Everything you need to learn about the selection process adopted in HRM ! This guide will further help you to learn about:

  1. Selection Process in HRM
  2. 8 Steps in Selection Process
  3. Selection Process According to the Types of Jobs (Top 8 Steps)
  4. Steps Involved in the Selection Process (Adopted by Large Organisations)
  5. Employee Selection Process in HRM
  6. Stages in Selection Process (Selecting the Right Candidate)

A Complete Guide for Learning about the Selection Process in HRM: Process, Steps and Stages

Selection Process in HRM:

Steps in selection process aim at determining the most amount of information about the candidates to ascertain their suitability for the specified vacant job/position.

These steps are as follows:

Step # 1. Screening of Applications:

During the recruitment process, potential candidates are asked to fill out the job application forms, which report the skills, qualifications, experiences etc. of potential candidates. These forms are accordingly screened or studied by matching the skills / qualifications of the candidate vis-a-vis the requirements of the vacant job.


The candidates with maximum number of parameters that matches the job requirements are called for the following steps:

(a) Preliminary Interview:

A preliminary interview is mostly conducted by the HR department which entails confirmation of information provided by the candidates for a specified job. Preliminary interviews aims at further qualifying or disqualifying candidates who may be inquired whether the working hours, wages, working conditions, etc., were agreeable. These interviews also help potential candidates confirm whether they have applied for the job that is best suited as per their own expectations. This step could be a good parameter to judge the overall personality of the potential candidate.

(b) Filling in of Blank Application Form:


Sometimes potential candidates are asked to fill up a blank application form in their own handwriting to understand their expressions, opinions or handwriting. Blank application form could include factual information like age, marital status, owned or rental home, languages the person can read, write or speak, reasons for leaving previous job, average earnings from earlier job, hobbies, interests, details about educational qualifications, etc.

Step # 2. Employment Test:

Many organisations conduct employment tests to know more about the candidates’ capabilities and skills. For example, a newspaper company may conduct a writing test for potential candidates to gauge their writing abilities. The purpose of employment tests is to determine whether the candidates have the necessary skills and abilities that can be appropriately utilised in accordance to the job’s require­ments. There are several employment tests considered by organisations depending upon the nature of industry or customer segment they cater to.

Step # 3. Reference Checking:

Most organisations in India ask candidates to provide names of referees from whom more information about the candidates can be implored. Such information is related to understanding the character, working approach, behavi­our and confidence about the potential candidates. This process mainly aims at garner­ing reassurance regarding candidates’ experiences and abilities in their past.

Step # 4. Selection Decision:

This step involves qualifying and disqualifying candidates based on maximum or minimum scores obtained during the employment tests. The short-listed candidates are also qualified or disqualified based on their intelligence, communication skills and personal qualities examined during the earlier steps. This step also allows the short-listed candidates to confirm the job profile, the reporting lines, working hours, etc. Subsequently, the selected candidates are considered for the next step in the selection process.

Step # 5. Physical or Medical Examination:


Physical or medical examination is compul­sory among most Indian organisations to ascertain physical standard and fitness of prospective employees. Many organisations obtain mediclaim and /or insurance policies for prospective employees which provide assurance to employees regarding their health. Organisations aim at high productivity from employees and encourage a balanced life (between work and health) by conducting this examination.

Step # 6. Final Approval and Job Offer:

Following health examination and understanding of terms of employment by prospective employees, the organisations issue an approval letter and final placement in the specified job.

Step # 7. Contract of Employment:

Contract of employment is a written agreement specifying terms and conditions under which a person agrees to perform certain duties as directed and controlled by an employer in return for an agreed upon wage or salary. The contract includes name of the business and the candidate, title/designation and description of the job, the wage or salary, hours of work, holiday entitlement, location of the job, probation period, notice periods, pension, date of joining, leaves, work rules and so on.

Tests for Selection:


Employment tests are the critical steps considered during the selection process and are explained as follows:

1. Aptitude test – Aptitude is the ability to do something or a natural tendency. Accordingly, aptitude tests are designed to measure the hidden qualities of the candidates.

2. Interest test – Interest test is designed to discover a person’s area of interest. It measures the candidates’ interest in outdoor activities, mechanical, computational, scientific, persuasive, artistic, literary, musical, clerical, social services and skills.

3. Intelligence test – Intelligence tests aim at testing the candidate’s reception power, memory power, reasoning power, etc. It generally includes verbal comprehen­sion, word fluency, speed of perception, etc.


4. Performance or achievement test – Achievement or performance test is concerned with what a candidate has accomplished or what he/she has already learned. These tests are designed to determine a person’s knowledge in a specific job area. Achievement tests are mostly available for technicians, administrative personnel, carpenters, etc.

5. Personality test – Personality tests aim at determining the personality traits and characteristics. These tests aim at measuring the effect of the candidates’ personality on work performance. For example, a sales person who is shy and quiet may not be able to be good in sales which require the person to be talkative and proactive.

6. Dexterity test – Dexterity tests are considered for jobs requiring physical work. These tests aim at measuring motoring skills, ability to memorize, how quick body moves efficiently, etc. For example, a candidate is tested by measuring the typing speed on a computer or typewriter.

7. Other tests – These tests aim at understanding the candidates’ communication ability, mental ability, writing ability, alertness, etc. These are two types of tests –


(a) General knowledge test, which tests the candidates’ general knowledge on certain subjects and with openness to experience.

(b) Knowledge of language test, which explore how candidates place their thoughts in words, style of language, handwriting, fluency or speed.

8 Steps in Selection Process:

Step # 1. Reception and Initial Screening:

The applicants called for the screening interview must be received in a courteous manner. A friendly face must greet them, preferably, at the gate. They should put in a spacious, comfortable, fully furnished room, keeping the organisation’s image in the marketplace. Every attempt must be made to put the invited candidates at ease before the initial screening takes place.

