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This lesson outline the typical stages of the

recruitment and selection
process in organisations, and considers certain
aspects of the process
in greater detail.
What is a Key Result Area ?
Area which will indicate the success of an activity
Distinguish 'recruitment' subprocesses from
'selection' sub
What is recruitment ?
It will be helpful to distinguish 'recruitment' sub
processes from
'selection' sub processes. The aim of recruitment
is to ensure
that the organization's demand for employees is met
by attracting
potential employees (recruits) in a cost-effective and
timely manner.
Generation of pool of qualified applicants for
organisation jobs.
What is selection ?
The aim of selection is to identify, from those
coming forward, the
individuals most likely to fulfil the requirements of the
Matching the job requirements with the abilities of
the job applicant.
ex: Match maker: Match applicant with the job.
To put it another way, recruitments is concerned
with assembling the
raw materials, and selection is concerned with
producing the right
blend for the organisation, to a particular point in
(1) Human Resource Plan
(2) Policies: Recruitment policies constitute the
code of conduct which
the organisation is prepared to follow in its search
for possible
recruits in he marketplace.
Some examples of reputable policies in this field are
as follows.
In matters of recruitment, this Company will:
* advertise all vacancies internally before
making use of external
* always advertise under the company name
when advertising externally,
* endeavour to ensure that every applicant for a
position in the
Company is informed in advance about the basic
details of the vacancy,
and the basic conditions of employment attached to
* endeavour to ensure that applicants are kept
informed of their
progress through the recruitment procedures
* seek possible candidates on the basis of their
ability to perform
the job required
In matters of recruitment, this Company will not:
* knowingly make exaggerated or misleading claims
in recruitment
literature or job advertisements
* discriminate unfairly against possible candidates
on he grounds of
sex, race, age, religion or physical disablement
(3) Procedures: The recruitment activities of an
organisation are
carried out mainly by personnel staff. These
activities represent the
marketing role of personnel, reaching out across the
external boundaries into the labour market. It is
therefore, that such activities are conducted in a
manner that sustains
or enhances the good reputation of the
organisation. People who are
treated well when they seek employment with the
organisation are
potential ambassador for the organisation, whether
they are successful
in their application or not. Conversely, those who
are treated badly
in this situation are quick to spread their criticism.
Examples of bad
treatment of applicants include, omitting to reply to a
letter or form
of application, keeping applicants waiting for an
interview, and
failing to inform applicants who have been
Well-organised Personnel department work to a
checklist of recruitment
procedures designed to minimise errors and thus
avoid marring the
organisation's image externally and Personnel's
A typical checklist is shown in Figure A. It helps to
ensure a
rational and logical approach to the recruitment of
throughout the organisation.
(4) Job Analysis: In most organisations this
information is contained
in a formal document, completed following an
analysis of the job (Job
Analysis). In some cases it may be less formally
expressed, but
nevertheless covers the points noted above.
Job analysis: Find out for each job the type of skills
necessary to
execute the job.
(5) Job description: The job description referred to in
item 2 would
usually contain at least the following information
about the job
* Title of Job * Overall
Purpose of the Job
* Grade/Salary Level of Job *
Principal Responsibilities of the job
* Title of Immediate Superior's Job *
Limits of Authority
* Number of Subordinates *
Location of job
Job description: Specifies what the job is about, how
the job is done
and why it is done.
(6) Person's Specification/Job specification: The
specification, or personnel specification, as it is
frequently called,
is a summary of the knowledge, skills and personal
required of the job holder to carry out the job to an
acceptable of
performance. This is an extremely important feature
of the recruitment
process, because it sets down a standard by which
candidates for
interview may be tested. There are two very well-
known classifications
for personal requirements: the Seven-Point Plan,
developed by professor
Rodger of the National Institute of Industrial
Psychology in the 1950s,
and the Five-Point Plan produced by J. Munro
Fraser at about the same
time. These two attempts to produce general
profiles of candidates for
selection are compared in Figure B.
