“Selection” is not recruitment

The selection process ideally involves mutual decision. The organization decides whether to make a job offer how attractive it should be, and the job candidate decides whether the organization and the job offer fit his or her needs and goals. In reality, the selection process is often more one sided. In situations when the job market is extremely tight several candidates will be applying for each position, and managers at the organizations will use a series of screening devices to identify the most suitable candidate. On the other hand, when there is a shortage of qualified workers, or when the candidate is a highly qualified executive of professional being courted by several organizations, managers at the organization will have to sweeten the offer and come to a quicker decision.

Steps in the Selection Process:

In practice, however, the actual selection process varies with different organizations and between levels in the same organization. For example, the selection interview for lower level employees may be quite perfunctory. Heavy emphasis may be placed instead on the initial screening interview or on tests. Although written tests designed to define a candidate’s interests, aptitudes, and intelligence were long a staple of employment screening, their use has declined over the past 25 years. Many tests have proved to be discriminatory in their design and results, and it has been difficult to establish their job relatedness when they have been subjected to judicial review.

In selecting middle or upper level managers, the interviewing may be extensive and there may be little or no formal testing. Instead of initially filling out an application, the candidate may submit a resume. Completion of the formal application may be delayed until after the job offer has been accepted. Some organizations omit the physical examination for managers hired at this level.

For many positions, particularly in management the in depth interview is an important factor in management’s decision to make a job offer and in the individual’s decision to accept or decline the offer. The most effective interviews those that are best able to predict the eventual performance of applicants are usually planned carefully. Ideally, all candidates for the same position are asked the same questions. Most interviewers however, tend to be far less structured and deliberate.

The reliability of the interview may be affected by the differing objectives of the interviewer and interviewee. The prospective employer wants to sell the organization as a good place to work and may therefore exaggerate its strengths; the prospective employee wants to be hired and may therefore exaggerate his or her qualities. Some managers have attempted to reduce this problem through the realistic job preview (RJD), in which candidates are exposed to the unattractive as well as the attractive aspects of the job, and by using structured, focused interviews to acquire a more accurate picture of each interviewee’s likely job performance.

Managers at the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) have developed a new strategy for job assessment. When the program was introduced, an independent consultant carried out job analyses through structured interviews to determine what each job entails. Now, when a position opens, ads run that invite inquiries. When people inquire, the BBC responds with detailed information about the job and a self selection guide. The emphasis now is on giving information to the applicant. Before, without much information aside from the initial ad, the applicant would merely complete forms, which were then used to screen applicants for interviews. Now, not only is the list of suitable candidates narrowed down by self selection, but the interviews themselves are more detailed than in the past, often involving a visit to the workplace, a group exercise, a written expression test, and a panel interview.

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