I. What is the Purpose?


The purpose of pre-screening is to reduce a potentially large candidate pool to a more manageable number that can be progressed to more rigorous assessment phases. In today’s job market with jobs relatively scarce and large numbers of available candidates, it is highly likely that employers will be inundated with applications that make efficient pre- screening even more critical.

II. Who will Undertake the Exercise? Reception, Initial or Preliminary Interview or Screening:

The initial screening is usually conducted by a special interviewer or a high caliber receptionist in the employment office. When a large number of applicants are available, the preliminary interview is desirable both from the company’s point of view and that of the applicant seeking employment.

III. Is it a Sorting Process Generally?

This interview is essentially a sorting process in which perspective applicants are given the necessary information about the nature of the jobs in the organisation. The necessary information, then, is elicited from the candidates relating to their education, experience, skill, salary demanded, the reasons for leaving their present jobs, their job interests and whether they are available for the job, their physical appearance, age, “drive” and facility in speech.

If a candidate meets with the requirements of the organisation, he may be selected for further action. If he does not fit into the organisational structure (because of lack of requisite qualifications, physical disability, weak sight, or poor physique), he is eliminated at the preliminary stage.


IV. What is a Stand up Interview?

Such interviews are usually short and may be conducted at a desk, across a counter or railing and they are known as stand-up interviews. The main objective of such interviews is to screen out undesirable/unqualified candidates at the very outset.

Such interviews should be conducted by someone who inspires confidence, who is genuinely interested in people, and whose judgement in the “sizing up” of applicants is fairly reliable. Care is taken to ensure that the “weeding out” process does not lead to the elimination of desirable workers.

V. Have You Identified the Knock Out Factors?

Sometimes, applicants are eliminated because of some feature in the organisation which cannot be adjusted satisfactorily at this stage. Six biographical items have been suggested as knock-out factors in the preliminary screening programme for salesmen.

They include instability of residence, failure in business within two years, divorce or separation within two years, excessive personal indebtedness, too high a standard of living and unexplained gaps in the employment record. The organisation may fit a job to the person who is available, as when a girl is appointed as a stenographer, telephone operator, secretary or saleswoman.


Or jobs may be provided for the blind, the infirm or other handicapped persons. Working hours may be so adjusted as to make it possible for housewives/ young girls to get employment. A typical selection programme tries to fit applicants to particular jobs, i.e., match jobs and people.

This selection philosophy assumes that the requirements of a given job and the characteristics of a given applicant are sufficiently unique and explicit to make an intelligent match possible between them.

VI. Courteous and Comfortable Pre-Screening Interview:

Since the preliminary interview brings about one of the first personal contacts of an individual with a company and since it is the stage at which some candidates must be rejected, it is desirable that the interviewer should be courteous, kind, receptive and informal. Despite the pressure under which he frequently works, he should avoid appearing brusque or impatient. Further, privacy must be maintained in holding interviews.

Step # 2. Application Blank or Application Form:

An application blank is a traditional, widely accepted device for getting information from a prospective applicant which will enable a management to make a proper selection. The blank provides preliminary information as well as aid in the interview by indicating areas of interest and discussion.

It is a good means of quickly collecting verifiable (and therefore fairly accurate) basic historical data from the candidate. It also serves as a convenient device for circulating information about the applicant to appropriate members of management and as a useful device for storing information.


The information required to be given in the applicant’s own handwriting is needed to identify him properly and to draw tentative inferences about his suitability for employment. Many types of application forms — sometimes very long and comprehensive and sometimes brief are used.

Information is generally called on the following items:

I. Biographical Data- Name, father’s name, date and place of birth, age, sex, nationality, height, weight, identification marks, physical disability, if any, marital status, and number of dependents.

II. Educational Attainment- Education (subjects offered and grades secured), training acquired in special fields and knowledge gained from professional/technical institutes or evening classes or through correspondence courses.

III. Work Experience- Previous experience, the number of jobs held with the same or other employers, including the nature of duties, and responsibilities and the duration of various assignments, salary received, grades, and reasons for leaving the present employer.

IV. Salary and Benefits- Present and expected.


V. Personal Items- Association memberships, of NCC or NSS, extracurricular activities, sports, hobbies, and any other pertinent information supporting a candidate’s suitability for a post.

VI. Other Items- Names and addresses of previous employers, references, etc.

An application blank is a brief history sheet of an employee’s background and can be used for future reference, in case or need.

The data submitted in an application form should help predict the candidate’s chances for making a success of his job. The information sought in it should be relevant to the objective of selection. To ensure that the information given by the applicant is true, the application blank usually carries a threat of discharge at any time after employment if the information furnished in it proves to be false.

The questions included in an application blank should be such as are valid and necessary. Superfluous questions should be avoided. They should not by their wording or nature, encourage dishonest answers. In brief, an application form should be complete enough to relieve the interviewer of the burden of recording considerable factual data.

From the application blank, four types of information can be gathered:


First, one can make judgements on sustentative matters, such as “does the applicant have the education and experience to do the job?”

Second, one can draw conclusions about the applicants’ previous progress and growth (especially in the case of management candidates).

Third, one can also draw tentative conclusion concerning the applicant’s stability based on his previous work record.

Fourth, one may be able to use the data in the application to predict which candidates will succeed on the job and which would not.

In practice, most organisations use different application forms. For technical and managerial personnel, for example, the form may require detailed answers to questions regarding the candidate’s education, etc. For blue-collar jobs, the form might stress on tools and equipment the applicant has used.

Step # 3. Weighted Application Blank:

Some companies analyse the information on an application blank and determine statistically its relation to later success in the job. The answers are weighted according to the extent of job success. Such application blanks are known as weighted application blanks. Such forms may speed up both recruitment and selection.

A weighted application form should be established and used with a caution. Its objectives should be clearly determined. For example, there may be a selection of more stable employees to decrease labour turnover or increase job efficiency.

