One of the sources of recruitment for an organization might be unsolicited applications (i.e. not in response to any advertisement or announcement of a vacancy) of candidates interested in working with the organization. Such candidates send in their applications to the management either through post or e-mail or in person and express their interest in employment with the company. If the organization does not have a suitable vacancy at that time, it can store these applications in its data bank and use them whenever the need arises. It is important that these applications are categorized and maintained in a proper way so that they can be used when there are vacancies. For example, Tata Indicom (Tata Teleservices Ltd.) has the concept of CV drop boxes. They maintain these boxes at all their offices for interested candidates to drop in their CVs. These CVs are collected, sorted and stored in the CV databank on a monthly basis. Whenever there is a need for recruitment, the HR department checks its CV bank to find suitable candidates before proceeding with the selection process.

Other Sources
Organizations can consider non-traditional sources of recruitment while searching for certain types of applicants. For instance, recruiting from associations of the handicapped can provide a highly motivated workforce and also help your organization in building the image of a good corporate citizen.

Most of the organizations, especially the large ones, use a mix of various methods and sources of recruitment and do not rely on any one particular method. Changing needs and market dynamics also determine the source of recruitment. Your organizational recruitment policy and human resource planning play an important role in defining sources and methods of recruitment.

Summary:

  1. Internal Search: Many organizations try and identify employees from within the organization, to be groomed to take on higher responsibilities.
  2. External Sources: Some of the popular methods are advertisements, campus recruitments, employee referrals, employment exchanges, private placement agencies etc.
  3. Advertisements: Advertisements have the widest reach and are quite effective for an organization in search of external talent.
  4. Employee Referrals: Employees working with an organization recommend their friends or acquaintances for vacant positions in the organization.
  5. Employment Agencies: Based on the type of clientele they serve, employment agencies can be broadly classified into public or state agencies, private agencies and head hunters.
  6. Educational Institutions: These institutions offer placement services to their students by trying to get some of the best companies in the market to their campus for recruitment.
  7. Interested Applicants: One of the sources of recruitment for an organization might be unsolicited applications (i.e. not in response to any advertisement or announcement of a vacancy) of candidates interested in working with the organization.
  8. Other Sources: Organizations can consider non-traditional sources of recruitment while searching for certain types of applicants. For instance, recruiting from associations of the handicapped can provide a highly motivated workforce and also help the organization in building the image of a good corporate citizen.

Need for Flexible and Proactive Recruitment Policy

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the basic need for flexible and proactive recruitment policy.

As discussed earlier, organizational and environmental factors can have either a positive or a negative impact on the recruitment program in an organization. For example, your organizational policy to promote from within can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the circumstances. Changing market situations and business demands also impact the effectiveness and relevance of a recruitment program. Therefore, it is important for an organization to have a flexible recruitment policy. Following case study explains the proactive approach of Tata Teleservices, Maharashtra Ltd.

The recruitment policy should be flexible enough to take care of the fast changing human resource needs of your organization. For example, (Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has changed its recruitment policy to suit the current organizational needs. ISRO was facing very high attrition rates of engineers for a long time owing to a good job market in the IT industry. The organization looked at the market and analyzed its needs to arrive at a new recruitment policy. Now, ISRO recruits post graduate engineers instead of graduate engineers. Their logic is simple but has proved to be highly successful. Engineers who have pursued their post-graduation are more inclined towards research than graduates who are attracted by the IT and ITES sectors.

Case Study: A Proactive Recruitment Program
An organization has to be proactive in its approach to recruitment. It is the responsibility of the HR department of an organization to foresee the changes in the area of business, technology and labor market and accordingly revamp its recruitment policies and procedures. The cost factor has to be certainly taken into consideration at every stage. Consider the example of Tata Teleservices Ltd. (earlier Hughes Telecom Ltd.). It had been recruiting Technicians as apprentices in its organization for years. Though it was not a permanent recruitment and the apprentices were not ‘employees’, the example shows the proactive approach and foresight of the organization. This apprentice scheme was serving the dual purpose of getting the work done in the organization and at the same time, providing industrial experience to the freshers at ITIs. With the changing needs, the company realized that engineering apprentices are more knowledgeable and more productive. They are also easier to get in the job market, when compared to the situations a few years back. So, it has now started recruiting engineer apprentices from graduate engineering programs at a little higher cost but the investment seems to be worth it. At the end of the apprentice program, depending on the vacancy position, suitable candidates can be absorbed by the organization. The organization would have trained and experienced people, familiar with the organization and the work, ready for absorption into the organization as employees. During the apprenticeship program, the organization is not required to treat apprentices as regular employees; nor is it required to recruit them after the program.