- Specifications of a person. Specify who will be the
best person to
do the job in terms of ability, skill, temperament etc.
It can be seen that there are many common features
between the two
classifications. In practice, the Seven-Point plan
tends to be the most
popular, and individual firms often model their own
specifications based on it. A formal layout for a
specification is shown in Figure C. Note that the
form enables a
distinction to be drawn between points that are
essential in order to
fulfil the job requirements and those that are
desirable, but not
essential, for adequate performance. In cases where
a tight
specification is drawn up, ie where the emphasis is
on the essential
requirements of the job, the job market is being
effectively segmented,
and the response will be specialized. Where a
loose specification is
drawn up, the emphasis will be more on what is
desirable than on what
is essential, and the response will to be
proportionately larger. When
skilled manpower is plentiful, specifications will tend
to be tight,
and vice versa in times of manpower shortages. To
illustrate the use of
such a document as shown in Figure C, we could
take the example of a
Chief Accountant's position in a medium-sized
engineering company
employing, say, 1500 people. In this case a formal
qualification would be regarded as essential, as
would a practical
knowledge of the accounting systems used in
engineering companies.
Experience of deputising for the chief accountant in
an accountancy
department would be desirable. Any reference to
skills would tend to
relate to social skills (eg ability to work with line
colleagues) and
intellectual skills (eg ability to see opportunities for
computer-based systems).
The requirements for personality/motivation would
probably include an
ability to work under pressure and a willingness to
adopt accountancy
procedures to meet the needs of marketing and
production, where
existing systems are not working effectively enough.
requirements would probably be omitted, and
interests might be related
only to work interests. The circumstances of the
position might
require the Chief accountant to live within a
reasonable travelling
distance of the company's head office, and might
require him to be
away from home for short periods on company
(7) Sources of recruitment
- Internal sources - External sources
Advantages of internal sources
1. Employee motivation increases
2. Succession of promotions (all promoted)
3. Known devil better than unknown angel
4. Salary not high
Disadvantages of internal sources
1. Not creative
2. Controlling problems
3. Internal politics
Advantages of external sources
1. Bring a lot of new ideas
2. No favoritism
3. Unbiased
4. Bring information about competitors
Disadvantages of external sources ?
(8) The job advertisement: The job advertisement
referred to in in
Figure A is the external advertisement in the press
and trade or
professional journals. The basic principles of an
effective job
advertisement (ie one that attracts sufficient
numbers of the right
kind of candidates) can be summarised as follows:
* Provide brief, but succinct, details about the
position to be
* Provide similar details about the employing
* Provide details of all essential personal
* Make reference to any desirable personal
· State the main conditions of employment,
especially the salary
· indicator for the position
* State to whom the application or enquiry
should be directed
* Present the above information in an attractive
(9) Short-listing arrangements/Preliminary screening:
arrangements are necessary to select from the total
number of
applicants those who appear, from their application
form, to be worthy
of an interview. If an external advertisement has hit
the target
segment correctly, then only relatively small
numbers of applications
will be forthcoming, and most of these will be strong
candidates for
interview and the difficulty will be to decide who not
to invite. If
the advertisement has been drawn up rather loosely,
or has deliberately
sought to tap a large segment of the labour market,
then large numbers
of applications can be expected, many of whom will
be quite unsuitable.
In drawing up a short-list, it is common practice to
divide the
applications into three groups as follows:
(1) Very suitable - must be interviewed
(2) Quite suitable - call for interview if insufficient
numbers in
category (1), or send holding letter
(3) Not suitable - send polite refusal letter, thanking
them for their
interest in applying.
If there are numbers of very suitable candidates,
then it may be
necessary to have two or more sequential
interviews, until only the
best two or three candidates remain. This whole
procedure may sound
quite long-winded, but when purchasing the human
assets of the
organisation it is worthwhile spending time over the
selection of these
the most valuable asset of all.