The factors that bring about success may also be taken into account. For this purpose, the varying conditions in an organisation should be noted. The blank should be continually updated. Finally, no firm should try to select an employee solely on the basis of one or two important facts.

Step # 4. Bio-Data:

Sometimes, when a management wants to appoint an existing employee to a higher position, it may ask him to submit his necessary bio-data for consideration at the time of selection or interview. In such circumstances, an employee need not fill in an application blank. Such bio-data may also be got from different organisations having good employees for whom chances of advancement in their own organisation are very bleak.

Step # 5. Biographical Inventories:

These inventories are specially constructed for the purpose of predicting success in a given type of work. The items included are those which a person, who conducts an analysis, believes to have some potential as predictors.

A typical inventory contains a large number of items, utilises a multiple-choice format exclusively, and deals with those matters that are normally not covered in an application blank. Such items deal with experiences in early life, hobbies, social relations, values and opinions, etc.

Step # 6. Selection Testing and Selection Interview:

Professionally developed and properly validated employment tests help a firm’s hiring process by increasing the likelihood of picking up candidates who will perform well on the job. Pre-employment testing can help ensure alignment between the employee selection process and desired outcomes such as lower turnover, increased sales, higher retention rates and satisfied customers.

When properly implemented, a pre-employment testing can lead to higher productivity because test results could be accurate predictors of future job performance. Tests are among the most accurate means of predicting performance because they are an objective means of determining the extent to which a candidate has the capacity to perform well on a given job.

Research also has proved this point time and again. Selection tests include intelligence and aptitude tests, achievement tests, assessment centres and general psychological or personality tests. The value of tests should not be discounted, since they are objective and offer a broader sampling of behaviour.

The final selection interview is an important source of information about job applicants. Several types of interviews are used, in actual practice, depending on the nature and importance of the position to be filled within an organisation.

Interviews can be conducted by a single individual or by a panel of interviewers who are generally trained for the purpose. The training helps interviewers to be more objective and not get carried away by biases and errors of various kinds.

Step # 7. Physical Examination:

Certain jobs require unusual stamina, strength or tolerance of hard-working conditions. A physical examination reveals whether or not a candidate possesses these qualities. It brings out deficiencies, not as a basis of rejection but as a positive aid to selective placement and as indicating restrictions on his transfer to other positions.

I. Purpose:

A physical examination serves the following purposes:

(i) It gives us an indication whether a candidate is physically able to perform the job. Those who are physically unfit are rejected.

(ii) It discovers existing disabilities and obtains a record of the employee’s health at the time of hiring so that the question of the company’s responsibilities (both legal and ethical) may be settled in the event a workman’s compensation claim for an injury is preferred.

(iii) It prevents the employment of those who suffer from some type of contagious diseases.

(iv) It places properly those people who are otherwise employable but whose physical handicaps may necessitate assignment only to specific jobs.

The basic purpose of a physical examination is to place persons in jobs which they can handle without injury or damage to their health.

Candidates are medically examined either by the company’s physician or by a medical officer approved by the company for the purpose.

II. Contents:

Usually a medical check-up involves a quick examination of the eyes, ears and throat. Bronchial weakness is looked for as an indication of nervousness, tuberculosis and hernia. Heart and lungs may also be thoroughly examined.

It is worth noting that those to whom heavy manual work is to be assigned are tested for physical strength as well as physical health; while those who are to be placed in the office should be particularly tested for eyesight, the condition of the pulmonary system and for signs of tubercular tendencies.

Stone and Kendall have outlined the following contents of physical examination:

(a) The applicant’s medical history is obtained by interviews between the applicant and the medical officer.

(b) Physical measurements such as height, weight, chest and the abdominal circumferences.

(c) General examination, including an examination of the skin, musculature and joints.

(d) Examination of special senses of the applicant — visual and auditory activity to be checked closely.

(e) Clinical examination of eyes, ears, nose, throat and teeth.

(f) Examination of chest and lungs.

(g) Check-up of blood pressure and heart.

(h) Laboratory tests to urine, blood, etc.

(i) X-ray examination of chest, and other parts of the body.

(j) Specialist’s test, such as basal metabolic rate or consultation by a specialist.

(k) A neuro-psychiatric examination particularly when medical history or a physician’s observations indicate an adjustment problem.

In some organisations, the procedure for the physical examination and selection is a farce. A candidate is often approved within a few minutes and without having really been examined by a qualified physician.

In other organisations, particularly when the appointment of a top executive is being considered, the medical examination is very comprehensive and thorough, and determines whether the candidate should or should not be offered the job.

Step # 8. Reference Checks:

The use of references is common in most selection procedures, for it involves only a little time and money, and minimum of effort.

The procedure places reliance on the evaluation of former employers, friends and professional personnel. Checks on references are made by mail or by telephone, and occasionally in person, or by using a reference form, which require specific answers.

The opinions of previous employers and others, who have known the applicant, are generally useful in getting a picture of his potential performance in a particular job. When background checks are used. It is important to get more than two viewpoints. It is vitally important that references should indicate how long and in what capacity the referees had the contact with the applicant.

However, some employers are of the opinion that references are useless because a referee rarely gives an unfavourable opinion about the application. But other employers consider reference checking to be an integral part of the total overall selection and assessment programme.

Selection Process in HRM – According to the Types of Jobs (Top 8 Steps):

The selection process may differ according to the types of jobs.

The most common practices are outlined below:

1. Screening and Job specifications

2. Application form

3. Preliminary interview

4. Employment tests

5. Employment interview

6. Checking Reference and Medical examination

7. Final selection & Job offer

This sequence of steps may not necessarily be followed in the given order. Medical examination for example may, in some cases, follow the job offer.

Step # 1. Preliminary Interview:

In most of the organizations, the selection programme begins with preliminary interview or screening. Under this process, an organization gives the necessary information about the job requirements to the prospective applicants and collects the necessary information from the candidates. If a candidate is found suitable, then an application form is given to him to fill it and submit otherwise he is eliminated at this stage only.

