The basic purpose of the employee selection process is choosing right type of candidates to match various positions in the organization.

In order to achieve this purpose, a well-organized selection procedure is requited. Each step in the selection procedure should provide more and more information about the candidate.

This selection procedure differs from organization to organization. In some cases selection procedure will be very simple but, in many cases, it is quite complex and time consumes.

Learn about the process, steps and stages involved in the selection of employees in an organisation.


The steps involved in the selection process are:-

1. Preliminary Screening 2. Application Form 3. Selection Test 4. Comprehensive Interview 5. Reference Check 6. Approval by the Supervisor 7. Physical Examination 8. Psychological Tests  9. Employment Interviewing 10. Making the Selection.

Standard process of selection includes:-

1. Screening of Applicants 2. Selection Tests 3. Interview 4. Medical Examination 5. Reference Check and Background Verification 6. Hiring Decisions or Approval by Appropriate Authority 7. Job Offer 8. Employment Contract and 9. Evaluation.

Employees Selection: Process, Steps and Stages

Process of Employee Selection – Basic Process of Selection: From Preliminary Screening to Making the Selection

The basic purpose of the selection process is choosing right type of candidates to match various positions in the organization. In order to achieve this purpose, a well-organized selection procedure is requited. Each step in the selection procedure should provide more and more information about the candidate. This selection procedure differs from organization to organization. In some cases selection procedure will be very simple but, in many cases, it is quite complex and time consumes.


Thus, the size of the company, the number of candidates needed and the importance of the position to be filled are the major factors that determine the steps in the selection process.

A typical selection process follows a standard pattern and consists of the following steps:

1. Preliminary screening


2. Application form

3. Selection test

4. Comprehensive interview

5. Reference check


6. Physical examination

7. Making the selection

Process # 1. Preliminary Screening:

The preliminary screening interview is used to make a quick evaluation of the applicant’s suitability for the particular job. Elimination of some of the candidates can be done in the preliminary screening interview on the basis of job description. This screening weeds out unqualified applicants and is often the first personal contact an applicant has with the company. It enables the management to discuss the job in adequate detail and analyze whether the applicant is suitable for the job.

The interview centers upon an analysis of the general background, education and experience of the candidate. The initial screening is best left to a staff member or sub-ordinate so that valuable executive time is not wasted. The interview usually lasts for a very short duration, ranging from twenty to thirty minutes and is conducted by a member of the human resources department. When the initial screener believes that the applicant meets the minimum requirements, he asks the applicant to fill out an application form.


Preliminary screening is important for large organizations which receive a large number of applicants whenever their representatives visit college campuses or put an advertisement in the newspapers. The screening process, as filtering mechanism, takes some pressure off other selection devices.

Process # 2. Application Form:

Candidates who pass the preliminary screening are usually required to complete a formal application form specially designed to obtain the required information about the candidate. Different types of application forms are used by different organization and for different jobs.

As far as, the application should be brief and simple. Generally, the application form contains information regarding – (a) personal history name, date of birth, sex, marital status, nationality etc., (b) educational qualification, (c) job experience and (d) references etc. the application blank may also include reason for applying, expected salary, reasons for leaving the previous job etc.

Process # 3. Selection Tests:

Tests of ability, skill, aptitude, or knowledge that is relevant to the particular job, are usually the best predictors of job success, although tests of general intelligence or personality are occasionally useful as well. A selection test also measures certain psychological factors such as ability to reason, capacity for learning, temperament and specific aptitudes and physical abilities.


There are different kinds of tests used in the selection process:

i. Intelligence Tests:

An intelligence test explores, alertness, comprehension and reasoning abilities of the applicants. Through these tests, managers can predict the future job performance of the applicant. Questions in intelligence tests are job-oriented and abstract.

ii. Personality Tests:


Personality tests are a means of measuring characteristics (such as pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviour) that are distinctively combined in a particular individual and influence the individual’s interactions in various situations. They also measure an applicant’s self-confidence and emotional stability. The use of personality tests for selection purposes is subject to considerable debate because of the difficulty of accurately measuring personality characteristics and the problems associated with matching them appropriately to job requirements.

iii. Knowledge Tests:

Knowledge tests evaluate the applicant’s knowledge about the company, its competitors and customers, its products, the target market and the like.

iv. Performance or Work Sample Tests:

Such tests are a means of measuring practical ability on a specific job. In performance or work sample tests, the applicant completes some job activity under structured conditions. For instance, a person who had applied for the post of a service representative may be asked to handle a simulated situation involving a complaining customer. Although they can be costly if special facilities and equipment are needed, performance tests, when devised to closely reflect important aspects of the job, tend to be valid predictors of future performance.

Process # 4. Comprehensive Interview:

A comprehensive or an in-depth selection interview is designed to find out more about the applicant as an individual and, in general, obtain information of interest to the interviewers so that the suitability of the candidate for the job and the organization can be determined.


In this stage of the selection process, the interviewer matches the information obtained about the candidate through various sources, such as the application blank, screening and testing. Clarification and elaboration of brief responses given in the application blink are also sought in the interview process. Unlike the screening interview, which is usually conducted by a member of the human resources department, the in-depth interview is usually conducted by the manager to whom the candidate would report if hired.

The three widely used types of interviews include structured interview, semi- structured interview and unstructured interview. In a structured interview, the interviewer asks the candidate a predetermined set of questions in the specified sequence with virtually no deviations. This type of interview is very useful if the interviewer has to interview a large number of candidates or when the interviewer is relatively untrained.

Unstructured interviews are informal and unorganized. There are no pre-planned questions. The candidate is allowed to talk freely on general questions and the purpose of the interview is to find out about the kind of person the candidate is.

