Recruitment and selection

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2.1 Steps of the recruitment and selection process
The process of finding people for particular jobs is recruitment or, especially in American English, hiring. Someone who has been recruited is a recruit or, in American English, a hire. The company employs or hires them; they join the company. A company may recruit employees directly or use outside recruiters, recruitment agencies or employment agencies. Outside specialists called head hunters may be called on to headhunt people for very important jobs, persuading them to leave the organizations they already work for. This process is called headhunting.
Documents and selection methods
Documents play a very important role in the initial stage of selection. Basic information about the applicants, contained in the documents, allows the company to do so-called pre-selection and divide the applicants into such groups as suitable, less suitable and unsuitable.
The most frequently used documents are

  • Cover letter (introduces an applicant to potential employers and explains his (her) suitability for a certain position);

  • CV - content, formal level, the applicant's motivation, respectively other information (such as frequent job changes, successes and failures, etc.) are assessed;

  • Questionnaire – it is used to find out basic information about applicants, sometimes it replaces CV;

  • Certificate about qualification – it is used to demonstrate professional competence and achieved level of education;

  • References from the previous places of work – a bias is possible;

  • Medical reports;

  • Copies of graduation documents (diploma, certificates), certificates;

  • A list of publishing activities

The choice of selecting methods should be based on the character of the job and its


  • Tests - their use should be carefully considered. Tests should be carried out by experts.

They may be:

- psychological tests;

- intelligence tests;

- tests of skills;

- knowledge and skill tests - tests to verify a professional qualification for a certain profession (e.g. economic knowledge, knowledge of foreign language, work with PC, etc.);

- mental ability tests - tests to detect specific psychological assumptions

(e.g. psychological resistance to stress situations, creativity, etc.);

- physical ability tests - tests to detect the physical assumptions;

- special tests - for instance graphological test, testing behaviour in simulated situations, other tests, e.g. lie detector, tests of drug or smoking addiction etc.

  • Group work: the essence of this method is the team work of job candidates on a certain task or common problem solution (e.g. solution of sales problems, in this case a meeting style, originality, creativity, dominance, etc. is evaluated). It is used mostly in the senior managers’ selection.

  • Assessment centre: it is a special centre where the program for diagnosis, evaluation and staff training is applied.

  • Tender - for example, in selecting for more demanding functions of managers and specialists.

Steps in the Selection Process
Step 1 - Study and know about employment laws that affect the selection process.
Step 2 - Conduct a position analysis. Learn everything possible about the job (processes, performance factors, working conditions, etc.) to determine what the essential functions are and what is required in terms of knowledge, skills and personal traits to perform the position's duties satisfactorily. This step is critical, as it lays the groundwork for the following steps. Identify and prepare in detail the minimum qualifications required for the position.

Prepare a current position description for the vacant position or verify that the existing position description is current.

Step 3 - Prepare and issue a vacancy announcement.
Step 4 - Prepare application screening criteria. If an interview is necessary to conduct an initial screening of applicants, prepare questions and screening criteria.
Step 5 - Prepare questions and screening criteria for the selection interview.
Step 6 - Screen applications and, if necessary, conduct initial screening interview, based on established criteria in Step 4 above. Select the top-ranking individuals for interviewing.
Step 7 - Conduct interviews based on established criteria in Step 5 above.
Step 8 - Make your selection decision, and conduct reference checks on your choice.
Step 9 - Orientation.
Step 10 - Probationary Period.
2.2 Employing interview
The aim of interview

The job interview is one of the most commonly used selecting methods. Personnel managers usually attach big importance to it. The main aim of the interview is the personal knowledge of applicants.

Advantages - direct contact, exchange of information, the choice of questions due to a current situation, etc.

Disadvantages - managers can be under the first impression, the inability to listen to

the information, prejudices.
Purpose of the Interview
The interview is the most critical component of the entire selection process. It serves as the primary means to collect additional information on an applicant. It serves as the basis in assessing an applicant's job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities. It is designed to decide if an individual should be interviewed further, hired, or eliminated from consideration.

An agency uses the interview not only to select new employees and determine a fit, but also to sell the agency and themselves to applicants and to create favourable public relations with potential customers. Applicants use the interview to market themselves and determine which offers to accept and reject.

Planning and Conducting the Interview
1. Styles

There are basically four styles of interviews: situational, personality profile, stress, behavioural. Any style, by itself, is not perfectly effective. Yet, each has something to offer. A wise approach would be to combine all of them to produce a comprehensive and effective interview.

2. Structure
There are different types of interview structures.




The interviewer is approaching the interview with a pre-planned agenda. It is important as a defense against discrimination in hiring and selection because all the applicants are asked the same questions.


The interviewer does not have a prepared agenda and allows the applicant to set the pace of the interview.

The lack of structure makes it difficult to compare and rank applicants because they are not responding to the same questions.