Step # 2. Receiving Applications:

The candidates who pass the preliminary interview are asked to fill up blank application form specially designed to extract information from the candidate about him. An application form is required to be filled in where recruitment is made through external sources.

The forms are required to be filled in by the candidates in their own handwriting.

It requires the applicant to fill in all information that is related to the job, for example, name, age, qualification, specialization, experience, etc. No personal information is required to be filled up. The information should be relevant to the post he has applied for.

Step # 3. Screening of Applications:

After the applications are received, they are screened by a screening committee and a list is prepared of the candidates to be interviewed. Applicants may be called for interview on some specific criteria like desired age group, experience and qualifications.

Step # 4. Employment Tests:

The candidate, having cleared the preliminary interview, has to take up some pre- employment tests. This is done to further screen the candidates by testing their skills on the job.

Tests help managers in finding the most suitable candidate for the job. Individuals differ in almost all aspects be it physical characteristics, capacity, level of mental ability, their likes and dislikes and they also differ with respect to personality traits

Various tests that are conducted to judge the intelligence and aptitude of the candidates are as follows:

i. Ability test.

ii. Aptitude tests

iii. Personality tests

iv. Performance tests

v. Interest tests

vi. Employment tests are widely used for judging the applicant’s suitability for the j ob.

Step # 5. Employment Interview:

Employment interview (also termed as face-to-face interview) before final selection is a vital step which not only acts as a check on the information already obtained but also provides an opportunity to form a better understanding of the candidates’ personality, knowledge, skills and competence.

The candidate, in turn, shall also be supplied with information about the organization and the job, in particular to motivate him and inform him about the nature of job, policy of the company, rules and regulations of the company, future prospects, salary and other benefits the company can offer.

Interview by a panel or board is more often in practice for supervisory and managerial positions. Sometimes candidates are interviewed in small groups rather than individually. They are given a particular problem (or a little case study) and asked to reach a decision through discussion within a certain time. Some observers watch how the candidates interact with each other reflecting qualities of leadership, communication, persuasion, etc.

Step # 6. Checking References:

Applicants are often required to name the persons to whom references may be made about the candidate’s character and suitability for the job. Two types of references may be required- Character reference as a potential source of information regarding the general character of the applicant and former employer reference. One who may be able to speak about the applicant’s earlier work.

Checking on the references is considered to be helpful in selecting employees particularly those to be assigned heavy responsibilities. The prospective employer normally makes an investigation on the references supplied by the applicant.

Step # 7. Medical Examination:

The medical test of a candidate is an important step in the selection procedure. Medical examination of the candidate may be required for several reasons. Firstly, to ensure that the candidate is physically fit for the job. Secondly, he does not suffer from any latent disease and the firm does not become liable for any claim under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

Step # 8. Final Selection and Appointment Letter:

On completion of the selection procedure, candidates are finally selected and formal letter of appointment is issued stating the terms and conditions of employment including the pay-scale, starting salary, allowances and other benefits, probation period, etc.

Steps Involved in the Selection Process (Adopted by Large Organisations):

In different organisations different selection processes are adopted. In small organisations, it is brief but in large organisations it is extensive.

Main steps of selection process adopted by large organisations are as under:

(1) Preliminary Screening –

(a) Preliminary Interview

(b) Filling up of Blank Application Form

(2) Selection Tests

(3) Employment Interview

(4) Reference and Background Checks

(5) Selection Decision

(6) Medical Examination

(7) Job Offer

(8) Contract of Employment

1. Preliminary Screening:

First of all, the applications received during recruitment process are scrutinised. Scrutiny of application forms is made to verify whether the candidates fulfill all the qualifications essential for the job. On what conditions a person’s services will be available to the organisation, is the next point to be seen. The applicants may put forth their conditions regarding salary acceptable, duration, promotion, etc.

Those candidates whose conditions are not acceptable to the organisation are not called for preliminary interview and a regret letter is issued to them citing reasons. Thus, by not calling the candidate for preliminary interview, the organisation prevents the loss of time and money both of the candidate and the organisation itself. Apart from this, here the process of preliminary interview and filling in of the blank application form takes place.

Following are their details:

(a) Preliminary Interview:

An interview means testing on the basis of face to face interaction between the interviewer(s) and the applicant with a view to finding the suitability of candidate(s) as per the job requirements.

The object of the preliminary interview is to ensure whether the applicant is physically and mentally fit for the job. During the course of the interview, candidates are asked questions related to their education, experience, taste, age, etc. Those candidates who come out successful in the preliminary interview are asked to fill in the blank application form.

The importance of the interview in the selection process is given below:

(i) An interviewer draws out the relevant information since it provides a valid sample of the applicant’s behaviour.

(ii) By using the information mentioned in the application form, the interviewer can guide the applicant into explaining why certain jobs appeal to him.

(b) Filling Up the Blank Application Form:

Blank application forms are the printed forms of the organisation. For different posts there are different forms because for each post persons of different qualification are required. While preparing these forms, two things must be kept in view: first, these should convey the maximum possible information, but the information asked for should be such as requiring brief answer. Secondly, questions should be directly related to the post.

Ordinarily, following information is asked in these forms:

(i) Qualification- Under this heading, information regarding academic qualification, technical qualification, experience, knowledge of languages, training, subject of specialization, etc. are obtained.

(ii) Personal Information- Name of the applicant, father’s name, age, marital status, sex, family position, taste, etc.

(iii) Minimum Acceptable Salary- Minimum salary and other perks acceptable to the candidate.

(iv) References- Candidate is asked to write the name of two or three persons who may give information about candidate’s character, social relations, etc.

(v) Other Information- Any other information that may be helpful in the selection of the candidate.

2. Selection Tests:

In the selection process, selection tests have an important place. Through these tests, ability and skill of the candidate are measured.