In comparison to an unstructured interview, a structured interview yields more valid data. However, there are certain disadvantages of structured interviews. They are almost mechanical in their approach and may convey disinterest to the candidate. Also, they do not allow the interviewer to probe interesting or unusual issues that may arise during the interview.

To overcome these disadvantages and still acquire reasonably valid data for making a selection decision, interviewers can use a semi- structured interview, which is a combination of structured and unstructured interviews. Here the interviewer uses a set of pre-planned questions and also allots time for interaction and discussion.

Process # 5. Reference Checks:

Applicants are required to furnish names of persons who can be contacted by the recruiting firm if it wishes to know about the character and suitability of the applicant. References assure the recruiting firm that the information given by the applicant is reliable. Reference checks can be obtained by mail, by telephone and in person.


Such checks are conducted to verify information on application blanks and sometimes, to collect additional data that will facilitate the selection decision. References from individuals who are familiar with the candidate’s academic achievements and from the applicant’s former employees are more helpful than other types of references.

Process # 6. Physical Examination:

The physical examination is the last step before taking a final decision on whether to select an applicant or not. Physical examinations are designed to ensure that the candidate can perform effectively in the position for which he or she is applying, to protect other employees against contagious diseases, to establish a health record for the applicant and to protect the organization against unjust compensation claims.

Process # 7. Making the Selection:

The applicants who qualify in the selection test, interview, reference check and physical examination are now considered to be eligible to receive an offer of employment. Once the selection process generates the list of selected candidates, it is the applicant’s prerogative to decide whether to accept the offer or not. Individuals encouraged to work in an organization when the goals set are realistic and where they can prove their ability and talent to achieve those goals.

Added to this, if the job slits the personality of the individual, then the individual can show effective results as he/she has a greater suitability for the job. Rejected candidates should be intimated. Such communication is essential for attracting candidates in the future.

Process of Employee Selection – 7 Popular Steps in the Selection Procedure

It is very difficult to measure the personality and real worth of a candidate, different methods of selection are being used by different organisations to elicit as much significant information about the applicant as possible.

The information so obtained is compared with the job specification, and the applicant found most suitable for the organisation is selected. Although it is difficult to evolve a standard procedure of selection, the following steps in the selection procedure are quite popular.

Step # 1. Initial Contact:


Initial contact with the candidates is usually made through their applications for employment. Every big organisation keeps a large number of printed blank application forms. These forms may differ according to the nature and status of different jobs.

Step # 2. Screening:

Having received applications, the first step in almost all programmes of selection involves screening. Screening implies a coarse, crude shifting of applicants to avoid further concern about those who are obviously unsuitable.

In the initial screening, what is generally done is to weed out those who do not possess the minimum requirements laid down for the vacant positions, the most important of which are generally indicated through the ‘job descriptions’ and the ‘job specifications’ given in the advertisements or subsequently supplied. In screening, most organisations use some sort of initial or preliminary inter­view and one or more types of application blanks.

a. Initial or Preliminary Interview:

Some sort of interview is usually included in the preliminary stages of selection. Such an introductory interview is normally quite short and aims at the elimination of the obviously unqualified.

Such an initial interview may take place across the counter in the firm’s employment office and may be con­ducted by the receptionists, secretaries and so on. In such initial interviews, information regarding the company’s interest in hiring and the applicant’s reason for enquiring is exchanged.


The applicant may be asked why he/she has applied for this job in this organisation. What are his/her expectations regarding salary? A rough idea about his/her educational and technical qualifications, previous expe­rience and so on can be had in a nutshell. Applicants who pass this crude screening, that is, who appear to have some chance of qualifying for existing vacant positions, are asked to fill up application blank.

b. Application Blank:

The application blank is, no doubt, one of the most common tools used in the selection process. It is a universally accepted device for gathering relevant information from the applicant which may be of vital importance to the management in making a proper selection.

The information gathered in this manner provides a clue to the need of and a basis for other selective processes. The application blank is rarely used as the only criterion for selection. Its main utility is to provide information for interviewing, testing and checking of references and so on.

It also tests the applicant’s ability to write, organise his/her thoughts and present facts. Although application blanks differ from organisation to organisation depending on the nature of jobs, there is remarkably high degree of similarity among the blanks of vari­ous companies. Most probably, this uniformity is caused by the fact that these blanks deal with basic information that all organisations consider vital.

According to Michael J. Jucius, the following classes of information are usually sought through the application blank:


i. Identity information such as name, address, telephone number and social security number

ii. Personal information such as marital status and dependents

iii. Physical characteristics such as height, weight, health and defects

iv. Education

v. Experience, usually through the last three or four employers only

vi. References, personal and business

vii. Miscellaneous remarks and comments.

According to another author, a properly designed application blank has the following advantages:

i. It constitutes a simple test of the candidate’s ability to spell, write legibly and answer factual questions rapidly and accurately.

ii. Along with the information collected later during testing, it gives the employment manager a line on the candidate before the main employment interview begins.

iii. For many applicants, it is easier to think out answers alone than to answer those very questions when interviewed.

iv. It gives satisfaction to the applicant that his/her request for employment and his/her bio-data are on the record of the firm.

The aforesaid advantages are possible only if the application blank is brief so that even if the applicant is not used to doing much writing, he/she is not put to disadvantage. Besides, the application blank should comprise only those items which are correlated with job success.

The information submitted in an appli­cation blank should help predict the candidate’s chances for making a success of his/her job. As far as possible, the application blank should not include any embarrassing question or use of such words or questions which may cause any ambiguity or misinterpretation.

In order to ensure accuracy of informa­tion, more often than not, the application blank carries a threat of dismissal at any time after employment if the information furnished by the candidate proves incorrect at any stage.

As per the Constitution of India, discrimination in employment on the basis of caste, religion, nation­ality, colour, sex, previous arrests and so on is prohibited. Hence, all those questions which are likely to reveal such information are deleted from the application blanks.