Summary:

  1. Changing market situations and business demands also impact the effectiveness and relevance of a recruitment program. Therefore, it is important for an organization to have a flexible recruitment policy.
  2. The recruitment policy should be flexible enough to take care of the fast changing human resource needs of the organization.

Evaluation of a Recruitment Program

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the success criteria of recruitment programs
  • Understand an appropriate evaluation method of the available recruitment programs

Recruitment strategies, policies and objectives need to be evaluated from time to time to test their effectiveness and their conformance to your organizational strategies, policies and objectives. Similarly, the sources and methods of recruitment also have to be evaluated from time to time to match the recruitment policy and changing market and business needs and to check their effectiveness and efficiency.

The success of a recruitment program can be judged based on a number of criteria. Some of these are:

  1. The number of successful placements
  2. The number of hirings
  3. The number of offers made
  4. The number of applicants
  5. The cost involved
  6. The time taken for filling up the position

The number of successful placements is the most important criterion for determining the success or failure of a recruitment program. This is the bottom-line of the whole program. However, if a recruitment program has not met its objectives in terms of the number of successful placements, other factors like the number of applicants, the number of offers made and the number of hirings should be taken into consideration to understand the stage at which any discrepancy has occurred. For example, if the number of applicants is less, then there was probably a problem in attracting job-seekers. This might reflect a problem with the advertisement issued by the company, or a problem with the company’s reputation. In case the number of applicants is high, and the offers made low, it could mean that the company failed in attracting the right kind of candidates. Similarly, in case the number of successful placements is low, the problem might be that the incumbent’s expectations were not satisfied or he was misled and misinformed about the job or the company.

The cost and time implications also have to be analyzed while evaluating a recruitment program. For example, if an organization has been successfully getting the required manpower and making successful placements, but at a high cost, then it may need to revamp its recruitment program.

Summary:

  1. Recruitment strategies, policies and objectives need to be evaluated from time to time to test their effectiveness and their conformance to the organizational strategies, policies and objectives.
  2. The sources and methods of recruitment also have to be evaluated from time to time to match the recruitment policy and changing market and business needs and to check their effectiveness and efficiency.

Selecting Your Talents

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the concept of selection of employees in an organization.

The next step after recruitment is the selection of candidates for the vacant positions from among the applicants. This is the most important stage of employment as the concept of ‘the right candidate for the right position’ takes its final shape here. Selecting the wrong candidate or rejecting the right candidate could turn out to be costly mistakes for your organization. Selection is one area where the interference of external factors is minimal. Hence the HR department can use discretion in framing its selection policy and using various selection tools for the best results.
The selection process involves a series of steps which help in evaluation the candidates. The selection process in an organization has to be in accordance with the organizational requirements. Job analysis and job specifications, along with human resource planning provide the basic requirements, based on which the selection process has to be designed. Consider the following example. An organization stresses ‘team work’ as an important feature of its organizational culture. The selection process therefore should test the ability and inclination of the candidate to work in teams. An exceptionally brilliant candidate with poor team management and interpersonal skills, would not be useful to such an organization. He might not add any value to your organization and in some cases, his selection may even prove to be counterproductive. Hence the stress on organizational requirements in the selection process.
Concept of Selection
The process of choosing the most suitable candidate for a job from among the available applicants is called selection. It is the process of ascertaining the qualifications, experience, skill, knowledge, etc, of an applicant with the purpose of determining his suitability for a job. The selection process starts with gathering complete information about the applicant from his application form and ends with inducting the candidate into your organization. As Yoder states, “The hiring process is of one or many ‘go, no-go’ gauges. Candidates are screened by the application of these tools. Qualified applicants go on to the next hurdle, while the unqualified are eliminated.”

The selection process can have four possible outcomes (See the figure). Two of the possible outcomes have a positive effect on your organization. Whereas the other two have a negative impact. Let us first look at the positive outcomes. The first positive if outcome is selecting the right candidate. It is obvious that the impact of this is going to be positive. The second positive outcome is rejecting an unsuitable candidate. This also has a positive impact because, had an unsuitable candidate been selected, he would not have performed successfully on the job.

The two negative outcomes are selecting an unsuitable candidate; or rejecting the right candidate. In the first case, the cost of having an unsuitable candidate in the job is high. He or she would not add any value to your organization; instead the person may create problems. Your organization would incur costs in training the candidate; it would have to bear the cost of his non-performance; if he has to be replaced, the cost of separation and recruiting another candidate would also add to the cost of having hired the wrong person. In the last case, where the right candidate is rejected, your organization loses potential candidate who could have turned out to be an asset to your organization because of his positive contribution.


