Selection may be defined as the process of choosing individuals who have relevant qualifications
to fill existing or projected job openings.
Importance of Employee Selection
To obtain and retain the best qualified candidate. Selection is the process of choosing from a
group of applicants the best suited individual for a significant impact on the quality of the
An organisation that invests in high quality employees reap substantial returns in terms of better
productivity and greater profit.
A bad hire can affect the morale of the whole workforce, especially in a situation where
teamwork is essential.
The hiring process, itself, can be complicated, time consuming and costly to an employer.
Selecting the wrong person for any job can be even more costly to the firm and may cause
1 Factors influencing selection decision
(i) Internal Environmental Factors
Internal Environmental factors which influence selection decisions include:
• The size of the organisation: the bigger the organisation, the more formal the selection
• The type of the organisation: Greater complexity requires more sophiscated selection.
• The nature of social pressure: Such pressure may emerge from ethnic groups, social and
religious groups, trade unions and even legislation.
• Speed of decision making: A slow selection decision-making process may bring
production to a standstill.
• Selection methods: Those selection methods which are determined by a number of
factors including the abilities of the staff involved in the selection process, the cost of
various selection assessment and the complexities of the administration.
(ii) External Environmental Factors
External Environmental factors which impact on selection decisions include:
• The nature of the labour market: in the instance there are few individuals with the
skills required, the selection process would be unsophisticated and short.
• Trade unions: where employees who belong to a trade union can make certain demands.
• Social groups: employees of a particular social group can put pressure to have their
members be selected to fill certain vacancies
• Government regulations: where legislation may affect the manner in which the selection
process is executed. Labour legislation has a significant impact on the manner in which
organisations conduct selection activities. Indeed, the legislation stipulates that an
organisation that either directly or indirectly discriminates against a job applicant will be
regarded to have committed an unfair labour practice.
2 The Selection Process
3 1. Provisional selection interview
The provisional selection interview usually lasts for about ten minutes and is used to
determine whether the applicant meets the minimum requirements.
Also, this initial screening of applicants is to eliminate those who obviously do not meet
the position’s requirements.
2. Evaluation of Application Form(s)
Application forms set out the information on a candidate in a fair number of replies that
have been received. It is important to sift the application forms.
Astandard acknowledgement letter has to be sent to each applicant. If the application has
been done electronically, the applicant may be asked to complete and return an
Compare the applications with the key criteria in the job specification and sort them into
three categories: possible, marginal and unsuitable. Scrutinise the possible again and
draw up a short list for interview.
3. Selection Methods
During this phase of the selection phase of the selection process, various selection methods are
applied including selection tests, interviews, biodata, group methods, in trays, presentation, work
simulations, personality assessment, assessment centres, reference and background checks and
4 a) Selection Tests
The selection tests are conducted to assess the individual’s potential for success and his/her
In many organisations, written examinations are conducted to assess the individual’s potential,
whereas assessment tests can also be in the form of IQ tests or technical tests.
The main objective of these tests as a screening method will aim at testing the potentials of
candidates and thus eliminate all those who are not to the expected standards.
It is important that the interviewers are well trained and be conversant with the objectives of the
interview so as to get the relevant information following the interview.
It is equally important for interviewers to know the questions that should not be asked during the
interview stage of employee selection.
It is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on race, national origin, religion, sex, colour or
Face to Face Interview
The most common interview is the face to face communication which allows the interviewers to
gain considerable information about the applicant’s background, experience, attitude, value and
It also gives the interviewers the opportunity to observe the non verbal cues and dress code of the
5 It is an opportunity for job applicant to find out more about the job and the organisation.
Organisation are always struggling to reduce selection costs.
Telephone interviews, which is not a new method, lacks the advantage of face to face contact.
Nevertherless, the telephone may be the most economically feasible way to exchange
information with applicants in distant locations.
In addition, an employer can screen a larger number of candidates using this method.
Types of Interview
There are different types of interviews that may be carried out by the employer and latter needs
to consider which type of interview will be more appropriate.
The different types of interview include:
The structured interview is a guided conversation with specific themes and pre-planned
Interviews are standardised and all candidates are asked the same questions in the same order.
In structured interview, the objective is to have consistency in the questions asked to all
applicants thus, the ability to compare the answers of the different candidates.
6 Unstructured Interview
In unstructured interview, open ended and probing questions are asked.
The objective of unstructured interview is to direct the conversation towards the potentials and
capabilities of the employee.
Through the unstructured interview, more information may be obtained about the candidates.
However, unstructured interview has some drawbacks. It is criticised for being over subjective,
prone to the interviewer’s bias and time consuming.
The semi-structured interview is a combination of structured and unstructured interviews, that is,
it is partly structured and partly unstructured.
This type of interview is conducted with a fairly open framework which allows for focused,
conversational, two way communication.
Not all questions are designed and phrased ahead of time.
The majority of