-Looking at the applications and taking in people
who satisfy
recruitment and reject others Screen out under
qualified and over
qualified people.
In the overall process of tapping the labour market
for suitable skills
and experience, recruitment comes first and is
followed by selection.
Recruitment's task is to locate possible applicants
and attract them
to the organisation. Selection's task is to cream off
the most
appropriate applicants, turn them into candidates
and persuade them
that it is in their interest to join the organisation, for
even in
times of high unemployment, selection is very much
a two-way process-
the candidates is assessing the organisation, just
as much as the
organisation is assessing him. The main objective
of selection,
therefore, is to be able to make an acceptable offer
to the candidate
who appears, from the evidence obtained, to be the
most suitable for
the job in question.
The most widely-used technique in the selection
process is the
interview. Well behind the interview, in terms of
popularity, comes
psychological testing, and both interviews and tests
will be considered
shortly. However, before turning to them, it is
important to reflect
on the role of application forms and letters of
application in the
selection process.
(1) Application forms/letters of applications: An
applications form or
a letter of application tells an organisation whether
or not an
applicant is worthy of an interview or a test of some
kind. This
initial information constitutes the bedrock of the
selection process,
ie: prima facie evidence of an applicants' suitability
unsuitability for the position in question. An
applicant who is deemed
suitable on this evidence, then becomes a candidate
for interview.
Many organisations require applicants to write a
letter (letters of
applications) explaining why they are interested in
the vacant post and
how they proposed to justify the role they think could
play in it. This
approach enables the organisation to see how well
applicants can argue
a case for themselves in a letter, but it has the
disadvantage that the
information provided is controlled by the applicant -
he can leave out
points which may not help his case, and build on
those which do. Thus
most organisations prefer to design their own
application forms, so as
to require applicants to set out the information about
themselves in a
standardized way. Application forms vary
considerable in the way they
are set out. Some, for example, as in Figure D,
require prospective
candidates to answer routine questions in a form
that gives them no
opportunity to discuss their motives for applying or to
talk about
themselves in a general way. Others, as in Figure E
are very
open-ended in their format, and require applicants to
expand at some
length on themselves and on how they see the job.
In between the two
forms illustrated are several compromise versions,
which aim to
establish some kind of balance between closed and
open questions. The
answers to the closed questions supply the
organisations with routine
information in a standardized form; the answers to
the open questions
provide a clue to the motives, personality and
communication skills of
the applicants.
(2) Preliminary Interview
You knock out applicants not needed
(3) Preliminary Test (If necessary)
ex: Drivers, give a mechanical test psychology test
Polygraph test
(whether he is lying)
(4) Checking up references
With personnel manager's network, check with
informal network
(5) (a) The selection interview: The selection
interview is far and
away the most common technique used for
selection purposes. Unlike
most other management techniques, it is employed
as much by amateurs as
by professionals. Whereas in work study, for
example, only a trained
work study analyst will generally be permitted to
conduct method
studies and work measurement exercises, in the
selection of staff
everybody is deemed capable !. Few managers and
supervisor carry out
selection interviews regularly; many of them have
received no formal
training in the technique either, so it is not surprising
to learn that
research has shown that such interviews are
frequently neither reliable
nor valid.
Interview: You find out whether the person you
interview is the person
you want.
-Personnel Manager has to find what are individual
needs and what are
our needs and satisfy both.
The measure of the reliability of an interview: is the
extent to which
conclusions about candidates are shared by
different interviewers,
The measure of the validity of an interview: is the
extent to which it
does measure what it is supposed to measure, ie
the suitability of a
particular candidate for a particular job.