Outcomes of Selection Decisions

The selection process also serves the purpose of selling your organization to the candidate. During the selection process, the candidates come in continuous contact with your organization through its representatives. While the candidate is being evaluated, he tries to assess the company and its culture, apart from the job. So, the representatives of the company have to take care to project the company in the best possible way. The ‘job’ is also to be sold to the candidate. However, providing wrong information and incorrect details might backfire as an unsuitable candidate might give his acceptance and eventually get hired. It is the responsibility of the selectors to balance the two purposes of selecting the right candidate and creating a good image of your organization and the job for the candidates. Stress interviews and other similar selection procedures cannot appeal to a candidate and might put him off. More and more organizations are trying to simplify and modify their selection procedures so as to ensure the right selection without antagonizing the candidate. It is a fact that your organization needs a right candidate as much as a candidate needs the right job.

Summary:

  1. Selection is the most important stage of employment as the concept of ‘the right candidate for the right position’ takes its final shape here.
  2. The process of choosing the most suitable candidate for a job from among the available applicants is called selection.
  3. The selection process starts with gathering complete information about the applicant from his application form and ends with inducting the candidate into the organization.

The Selection Process

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the selection process of employees in an organization.

The selection process in your organization depends on its organization’s strategy and objectives, the tasks and responsibilities of the job and the qualifications, experience and characteristics required in an individual to perform these tasks and responsibilities successfully. These elements of selection and their interrelationships are explained in figure.

Organizational objectives determine the recruitment policy and the job design. Job description and job specifications are arrived at, based on the job analysis. The next step is ‘Competency modeling’, which is a relatively new concept when compared to the concepts mentioned earlier. Competency modeling helps in identifying the knowledge, skill and attitude set that enables the individual to deliver the best performance in his job. Based on these, the selection criteria for a position can be identified. Once the criteria are established, the final step would be to determine the selection procedures and methods to ensure that these criteria are tested for and identified, so that the right candidate can be selected for the job.


Elements in a Talent Selection Process

Most of the organizations, especially the bigger ones, use a combination of selection instruments. For example, many organizations first ask for job applications, then conduct written tests and finally interview the candidates for selection. These three instruments are used at three different stages and rejection of unsuitable candidates happens at each of these stages. This is a process of elimination and at the selection process, only the most suitable candidates remain, and they are hired.

The process of selection starts with a review of the applications. These applications can be either in a company specified format, or in the format submitted by individual applicants. At this stage, the company checks the basic qualifications and experience of the candidates. Applicants who do not match the required basic criteria are rejected at this stage. Some companies may also go in for an initial screening before accepting applications from the candidates. The applicants are called for a test or an interview, as the case may be after the initial screening. Tests are normally conducted to analyze the skill levels of the candidates. These tests have to be in compliance with the law validated by your organization and relevant to the job being offered.


Steps of Talent Selection Process

Once the test results are analyzed and the unsuccessful candidates rejected, usually, the successful candidates are interviewed. Some companies have an interview panel consisting of representatives from HR department, and the department which will employ the selected candidate. Some other companies opt for a series of interviews starting with an interview by people from the HR department. The candidate might have to go through one-to-one interviews with representatives from the department concerned and some of the other departments which have to work in close coordination with the position. Finally the applicant will have an interview with the manager concerned. Based on these interviews and the feedback received, your organization decides whether to offer the applicant a job or not. This method of putting the candidate through a series of interviews is normally followed while selecting people for middle or senior level management positions. A common selection process is described in the figure. Rejection of the unsuitable candidates can take place after any step in the process.

Evaluating an applicant during selection involves understanding his emotional stability, attitude and value system apart from evaluating his knowledge and skill levels. An individual’s inclination to learn, his interpersonal skills or his openness to suggestions etc. are more difficult to assess, when compared to his knowledge of machinery or analytical skills. It is however the responsibility of the employer to assess these traits of the applicant, as accurately as possible, without annoying the applicant and using legal means. For successful performance on the job, these are as important as – if not more important than – the knowledge and skills of the employee. This assessment has to take into account your organizational objectives and the work culture. The individual characteristics which are of importance in the context of your organization have to be assessed carefully, while those that are irrelevant can be ignored. The HR Manager has to use his discretion in assessing the individual as per the recruitment policy guidelines.