Crucial indicators may be helpful in saving much time if large numbers of applications are to be examined. Such items may be prominently mentioned in the application blank, and the information furnished by the applicant in these columns may play a decisive role to a great extent with regard to his/ her suitability for the post.

For example, for stability and long service in the organisation, the distance between the living place and the working place, age and sex may be considered crucial indicators. Some organisations also use ‘biographical information blank’ (BIB) which is a supplement to the traditional application blank and comprises many more items than a typical application blank.

BIB asks for such information as is related to a much wider array of attitudes and experiences. BIB items are based on an assumption that these prior behaviours and experiences will be strongly related to an applicant’s future behaviour.

Weighted Application Blank:

In order to make an application blank more effective, some organisations study such items as age, marital status, number of dependents, education, earnings and years on previous jobs of the employees and cor­relate them with success on the job. On the basis of past experience, a scoring system may be worked out for all such items and a cutting score may be established for the total.

Such a weighted form may be extremely useful in expediting selection. As a matter of fact, certain qualities of both successful and unsuccessful existing personnel are studied carefully. If it is found that the group of successful employees possesses certain qualities which are not possessed by the group of unsuccessful employees, then these qualities become distinguishing qualities, and thus weights can be determined for such qualities.

For example, if it is found that bachelors are more devoted to their job, then bachelorhood can be given due weightage.

However, due care should be exercised in the use of weighted application blanks. First, we must pin­point the objectives, that is, whether we are interested in job proficiency or stability of workforce and so on, and only after that we must attach weightage to the related factors.

Second, each organisation must prepare its own weighted form. Third, the weighted application blanks must be revised and updated because with the passage of time, there is a possibility of consistent decrease in the predictive accuracy of the weighted application blank.

Besides, a few important factors which have been assigned weightage in the application blank should not be the only criterion for selection. Other information elicited through tests, interviews and so on should be attached due importance in the process of selection.

Step # 3. References:

References are letters of recommendations usually written by teachers, guides, supervisors and previous employers. It is believed that a great deal can be learnt about the applicant if the references are checked in the right manner.

Sometimes, even that information can be elicited from the references which perhaps even interviews or different types of tests cannot furnish. It is perhaps for this reason that a majority of application blanks in current use include a request for the names of references.

Types of References:

References may be of the following three types:

1. School references – In case the students are to be hired directly from the college or the univer­sity, references of their teachers may provide some useful information about the intelligence, honesty, regularity, sincerity, general discipline and so on of the student concerned.

2. Character references – Such references are listed as potential source of information with respect to the general character, integrity and reputation of the applicant. However, character references are of very little significance in applying for jobs these days.

3. Work references – It is usually the work references which are attached greater significance these days. In such references, the impressions and recommendations of the last employer of the applicant are obtained.

Letters of recommendation have been classified into two categories. First, special letters directed to a specific employer with respect to the particular applicant. Second, general ‘to whom it may concern’ let­ters, which are taken by the applicant and shown to his/her would-be employer as a testimony to his/her efficiency, conduct and experience.

Edwin B. Flippo has pointed out the following ways of obtaining the required information on a refer­ence check:

i. Letters of reference sent to the hiring company at the request of the applicant.

ii. Letter of reference sent to the hiring company at the request of the hiring company.

iii. Seeking information on telephone from the reference giver.

iv. Seeking information from the reference given through personal visit or contact.

Limitations of References:

These days, there is a lot of controversy regarding the value of checking applicant references. Many employment mangers hold that most of the employers are reluctant to reveal factual information about their former employees and, therefore, practically no usable information is available from references.

Anyway, some of the drawbacks in obtaining usable information from references are as follows:

i. References are selected by the applicant. Hence, he/she would suggest only those from whom he/she expects favourable response.

ii. School references are not of much use as the information provided by the teacher is not of much significance in hiring.

iii. In order to get rid of unsatisfactory employees, the last employer may give good recommenda­tion to the hiring company.

iv. Employers are reluctant to divulge factual information about the applicant, lest the remarks become known to the applicant.

v. References do not want to be an obstacle in the way of progress of the applicant.

vi. References may not take due care of the request of the hiring company.

vii. The former employer might have formed a misconception of the qualities of the individual and even dismissed him/her for unsound reasons. Even the employer’s recollections might be faulty. Hence, factual information may not be forthcoming.

The aforesaid limitations can be overcome to a great extent if the hiring company gets closer to the refer­ence giver. Therefore, in order to get more accurate and valuable information about the applicant, the hiring company should check all work references by telephone or personal conversation or by sending an officer of the HR department to the former employer.

However, if it may not be possible to use the aforementioned techniques, the hiring company should ask specific questions, through mail, which can be answered in a brief form by the former employer of the applicant. Such questions can be as follows – Was Mr./Miss/Mrs. (applicant) employed by your company?

What was the duration of his/her stay with your company? What was the post held by him/her? What was the nature of his/her job? Did he/she resign at his/her own? Did he/she advance in his/her position with you? Did he/she follow instructions satisfactorily? What may be the reasons for his/her leaving job with you?

Would you rehire him/her, if available? Did he/she have any financial difficulties? Did he/she have any domestic trouble? How did he/ she behave with his/her immediate boss, associates, customers and so on? What about his/her integrity, morals and character? Could you say he/she was a perfect worker? Do you think he/she would fit in our type of organisation? What is his/her accident record?

Thus, references cannot be transformed into an accurate selection device. They can simply be helpful in the selection process.

Step # 4. Psychological Tests:

Psychological tests play a significant role in establishing the suitability of the applicant for the post. Since psychological tests involve a lot of expenditure, it is usually the large organisations which can bear with this device.

