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AT&T Employee Selection and Performance Appraisal Methods Evaluation Essay

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Updated: Dec 22nd, 2019

Executive summary

In many organizations, it is the responsibility of the managers to ensure that good employee selection and assessment is observed. When these processes are done poorly, an organization is likely to face significant challenges that can affect its operations. There are different methods of selecting and assessing people needed for various jobs.

For instance, an organization may decide to use methods like funneling approach or the assessment center method to identify appropriate applicants in terms of their levels of performance. In analyzing these methods, I will focus on the selection and assessment method used at my organization and the method used by AT&T.

These organizations use a funneling approach and assessment center methods respectively to select and evaluate the performance of employees. In my organization, the company specializes mainly in providing technology services. The company enjoys a broad portfolio in different areas like communication and financial services.

On the other hand, AT&T is also a global organization whose main objective is to provide customers and businesses with new solutions through innovation in the entertainment and communication industry. The paper also examines the reliability and validity of the selection and assessment methods used by these organizations.

Ethical and legal issues that may arise as a result of using a given approach are identified and possible solutions discussed. Other issues discussed in the paper include the relative strengths of each of the method and also the ability of programs to adhere to the recommended practices for appraisal programs. Such practices include adequate training of employees to reduce or eliminate frequent errors associated with poor training.

Methods used to select people for jobs in my organization

My organization uses a funneling approach to select people for different jobs available in the organization. In this method, the organization uses informal procedures and tools in order to reduce the number of applicants to a manageable size so that it becomes easy to take them through the assessment process. The screening devices used in my organization include application blanks, reference checks and resumes.

The organization uses these devices to help it in identifying and excluding obvious misfits without taking further consideration. Phone interview or informal meeting is another screening device used by this organization. The device is useful to the organization since it facilitates or makes it easier for the organization to interact with potential candidates.

The selection interviews used in my organization comprise of both structured and unstructured interviews. However, the organization mainly relies on the structured interviews since it is easier for the company to assess the knowledge, skills and abilities of a potential candidate capable of performing the required task effectively. Structured interviews are used by the company to establish the soft skills of an individual.

Such skills include communication skills, interpersonal skills, adaptability and organizing, among others. An essential feature of structured interview relates to its ability to provide a standardized criterion of rating.

This is specifically to help the interviewing panel to determine the effectiveness and quality of the answers given by the candidate. To facilitate this process, my organization ensures that the interviewing panel is well trained in different areas for instance in probing for extra information and proper and systematic application of rating criteria during the evaluation process (Byham, 1986).

Apart from conducting interviews, the organization subjects possible candidates to different test like cognitive ability test, job knowledge and personality test. Cognitive tests are particularly helpful to the company in that it becomes easier to measure mental abilities of a candidate. These abilities include reasoning, mathematical skills and verbal competence.

The tests also provide the company with a good prediction with regards to job performance. The cognitive tests contain different items that are usually administered with the help of a computer. The job knowledge test administered by the organization is used to establish the critical knowledge of the candidate in different areas. These are majorly the areas that increase the performance of the job.

The organization uses these tests only in instances where the candidate is required to portray some given knowledge and skills before he or she can be offered a job.

The organization does not subject the candidates to job knowledge tests when there are plans to undertake the candidate through the training process after recruitment. It is should be noted that both the cognitive and job knowledge tests used by the company are presented in a multiple-choice. The candidate is required to select the most appropriate answer from the ones given.

The organization also subjects the candidate to personality test. These are helpful in assessing the traits that are relevant and improves performance of an organization. There are several factors that are usually considered when carrying out personality tests.

Some of the aspects include accountability and extroversive nature of an individual. During the interviewing process, the organization mainly uses the conscientiousness factor since it is believed to be a reliable predictor of organizational performance (Bohlander & Snell, 2010).

In my organization, the company has integrated its system of performance appraisal in a way that makes it easier to work hand in hand with career and learning management objectives. The newly developed system is known as career resource system. This is an improved system since it includes detailed information on performance review, job description and career planner.

Secord (2003) expounds that this helps the company to track the long-term goals and make it easier for employees to access the company’s career library. This system is also linked to the succession policies of the company. The main reason why my organization created this system was to facilitate the shifting of manager’s role from judging to coaching (Byham, 1986).