An interview guide or list of questions in a certain order is developed and used during the interview. The guide, however, allows for the interviewer to omit questions for which answers transpired previously, or to ask questions in efforts to probe for more information.

The semi-structured interview will reduce the possibility of legal charges based on discrimination.

3. Time Allotment
There is not an amount of time that is magic for conducting an effective interview. The key is flexibility - allow enough time to gather the information necessary, but not so much time that irrelevant items are discussed.

Allow for breaks between interviews to document the interview, refresh your mind and body, and briefly review the next applicant's application and/or resume.

Thorough and effective interviewing is mentally exhausting. Therefore, try not to conduct more interviews than you are able to focus on mentally and effectively.
4. The Environment




Applicants need to be assured that their interview is private.


Distractions of any sort interrupt the applicant's and your concentration and waste valuable time. To minimize distractions, close the door, transfer phones or turn off the ringer, clean off or organize your desk.

Seating Arrangement

Some feel that a desk between individuals is a barrier to free, interactive communication. If you feel this way and it is possible to arrange other seating arrangements, please do so.

5. Format
The format of an interview is the key to its success. The interviewer should plan in advance a general format about how the interview will proceed and should include the following elements:



Greeting/Small Talk

Greet the applicant by name and with a firm handshake, introduce yourself, and engage in a bit of small talk on a noncontroversial topic - the weather, parking, etc.


Briefly describe for the applicant how the interview will proceed: questions from the interviewer, information on the position and the agency, and finally questions from the applicant. You may also tell the applicant approximately how long the interview will take.

Work Experience and Education.

Ask for concrete examples of past successes and challenges. If the applicant has little or no work experience, focus on any positions held, whether it be volunteer, summer, or part-time employment. Education includes not only high school or college, but specialized or related training as well. Use this opportunity to clarify information on the application form.

Outside Activities/Interests

(optional) It should focus on skills or traits that are job related and would contribute to successful job performance.

Summary of Strengths/Weaknesses

Ask the applicant to identify strengths and weaknesses as they relate to past employment experiences, how strengths would be applied on the job, and how weaknesses have affected past work performance and what is being done to improve.

Selling the Position & Organization

Up to this point, the applicant has been selling himself or herself. Now it is time to tell the applicant about the position and the agency.

Begin the transition into this part of the interview by asking what the applicant knows about the position and the organization. Present the position and the agency positively. However, don't omit the negative aspects. Describe the duties and responsibilities, salary, benefits, hours, working conditions, etc. Be candid.

Questions from the Applicant

Allow for the applicant to ask some questions about the position, the agency, and working conditions.

Close of Interview

Explain the next step in the selection process. Arrange for subsequent interviews, if necessary. Express appreciation for the opportunity to meet and learn about the applicant. Give them some idea as to when a selection decision will be made. Be careful not to make any oral commitments or recommendations about the applicant's employment prospects.

Document the Interview

Take notes during the interview, recording key job-related points without interrupting the flow of information.

Documentation should reflect facts, not biases or instincts.

6. Ensuring a Legal Interview
To help assure that interview questions are legal, determine how the answers given by applicants will be used in making the selection decision. If a question is not related to job duties, skills, and work behaviours, it should not be asked.

There are a number of steps to follow in determining what requirements are necessary for successful performance and developing legal interview questions:

  1. Analyze the job to identify required performance factors (technical knowledge, skills, etc.) needed for successful job performance. Examine the job's specific characteristics such as working conditions, major duties and responsibilities, expected outcomes, etc.

  2. For each performance factor requirement, develop questions designed to elicit information on an applicant's past accomplishments, activities, and job performance. Whenever possible, questions should focus on what the applicant has done, rather than what the applicant would or should do. Questions should be designed to help establish applicants' qualifications for the job and capabilities to do the work.

  3. Develop questions that explore applicants' willingness to complete assigned responsibilities.

  4. Prepare a list of things to look for in the applicants' responses: desired work behaviours or attributes, types of experience, achievements, or demonstrations of specific skills.

  5. Design a rating form that all interviewers use to record applicant responses and summarize observations and impressions.

Using pre-developed interview questions and a standard interview rating form ensures that all applicants are being considered and rated on the same criteria.

Skill, education, and experience are the primary factors used to evaluate an applicant. Equally important is the individual's working behaviour, i.e. working independently versus working in a group, working independently versus working under close supervision, etc. To evaluate working behaviour, ask questions that focus in on likes or dislikes of previous jobs. You may also ask references for information on applicants' working behaviours.

7. What to Ask and What Not to Ask

What You May Ask in an Interview

What Not to Ask in an Interview

About ability to perform specific job functions with or without reasonable accommodation.

Personal topics (date of birth, marital status, physical characteristics, number and ages of dependents, child care issues, contraceptive practices, family plans, height and weight, birthplace, previous addresses, photographs.)

About non-medical qualifications and skills, i.e. education, experience, certifications, etc.