Psychological tests and employment interviews are two of the more important devices used in hiring procedure. We have tried to indicate their place and importance in the HR pro­gramme and also to suggest some basic principles and approaches to be utilised in their administration. We take up psychological tests first.

Psychological testing represents an additional tool in the kit of the employment office. An increasing number of enterprises have started using psychological tests evolved to measure physical dexterity, mental alertness, achievement, typical attitude and so on. However, these tests are by no means a tool for measuring the suitability of job applicants.

Tests seek to eliminate the possibility that the preju­dice of the interviewer or supervisor, instead of potential ability, will govern selection decisions. They may help in revealing qualifications and talent that would not be detected by interviews or by listings of education and job experience.

A test of a particular ability does not measure that particular ability alone but also a class or group of abilities. For example, in a test of numerical ability, the candidate has to not only grasp the relation between various data presented and to deduce something new to reach an answer but also be able to read and comprehend the question. All tests, therefore, are first psychological and then tests of specific abilities.

An employment test is an instrument designed to measure selected psychological factors. Such fac­tors may include the ability to reason, capacity for learning, temperament and personality, specific apti­tudes, manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination and so on.

Some people define an employment test as a systematic procedure for sampling human behaviour. Psychological tests help us in measuring what we feel to be a representative sample of human behaviour and utilising that measurement to predict future behaviour.

In other words, the objective of this mea­surement process is to enable one to predict what a person is likely to do in the future. As a matter of fact, psychological tests are essentially an objective and standardised measure of a sampled behaviour.

By such measurement, we can determine how well a person has done something or may do something in the future. However, these measurements can be of two types – (a) intangible or qualitative and (b) quantitative. In the former, we simply indicate the quality or our impression about a person or an object.

Areas of Usage of Psychological Tests:

Psychological tests are used in a variety of fields, for example:

1. In the selection of personnel for the organisation – Psychological tests help in selecting suitable candidates. Through testing, training costs can be reduced by eliminating poor learners.

2. In vocational guidance – With the help of tests, it can be found out for what field of endeavour one is best suited. For example, tests of arithmetic, reasoning, reading, comprehension, and reaction speed can tell us whether one is suitable for the job of an accountant or not.

3. In the placement of personnel – Tests help us in deciding who should be placed where.

4. In imparting training to personnel – Tests tell us who should be trained, where training should begin, what should be the contents of training and whether training has been adequate. Tests also help in reducing the cost of training.

5. In research into human behaviour and personality.

6. Psychological tests tell us about an individual’s sociability; dominance; cooperativeness; toler­ance; emotional stability; attitude towards life, individuals and society; control and intensity of feelings; and general level of activity.

7. In counselling employees.

Basic Principles of Testing:

Following are the important basic principles of testing:

1. Tests should be selected on the basis of job analysis. We should select or design tests to mea­sure those requirements which have been suggested under a job specification.

2. Tests must have the characteristics of validity. The selected tests should be valid or the objec­tive of measuring the desired requirement of the job, in a particular situation. In other words, validity refers to the extent to which a test measures what it is designed to measure.

Since a particular test may be valid for one objective and invalid for another and further that a test may not have equal validity in different situations, most firms develop their own tests to ensure validity of the test. Validity may be of three kinds, namely predictive validity, concur­rent validity and synthetic validity.

3. Reliability is another principle of testing for employment. According to Edwin B. Flippo, reli­ability refers to the degree of consistency of results obtained. A reliable test is one which yields the same result even if a person is tested for the second or third time, provided the test and situation remain the same.

In the case of change of time limit, instructions, testee’s state of mind and health, room temperature, pencils and erasers or any other testing condition, the consistency of results may not be obtained even in the case of most reliable test.

4. In order to make test results comparable, the administration of tests must be controlled and standardised. There must be uniformity of procedure in administering and scoring the test as well as of testing conditions.

5. Objectivity of tests is another important principle. It refers to quality of opportunity for those taking the test. A test should not discriminate against caste, creed, sex and other factors. Besides, objectivity also refers to the job relatedness of the test, that is, tests should also possess face validity.

6. Tests should not be the only criterion for selection. They should instead supplement other instruments of selection.

Step # 5. Employment Interviewing:

Interviewing is perhaps the oldest method of selection. The primary objective of the employment inter­view is to obtain significant information about the candidate. If given a choice of single device for selec­tion, perhaps every hiring company will choose interviewing.

Interviews are so important that hundreds of research studies have been generated on the topic of interviews. Interviews may be structured and unstructured.

In a structural interview, almost similar questions are asked and these questions are predetermined and prepared in advance. Hence, there is a standardised list of questions with the interviewer.

As against structured interviews, there are unstructured interviews which have no predetermined script or protocol. Through an unstructured interview, a highly expert interviewer can elicit useful insights about the applicant.

Two types of unstructured interviews have come into prominence, namely –

(a) The behavioural description interview (BDI) in which the interviewee is prompted to relate actual incidents from his/her past relevant work experience and the like because past is the best predictor of the future and

(b) The situational interview (SI) in which questions asked are such as may encourage applicants to respond to hypothetical situations they might come across on the job for which they are being interviewed.

With the help of SI, an attempt is made by the interviewer to find out whether the applicant possesses job knowledge and motivation. Although both structured and unstructured interviews are good at their own place, research has revealed that structured interviews are generally more reliable and valid than unstructured interviews.

Interviews can be very useful as well as harmful. It has been rightly said that ‘interviews are the most used, misused and abused tool in the process of selection’.

Step # 6. Approval by the Supervisor:

The principles of line and staff relationships require that after a candidate has been Okayed by the HR department, he/she should be handed over to the supervisor concerned for acceptance or rejection, even though this third interview may involve some amount of overlapping of the preceding interview.