These tests are divided into the following three categories:

A. Proficiency Tests:

(i) Specialisation or Special Trade Efficiency Test

(ii) Dexterity Test

B. Psychological Tests:

(i) Interest Test

(ii) Intelligence Test

(iii) Aptitude Test

(iv) Personality Test

C. Other Tests:

(i) Knowledge of Language Test

(ii) General Knowledge Test

A. Proficiency Tests:

In proficiency test candidate’s ability and skill manifested in an examination are verified. Here special attention is paid to see the correctness of the ability and skill as emphasised by the applicant.

Proficiency tests are of the following two kinds:

(i) Specialisation or Special Trade Efficiency Test:

The objective of this test is to verify the specialisation of the candidate in a special field. Trade here refers not to business / commerce but special field. For example- while selecting a computer operator in a business organisation, it will be ensured whether the applicant specializes in this trade or field?

This test, in turn, may be of two types – (a) Theoretical Knowledge Test, and (b) Practical Knowledge Test. Purpose of theoretical knowledge test is to enquire about the technical aspect of that field.

For instance, asking the computer operator about different parts of the computer and knowing whether he can put right the computer in case it breaks down? Practical knowledge test is to get the work done in respect of the specialised field by the candidate. For instance, asking a candidate for the job of computer operator to operate the computer.

(ii) Dexterity Test:

Those jobs where physical labour is called for, there the ability of the candidate is known by putting him on dexterity test. Such a test throws light on how quickly and efficiently the candidate moves his body and other limbs while on work. For instance, to test the speed of the movement of fingers on the key board of a computer by the computer operator.

There is a difference between practical knowledge test and dexterity test. Practical knowledge test is concerned with knowing whether the candidate has knowledge about operating the computer; while dexterity test measures the speed of operating the computer.

B. Psychological Tests:

Some selection tests are of psychological nature. These tests inform about the conduct and efficiency of the candidate. Although two or more persons may have equal specialization in a given field, yet there may be difference in their personality, intelligence, conduct, taste, etc. This difference is made clear with the help of psychological tests.

Such tests are helpful in the comparative appraisal of different persons. Objective of psychological tests is to examine the mental ability, interest in work, maturity, etc. of the candidate.

Main psychological tests are as under:

(i) Interest Test:

The objective of this test is to examine the interest of the candidate in a special work. On the basis of such a test it becomes easy to appoint the candidate on the job of his interest. As a result, applicant gets maximum job satisfaction and he plays significant role in the success of the organisation.

(ii) Intelligence Test:

The assumption behind this test is that a more intelligent person can learn work quickly and easily and the organisation does not spend much on his training. In order to test the intelligence of the candidates, their reception power, memory power and reasoning power, etc. are examined. For this test, a long list of questions is prepared and the candidates are asked to answer the same in a given time period. On this basis their level of intelligence is known.

(iii) Aptitude Test:

Through this test, efforts are made to know the hidden qualities of the candidate, so that it is ensured if he can be taught by training or not. In other words, the test that measures the learning capacity of a candidate is called aptitude test. Thus, aptitude test looks for the learning capacity of a person to do a particular job.

(iv) Personality Test:

By this test it is seen how much ability a person has to interact with others, how much he can influence and motivate them. It is also seen whether or not he has the power to remove the obstacles that may arise in the job on which he is appointed. For instance, a person who does not understand the sufferings of the others, cannot become a good doctor. Similarly, a person who does not like to mix with others cannot become a good salesman.

C. Other Tests:

Main objectives of these tests are to know the understanding of the candidate, his communication ability, his mental maturity, writing ability, alertness, etc.

These tests are of two types:

(i) Knowledge of Language Test:

In this test, thoughts of the candidates are seen. How he puts his thoughts in black and white, what is his style of language, how is his handwriting and what is his speed of writing?

(ii) General Knowledge Test:

Candidate’s wisdom, memory power, alertness, general taste, etc. are known by way of this test. Written tests are usually conducted when the number of applicants is very large for limited posts and their academic level is different.

3. Employment Interview:

Having successfully cleared all tests related to employment by the candidate, he is called for final interview. Its objectives are to see the looks of the candidate, his way of talking, his conduct and temperament, his interest, presence of mind, and maturity, etc.

Main information’s gathered during the course of interview are – (i) physical quality, (ii) verification of academic degrees as filled in the application forms, (iii) interest in work, (iv) quick-wittedness, (v) general intelligence, (vi) memory power, etc.

Mostly there are two types of interviews in a selection process:

(i) Preliminary Interview – In it candidate is physically and mentally examined. Those found deficient are not included in subsequent process. It is the first stage of selection process.

(ii) Final Interview – It is mostly conducted in two stages. In the first stage, personnel manager collects detailed information regarding candidates.

Those found suitable on the basis of appraisal are directed for interview with those departmental managers who had put up demand for their services. Departmental manager converses face to face with the candidate on the basis of nature of work and having satisfied himself, declares the latter successful in the interview.

4. Reference and Background Checks:

After a candidate is declared successful in the interview then some information about him is gathered from those persons whose name figures in the column of ‘References’. These informations relate to the character, social relations, background, etc. of the candidate. To obtain this information the employer may also contact friends of the candidate, his past and present employers.

5. Selection Decision:

Applicants who clear Selection Tests, Employment Interview and Reference checks are selected. Prior to take final selection decision, the opinion of concerned manager is sought (Concerned manager here means the manager of the department where the selected employee has to work.)

6. Medical Examination:

At this stage the candidate is put to medical examination. There are three aims of medical examination – (i) physical fitness for the job concerned, (ii) to protect the business organisation from infectious diseases, and (iii) to check excessive expenditure on the treatment of the employees. Convinced of the significance of medical examination, now-a-days, no appointment can be made in any organisation without first undergoing medical examination by the candidate.

7. Job Offer:

After successfully clearing the Medical Examination Test, job offer is given to the selected candidate. For job offer, the Appointment Letter is handed over. A date is mentioned in the Appointment Letter by when one has to report for the duty.