The Main reason why so many poor interviews are
carried out are two
1. Lack of training in interviewing technique, and
2. Lack of adequate
preparation for an interview
Training designed to enable appropriate staff to
conduct competent
interviews generally involves two major learning
methods; (1) firstly,
an illustrated talk/ discussion; and, (2) secondly,
interviewing exercises. The first method enable
trainees to understand
the process that is taking place during an interview,
and to acquire a
method for harnessing that process by means of
role-playing exercises,
and to understand how they may need to adapt their
behaviour in order
to meet the aims of this kind of interview. Much has
been written about
selection interviewing, but most of the points made
can be condensed
into the following guide to good practice (Figure F).
This highlights
the sort of issues which busy managers needs to
know about if they are
to make optimum use of their own, and the
candidates', time in the
short period available for the interview.
(Please refer the text book for the figure)
Figure F
There are a few points arising from the guide in
Figure F, which
particularly ought to be stressed. (1) The first is the
question of
preparation. As with so many tasks, the better the
preparation, the
better the final result. It is very important to be
properly prepared
before an interview. It enables the interviewer to feel
confident in
himself about his key role in the process, and
enables him to exploit
to the full the information provided by the candidate.
It also helps
to minimise embarrassment caused by constant
interruptions, inadequate
accommodation and other practical difficulties. (2)
Welcome the
candidate. (3) Encourage candidate to talk.
Questioning plays a vital
role in a selection interview, as it is the primary
means by which
information is obtained from the candidate at the
time. Questions have
been categorised in a number of different ways. For
our purposes, it is
enough to distinguish between: (1) Closed
questions and (2) Open
questions. The major differences between them are
as follows:
(1) Closed questions: These are questions which
require a specific
answer or a Yes / No response. For example
questions like : 'What
course of study led to your qualification ?' (specific);
'How many
people were you responsible for in your previous job
? (specific);
'Were you personally authorised to sign purchase
orders ?
(specific-Yes/No); 'Have you experience of ....?'
(2) Open questions: These are questions that
require a person to
reflect on, or elaborate upon, a particular point in his
own way.
Example of open questions are: 'What is it that
attracts you about
this job ?', 'Why did you leave ... company ?', 'How
would you
tackle a problem of this kind, if you were the
manager ?'. Open
questions invariable begin with What ? or How ? or
Why ?
It is usual to ask close questions to check
information which the
candidate has already partly supplied on his
application form, and to
redirect the interview if the candidate is talking too
much and/or
getting off the point. Open questions tend to be
employed once the
interview has got under way, with the object of
getting the candidate
to demonstrate his knowledge and skills to the
Ask good questions:
-Ask questions that elicit detail answers
(1) Leading questions:
Questions where you put answer in to the mouth
and expect the other to
say yes or not
ex: Do you like to have a office car ?
(2) Obvious questions
ex: From a person who got eight distinctions at the
G. C. E. Ordinary
Level exam you ask:
You got eight distinctions at the G. C. E. Ordinary
Level exam ?
(3) Questions not job related
ex: What is the capital of India ?
(4) Irrelevant questions
ex: Who is Luxmi Bai ? (Singer)
(5) Embarrassing Questions
ex: How many children you have ? Are you
married ?
(6). Questions that rarely produce a true
ex: Do you drink alcohol ?
(4) Control the interview: Controlling the interview is
sometimes a
problem for interviewers. Lack of control can be
manifested in the
following ways:
* the candidate takes over the interview,
dominating the talking,
following his own interests and interrupting the
*the candidate is allowed to spend too long
over his replies, and to
repeat things he has already mentioned,
*the interviewer appears to be tentative in
asking questions, and
appears to accept whatever the candidate says,
*the candidate patronises the interviewer
Interviewers can help themselves to maintain control
in a firm, but
diplomatic way by:
* proper preparation, especially the preparation of
key questions to be
put to the candidate
* returning to questions which they feel have not
been adequately
answered by the candidate, ie they are showing that
they will not be
fobbed off by a plausible non-answer,
* politely, but firmly, cutting short a response which
has gone on too
* taking an opportunity themselves to supply
information to the
candidate, thus requiring him to listen,
* using the application form as a map of the
interview, on which
progress can be plotted,
* resisting the temptation to get involved in an
interesting, but
time-consuming, issue raised by the candidate,
* allocating the time available for the interview
between the key
phases to be covered.