It will not be fair to hold the supervisor accountable for the performance of an employee who has been selected without his/her approval. Hence, the approval by the supervisor appears to be quite desirable. Besides, in this third interview, the supervisor finds an opportunity to detect whether the applicant has all those essential qualities which the other personnel on similar jobs in the department have got.

If he/she feels that the applicant does not possess those minimum requirements and that it will be difficult for the applicant to develop those characteristics in a reasonable period of time, he/she can well recommend the rejection of the candidate.

Many organisations seek the approval of the supervisor early in the process of selection to eliminate needless testing, reference checking and so on in case the candidate is not accept­able to the supervisor.

Step # 7. Physical Examination:

Most organisations require that an applicant goes through a physical examination before he/she can be finally accepted for employment. There cannot be two opinions about the utility of an applicant going through a physical examination. It is in the interest of both the hiring company and the applicant him­self/herself.

It will be a costly process for the hiring company to assign a job to a person who though may be mentally qualified for it but physically unfit for the same. It is equally costly for the new recruit to be assigned a job for which he/she is not physically qualified when he/she might be readily assigned to other work for which he/she is qualified in every way.

Besides, physical examination of the applicant may be helpful to prevent communicable diseases from entering the organisation. In addition to this, physical examination also safeguards the interest of the hiring company against payment of claims under compensation law.

That is why, some of the companies get the heart and lungs of the applicant examined through a fluoroscope or get the lungs X-rayed. However, such practices are not general and differ from industry to industry and from organisation to organisation.

Ordinarily, the physical tests involve:

1. Physical measurements such as weight, height, chest and expansion.

2. Quick examination of eyes, ears, mouth, throat and so on.

3. Bronchial problems leading to nervousness, tuberculosis and hernia.

4. Examination of respiratory system.

5. General checking of lungs and chest.

6. General check-up of skin and muscles.

7. Check-up of blood pressure.

8. Laboratory tests of urine, stool, blood and so on.

The physical examination may vary somewhat from post to post, from company to company and from post to post within the same company. Personnel required to do heavy labouring work will be tested more for physical strength, freedom from hernia, heart action and general health.

On the other hand, for typists, special emphasis will be laid on eyesight, fingers, lungs and so on. In order to reduce the cost on this step of selection, namely physical examination, it is usually conducted near the end of the procedure of selection because at this point, the number of applicants left is much less than the number of appli­cants who fill out application blanks. Many employers conduct drug screening (substance abuse screen­ing), especially when there is a reason to believe that the applicant has been using drugs.

Process of Employee Selection – Main Steps of a Standard Selection Process

Standard selection process has the following steps:

Step I – Screening of Applicants:

Forms having various information about the applicants like their personal bio-data, achievements, experience, etc. have to be filled. The use of such information is to screen the applicants who are found to be qualified for the consideration of employment. The information may also be used for keeping permanent records of the selected persons.

Based on the screening of applications, only those candidates are called for further process of selection who are found meeting the job standards of the organisation. When the number of applicants meeting the job standards far exceeds the actual requirements, the organisations take the decision for a suitable number of candidates who will be called for further selection process.

Step II – Selection Tests:

Various kinds of selection tests for knowing more about the candidates or to reject the candidates who cannot be called for interview, etc. are to be held. Selection tests normally supplement the information provided in the application forms. Such forms may contain factual information about candidates. Selection tests may provide information about their aptitude, interests, personality, etc. which cannot be known by the application forms.

Step III – Interview:

The third step is interview. The basic idea of holding interview is to find out overall suitability of candidates for the jobs. It also provides opportunity to give relevant information about the organisation to the candidates. In a number of cases, interview of preliminary nature can be conducted before the selection tests.

Step IV – Medical Examination:

The basic purpose of a medical examination is to place persons in jobs which they can handle without causing injury or damage to their health. Candidates are to go under medical examination either by the company’s physician or by a medical officer approved by the company for the purpose.

Step V – Reference Check and Background Verification:

A number of organisations ask the candidates to provide the name of references from whom more information about the candidates can be solicited. Such information may be related to character, working, etc.

The usual references may be previous employers; persons associated with the educational institutions from where the candidates have received education or other persons of prominence who may be aware of the candidate’s behaviours and ability. In our country references are not given adequate importance.

Step VI – Hiring Decisions or Approval by Appropriate Authority:

Organisation may designate the various authorities for approval of final selection of candidates for different categories of candidates. After receiving, the approval the candidates are informed about their selection and asked to report for duty to specified persons.

Step VII – Job Offer:

An offer is made to such candidates who have passed all the previous hurdles. Job offers are often extended over the telephone. Many companies then formalise the offer in a letter that is sent to the applicant. It is important that the offer document be reviewed by legal counsel and that the terms and conditions of employment be clearly identified. The vague general statements and promises about bonuses, etc. should be carefully avoided.

Step VIII – Employment Contract:

It is evident from its name that this contract is an agreement between an employer and an employee at the time the employee is hired that outlines the exact nature of their business relationship, specifically what compensation the employee will receive in exchange for specific work performed.

Step IX – Evaluation:

Evaluation, is strictly not a step of selection process however, it helps in ensuring its effectiveness. Evaluation may be undertaken at two stages first during the process and second after the process. Evaluation, after the process is over, measures the outcomes of the selection process in terms of the selection process in terms of the performance of those who have been selected.

Process of Employee Selection – Steps in Selection Procedure

After recruitment, the next important staffing function is selection. Selection of the best candidates is the next logical task in the execution of procurement function. Selection of suitable candidates is very essential because wrong selection adversely affects the organisation. Investment in an inefficient or misfit employee is a great loss to it. At the same time wrong adversely affects the employee in the run as he can never get job satisfaction.