8. Contract of Employment:

After the acceptance of job offer by a selected candidate, he becomes an employee of the organisation. In this phase the appointee signs various documents. Main document among them is the Attestation Form. In this detailed description of the employee is provided which he himself attests. This can be used at the time of need in future.

Apart from this, a written contract of employment is framed in which the following information is provided:

(i) Job Title

(ii) Responsibilities

(iii) Date of Regular Service

(iv) Rate of Remuneration

(v) Allowances

(vi) Working Hours

(vii) Leave Rules

(viii) Grievance Removal Procedure

(ix) Disciplinary Procedure

(x) Termination Procedure.

Employee Selection Process in HRM:

Process # 1. Preliminary Interview:

It is the first step after the receipt and scrutiny of the application forms in the selection process. Preliminary interview may be conducted by a junior executive in personnel department so as to eliminate the unqualified and unsuitable candidates. This is done with a view to limit the costs of selection by letting only suitable candidates go through the further stages in selection.

Preliminary interview provides the first opportunity to exchange information about the job, the applicant, and the mutual expectations of the individual and the organization. If a candidate is found suitable, an application blank, is given to him to fill in and submit.

Process # 2. Application Blank:

The application blanks or application forms for jobs in various organizations vary in length, coverage and contents. Some organizations use a rather brief form calling for the basic bio-data about the candidate, whereas some others ask for detailed statements about the individual’s career, objectives, life-goals, values, ambitions and interests.

Although there is no one perfect form, a properly designed application blank has the following advantages as a tool of selection:

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

(ii) Combined with material gathered later during testing, information on a completed application blank gives the employment manager a line on the candidate before the main employment interview begins.

(iii) Some candidates find it easier to think out the answers alone than if the same questions were asked during an interview.

(iv) It gives the job-seeker the assurance that his desire for work and some of his special qualifications are on record with the organization.

Weighted Application Blanks are designed to serve as highly effective screening out device. Weightage can be given to the answers in the application blank according to their importance and the total score of points can then be calculated.

By careful study, such items as age, education, dependants, earnings and years on previous jobs may be found to be closely correlated with success in the job for which the candidate is applying.

On the basis of past experience, a scoring system may be provided for all such items and a cutting off score may be established for the total. Such a weighted application form may quicken the process of recruitment and selection.

The design and details of the application blanks differ widely from one organization to another and even within one organization there may be different forms for different levels in the hierarchy.

Despite the diversity, all application blanks essentially provide the following type of information:

(i) Identifying Information relating to aspects such as age, sex, height and weight, name, address, telephone number etc.

(ii) Educational Information regarding the applicant’s background, grade secured in school and college, and academic qualifications, knowledge gained from professional / technical courses, training acquired in special fields etc.

(iii) Experience Information detailing past jobs, periods involved, designation and job responsibilities, salary received, reason for leaving the present employer etc.

(iv) Information Regarding Community Activities detailing extra-curricular activities, hobbies and positions held in organizations and associations apart from the employing organization, membership of clubs, sports and any other pertinent information supporting a candidate’s suitability for a post.

(v) Other Information – Application blanks also contain References i.e. names of two or more people who can certify credentials by way of the suitability of the candidate to the announced position. References are letters of recommendation written by previous employers or teachers. Sometimes checklists or rating scales may also be included. However, judging the accuracy of information given in references is difficult.

Goheen and Mosel report a very slight relationship between references and performance measures. Apart from inaccurate facts, there can be other factors also like the referee’s inability to assess and describe the applicant, and his limited knowledge about him.

In order to ensure that the information given by the applicant is true, the application blank usually carries a threat of discharge at any time after employment if the information furnished in it proves to be false.

An application blank is a brief history sheet of an employee’s background and can be used for future reference whenever needed. However, not all the information contained in application blanks is used to make decisions. Therefore, some people raise an ethical issue as to what right do the organizations have to seek that information.

The information sought in application blank should be relevant to the objective of selection. It should help to make judgements on substantive matters like the applicant’s education and experience to do the job, his previous progress and growth, his stability as shown by previous work records so as to predict the extent of his success on the intended job.

Sometimes biographical inventors are specially constructed for the purpose of predicting success in a given type of work. Coverage of items included in a typical inventory is usually large and it revolves around experiences in early life, hobbies, activities, social relations, attitudes, values etc.

Application blank should provide for all the pertinent information an organization needs to determine whether a candidate can be considered for the specific position. It should also provide the basis for reference checking as well as the starting off point for interviews.

A careful scrutiny of the application blanks can result in the rejection of many applicants; and especially in a country like India it is essential because organizations are likely to get hundreds or even thousands of applications in response to an advertisement and many will be found unsuitable by a cursory glance at their application.

Only those who are found suitable may be invited to face another hurdle that is interviews. This can save considerable time and consequently costs in the later stages of the selection process.

Process # 3. References Checking:

Requesting references in the application blanks is a common practice that places reliance upon the evaluation of former employers, friends and professional acquaintances. The references provided by the applicant have to be checked. This reference checking may be done either by mail or by telephone or through a personal visit.

Usually, there are two types of references- Character reference, and Experience reference. Sometimes a few candidates produce letters of recommendation addressed “To whosoever is my concern”. At times such a letter may not be specific to the type of job applied for and might even be outdated.

Generally applicants give the names of those who may speak well of the candidate. Most of the referees are reluctant to give an unfavourable opinion about the candidate as they want to avoid unpleasantness.

Sometimes a few favourable references may be aimed at efforts to get rid of unsatisfactory employees or these replies may only tell part of the story; and thus organizations may realize that perhaps what is more important is what was not said. Hence many organizations do not place much reliance on the referee’s letters.

Again, usefulness or value of such references is often reduced by the fact that frequently there is tendency to ask for references but not to make use of them in the process of selection. Several organizations treat reference checking very casually, take it as a matter of routine, or omit it entirely.