(5) Supply necessary information: It is usual for
interviewers to
supply a certain amount of information to
candidates. It is better not
to treat the candidate to a ten-minute account of the
job and its
conditions right at the beginning of the interview,
when he or she is
feeling tense and wants to get started. If possible, it
is better to
feed in information as the interview progresses and
to round off the
final stage of the interview with any routine
information about
conditions of service. Candidates' questions may be
left to the end
or dealt with during the course of the interview. In
general, the more
information that can be supplied before the
interview, the better.
(6) Close interview: Ideally, the time available for the
should be spent in assessing the candidate as a
person, and adding a
feedback dimension to the information obtained from
the application
form, references and any other previous data about
the candidate. Thus
the hall mark of a good interview is a lively exchange
of relevant
facts and impressions between the interviewer and
the candidate, which
enables the interviewer to decide if the candidate is
suitable, and
which enables the candidate to decide if he or she
still wants he job.
Interviews are usually conducted on (1) a one-to-one
basis, but a (2)
two-to-one situation is also widely favoured, and
there is still a lot
of support for (3) panel interviews, especially in the
public services.
(1) One-to-one basis. (2) Two-to-one situation: In a
situation, the two interviewers usually agree
amongst themselves as to
how they will share the questioning and information
supplying during
the interview. Frequently, in medium and large
organisations, one of
the two organisation-representatives is a personnel
specialist, and the
other is the 'client' seeking to fill the vacancy in
question. The
advantages of this type of interview are that whilst
one interviewer is
asking questions, or pursuing a point, the other can
observe the
candidate's reactions and make an independent
evaluation of this
response; and that each interviewer can specialise
in his own areas of
interest in the selection process, the 'client'
concentrating on
technical capability and the ability to fit into his team
and the
Personnel member concentrating on the wider
aspects of having such a
person as an employee of the organisation. The
slight disadvantage of
this approach is that the candidate may be less
forthcoming if there
are two people present to interview him.
(3) panel interviews: The panel interview is an
altogether different
prospect for a candidate. In this case the individual
candidate is
faced by several interviewers - at least three and
possibly as many as
eight or ten. In the case of a panel interview, it is of
importance to decide who is going to ask which
questions, and how the
panel is to be chaired. In some public sector panels,
there are
members who do not ask any questions and who do
not comment either -
they are simply as observers, until after the
interviewing process is
over, when they contribute their impressions to the
decision-making discussion. Generally, however,
panel members agree
beforehand how they will allocate questions, and
then they rely on the
discretion of the chairman to deal with the allocation
of supplementary
issues. The advantage: of this type of interview is
(1) that it
ensures the fairness of the proceedings. There are
disadvantages:, however - (1) the candidate will find
it difficult to
feel at ease in such a formal atmosphere; (2) the
individual panel
members may be more concerned about being cued
for their questions than
being concerned to listen to what the candidate is
saying; (3) and
there is also the problem that the interviewers are
often not able to
follow up points with the candidate because they are
under pressure
from their chairman or their colleagues to move on
to the next
(7) Final stages
Pitfalls of interviews:
- Interviews are stress provoking to the interviewee
- Only a small and unrepresentative share of
behaviour is sampled
- initial appearance can influence evaluation of
- Verbal fluency is mistaken for brightness or
intelligence . (Halo
- Most interviewers have set prejudices (bad
perception) which operate
as condition reflectors.