It increases the labour turnover and absenteeism. It also reduces the morale among employees. Therefore it is essential that selecting authorities must be very competent, experts and well knowledge. The selection procedure must be very efficient and satisfactory. Selection problem does not have only the economic aspect but social aspect also. It affects not only the organisation but the whole community.

The subjective, unbalanced, unsystematic, prejudiced, biased selection may have demoralising effects on the society. Therefore selection must be based on merits, and it must be just.

Selection procedure is certainly a negative procedure of screening as many candidates as are likely to be rejected. It is concerned with securing maximum relevant information about an applicant. The main objective of selection procedure is to see whether an applicant’s qualifications meet the job requirements or not? Who is the right person for job? Who will be successful on the job? Who is most suitable or desirable for the job? And who is most likely to perform well on that job?

The selection procedure involves several steps and at each step screening takes place. All these steps are necessary for screening every candidate. It depends upon the type the job i.e. operative, managerial, administrative, supervisory etc. Accordingly the steps must be evolved in selection procedure. Even while selecting the steps, it should be seen whether the job requirements are properly tested or not. There is a series of steps, and every step is going to secure additional information of the candidates.

At every step, facts must come to light which may lead to the rejection of the applicant. The applicant has to go through all these steps. This technique is known as the successive hurdle technique. Thus, an effective selection programme is a non-random process because those selected have been chosen by assuming that they are more likely to be “better” employees than those who have been rejected. For best or ideal selection procedure a selection policy should be formulated.

While formulating selection policy due consideration should be given to organisational requirements as well as technical and professional dimensions of selection procedures. In simple words an effective policy must assert the “why” and “what” aspects of the organisational objectives.

The hiring process can be successful if the following preliminary requirements are satisfied:

i. A person should have the authority to hire. This authority comes from the employment requisition, as developed by an analysis of the work load and work force.

ii. There must be some ideal or standard of personnel with which a prospective employee may be compared i.e. job description and job specification as developed by the job analysis.

iii. There must be a sufficient number of applications from whom the required number of employees may be selected.

Following are some steps involved in selection procedure:

Step # 1. Preliminary Interview:

On receipt of applications they are screened to sort out the desirable and undesirable ones. Only the desirable applicants be permitted to face preliminary interview. The preliminary interview is generally quite brief and has the object of eliminating the unqualified, undesirable, and unsuitable candidates. Lack of certain requirements in academic qualification, training, experience, skill, capacity may determine unsuitability of the candidates.

In this brief interview appearance, ability in communication, impression, salary expectation etc. of the applicant are quickly evaluated. This step is beneficial, not to the organisation only but to the applicant also, in a way that, if an applicant is eliminated in the early part of the selection procedure, he may be saved from the hurdle of passing through the long procedure, and organisation is saved from the expenses of processing him through the remaining steps of the procedure.

If the applicant appears to have some chance of being selected, he be given the application blank to fill in.

Step # 2. Application Blank:

After clearing the preliminary interviews application blank is given to the candidates to fill up. The objective behind application blank is to secure information, in the applicant’s own handwriting sufficient to properly identify him and to draw tentative inferences regarding his suitability for employment.

This is one of the important steps to get a written record of qualifications, experience as well as any other specialisation of the candidate. This application blank should be as simple as possible. It may prove to be useful in a big organisations, as to enable them to plan their training programmes, special assignments or promotions after the employee is hired.

Step # 3. Employment Tests:

Testing and employment interviews are two very important devices of screening. An employment test is an instrument designed to measure selected psychological factors. The factors so measured are usually the psychological type, such as ability to reason, capacity for learning, temperament, specific aptitude, interest, mechanical dexterity etc. Such psychological tests were first introduced in military services in the First World War and later adopted by business as a technique of selection.

Employment tests are widely accepted in the selection process. Real value of the tests lies in eliminating those applicants who have very little chance of job success than in selecting applicants who would be definitely successful on the job. But one should not rely upon tests alone. There are psychological and other steps which can measure the extent of differences among the people. Tests reduce the cost of selection and placement because large number of applicants can be evaluated within small period of time.

Tests provide healthy basis for comparing applicant’s background. Some important test are intelligence tests, aptitude tests, achievement tests, personality tests, interest tests etc. They help in matching the characteristics of individuals with the vacant jobs so as to employ right type of personnel. However, tests should be considered simply as a step and not a replacement for the other phase of the selection process. It should be remembered that when the tests are used, they should not be relied upon completely.

Individuals differ from each other in almost all aspects. They differ in respect to physical characteristics, capacity, and level of mental ability, likes and dislikes and also personality traits. Therefore right type of test should be applied to right type of personnel. Test should be selected according to job requirements.

Step # 4. Employment Interviews:

Interview is probably the most widely used selection tool. It is a complete selection technique because its scope includes measuring all the relevant characteristics and integrating as well as classifying all other information about the applicant. Although application blanks, tests and group discussions provide much valuable information about a candidate, yet they do not provide the complete set of information about a candidate to enable the organisation to know about the applicant and vice versa.

The main aim of an employment interview is to find out the suitability of the candidate, to secure more information about the candidate, to give the candidate an accurate picture of the job with details of terms and conditions and idea of organisation policies and employer-employee relations. The factual data on the application blank may also be checked, it also tests the capabilities of the candidate. It is an extensive device. It tests not only the personality but also the skill and ability for the job, of an applicant.

Interview procedures and technologies vary from organisation to organisation and from individual to individual according to the purpose of the interview. Interviewing is the most widely used single method of selection despite its some obvious shortcomings. Sometimes the interviewers give different ratings to same candidate and therefore it suffers from subjectivity and unreliability.

Interview tests only the personality of the candidate and not his skills and ability for the job. It depends too much on the personnel judgement of the interviewer which may not always be accurate. Prejudice may affect the result of the interview. Interview is personal, face to face meeting between the panel of interviewers and the candidate. They may also be used for testing certain qualities and capabilities of the candidates.