If reference checking has to be useful, it is essential for the selector to have a conversation with a person who really knows the applicant. Reference checking also requires the use of diplomacy and good interviewing skills.

In order to increase the usefulness, reliability and validity of references, as indicated by Dale Yoder, some guidelines must be followed such as:

(i) References when asked for must be used so that the integrity of the selection procedure may not be doubted;

(ii) For important positions, efforts should be made to contact or consult references orally on a face to face basis since they may otherwise be reluctant to divulge significant information;

(iii) When face to face discussion is not practical, enquiries should be made on phone;

(iv) If enquiries on telephone are not possible, mailed requests should be made of necessary information;

(v) In any kind of follow-up on references, enquiries should be structured to relate information to job and career requirements;

(vi) Enquiries should try to find out the reasons underlying the impressions disclosed by those supplying information so as to analyse their own biases and peculiar standards; and

(vii) Usually, whatever reference checks are used, they should be done before interviewing in order that the interviewer may utilize such information during his discussions with the prospective employees.

About reference checking Flippo observes that subjective statements concerning employee character and performance have been the “meat” of the reference check in the years past. In the future, “basically, the reference check will become a process of verifying that the prospective employee was at a certain place doing a certain job for a specified period of time at a verified compensation level”.

Accurate reference checking can serve the two basic purposes:

(i) To obtain information about past behaviour of applicant, and

(ii) To verify the accuracy of information given on the application blank. Such reference checking in the opinion of Pigors and Myers, provides an opportunity not only to double-check on facts but also to test the applicant’s candor and accuracy.

“Reasons for leaving last job” may tell something about an applicant’s aspirations and truthfulness as well as about factors beyond an individual’s control, e.g. “lay off for lack of work”.

Accurate reference checking has much usefulness and it should be an integral part of the total over-all selection and assessment programme.

Process # 4. Physical Examination:

Many organizations include physical examination or medical check-up as another hurdle to be surmounted by the candidate in the selection procedure. Before a physical examination is made, candidate has to be assured that his health information will be kept strictly confidential and this will help both the applicants and the organization rather than to spy out weaknesses.

Generally the medical examination is both general and thorough. It can vary from a very comprehensive examination and matching of an applicant’s physical capabilities to job requirements, to a general physical appearance and well-being. In special type of jobs, for instance, those requiring unusual strength or capacity to bear hard working conditions, a medical examination may be essential in the selection process.

Physical examination has at least three basic objectives:

1. It serves to ascertain the applicant’s physical capabilities to perform the job.

2. It protects the organization against unwarranted claims under workers compensation laws.

3. It prevents communicable diseases from entering the organization.

Obviously, the chief purpose of a physical examination is to place individual applicants on jobs which they can handle without loss of their health. It brings out deficiencies, not as a basis of rejection but as a positive aid to selective placement and as indicating restrictions on his transfer to other positions.

Usually, candidates who get over one or more successive preliminary hurdles in the selection process and are found suitable for specific jobs, are not rejected on physical grounds unless the individual is suffering from contagious or incurable diseases or any complex emotional problem. Qualified doctors conduct the medical examination, interpret the findings and transmit them to the employment office.

Harold Stone and W. E. Kendall mention the following contents of physical examination:

(i) Applicant’s medical history obtained through his interview with the medical officer;

(ii) Physical measurements (height, weight, chest and abdominal circumferences);

(iii) General examination including that of the skin, joints etc.;

(iv) Examination of special senses (check-up of visual and auditory activity);

(v) Clinical examination of eyes, ears, nose, throat, teeth;

(vi) Examination of lungs and chest;

(vii) Check-up of blood pressure and heart;

(viii) Laboratory tests of urine, blood etc.

(ix) X-ray examination of chest and other parts of the body, if necessary; and

(x) A neuro psychiatric examination, if necessary on the basis of physician’s observations or previous medical history.

Many organizations believe that such examinations are important to predict future major health problems that would involve the organization into the obligation to bear heavy medical expenses in case of prolonged treatment. Especially for top level appointments, the medical examination is very comprehensive and thorough, and determines whether or not the candidate should be offered the job.

Process # 5. Interviews:

Interviewing is probably the most widely used single method of selection.

The objectives of the selection interview may be stated as:

(i) To assess whether the candidate is willing and able to do the job successfully and is suitable to the organization.

(ii) To enable the candidate to assess whether the job and organization are suitable to him/her.

(iii) To give a good impression of the organization by providing fair and well-constructed interview.

Interviews usually are conducted at the beginning and in the end of the selection process. Interviews can differ in terms of their focus and format as well as their duration. Interviews may be formal or informal, they may be general or in-depth, they may be directive or non-directive, they may be conducted by Panel or Board interview and they may be conducted under stressful situation (stress-interview). There are different types of interviews and also different methods for interview-rating.

Interviewing is both an art and a science. Interviewers also need to be trained so as to develop proper skills. They also should observe certain rules and conduct the interview in a friendly atmosphere by putting the candidate at ease.

Interview technique can be used very effectively as a screening device and it needs to be elaborated.

Process # 6. Psychological Testing:

Use of tests in selection is now well established in practice. Standardized tests are available for this purpose and their number is increasing. Though their utility is controversial, many people agree that properly administered tests can lessen the selection costs by reducing large group of applicants into smaller ones. They can be time-savers and can help in improving the accuracy of predicting success on the job. However, tests cannot be used as a final device; they can be helpful in supplementing the interview and other selection techniques.