Summary:

  1. The selection process in an organization depends on the organization’s strategy and objectives, the tasks and responsibilities of the job and the qualifications, experience and characteristics required in an individual to perform these tasks and responsibilities successfully.
  2. Evaluating an applicant during selection involves understanding his emotional stability, attitude and value system apart from evaluating his knowledge and skill levels.

Standards of Talent Selection Methods

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the various selection methods including:
    • Reliability
    • Validity
    • Generalizability
    • Utility
    • Legality

The selection criteria, based on which the candidates are evaluated and selected, have to be in accordance with your organizational objectives. The selection methods are designed so as to ensure that they evaluate the candidates on the specified criteria, in an objective and accurate manner. To ensure a more accurate prediction of the candidate’s success in the future job, the selection methods should meet the generic standards of reliability, validity, generalizability, utility and legality. The next case study later in this section explains the selection methodology at HSBC.


An Exemplary Talent Selection Process

Reliability
A selection method is considered to be reliable, if it produces consistent results across different situations and times. If a test produces significantly different results when taken by the same individual at different times, the test is termed to be unreliable.


Reliability of Talent Selection Process

The reliability of a selection method can be measured using one of the following methods:

The Repeat or Test-retest Approach:
In this approach, a group of candidates take the same test twice, with a gap of 2-3 weeks. The similarity in the pattern of scoring by the group and an analysis of scores determines the reliability of the test.

The Alternate-form or Parallel-form Method:
In this approach, two similar but separate forms are given at the same time to the candidate(s). The pattern of scoring determines the reliability. If the pattern is similar, then the test is reliable and if it is not, then the test is not reliable.

The Split-halves Procedure:
In this approach, a test is divided into two parts and given to the candidate(s). The degree of similarity in scoring, in these two parts, determines the reliability of the test.

These methods of evaluation determine the reliability of a selection test. They can serve as a basis for redesigning the tests to make them more reliable.

Case Study: Selection Methodology in HSBC
HSBC has evolved its own unique selection procedure which they swear works for them. According to Ronald Sequeira, Senior Resourcing and Development Manager, “Our manpower selection is open and transparent. A string of competencies are identified which are crucial for the progress of the employee and the organization. These are tested several times at each step of the recruitment process by senior HR professionals and across functions for the specific job profile.” According to him, they have the ‘soft’ bio-data questionnaire that brings out the candidate’s profile beyond the conventional requirements of age, expertise, achievements and academic background. Then, there are about 50 questions estimating the candidates’ relevant competencies to provide the right job fit. The format varies. The questionnaire applies to a diverse range of corporate functions ranging from customer service and sales to front-end operations like call centers. The candidate is accorded a score that determines his/her right fit. Those short listed are put through a process of assessment centers.

Assessment centers test the whole range of competencies of the candidates, including their management styles, leadership skills, communication skills and commercial orientation. The evaluation process further passes through three stages: psychometric, intray and aptitude.

At the psychometric test level, there is an ‘occupations personality’ questionnaire where the candidate describes his own personality. The ‘Intray’ is the case study round, where the candidate is given a certain situation with constraints, opportunities and other inputs. This is customized to the job in question.

The abilities are measured based on the kind of solution-centric feedback that the candidate delivers. At the aptitude level, the candidate is assessed for any special skills that he may have – like exceptional power point presentation abilities or gift of the gab.

The candidate is finally selected based on the performance in all these rounds.

Validity
The validity of a selection method is the degree to which success in the test reflects success in the job. A selection method must first be reliable to be valid, but it is not necessary that all reliable selection methods are valid. There are three general methods for determining the validity of a selection method.


Determining the Validity of Selection Method

Criterion Validity:
Criterion validity refers to the correlation between scores on a measure in the selection method and the scores on the corresponding measure of job performance. If there is a substantial correlation between the test scores and the job performance scores, then the selection method would be considered valid.

Content Validity:
Content validity is the extent to which the content of a selection procedure or instrument is representative of important aspects of job performance.

Construct Validity:
Construct validity is the extent to which a selection method measures the degree of identifiable characteristics in the candidates. These are the characteristics which have been determined to be important for successful performance in the job.

In evaluating a particular selection method, any combination of the three types of validity can be used depending on the job content and your organizational factors.

Generalizability
Generalizability of a selection method is defined as the degree to which its validity, established in one context, can be extended to other ‘primary contexts’. These primary contexts can be different jobs or organizations, different samples of people, and different time periods. A selection method must be valid to be generalized, but it is necessary that all valid methods can be generalized.

Utility
Utility is the degree to which the value provided by the selection method enhances the effectiveness of an organization. The more reliable, valid, and generalizable the selection method, the more its utility. There are however some external factors like the job market condition, which might affect the utility of a selection method even if the three factors of reliability, validity and generalizability are held constant.