Step # 5. Checking of References:

A referee is potentially an important source of information about a candidate’s personality specially if he holds a responsible position in some organisation or has been the boss or employer of the candidate. Generally the applicant is also asked to give names of certain persons or firms where he has worked, for references. Such references are very useful in getting information about the candidates.

An applicant may be asked in the application blank to supply two types of references – (i) character reference and (ii) experience reference. The references may be requested to provide information regarding behaviour of the applicant. It is very rare to get a frank opinion about the candidate, even after giving an assurance to them that the information supplied would be kept confidential. Reference checking has its drawbacks also.

The reference may not give accurate information about the candidate. He may give his good impression about him because of his relations with him or if he is his employer, he may give a good report to get rid of him. Therefore one should not remain totally relied upon this method.

Step # 6. Physical/Medical Examination:

After a candidate has cleared the above hurdles, he is asked to go through a medical examination by doctors appointed by the employer for this purpose. The pre-employment physical examination or medical test of a candidate is an important step in the selection procedure.

The physical examination may be thorough and comprehensive or it may be general and simple just to check up some important capabilities i.e. eyesight, hearing, lungs, heart or to detect contagious or serious disease the candidate is suffering etc. depending upon the nature of work. It is important, because the medically fit and healthy employee is likely to work more efficiently as compared to physically unfit, and disabled employee.

If the employee suffers from some serious and contagious disease, other employees may suffer by coming in contact with such an employee or he may go on leave and claim medical benefit and compensation. Such employees are the liability than the asset of an organisation. Such employees remain depressed having low morale and disinterested, which may be very expensive for the organisation. These are some objectives behind the medical checkup.

It serves to ascertain the applicant’s physical capabilities to meet the job requirements. It serves to protect the organisation against the unwarranted claims under the Workers Compensation Act. It helps to prevent contagious diseases entering the organisation.

Simply making the prospective employee go through the medical test, ensures that employee is physically fit for the job at the time of actual entry. A proper medical examination ensures higher standard of health and physical fitness of the employees and reduces the rate of accidents, labour turnover and absenteeism too.

Step # 7. Approval of the Supervisor:

After the medical examination, sometimes, the personnel department, which is generally in the staff nature, submits the candidate so selected to the line superior for his selection and approval. The reason behind this is, that the organisational relationship often requires that the supervisor be given the right to pass upon his personnel, otherwise he cannot be held accountable for their performance. Thus the equality of authority and responsibility of the supervisors is preserved.

It is better to have an appraisal to both the staff employment interviews and the supervisor, who he better acquainted with the actual job conditions and the type of personnel at present in the department. This step may be eliminated either by giving authority of final selection to the personnel department or the superior concerned may be made the member of the interview committee, with a good voice in selection or interview.

Step # 8. Selection and Placement:

A final list of candidates, who have successfully passed all the hurdles and therefore selected, is prepared. Such selected candidates are informed about their selection and are asked to report to the department. They may be given a date before which they are supposed to report. This can be divided in two phases. In first phase only the selection list is published either by displaying it on the notice board or by sending individual letter or through circulars. In second phase appointment letters are issued to individual candidates.

The candidates may be appointed on a probation of six months or more. If during the probation period, an employee is not found suitable, the management may give him some training or transfer him to some other job to which he may be expected to do justice. Even after this if, he is not found fit for the job, he may be asked to leave the job.

It is also courteous to inform the rejected candidates expressing the inability to select them.

In this way the selection procedure functions. The procurement programme should be evaluated from time to time in terms of reliability, validity, objectivity, difficulty, reasonableness, standardisation, practicability, independence and economy and appropriate corrective actions should be taken to improve upon the existing system.

Process of Employee Selection – Stages of Selection Procedure

It may be said that recruitment is a positive function of the management. But selection is a negative function of management. The reason is that eliminating applications is more difficult than selecting them.

Normally, the selection procedure has the following stages:

Stage # 1. Receiving and Screening of Applications:

Prospective employees are requested to submit the applications in white paper or in a prescribed form. In both the cases, full particulars of the employee should be given. Any omission may disqualify the particular candidate. The information relates to the name of the candidate, age, educational qualification, date of birth, experience, parents’ name and occupation, address for communication, etc.

The same information is kept as a permanent record in the organisation. If the number of applicants exceeds the actual requirement, the organisation may select more candidates than required.

Stage # 2. Initial Interview:

It is otherwise called preliminary interview. The object of conducting this interview is to know whether the applicant is physically and mentally fit for the job. Questions are put to the candidate for evaluation. These questions are related to his qualifications, experience, interest, age, nativity and the like. Only a minimum time is spent for this interview. Candidates who have passed in the initial interview are called for the next selection procedure.

Stage # 3. Blank Application:

A specific format is followed by an organisation for this selection process. The nature of the format varies for each job. The same form is not used for all jobs in an organisation. The reason is that different qualifications and skills are required for different jobs. Care should be taken to ensure that the candidates provide brief and pointed answers for queries raised in the form. Besides, irrelevant answers should be avoided and all relevant information should be given in the form.

The advantages of a blank application in the selection procedure are explained below:

i. Acts as an urgent test device – The applicants have to find precise answers for the queries raised in the form. This test is used to find the quick understanding capacity and problem solving capacity of the candidate.

ii. Shy candidates – Some candidates may find it difficult to give answers in the face to face meeting with the employer. They may give answers through this form. Shy candidates and slow candidates may use this process.

iii. Aid to build trust among applicants – Whenever the applications are issued to applicants for filling up, there is confidence among the applicants as they are for the job in question.

iv. Basis for final interview – The answers given in the application forms are used as basic things to frame questions for the final interview.

v. Aid to preparing waiting list – Candidates may be found fit for the job but they cannot be absorbed immediately. These candidates are placed under the waiting list. The information provided in the form is used for the preparation of this list.

