An overview of the selection process, followed by a discussion of a number of instruments and techniques, including interviews, tests, and the assessment centre is required. For good selection, the information about the applicant should be both valid and reliable. When people ask if the data is valid, they raise this question: Is the data measuring what it is supposed to be measuring? In selection, validity is the degree to which the data predicts the candidate’s success as a manager. The information should also have a high degree of reliability, a term that refers to the accuracy and consistency of the measurement. For example, a reliable test, if repeated under the same conditions, would give essentially the same results.
There are some variations of the specific steps in the selection process. For example, the interview of a candidate for a first level supervisory position may be relatively simple when compared with the rigorous interviews for a top level executive. Nevertheless, the following broad outline is indicative of the typical process.
First, the selection criteria are established usually on the basis of current and sometimes future, job requirements, these criteria include such items as education, knowledge, skills, and experience.
Second, the candidate is requested to complete an application form
Third, a screening interview is conducted to identify the more promising candidates.
Fourth, additional information may be obtained by testing the candidate’s qualifications for the position.
Fifth, formal interviews are conducted by the manager, his or her superior, and other persons within the organization.
Sixth, the information provided by the candidate is checked and verified. Seventh, a physical examination may be required.
Eighth, on the basis of the results of previous steps, the candidate is either offered the job or informed that he or she has not been selected for the position.
Virtually every manager hired or promoted by a company is interviewed by one or more people. Despite its general, use, the interview is considerably distrusted as a reliable and valid means for selecting the managers. Various interviewers may weigh or interpret the obtained information differently. Interviewers often do not ask the right questions. They may be influenced by the interviewee’s general appearance, which may have little bearing on the job performance. They also frequently make up their minds early in the interview, before they have all the information necessary to make a fair judgment.
Several techniques can be used to improve the interviewing process and overcome some of these weaknesses. First, interviewers should be trained so that they know what to look for. For example, in interviewing people from within the enterprise, they should analyse and discuss past records. They should study the results achieved as well as the way key managerial activities were performed. When selecting managers from outside the firm, interviewers find that these data are more difficult to obtain, and they usually get them by checking with the listed references.
Second, interviewers should be prepared to ask the right questions. There are structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews. In an unstructured interview, an interviewer may say something like “Tell me about your last job.” In the semi-structured interview, the manager follows an interview guide but may also ask other questions. In a structured interview, the interviewer asks a set of prepared questions.
A third way to improve selection is to conduct multiple interviews utilizing different interviewers. Thus, several people can compare their evaluations and perceptions. However, not all interviewers should vote in selecting a candidate; rather they should provide additional information for the manager who will be responsible for the final decision.
Fourth, the interview is just one aspect of the selection process. It should be supplemented by data from the application form, the results of various tests, and the information obtained from persons listed as references. Reference checks and letters of recommendation may be necessary to verify the information given by the applicant. For a reference to be useful, the person must know the applicant well and give a truthful and complete assessment of the applicant. Many people are reluctant to provide complete information, and so an applicant’s strong points are often overemphasized while his or her shortcomings may be glossed over. This is one of the reasons that teachers are sometimes reluctant to make objective and accurate job referrals for their students.
The primary aim of testing is to obtain data about the applicants that help predict their probable success as managers. Some of the benefits from testing include finding the best person for the job, obtaining a high degree of job satisfaction for the applicant, and reducing turnover.