Desktop version

Home arrow Psychology arrow The Wiley Blackwell handbook of the psychology of recruitment, selection and employee retention

The Selection Process

One factor that plays a part in applicants’ attraction is the organization’s reputation in how it selects its personnel. Some organizations make a big issue of the selection process, while others try to keep it quiet. Some invest large sums in designing assessment centres, while others continue to rely on the gut instinct of particular individuals, some of whom are trained and others not.

There is a considerable literature on the role of trustworthiness in recruitment and selection, reviewed by Klotz, Da Motta Veiga, Buckley and Gavin (2013). Both applicants and interviewer(s) expect the other party to tell the truth about themselves and the organization. Most expect information to be accurate, complete and honest, and that promises made will be kept. This is as true of the recruitment, pre-entry period as it is of the selection process. Both parties make judgements about the benevolence, integrity and ability of the other, which has an immediate impact on the outcome of the process. Both candidates and selectors are often tempted to indulge in ‘impression management’, which can seriously backfire when they are exposed.

Serious candidates for any job like to feel that any assessment method is fair and accurate and that they have a full opportunity to express their opinions, but also show their strengths. It has been reported that candidates object strongly to certain selection tests or processes, resulting in an organization attract poor publicity (Furnham, 2008). There are issues of who does the selection and these include in-house managers and HR specialists, as well as consultants employed for their technical knowledge and skill. The second issue is what the selection process involves, which is often little more than the standard trio of application form, references and (unstructured) interview.

On the other hand, there is an extensive literature on job applicants’ perceptions of selection methods (Rynes, 1993). This topic has gathered considerable academic interest and has attracted more than one special issue in relevant journals (Anderson, 2004; Hulsheger & Anderson, 2009). One research focus has been applicants’ fairness perceptions of different selection methods (Carless, 2006; Chan & Schmitt, 2004; Truxillo, Bauer, Campion & Paronto, 2006; Truxillo, Steiner & Gilliland, 2004). These include applicant perceptions of assessment centres (Baron & Janman, 1996), cognitive ability tests (Chan, Schmitt, DeShon, Declause & Delbridge, 1997) and online selections methods (Lievens, De Corte & Brysse, 2003). It seems that applicants tend to favour, and rate as fair, work samples and interviews over paper-and pencil tests (Bertolino & Steiner, 2007; Nikolaou & Judge, 2007).

Studies have indicated that fairness perceptions of selection methods have an impact on various outcomes, including applicant self-efficacy and self-esteem (Robertson & Smith, 2001), job-acceptance intentions, motivation to pursue employment and likelihood of recommending the organization to friends (Sanchez, Truxillo & Bauer, 2000).

Some researchers have aimed to model exactly what the conditions and aspects of the selection process are that applicants react to. Gilliland (1993) proposed that fairness perceptions are based on whether the selection method is strongly job-related; if the applicant is given the opportunity to perform; whether they get feedback; and the existence of twoway communication channels. However, Gilliland’s procedural and distributive justice model, as well as a large proportion of the fairness perception literature, has been criticized for not taking into consideration more individual characteristics (e.g., sex and age) which might explain variation seen in fairness perceptions of different selection methods across studies (Chan & Schmitt, 2004).

In their meta-analysis of 15 years of fairness perception literature, Ryan and Ployhart (2000) note that ‘few studies have looked at individual difference correlates. Indeed few studies have looked at subjects across multiple types of procedures and we need such research to determine how malleable applicant perceptions are’ (p. 590). Reeve and Lam (2007) found that intelligence (g) was the common antecedent for cognitive test performance, test motivation and perceived fairness of selection method, suggesting that cognitive ability can explain a significant proportion of fairness perception variations. Bernerth, Field, Giles and Cole (2006) found that agreeableness and openness were positively associated, and neuroticism negatively associated with procedural and distributive justice. Similarly, Truxillo and colleagues (2006) found that neuroticism and agreeableness were the most constant predictors of applicant perceptions. Viswesvaran and Ones (2004) investigated whether personality and cognitive ability were related to the importance attached to personnel selection system characteristics, but found that few personality variables were associated. However, it should be noted that this study investigated the ‘importance placed on selection method characteristics’ as the outcome measure, which is not the same as fairness perceptions per se.

One recent study explored beliefs about both fairness and accuracy in university selection. Furnham and Chamorro-Premuzic (2010) investigated students’ perceptions of the accuracy and fairness of 17 assessment methods to measure eight traits/characteristics thought to be desirable in students. Results for accuracy and fairness judgements are shown in Tables 5.1 and 5.2 and were similar, with drug, general knowledge and intelligence tests being thought of as the least accurate and fair, while panel interviews and references were thought of as among the fairest. Factor analyses of the accuracy data showed that there are two underlying components: test methods and face-to-face methods. There was considerable consensus among the 322 respondents. The only individual difference variable which was shown to explain any variance in accuracy perceptions was self-assessed intelligence.

Table 5.1 Descriptive statistics and Cronbach’s alphas for all assessment methods - accuracy.

Selection method

Cronbach’s alpha

M

SD

Face-to-face interview

0.79

25.69

8.65

Outward-bound leadership

0.76

26.59

9.34

References

0.89

27.43

11.70

Panel interview

0.80

27.64

8.91

Discussion

0.78

28.62

8.56

Oral presentation

0.78

30.78

9.11

Personality test

0.68

32.93

8.21

Telephone interview

0.87

33.77

10.94

Video

0.82

34.54

10.43

Essay

0.79

35.17

10.39

Situation exam

0.83

35.54

10.78

Assessment centre

0.87

36.45

10.97

Unseen course-related exam

0.84

36.45

10.31

Application form

0.86

38.46

12.89

General knowledge test

0.96

42.60

11.81

Intelligence test

.83

44.08

11.11

Drug test

0.92

52.17

15.84

N = 185-322

Table 5.2 Descriptive statistics and Cronbach’s alphas for all assessment methods - fairness.

Selection method

Cronbach’s alpha

M

SD

Face-to-face interview

0.88

43.28

12.97

Outward-bound leadership

0.76

30.66

10.38

References

0.90

27.49

12.34

Panel interview

0.83

20.18

10.78

Discussion

0.81

30.65

9.84

Oral presentation

0.85

32.36

11.09

Personality test

0.87

35.30

12.03

Telephone interview

0.87

34.93

11.88

Video

0.84

35.37

11.09

Essay

0.85

35.89

11.76

Situation exam

0.88

36.86

12.63

Assessment centre

0.89

38.74

12.82

Unseen course-related exam

0.86

42.04

12.53

Application form

0.88

37.42

14.17

General knowledge test

0.90

42.94

13.99

Intelligence test

0.88

43.28

12.97

Drug test

0.93

54.08

15.89

The job interview process is an opportunity for an organization to showcase its values. It is a marketing opportunity to attract staff. If an organization gains a reputation for being perfunctory, prejudicial or outdated in their selection methods, this will have an impact on its reputation and the willingness of people to apply to it. The two factors that seem to interest applicants is the fairness of the procedure, followed by its perceived validity. It may be that people are very poorly informed about the validity of different measures as the data in Tables 5.1 and 5.2 show. That is, for whatever reason they believe there is good evidence that certain tests/procedures are highly valid when they are not (e.g., unstructured interviews) or invalid when they are (e.g., intelligence tests). This can present a problem for an organization that wishes to use proven methods in selection but where applicants believe them to be inaccurate or prejudicial.

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >

Related topics