Legality
Legality is the basic standard that any selection method should satisfy. Every selection method should comply with the existing laws and legal precedents prevalent in the country. With the changing constitution of the workforce, this aspect has become more and more important. For example, multinational corporations must understand and conform to the legal requirements of selection in each of the countries in which they operate.

Summary:

  1. Reliability: A selection method is considered to be reliable, if it produces consistent results across different situations and times.
  2. Validity: The validity of a selection method is the degree to which success in the test reflects success in the job.
  3. Generalizability: Generalizability of a selection method is defined as the degree to which its validity, established in one context, can be extended to other ‘primary contexts’.
  4. Utility: Utility is the degree to which the value provided by the selection method enhances the effectiveness of an organization.
  5. Legality: Legality is the basic standard that any selection method should satisfy.

Employment Application Forms

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the components of application forms that are to be received from prospective candidates.

An application form, complete in all respects, filled up by the person seeking the job is normally the beginning of the selection procedure. An application form, also referred to as an application blank, is a formal record of an individual’s appeal or intention for employment. Though traditional, it is the most widely used and accepted device for securing information about prospective candidates. Application forms are designed to help applicants provide pertinent information regarding their qualifications, experience and background. This would help in the initial screening of the applicants. The application form also seeks information regarding the current job, the tasks and responsibilities being handled, the current salary, and reference checks, which help the selector evaluate the applicant’s merits and his suitability for the job.

Some organizations use brief and concise application blanks, while some others have elaborate and cumbersome ones. In some cases, the applicants are required to write about their strengths and weaknesses, values, future goals, etc. which require considerable thought and time. For example, companies like HLL use a long and elaborate application form, even for their campus recruitments. Some of the items that usually appear on the application form are:

Personal Information:
Personal information in an application form normally includes name, date of birth of the candidate, gender, marital status, details of his family, occupations of other family members, annual income of the family, address, etc. These details help form an idea of the socio-economic status of the applicant and his family background. This would also help assess his fit in your organization, in the job and in the team that he would be associated with.

Educational Qualifications:
This includes the list of schools, colleges, and institutions attended by the job applicant, the period of study, the various courses taken and the subjects studied, the percentage of marks scored and the class or grade secured by him. This part of the application blank provides relevant information to assess an applicant’s academic background.

Work Experience:
This provides all the basic information on the applicant’s previous jobs. This includes the list of previous employers, the period of employment with each, tasks, activities and responsibilities of the applicant and the salaries drawn. In some cases, reasons for leaving each of the organizations are also included. This, when studied together, helps the prospective employer understand and evaluate the candidate’s suitability to the job, his working habits and his competencies in relation to the job.

Salary:
Here the applicant gives information on the salary drawn in his last job, including benefits. The salary structure is important because different companies have different salary structures. For example, a company might have a low ‘basic salary’ but a high percentage of other components. Looking at the basic salary in isolation might not give the complete picture about the candidate’s total emoluments. The applicant in some cases is also asked for the expected salary.

Personality Items:
This requires the applicant to provide information on his strengths and weaknesses, his professional goals – both long term and short term – and his hobbies and interests. This ‘extra’ information helps the employer understand the personality of the applicant, which would later help in motivating him and improving his performance on the job.

Reference Checks:
The names and addresses of the individuals who can be contacted for a reference check of the applicant are included in this section. This is one of the ways of checking the credibility of the applicant and getting information on his past record. This is a controversial subject as some organizations feel that the applicant might be offended if the information provided by him is cross-checked.

The relevance and validity of the application form also needs to be checked and evaluated from time to time. For example, while a company may have an application blank which is ten pages long, it is possible that no one in the company ever looks at some of these pages. Such information can be done away with completely. Similarly, some information which is essential might get missed or be left uncovered; care should be taken to avoid such slips.

Evaluation of Application Forms
Application forms are evaluated to analyze the information provided by the applicants, and select the suitable candidates. The following methods are used for evaluating the application forms.

Clinical Method:
In this method of evaluation, all the information furnished by the applicant in the application form is analyzed and inferences are made about the applicant’s personality. Based on this assessed personality, his success in the job is predicted. A well-designed application form facilitates an analysis of the job applicant’s leadership abilities, emotional stability, assertiveness, attitude towards his work and his superiors, etc. These predicted traits are then matched with the applicant’s actual traits once he takes up the job.