Stage # 4. Test:

The test is conducted by the organisation for the purpose of knowing more about the applicants to be selected or rejected. Normally, many organisations ask the applicants questions to know more about their aptitude, interest, general awareness, etc.

Tests can be classified into two kinds. They are Proficiency Test and Aptitude Test. Proficiency Test refers to the testing of the skills and abilities possessed by the candidate. Aptitude Test refers to measuring of the skills and abilities which may be developed by the applicant to perform the job in future.

i. Temperament tests are used to measure the likes, dislikes and habits of an individual. It is helpful to find out whether a particular individual can put up himself in a society or not.

ii. Achievement test is used to measure the level of knowledge for performing the work assigned to an individual. It is otherwise called performance test or trade test. Sometimes, the achievement test is conducted theoretically, i.e., answers are received by putting questions to the individual. For example, an accounting test may measure the accounting performance of an accountant in terms of accuracy and neatness.

iii. Interest test is used to discover the individual’s interest in having the work assigned to him/her. It is assumed that an individual who is interested in one type of work does better than the one who is not interested. Interest of an individual may be relating to outdoor activities, accounting, clerical, social service etc. It is otherwise called Vocational Test.

iv. Intelligence Test is used to measure the mental ability, capacity and general awareness of the individual. The most common intelligence tests used for management purposes are group tests, individual tests, self-evaluation test, self- administered tests, performance tests, verbal comprehension, word fluency, memory, inductive reasoning, test of reasoning, number facility, speed of perception and the like. The Intelligence Test is conducted age wise. If the management selects highly intelligent people, its training process is easy and training expenses are low.

v. Personality Test is conducted to measure courage, initiative, emotion, confidence, reaction, ability to mix with others, ability to motivate, general behaviour of the individual, cheerfulness, leadership, patience and domination of character.

vi. Situational Test is conducted to measure the reactions of applicants to a particular situation. Besides, the applicant’s ability to succeed in his job in this situation is also measured.

vii. Judgement Test is conducted to measure the ability of an individual in applying the knowledge, intelligence and experience to solve the problems presented before him.

viii. Efficiency test is used to know how quickly and efficiently an individual uses his hands to accomplish the work assigned to him. It is otherwise called dexterity test.

Advantages of Test:

i. Tests help the employer to find whether a candidate is fit for the job or not.

ii. Besides, tests help in checking candidate’s claims in respect of his qualification, experience, etc.

iii. Tests avoid the scope for personal preference of a particular candidate.

iv. Standards of job performance can be established with the help of this test.

v. Labour turnover can be reduced.

vi. Applicant is also satisfied with the method of selection, even though he is not selected.

vii. Tests reduce the cost of selection and placement.

viii. Tests highlight the hidden talents and overlooking of these can be avoided.

ix. Test may be conducted for transfer and promotion.

x. Administrative expenses regarding training may be reduced to some extent.

xi. Failure in performing the job is reduced.

Disadvantages of Test:

i. Hundred percent best selection is not possible through test. So the test is used as a supplementary method of selection.

ii. Test is more suitable to an organisation where for limited number of jobs, more number of candidates have applied.

iii. If the number of applicants is small, it is desirable to conduct an interview rather than the test.

iv. Test is not able to measure the combination of characteristics required for various jobs.

v. Some candidates do not reveal their talents through tests.

vi. The actual performances of a candidate cannot be found out through the test.

vii. Test does not provide any basis for motivation.

A test has some advantages and limitations or disadvantages. But it may be stated that more accurate selection is possible through the test. According to Felix M. Lopez, “When tests are used properly, they can help substantially in selection, particularly and most especially in selection for managerial positions. All tests provide clues about an applicant which, when confirmed by other information, enable the assessor to make fairly accurate predictions of job effectiveness. They suggest hypothesis about the applicant’s intellectual capacities, aptitudes, vocational attitudes or personality dynamics, each of which must be confirmed or rejected by data drawn from other areas of the applicant’s background”.

Stage # 5. Checking References:

Sometimes, the applicants are requested to furnish references. References are the norm in society. Applicants may include the name and address of parent educational institutions and the present employer. The information furnished in the applications are checked from these persons. If the referee is a present employer, the applicant’s job performance, salary drawn particulars, reasons for leaving the job, etc., are checked.

A letter of recommendation may also be treated as a reference. The prospective employer can collect information about the applicant regarding his character, conduct, ability etc., from the referee. Some management firms do not take much interest in this regard. The verification of references might give correct information about the applicant. Some applicants may give incorrect information regarding experience, past salary drawn and reasons for leaving the job. But these are identified with the help of checking references.

Many managements which do not hold good opinion about the applicant are not ready to give references. At the same time, some applicants have some well-wishers who are considered as potential as reference, and no negative answer is received from those references.

Stage # 6. Interview:

Interview is considered as a method of personal appraisal through face to face conversation and observation. The management selects a candidate through an interview by one or more persons. The interviewing persons are experts in the interview technique and they have a thorough knowledge in their respective fields. Interview helps the employer to evaluate the candidate regarding the personality, smartness, intelligence, attitude, etc.

In any interview, the interviewer has a dominant position over the interviewee. The interview is divided into two i.e., preliminary interview and final interview. Here, the final interview is discussed. The final interview is conducted only for candidates who succeed in the preliminary interview. The candidate should succeed in two stages of the final interview.

In the first stage, the personnel department makes a thorough evaluation of a candidate. In the second stage, the successful candidates from the first stage are sent to the functional department where additional hands are required. The candidate who has successfully passed the second stage is selected.