Values as a Criterion for Recruitment and Selection
In recent decades values were seldom used as a criterion in the selection process. However, the systematic assessment of values through validated and effective measurement is a recent effort seen in a few countries in healthcare. That orientation follows the trend of values- based practice, as observed in some countries, (e. g., Petrova, Dale & Fulford, 2006; Rankin, 2013). This approach encompasses the idea that values are related to a high- performing worker in a specific job. Healthcare is a sector where values are often viewed as a component of performance or quality. Waugh, Smith, Horsburgh and Gray (2014) found that for nurses and midwives honesty and trustworthiness were considered to be among the top seven characteristics when asked which were relevant for the profession.
Although values are always present in every decision-making process, ‘when sets of values are shared, their presence may remain unnoticed’ (Petrova et al., p. 2). This may explain why the explicit inclusion of values has been neglected in recruitment and selection (possibly with the exception of the value of appreciating diversity; e.g., Ma & Allen, 2009). The effort to include values in recruitment and selection, however, is found in other areas of human resource management (e.g., May, Luth & Schwoerer, 2014; Yap, 2014).
Values are not the same as ethics, but values are related to what individuals think they ought to do as a moral obligation. Using a values-based approach in recruitment and selection, at least in some jobs, can be a useful criterion alongside others for considering individuals’ fit in the organization’s culture and thus a factor in their subsequent performance at work.
Research on values as a criterion for recruitment and selection has been developed mainly in the healthcare sector in England. Patterson et al., (2015) reviewed 20 papers exploring the impact of values-based approaches. In their review, they identify, describe and evaluate the instruments used to assess candidates’ values, based on the following criteria: 1) accuracy and effectiveness; 2) costs and efficiency; 3) practicalities and implementation; and 4) stakeholders’ acceptance and feedback. Based on these criteria Patterson and colleagues argued that situational judgement tests are most effective in assessing applicants’values. Personality assessment is sometimes useful in the earlier self-assessment phase. The other tools they evaluated (personal statements and references) were shown to be ineffective (Patterson et al., 2015) for shortlisting. For the final stage of selection, Patterson’s team evaluated four other instruments. Structured interviews and mini-multiple interviews and selection centres using work samples were shown to be effective, while traditional interviews and group interviews were shown to be ineffective (Patterson et al., 2015).
Following these findings, a number of studies have been published. Husbands, Rodger- son, Dowell and Patterson (2015) explored the validity of psychometric tools for selection in a values-based environment. Their work revealed that integrity-based situational judgement tests have good psychometric properties for medical school admissions. Earlier work by Patterson et al. (2012) on the situational judgement test (SJT) showed these were well suited to assessing values (e.g., integrity). Patterson, Zibarras and Ashworth (2015) published a guide to help those who want to use SJTs in recruitment and selection of applicants to medical education and training.
Others have pointed out the importance of including values as a criterion for recruiting and selecting. Miller and Bird (2014) presented a point of view on values-based recruitment and selection for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. They describe how the overarching values of the NHS steer the criteria used in assessing applicants to education in healthcare professions and job vacancies in this field. Miller and Bird focus their claim on a Department of Health (2014) policy document, where it is stated that ‘HEE [Health Education England] will ensure that recruitment, education, training and development of the healthcare workforce contributes to patients, carers and the public reporting a positive experience of healthcare consistent with the values and behaviours identified in the NHS’ (2014, p. 42). These policy guidelines state values explicitly as core aspects of the workforce to be employed by the NHS.
Miller and Bird (2014) point out the risks of using values-based recruitment to address these policy guidelines, namely the failure to identify individuals who are able to communicate their real values. To overcome this problem, they propose values-based recruitment as ‘part of the selection process’ instead of a stand-alone tool.
Miller (2015) returned to the approach of values-based recruitment to consider why it is important in healthcare. Miller analysed the implications of values-based recruitment for those applying to nursing courses as well as newly qualified nurses applying for their first job. According to Miller, a values-based approach to recruitment and selection processes addresses the problems in the quality of the health service provided in the UK. The adoption of the six Cs (care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment) in nursing, midwifery and care staff (Commissioning Board Chief Nursing Officer and DH Chief Nursing Adviser, 2012) means that values have to be assessed when selecting applicants for a nursing course in higher education, as well as when they apply for a vacancy in the healthcare sector (Miller, 2015).
Using the same approach, Kare-Silver, Spicer, Khan and Ahluwalia (2014) describe the recruitment for general practitioner (GP) training based on values following the policy guidelines. They describe this process as an in-progress challenge and emphasize the bias that can arise with the coaching for recruitment that is offered by several corporations to GPs who want to apply to the NHS. This bias has to be overcome, they claim, otherwise the purpose of values-based recruitment and selection will be jeopardized.
Bore, Munro, Kerridge and Powis (2005) explored the use of the Mojac Scale as a tool to select medical students based on their moral orientation. This construct was proposed in place of moral reasoning, given its impact on decisions when individuals face ethical dilemmas, and the desire to reduce the ‘likelihood of inappropriate ethical behaviour in medicine’ (Bore et al., 2005, p. 266). The research was carried out over four years in six countries and has shown the instrument’s psychometric properties to be good in assessing moral orientation between libertarian and communitarian values.
In general, the use of values-based recruitment and selection has grown in the healthcare sector since 2000, partly in response to policy guidelines that in the UK encourage the health service to ensure that its workforce is in line with its publicly stated values. However, without adequate recruitment tools, such as the psychometric, values-based approaches will fail.
Considering the crises that have emerged in recent decades, viewed as a result, in part, of the lack of ethics in executive education (Floyd et al., 2013), a wide avenue is open for spreading the practice of and research on values-based recruitment and selection to other sectors in the hope that such practices will deliver superior ethical behaviour.