Direct or indirect questions relating to race, religion, colour, sex, national origin, age, political opinion or disabilities.

To describe or demonstrate how they would perform job tasks with or without reasonable accommodation.

Workers' compensation-related questions.

Whether they will need reasonable accommodation to perform the functions of the job and what type of accommodation.

Questions about absence from work due to illness.

Questions about current illegal use of drugs.

Questions relating to illnesses, diseases, hospitalizations, physical defects, prescribed drugs, drug addiction or alcoholism, workers compensation history.

Arrest records. Conviction records, unless job related.

Garnishment records, credit or finance information.

Languages - unless such skills are required of the position.

Memberships in clubs, societies, organizations, churches - unless job-related, such as professional societies.

Grievances or discrimination claims filed.

8. Role of Our Perceptions in Interviewing
There are various factors that contribute to our perceptions of people. Our perceptions can be accurate or inaccurate. However, it is important that when conducting interviews and interview evaluations we not allow false perceptions to influence our selection of employees. The following areas are some ways in which perceptions can influence the hiring decision, and things that we need to be mindful of when conducting interviews and interview evaluations:

First impression is made within a few seconds based on how a person looks and acts compared to how we think they should look and act to work in the position or the organization. Therefore, it is the most common and probably the most damaging influence with respect to interviewing. First impressions may play a role in the decision-making process, but not at the exclusion of other job-related factors. Verify information that is giving you the first impression and determine its importance in the big picture.

Statements are made in an interview that rubs us the wrong way. We might consider it inappropriate, or it just goes against what we believe. Those statements, even if they are job-related, should not affect judgement about the applicant's suitability for the position. The statements should be weighed in relation to the requirements of the position.

Nonverbal communication can give us valuable information about an applicant. However, each one of us has our own pattern of nonverbal expression. Gestures, body position, facial expressions, etc. can often be read to mean more than one thing. Sometimes we can't control our expressions because of disabilities. Misinterpretation of nonverbal communication can get us in trouble. So don't draw conclusions too early based on nonverbal communication.

Information we receive from others may influence our judgement about an applicant. If an applicant comes highly recommended by someone we place in high regard, we may subconsciously give positive consideration to the applicant. On the other hand, if the applicant was recommended by someone whose opinions we don't value, we may subconsciously create a bias against the applicant. Judge the applicants on their own merits.
9. Questioning Techniques

The success of an interview depends heavily on the interviewers' listening and using the right type of questioning at the appropriate time. The interviewer should listen for the majority of the interview, while maintaining control of the interview so the applicant doesn't take it over. A general standard is the 80/20 rule - the interviewer should listen at least 80 percent of the time and talk only 20 percent of the time.

Questions at the beginning should be ones that can be easily answered and help the applicant to relax. Good questions to serve that purpose pertain to an applicant's previous education and work experience. Then move to progressively more thought-provoking questions. To get the applicant to talk so the interviewer can listen, the following two types of questions are recommended:
- Open-ended (or Neutral) Questions:

This type of question is the most effective. Open-ended questions seek a direct response from the applicant-not "yes" or "no". It enables the applicant to do the talking while the interviewer listens for information, observes behavior, and formulates follow-up or probing questions. Open-ended questions generally ask who, what, when, where, why, and how. Some examples: "Tell me about . . .", "How did you . . .", "What . . .".

An effective open-ended question that could start discussion of work experience, for example, is: "Describe your activities during a typical day at your present (or previous) job." This question alone may provide enough information to answer subsequent questions you had planned. More importantly, it triggers further questions: "You said you handle customer complaints. What do you do when a customer is not satisfied with the answer you have given?" "How would you handle several demanding customers at the same time?" If applicants do not have work experience, ask questions about hypothetical situations that are likely to occur on the job.
- Probing Questions:

Probing questions are used to clarify facts and attitudes and delve more deeply for information. Examples are: "Why?", "What caused that?", "What did you mean when you said . . .", "You said . . . Tell me more about that.".

For some applicants, talking about themselves is very difficult, especially if they are nervous or feel intimidated. Some techniques for encouraging an applicant to talk during the interview are:
- Repetition

Repeat the last few words of an applicant's statement and let your voice trail off as if to ask a question. This encourages the applicant to respond to the "question", to clarify certain points, which may add valuable information.

- Summarization

This technique works especially well after there has been an exchange of information for a few minutes. Use about three or four statements to summarize what was just said.

- Silence

When the applicant stops talking and you want him or her to continue, pause and silently count to five before speaking. The silence clearly conveys the message that more information is wanted and compels the applicant to go on.

Types of questioning to avoid or to keep to a minimum are:
- Close-ended Questions:

Close-ended questions are used for cross-checking of facts and attitudes. They usually yield "yes" and "no" responses or offer multiple choice answers. Therefore, this type of questioning should be limited. Too many close-ended questions will give the interview the appearance of an inquisition and will provide little useful information for determining an applicant's suitability for a position.

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