After examining the selection procedures used in my organization, it is evident that some methods like interviews and test are not reliable and valid. Lack of validity and reliability in interviews and tests is caused by a number of factors. For instance, the positive attributes of the interviewee may be ignored when carrying out this process.

According to Bohlander and Snell (2010), a job candidate takes more time to generate appropriate information that can change the perception of an interviewer after making a negative statement. As a result, many people associate use of unstructured interviews with negative information. According to Morra and Rist (2009), lack of reliability and validity during the interviewing process may be caused by primacy effects.

This occurs when earlier information interferes with the judgment given by the interviewer. During the interviewing process, decisions on whether to recruit or reject a given candidate are made during the first few minutes of the interview. Therefore, potential candidates should avoid making mistakes at the beginning of an interview.

A well placed candidate can easily lose his or her chance of joining a reputable organization just by making some mistakes at the start of the interview. The first impression is influential because it enables the interviewers to undertake hypothesis confirmation and strategies that seem to conform to their earlier impressions.

As noted by Cooper & Robertson (2001), interviewers who portray positive initial impressions are likely to provide more information to the applicant. The daily operations of an organization are greatly reliant on activities outlined in the previous section. Similarly, organization might recruit unsuitable candidates just because of relying on information from the applicant during the start of the interview.

Lack of reliability might also be caused by other factors for instance where the applicant and the interviewer may be similar with regard to gender, race and other characteristics. Such an applicant would undoubtedly receive outstanding ratings and bias when making judgments (Armstrong, 2001).

Some selection methods like interviews may pose ethical issues that could seriously affect the performance of the business (Winstanley & Woodall, 1999). This situation might arise when the interviewers are unable to develop an effective rapport by showing fairness, objectivity and professionalism. Absence of respect and courtesy is likely to create an ineffective setting of an interview.

To avoid such incidences, the people conducting interviews should not make any threats particularly at the beginning of the interview. Interviews may also pose ethical issues in situations where the interviewer decides to use original documents of the applicants other than using copies. Original copies should only be used when there is a need to find the validity of the details found in the copy documents.

Sileo (2010) notes that if interviewing process interferes with the privacy of the applicants, then it is likely that the applicants will come up with complains and inform the top management. Such situations will not only affect the interviewing panel but will also affect the organization as a whole.

The individuals being interviewed might spread a false image of the organization, and this might make other people shy away and avoid associating themselves with the company. To prevent such issues from occurring, interviewers should select a good location for conducting the interview.

This assures the applicant of privacy and minimal disturbance. It is important for the interviewer to verify all the information collected during the interviewing process. When preparing for an interview, the interviewer should review all the documents and any other relevant data in order to reach an accurate conclusion.

Interviews might also pose legal issues especially when the interviewer decides to record the interviews especially when a transcription of the recorded information is needed. Transcribing information given by the applicant is not an easy task. Sometimes, information recording can become an inadmissible task particularly when the chain of custody exists. Thus, it is necessary to have reliable and proper recording materials.

This eliminates cases of altering the recorded information which is likely to put the managers or the organization into problems. It is recommended that all the original recorded information should be well retained with the help of an appropriate chain of retention and custody.

This provides an assurance of maintaining the original recording without the fear that the recorded information may be altered in one way or another. Consideration should be observed under circumstances where an individual would choose own recording equipment to be used in the interview.

The legal issues which arise during the interviewing process should be addressed with the help of a counsel. It should be understood that, despite the significant improvements made in voice recording technology, some legal issues are likely to arise in situations where the interviewer decides to record the information given by the applicant.

Given the increasingly diverse, multicultural, and geographical dispersed workforce, there is a strong need of adjusting the different methods used in selecting people for jobs. The selection method used by the recruitment team should be based in a way such that only individuals with values similar to those of the organization are selected to fill various positions in an organization.

Performance appraisal program used in AT&T organization

AT&T uses the assessment center method to evaluate the performance of its employees. This method was developed by AT&T and currently, many organizations are using this method. This appraisal program requires more than two managers to observe a given number of participants engaged in different exercises that cause simulation of tasks that relate to the job level being assessed.