Weighted Method:
The weighted method of evaluation is a statistical technique. In this method, certain points or weights are assigned to each item in the application form. The weighted application form should differentiate between the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful employees. Assigning weights to these characteristics or traits in an application form, imparts objectivity to the method as the applicants are unaware of the weights attached. However, this approach requires a different application blank for each occupation group and hence most organizations tend to avoid using this method.

Case Study: Selection Methodology at Indian Air Force
IAF describes its 4-step selection procedure as follows:

Step 1: Scanning of Application
The selection procedure begins immediately after the candidate sends his application form. All application forms are first checked for eligibility after which the candidates will receive a call letter with further instructions.

Step 2: Testing Officer Like Qualities
If the candidate has successfully cleared Step 1, he will receive a call letter to report to any one of the Air Force Selection Boards located at Dehradun, Varanasi and Mysore. At the Air Force Selection Boards, he undergoes a number of psychological tests, an interview and group activities, which are collectively called the Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) Tests. These tests are designed to gauge the candidate’s potential and suitability as an officer in the Armed Forces.

  • The Psychological Tests are written tests that are conducted by a Psychologist. The Group Tests are interactive indoor and outdoor tests. IAF expects active physical participation from all the candidates.
  • The Interview involves a personal conversation with their Interviewing Officer. These tests will be explained in detail to the candidates before they are conducted. All of the above are screening tests. If the candidate does not make the passing grades, he is routed back home the same day.

Step 3: Conducting Medical Examinations
If the candidate has applied for the Flying branch and is found suitable by the Selection Board, he would be sent to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi or the Institute of Aviation Medicine, Bangalore for a thorough medical examination.

Step 4: Preparing All India Merit List
An All India merit list is compiled on the basis of the candidates’ performance at the group tests as well as the medical examination. If they qualify the merit list, depending upon vacancies, they are instructed to go to the training academy.

Ethical Issues in Application Form Design
The local laws of every country have some distinct features and it is the responsibility of the employer to abide by them while designing the application form. The most common principle of ‘equal employment opportunity’, has to be adhered to, and questions on the caste and race etc. of the applicant have to be avoided. The following are some of the questions that should not be asked in an application form:

  • Questions that have no relevance in the context of the job;
  • Questions that would invade, even remotely, the privacy of the applicant;
  • Questions that might lead to discrimination on any ground;
  • Questions leading to adverse effect on the employment of women, minorities, the disabled or senior citizens.

Summary:

  1. An application form, also referred to as an application blank, is a formal record of an individual’s appeal or intention for employment.
  2. It helps in the initial screening of the applicants.
  3. It includes seeking details such as:
    • Personal Information
    • Educational Qualifications
    • Work Experience
    • Salary
    • Personality Items
    • Reference checks
  4. Methods used for evaluating application forms are:
    • Clinical method
    • Weighted method

Talent Selection Tests

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the various types of selection tests including:
    1. Intelligence tests
    2. Aptitude tests
    3. Achievement tests
    4. Situational tests
    5. Interest tests
    6. Personality tests
    7. Polygraph tests
    8. Graphology

Different types of test are used as selection methods to evaluate an applicant. Some of these tests assess the skill level of the applicant; others are psychometric tests that try to assess employee attitudes and personality. Our case study about IAF explains the rigorous testing procedure for selection by the Indian Air Force. There are different tests designed to evaluate different aspects of performance, like intelligence, aptitude, attitude, etc. Some of the tests are discussed below.

Intelligence Tests
These were the first standardized tests developed by psychologists, and are the most widely used tests. Intelligence is defined in different ways by different psychologists. Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, two French psychologists, explicitly defined the components of intelligence as “reasoning, judgement, memory, and the power of abstraction.” They measured intelligence as the “general mental ability of individuals in intelligent behaviors” and described intelligence testing as classifying, not measuring.

Thurstone, distinguished mental abilities from the general trait of intelligence and created more specialized intelligence tests based on reasoning, word fluency, verbal comprehension, numbers, memory and space. The Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale utilizes a multiple measurement of factors such as comprehension, vocabulary, performance, picture management, and object assembly.

An IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test usually measures several factors of intelligence, such as logical reasoning, analytical skills and general knowledge. It also measures a person’s ability to classify things, identify relationships and derive analogies. It does not take into consideration social or emotional intelligence.

Aptitude Tests
Aptitude tests measure an individual’s ability to learn a given job, when given adequate training. They do not test the knowledge or proficiency possessed by the individual; instead they test his ability to learn, or gain the required proficiency. Mechanical, clerical, linguistic, musical and academic abilities are some of the examples of job-related aptitudes. Motor capacities such as finger dexterity, hand dexterity, and hand-eye coordination, which can also be termed aptitudes, are tested using psychomotor tests. They are different from clerical aptitude tests which test spelling ability, comprehension, data processing etc.