Therefore we must be:
- Conscious of pitfalls
- Focus on dynamics ex: from interview find out
attitudes hopes
ambitions (dynamics)
Rules for interviews developed by the British
Institute of Industrial
(1) Give your whole attention to the interview
(2) Listen don't talk
(3) Never argue never give advice
(4) Listen to what be wants to say, what he does not
want to say, and
what he can't say without your help (5) As you listen
plot out a
personal pattern emerging
(6) Try to get a picture of the applicant
Taken as a whole, interviews are most useful for
assessing the personal
qualities of an individual. They help to answer
questions such as
'Is this candidate likely to be able to fit into our team
or our
environment ?' and "Has this particular candidate
any special
personal characteristics which give him an
advantage over his rivals
?' Interviews are not so useful for assessing
technical ability of
the value of past experience. This is one of the
reasons why
organisations may consider using psychological
tests to supplement
information gained during interviews.
(b) Psychological tests/selection tests:
Psychological tests, or
selection tests as they are often called, are
standardised tests
designed to provide a relatively objective measure of
certain human
characteristics by sampling human behaviour. Such
tests tend to fall
into four categories as follows:
(i) Intelligence tests
(ii) Aptitude tests
(iii) Attainment tests and
(iv) Personality tests
Intelligence tests and others are standardized in the
sense that the
same set of tasks have been given to many other
people over a period of
many years, and bands of typical results have been
developed to provide
standards against which subsequent results can
usefully be compared.
Publishers of tests invariably insist that only trained
should administer their material so that the standard
conditions of
each test are adhered to strictly, and so that the
scoring of tests can
be relied upon. All reputable tests have been
carefully checked for
their validity and their reliability. Checks for validity
are designed
to ensure that any given test measures what it sets
out to measure, eg
an intelligence test should be able to measure
intelligence, and a
manual dexterity test should be able to measure
manual dexterity.
Checks for reliability are designed to ensure that
tests produce
consistent results in terms of what they set out to
measure. Thus, if a
test which is carried out on an individual at a
particular point in
time is repeated, the results should be similar.
The different categories of tests are as follows:
(1) Intelligence tests: These tests are designed
to measure thinking
abilities. The word 'intelligence' has no generally
definition, as yet, and has to be defined in terms of a
number of
different interpretations of its meaning. It is enough
for our
purposes to understand that general intelligence can
be manifested by
verbal ability, spatial ability or numerical ability, or a
of these. Popular tests in use for personnel
selection are often
composed of several different sections, each of
which aims to test
candidates on the key ability areas just referred to.
(2) Aptitude tests: These are basically tests of
innate skills. They
are widely used to obtain information about such
skills as mechanical
ability, clerical and numerical ability, and manual
dexterity. Several
standard tests are available for the use of
organisations, and it is
also possible to have tests specially devised,
although this is a much
more expensive business, since the tests have to be
validated before
they can be implemented with any confidence.
(3) Attainment tests: These tests measure the
depth of knowledge or
grasp of skills which has been learned in the past-
usually at school or
college. Typical attainment tests are those which
measure typing
abilities, spelling ability and mental arithmetic, for
(4) Personality tests: The use of personality
tests derives from
clinical situations. Their application to personnel
selection is
rather restricted, because of the problems
associated with the validity
of such tests. Where they are employed in work
situations, they
usually take the form of personality inventories - lists
of multiple
choice questions in response to theoretical
situations posed by the
test designers - or of projection tests - where the
candidate is
required to describe a series of vague pictures or a
series of
inkblots. The aim of personality tests is to identify
individual's principal personality traits or dimensions,
introverted or extroverted, sociable or isolate etc.
Psychological test can provide useful additional or
information about a candidate for a position. They
can supplement the
information obtained from application forms and
from interviews, and
are particularly useful where objective information
would be
illuminating. They are probably most economically
applied in
situations where reasonably large numbers of
recruits are needed every
year eg school-leavers, college-leavers and other
younger employees.
Apart from attainment tests, most of the categories
still remain
relatively unpopular with employers, and there is no
question of
psychological tests ousting the need for application
forms and
(6) Medical test
(7) Letter of appointment
(8) Orientation and indunction