The Strategic Importance of Employee Selection
Selection is the process of choosing among individuals who have been recruited to fill existing or projected job
quality of human resources determines organizational performance
high cost of inappropriate selection decisions
significant legal implications
Guidelines for Avoiding Legal Problems
selection criteria based on the job
adequate assessment of applicant ability
careful scrutiny of applicant-provided information
written authority for reference checking
save all records and information
reject applicants who make false statements
Selection ratio is the ratio of the number of applicants hired to the total number of applicants. If the ratio
is low, it is better to start from scratch due to low quality or limited number of applicants.
A small selection ratio, such as 1:2, means that there are a limited number of applicants from which to
select, and it may also mean low-quality recruits.
The Selection Process
Multiple-hurdle strategy is an approach to selection involving a series of successive steps or hurdles.
Only candidates clearing the hurdle are permitted to move on to the next step.
Step 1: Preliminary Applicant Screening
initial applicant screening is performed by HR department
application forms and résumés are reviewed
candidates not meeting essential selection criteria are eliminated first
candidates who most closely match the remaining job specifications are identified and given further
use of technology is becoming increasingly popular to help HR professionals improve the initial screening
Step 2: Selection Testing
selection testing is a common screening device used by approximately two thirds of Canadian
used to assess specific job-related skills, general intelligence, personality characteristics, mental abilities,
interests, and preferences
testing techniques provide efficient, standardized procedures for screening large numbers of applicants
tests and other selection techniques are only useful if they are reliable and valid
Importance of Reliability and Validity
the degree to which interviews, tests, and other selection procedures yield comparable data over time
in other words, the degree of dependability, consistency, or stability of the measures used
the accuracy with which a predictor measures what it is intended to measure
Types of Validity
o Differential Validity: confirmation that the selection tool accurately predicts the performance of
all possible employee subgroups, including white males, women, visible minorities, persons with
disabilities, and Aboriginal people
o Criterion-Related Validity: extent to which a selection tool predicts or significantly correlates
with important elements of work behaviour
o Content Validity: extent to which a selection instrument, such as a test, adequately samples the
knowledge and skills needed to perform the job o Construct Validity: extent to which a selection tool measures a theoretical construct or trait
deemed necessary to perform the job successfully (ie. intelligence, analytical ability, etc)
Tests of Cognitive Abilities
intelligence tests – tests that measure the general intellectual abilities, such as verbal comprehension,
inductive reasoning, memory, numerical ability, speed or perception, spatial visualization, and word
emotional intelligence tests – tests that measure ability to monitor one’s own emotions and the
emotions of others and to use that knowledge to guide thoughts and actions.
o e.g. someone with a high emotional quotient (EQ) is self-aware, can control his or her impulses,
is self-motivated, and demonstrates empathy and social awareness
specific cognitive abilities measured by aptitude tests – tests that measure an individual’s aptitude or
potential to perform a job, provided he or she is given proper training.
Tests of Motor/Physical Abilities
Measure the speed and accuracy of simple judgment and things such as dexterity and arm movements.
Functional Abilities Evaluation (FAE) - measures a whole series of physical abilities for jobs that require a
multitude of physical demands.
Measuring Personality and Interests
Personality and interest motivators are sometimes used as predictors of job performance.
Personality Tests can measure basic aspects of an applicant’s personality, such as introversion,
stability, and motivation (ie. extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and
openness to experience)
Interest Inventories compare a candidate’s interest with those of people in various occupations.
A measure of knowledge and/or proficiency acquired through education, training, or experience.
Focuses on measuring job performance directly. Each applicant performs key tasks and is monitored by
an administrator. Work-sampling test is validated by determining the relationship between the applicants’
scores on the work samples and their actual performance on the job.
Management Assessment Centres
A strategy used to assess candidates’ management potential that uses a combination of realistic
exercises, management games, objective testing, presentations, and interviews.
Refers to tests in which candidates are presented with hypothetical situations representative of the job for
which they are applying and evaluated on their responses.
Are a series of verbal, paper-based, or computer-based questions and exercises that a candidate is
required to complete, covering the range of activities required on the job for which he or she is applying.
Physical Examination and Substance Abuse Testing – 3 reasons to include a medical examination in
to determine that applicant qualifies for the physical requirements of the position and, if not, to document
any accommodation requirements
to establish a record and baseline of the applicant’s health for the purpose of future insurance or
to reduce absenteeism and accidents by identifying any health issues or concerns that need to be
Medical exams are only permitted after a written offer of employment has been extended (except in the
case of bona fide occupational requirements)
the purpose of pre-employment substance abuse testing is to avoid hiring employees who would pose
unnecessary risks to themselves or others and/or perform below expectations
in Canada, employers are not permitted to screen candidates for substance abuse alcohol and drug addiction is considered to be a disability under human rights codes