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It has also been an opportunity for me to learn various issues surrounding the selection exercise. The selection process involves such issues as job application, short listings and interviews in order to settle down on the right candidate.
There are various factors that are considered before settling down on the right candidate as we will see in the reflective essay below. The basic areas of concern during the selection exercise are the selection decisions, validity and reliability of short listing and interview practices as a component of the selection process.
The selection exercise is mainly not a single individual’s task but it is rather an exercise carried out by a panel of professionals mainly the human resources managerial team. Decision making is therefore based upon some laid down policies which are agreed upon by the code of ethics or by the selection panel since depending on individuals’ responses may at times bring about contradictions.
The selection panel must therefore carry out adequate prior preparation concerning the exercise whereby it is more appropriate to involve professionals in this field. This is because there are many trained professionals in this field and the selection criteria for various candidates are based upon closely related factors.
However, different interviewers have different interviewing approaches thus though there might be structured approach of the selection process, the interviewee ought to be adequately prepared and flexible in order to convince each member of the panel that he is the best candidate (Hackney and Kleiner, 1994, p. 8).
The selection exercise
All human resource professionals appreciate the fact that attracting and retaining the best manpower for a specific job depends largely on the effectiveness of the recruitment, short listing, selection and interview criteria. These are the exercises that largely constitute the selection process.
There are a number of factors that affect the effectiveness of these stages and hence the decisions regarding the “best applicant.” The success in every of the stages depends on both the job seeker and the employer through the human resource section (Buckley, Norris, and Wiese, 2000, p. 116).
The first step in filling any vacant post is recruitment. It involves advertisement of the vacant post either internally, i.e. within the company or publicly, through the mass media. This step allows the qualified and the interested individuals to make application towards the advertised post.
Individuals make their application depending on the interest in the job and their belief that they have the required skills, abilities, and other talents required to do the job well (Catano, 2009, p. 235).
However, due to the high rates of unemployment in many nations and other reasons, it is very likely to find individuals who may not be meeting the specified requirements applying for the vacant position. Furthermore, applicants are mainly beyond the required number in most cases thus calling for the short listing exercise.
The selection panel puts various factors into consideration, as we will see, in order to shortlist only the individuals who are likely to add value to the company in question.
Once the candidates have been shortlisted, personal interviews are carried out to further identify the most suitable candidate since the short listing process may only consider academic and the experience qualifications while the one on one interview enables the selection panel to in identify an individual’s potential.
While I have been participating in this exercise, there are various things that I have learnt from observation and interactions with the rest of the members of the panel that I was not able to learn while I was doing my research paper.
This has enabled me to enrich my knowledge especially on the fact that academic and other kind of testimonials are not enough proof to settle down on the right candidate thus personal interview is always important in order to combine academics and experience with the right character.
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Factors influencing the selection process
Considering the participation I had on the selection process coupled with the knowledge and the experiences I have had with my own research and lectures, I have realized that there are several factors that determine the kind of a candidate that fits a certain job.
One of the factors is the kind of questions that will be asked during the interview (Class notes, 2011, p. 1). Before an applicant qualifies to sit down with the interviewing panel, it means that the individual application is worth short listing thus he processes the relevant skills and qualifications for the post in question.
The kind of questions that he will be asked and the kind of answers he is likely to give will determine his potential for the post in question. In the job market today, there are professionals who are wholly meant for the selection process and the questions asked in the panel are mainly tailor made to fit the needs of the given company (Barclay, 1999, p. 138).
There are three main types of questions “structured interview, unstructured, and behavioral interviewing style” (Hartley and Bruckmann, 2002, p. 21) which can be categorized into the main subjects of interest such as:
Intrinsic and motivational factors, skills and abilities, knowledge of the organization, career goals and objectives, experiences in the desired area, extracurricular activities and college experiences, academic programs and achievements, hypothetical questions, accomplishments and achievements, geographic preferences, and salary and benefits. (Hartley and Bruckmann, 2002, p. 21) This enables the panel to get the right picture of the interviewee thus settling down on the best candidate.
Gender is another major factor that influences decision making in a selection procedure (Radford, 1998, p. 108). In many cases, men have always been considered superior to women and this has also been reflected in job allocation thus affecting the selection process.
You will realize that the ratio of men to women in most shortlists varies a lot in many nations with the ratio of men being higher than that of women. Though there is a perception that some jobs are best suited for men while others are best suited for women, jobs that can be done by both genders well still are highly influenced by men superiority complex.
Some of the causes of gender bias in many nations include “parental expectation of children, education, advertisement if vacancies, self perception, nature of the assessment methods, attitudes and the perceptions of the assessors among others” (Radford, 1998, p. 108). This is passed on to the employer “gender discrimination” (Radford, 1998, p. 108) as well as the job seeker “e.g. in education and self selection” (Radford, 1998, p. 108) thus altering the whole selection process.
Gender differences and discrimination may not necessarily be structured within the selection process but may be an overall reflection of the selection process. First, the pool of applicants is usually determined by the individual’s decision to apply for the vacant position.
Due to the various forces surrounding the two genders, there may be gender differences in this pool of applicants. The successful candidate is usually a product of the selection process. Both the decision to apply and the selection process usually results to a successive reduction in the pool of applicants. The job definition has a lot of influence on the final selection of candidates which may be further influenced by the number of applicants from each gender (Radford, 1998, p. 108).
The physical factors surrounding a job are another major factor that determines the recruitment and the selection process. Individuals decide to apply for a certain vacant position depending on the desirability of working in a particular organizational environment (Catano, 2009, p. 235).
Some of the physical factors that applicants may consider include the location of the company, size of the enterprise and the kind of industry the job is categorized under. This is influenced by the age of the applicants, accessibility, and whether the job provides autonomy, and opportunities for self development.
The selection process is one of the areas that determine the quality of the workforce in any organization. In the world we are living today, people have gone an extra mile to achieve academic excellence thus it is important for the selection panel to be a little bit keen on other qualities of a candidate. Such attributes are mainly achieved through behavioral interviewing style in order to settle down on the best candidate from the pool of academically qualified applicants.
Barclay, J. (1999) Employee selection: a question of structure. Personnel Review, 28 (1&2), pp. 134-151
Buckley, M. R., Norris, A. C. and Wiese, D. S. (2000) A brief history of the selection Interview: may the next 100 years be more fruitful. Journal of Management History, 6 (3), pp. 113-126.
Catano, V. M. (2009) Recruitment and Selection in Canada. Ontario, Cengage Learning.
Class Notes. (2011) Research Essay on selection exercise. (MS word)
Hackney, M. and Kleiner, B. H. (1994) Conducting an Effective Selection Interview. Work Study, 43 (7), pp. 8-13.
Hartley, P. and Bruckmann, C. G. (2002) Business communication. Routledge, pp. 16-24
Radford, J. (1998). “Gender and Choice in Education and Occupation”. London, Routledge.