Achievement Tests
Achievement tests are also termed proficiency or knowledge tests. These tests measure the job-related proficiency and knowledge of the applicants. Organizations use these tests to identify and select experienced applicants. These tests can be classified as ‘job knowledge’ tests and ‘work sample’ tests.

In a job knowledge test, the knowledge of the applicant in his area of experience is tested. In the work sample test, the ability of the candidate to perform the job he is experienced in is tested. Basically, the second one is a kind of an experiential test, in which the candidate might be asked to perform a few job-related tasks.

Situational Tests
Situational tests are generally used in middle and senior level management selection, to test the applicant’s likely responses to real-life business situations. The candidates are exposed to simulated business situations and their responses are recorded and evaluated. Situational tests include ‘group discussions’, ‘in basket exercises’ and ‘simulated business games’.

In a group discussion, the group members are usually left to interact on their own, without any leader or moderator being specified. The initiative, leadership qualities, negotiating skills, communication skills, and decision-making skills of the candidates can be assessed by observing the group discussion. Many organizations use ‘group discussion’ as a selection tool as it can be completed quickly and the evaluation done on the spot. The objectivity of the exercise is also clear to all the candidates in the group. The other advantage of group discussion is that it drastically reduces the number of people going on to the next round, which in most of the cases, is an interview.

The ‘in-basket exercise’ tests the managerial and administrative skills of the candidate. The candidate is exposed to a simulated office situation where he has to respond to letters, clear important documents, schedule his meetings, meet his colleagues and make some important business related decisions — all activities which are normally a part of a day’s work. This exercise brings out the capabilities of a candidate in an office environment. In simulated business games, candidates play the role of a simulated character and are evaluated within a group. These are used for a variety of executive activities, from capital asset management to marketing. The games vary from stock market simulations to battle simulations.

Interest Tests
If an individual is genuinely interested in a job, he is likely to perform better in that job. Interest tests help companies to identify and understand the degree of interest a candidate has in a job. For example, a candidate who looks for variety in his job might not be interested in doing a mechanical and monotonous job. These tests help in assessing an individual’s genuine interest in a job and its profile. They are generally inventories of the likes and dislikes of candidates in relation to work, job, occupations, hobbies and recreational activities. These provide valuable information regarding the profile of the candidate and his suitability to a job.

Personality Tests
The personality of an individual plays a decisive role in his performance. Proficient and knowledgeable employees, who have excellent skills and intelligence sometimes fail to deliver because of personality problems. Personality tests help in understanding the basic job-related personality traits of an employee. These tests help in assessing an individual’s value system, emotions, maturity and other personal characteristics. These characteristics are expressed in personality traits like self-confidence, tact, optimism, decisiveness, conformity, objectivity, judgement, dominance or submission and impulsiveness or stability.

Interest and personality tests sometimes draw fake responses from applicants who try to impress their prospective employer. The applicants may try to hide their actual personality traits and interests and project themselves differently just to gain employment and entry into your organization. The employer has to employ effective methods of scoring to prevent this. Testing methods like ‘Kuder Preference Record’ have proved to be good at evaluating the occupational interests of the applicants.

Polygraph Tests
Polygraph tests are conducted to test the validity and truthfulness of an applicant’s answers, by monitoring the physical changes in his body as he answers a series of questions. The law prohibits the use of such tests for normal employment. However, these tests are used in screening applicants for defense and high-profile security jobs where it is essential that an employee is completely trustworthy.

Graphology
Graphology involves examining an individual’s handwriting to assess his personality, emotional characteristics and honesty. A graphologist examines the lines, loops, strokes and curves in the applicant’s handwriting to assess his personality. Though some companies reportedly use it to screen applicants, most companies do not believe in its validity as a scientific tool.

Summary:

  1. Different types of test are used as selection methods to evaluate an applicant.
  2. Some of these tests assess the skill level of the applicant; others are psychometric tests that try to assess employee attitudes and personality.
  3. Selection tests include:
    • Intelligence tests
    • Aptitude tests
    • Achievement tests
    • Situational tests
    • Interest tests
    • Personality tests
    • Polygraphs tests
    • Graphology

Job Interviews

In this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the various ways of conducting interviews including:
    • Preliminary Interview
    • Selection Interview

Most organizations use interviews as an essential step in the selection process. An interview helps in assessing the app1icant’s profile and comparing it with the job profile for suitability. Some candidates may provide false information in their applications, just to gain employment. Interviews help in assessing the candidate and validating the information provided in his application. The other advantage of an interview is that it also forms a part of the recruitment process. The employer can sell his organization and the job to the candidate during the course of the interview.