An overall evaluation is made immediately after all the participants have completed their various exercises. This method of assessment also involves psychological tests and interviews. Examples of job simulations include group discussions, fact-finding exercises, decision making problems, oral presentation and written communication exercises.

AT&T uses simulations mainly to identify the behavior that seems to be more relevant basing on the level or position being considered. It should be noted that this approach is based on the future job performance and not on the current performance.

AT&T can easily assess the ability of an individual to carry out various duties by observing the manner in which the participant approaches the challenges and problems associated with a given job level or target job. The organization finds this method to be highly useful especially when the organization is carrying out an assessment.

This assessment is meant for individuals involved in carrying out duties which do not provide an excellent opportunity to exhibit a behavior that corresponds to the target position. It is also easy for the organization to help individuals who have interest in management positions.

These are individuals who lack an opportunity to exhibit a behavior that is similar to the job due to the current tasks assigned to those individuals. This program also helps the organization to realize improved accuracy especially when diagnosing and making selections (Jackson & Schuler, 1995).

An organization can also enjoy indirect benefits like accuracy and fairness especially when the top management is making promotion decisions or when the management needs to find out the requirements of a given job.

The method also provides an opportunity to the training managers by increasing their chances of becoming assessors. The managers can therefore improve their skills in different managerial tasks like handling appraisals on performance and conducting feedback discussions (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).

Reliability and validity measures

AT&T has developed measures to ensure reliability. The organization achieves reliability through performance standards that help the managers in specifying and communicating the necessary information to employees. The information is mainly based on quantity and quality of output. Additionally, the managers are able to define the accuracy and the actual time when customer’s orders will be delivered.

By expressing the standards in measurable, specific terms and comparing the performance of employees against the expected results, the company finds it easy to establish a justifiable appraisal. Appraisals are usually conducted by managers and supervisors. The organization prefers to use supervisors in conducting appraisals though at times it becomes difficult to use supervisors.

The main reason why AT&T does not prefer engaging the managers in conducting the appraisals is from the fact that managers are not always available to fully monitor employees’ performance. It is also easier to make a provision for review when the supervisors are used to appraise employees.

The use of supervisors in reviewing the appraisal also reduces the likelihood of biased and superficial evaluations. However, it should be understood that reviews done by managers appear to be more objective and also help in providing broader perspective towards performance of employees other than using immediate supervisors to conduct appraisals (Byham, 1986).

Conclusions and recommendation

In recap, the selection and assessment method used by AT&T has contributed significantly towards the overall performance of the organization. For example, the method enables the organization to evaluate the participants immediately after completing their tasks. From the fact that this method is based on future job performance, it means that AT&T can predict it future requirements like the need to recruit additional staff.

The method is also very reliable in the sense that performance evaluation of employees is done by the supervisors since they interact frequently with the employees. From the analysis, it has also been noted that recording interviews during the selection process is likely to pose ethical and legal issues.

Therefore, it is necessary to develop other methods of obtaining information from individuals. These methods should be able to identify the correct individuals whose values are similar to that of the organization.


Armstrong, J. S. (2001). Principles of forecasting: A handbook for researchers and practitioners. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic.

Bohlander, G. W., & Snell, S. (2007).Managing human resources. Developing Effectiveness in Human Resources 14 (2), 347-393.

Bohlander, G. & Snell, S. (2010). Managing Human Resources (15th. Ed.), Mason, OH: South-Western – Cengage Learning.

Byham, W.C. (1986). The assessment center method and methodology: New Applications and Technology. Pittsburgh, PA. : Development Dimensions International. 1-32

Cooper, D., & Robertson, I. T. (2001).Recruitment and selection: A framework for success. London: Thomson Learning.

Jackson, S.E. & Schuler, R.S. (1995).Understanding human resource management in the context of organizations and their environments. Annual Reviews 46:237-64

Morra, I. L. G., & Rist, R. C. (2009).The road to results: Designing and conducting effective development evaluations. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Secord, H. (2003).Implementing best practices in human resources management. Toronto: CCH Canadian.

Sileo, J. (2010). Privacy means profit: Prevent identity theft and secure you and your bottom line. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Winstanley, D., & Woodall, J. (1999). Ethical issues in contemporary human resource management. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

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