The main disadvantage of an interview is perhaps its subjectivity. The opinion and perception of the interviewer becomes very critical in the selection process. Individual biases based on gender, religion, race, nationality, caste etc. can influence the decision of the interviewer. Some of the other reasons for bias might be the educational background, previous employer, etc. of the candidate. For example, an interviewer might be biased against all those who were ever employed with XYZ Ltd. So, faced with a candidate who has previously worked for XYZ Ltd., the interviewer may decide against selecting the candidate. The timing and the setting of the interview can also influence its outcome. For example, an interview conducted early in the morning while the interviewer is fresh and alert, could have a different outcome from an interview conducted late in the evening, even though the performance of the candidates may have been similar on both occasions.

There are several types of interviews and these are described below.

Preliminary Interview
Preliminary interviews are brief, first round interviews that aim to eliminate the applicants who are obviously unqualified for the job. These interviews are generally informal and unstructured and are conducted even before the candidates fill in the application blanks. Informal interviews can be conducted at any place by any person to secure information. For instance, the interaction between a job applicant and the personnel manager when the former meets the latter to enquire about existing vacancies or to seek additional information about the employment advertisement, is an informal interview. In an unstructured interview, the interviewer does not plan the course of the interview; instead the candidate is usually allowed to set the course of the interview.

Generally, preliminary interviews gather the more obvious facts and information. They enable the manager to quickly evaluate the interviewee on the basis of appearance and the quality of communication. However, it may be argued that forming an opinion so early in the selection procedure can prove to be erroneous and undesirable.

Selection Interview
A selection or core interview is normally the interaction between the job applicant and the line manager or experts, where the applicant’s job knowledge, skills, talent, etc, are evaluated and ascertained. The suitability of the candidate for the job is determined in this interview. A selection interview can be of the following types:

Formal and Structured Interview:
A structured interview is very rigid in its structure and contents. It is based on a thorough job analysis, which directs the flow of the interview. The interviewer selects the questions to be asked and plans the interview in advance, to comprehensively cover all areas related to the job and the candidate. The main advantage of a structured interview is that there is no scope for subjectivity. The same questions are asked to all the candidates, which helps in better evaluation. The questions-can be so framed as to cover all the pertinent aspects.

Unstructured Interview:
An unstructured interview, as the name suggests, has no pre-determined framework of questions and takes its own course depending on the responses of the candidate and the interest of the interviewer. There are more open ended questions in an unstructured interview. The main advantage of this kind of interview is that the candidate remains comfortable during the course of the interview because the interaction tends to proceed naturally. The disadvantage, however, is that such interviews tend to be more subjective.

Stress Interview:
The objective of a stress interview is to test the applicant’s ability to perform and deliver under stress. Interviewers put the interviewee under stress, by repeatedly interrupting him, criticizing his answers, asking him unrelated questions or keeping quiet for long periods after the interviewee has finished speaking. Such interviews must be handled carefully. However, stress interviews have become less popular these days as many organizations have come to believe that it is not the best way to assess an employee’s performance under stress.

Group Interview Method:
In this method, all the candidates or a group of candidates are interviewed by a panel of interviewers or a single interviewer. This method is resorted to when the number of applicants is high and the time available for interviewing is short. This method is more useful while recruiting for entry level and junior management positions. One advantage of this method is that the candidates can evaluate their own performances in comparison to the performances of others in the group.

Panel Interview:
In today’s organizations where all functions are interdependent and every job involves cross-functional interactions, it is imperative that people from different functions interview a candidate. More and more organizations are looking at either a panel interview or a series of interviews, where representatives from different departments get to meet and interview a candidate. This also reduces the subjectivity involved in the one-to-one interview. As experts, these interviewers evaluate the candidate and his suitability for the position.

In-depth Interview:
In-depth interviews are more suitable for selection of candidates for high-end technology and high-skill jobs. Experts in the relevant area test the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the subject and assess his expertise. They determine the suitability of the candidate for the job in question, based on these evaluations.

Summary:

  1. There are several types of interviews such as:
    • Preliminary interview: Preliminary interviews are brief, first round interviews that aim to eliminate the applicants who are obviously unqualified for the job.
    • Selection interview: The suitability of the candidate for the job is determined in this interview.
    • Selection interview can be of the following types:
      • Formal and structured interview
      • Unstructured interview
      • Stress interview
      • Group interview
      • Panel interview
      • In-depth interview