Several types of tests can be used for the purpose of selection, for instance, Aptitude test, Achievement test, Personality test, Interest test, Dexterity test, Work sample test, Mechanical test, Psycho-motor test, and so on.

i. Knowledge tests are designed to test the applicant’s knowledge and mastery of a particular subject; these are useful for positions such as accounting, engineering etc.

ii. Aptitude and Trade tests are aimed at measuring the applicant’s potential rather than past achievement; these are useful for entrance level clerical and trade positions.

iii. Judgement tests seek to evaluate the candidate’s ability to apply knowledge judiciously in solving a problem.

iv. Learning Ability test or Intelligence tests measure the candidates’ verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning and quantitative reasoning.

v. Projective tests use the projective technique whereby the candidate projects his personality into free responses about pictures shown to him which are ambiguous.

vi. Personality tests seek to determine characteristics of the candidate such as co-cooperativeness as against dominance or to judge emotional balance and temperamental qualities of the candidate.

vii. Dexterity tests are used to discover the ability to use different parts of body in a coordinated manner. These are useful in identifying accident-prone candidates for certain manufacturing jobs.

It is important to note that psychological tests should be considered simply as a step and not a replacement for the other phases of the selection process.

Process # 7. Group Discussion:

In this technique, candidates are brought together for informal discussion on some subject or case-study and they are observed and evaluated by the selectors. The group has to analyse, discuss, find solutions and articulate their views while selection panel observe and judge the group discussion on the basis of various activities as-

(i) Initiating the discussion

(ii) Explaining the problem

(iii) Providing Information

(iv) Clarifying issues

(v) Influencing others

(vi) Building on the ideas expressed by other members

(vii) Bringing the silent members into discussion

(viii) Communicating effectively

(ix) Mediating arguments among members

(x) Summarising.

This technique is helpful in observing and judging how well the candidates can think, analyse problems, substantiate arguments, find solutions, cogently reason and take decisions. Candidate’s personality and leadership qualities can be evaluated well by using this technique.

Stages in Selection Process (Selecting the Right Candidate):

Selecting the right candidate is very crucial for the organization. By doing so, the organization can ensure high productivity of the employees. On the other hand, selection of the wrong candidate will result in poor job performance and wastage of time and money. Thus, it is very important that the HR manager selects the candidates very carefully keeping in view the organizational requirement and employee characteristics. All the stages between first and last step seem to be successive hurdles or barriers for candidates. Qualified candidates will go on to next hurdle, while the unqualified are eliminated.

1. Initial Contact/Reception of Applicants:

Initial contact with the candidates is usually made through their applications for the jobs in the company. Almost every organization maintains a proper record of applications received in their employment office.

2. Initial/Preliminary Interview or Screening:

This is an introductory interview, which is quite short and just aims at elimination of the obviously unqualified. This is generally done to weed out those who do not possess the minimum requirements laid down for the vacancies. However, care should be taken that this process does not lead to elimination of desirable candidates.

In this preliminary interview, on one hand, the applicants are provided with the essential information regarding the nature of jobs in the organization, and on the other hand, necessary information is elicited from the applicants regarding their education, experience, desired salary, reasons for leaving their current jobs, time required to join the job, job interest, etc.

If the candidate meets the organization’s requirements then he/she will be taken into consideration for further selection phases otherwise he/she would be eliminated at this stage itself.

3. Application Blank/Form:

This is one of the most common devices for getting factual information. This is a universally accepted tool for gathering relevant information from the applicant which may be of vital importance to the management for making proper selection. Although the application blanks may differ from organization to organization yet there is high degree of similarity among the application forms of various organizations.

Following are the main classes of information usually sought through the application blank:

(i) Biographical data – This includes name, father’s name, age, sex, nationality, marital status, height, weight, number of dependents and identification marks.

(ii) Education – This is information about the courses and subjects studied and grades secured. Organizations look at class, division (first/second/third class) and percentage of marks obtained.

(iii) Experience – This refers to the previous work experience of the applicant. It shows the years of experience, nature of duties and responsibilities involved in the previous job.

(iv) Personal items – This comprises extra-curricular activities, hobbies, association memberships, etc.

(v) Salary and other benefits – This includes present and expected salary, perks, other fringe benefits, etc.

(vi) References – This is a common practice followed by organizations worldwide. This includes the letters of recommendations from the previous employers, departmental head and teachers who have personal experience dealing with the candidate.

Some firms are now attempting to analyze the relationship between data items on application and the extent of job success. This kind of application blanks are known as weighted application blanks.

4. Psychological Tests:

These are the most carefully designed instruments. These tests provide a systematic criteria/ base for selecting the candidates and try to eliminate any bias on the part of the employer. Such tests, designed to measure mental alertness, special aptitude, achievement, physical dexterity, etc., are used by an increasing number of organizations as an aid in the selection of prospective candidates.

5. Interviewing:

Interviewing is probably the oldest method of selection. If given an option of a single tool for selection, perhaps every organization will choose interviewing. This is basically a subjective process and therefore sometimes proves unreliable. However, this problem can be solved by use of structures formats with standardised or similar questions for all applicants.

6. Checking References:

Checking references and investigating background information is important in selection procedures. Opinions of previous employers, departmental heads, and university/college professors are generally asked for in order to get a clear picture of candidate’s potential performance in a particular job. For checking references, organization may seek letters of references or contact them through telephone or mail.

7. Selection Decision:

Once a candidate has passed the preceding steps successfully, the critical decision is of finally picking the candidate. The HR manager has to make the final decision of hiring or rejecting an applicant on the basis of his interview, tests and reference checks. The most suitable candidates from the available pool of applicants will be chosen.

8. Physical Examination:

Generally, organizations require that a candidate goes through a physical examination before he can be finally accepted for the job. There are some jobs which require unusual strength, stamina or tolerance of hard working conditions (Defense, Police, fire-fighters, etc.) and there are some others where people with particular problems cannot be employed (for example, a person with breathing problem cannot work in a sawdust mill).

Therefore, physical examination is mandatory in such cases. Physical examination also helps the organization to prevent communicable diseases from entering the organization. Also it safeguards the interest of the hiring company against payment of claims under compensation law. Generally, a physical test includes measurement of height, weight etc. and examination of vital organs like eyes, ears, heart, lungs, etc.

9. Job Offer:

Job offer is made through appointment letter to those candidates who have passed all the earlier barriers. It means a person has successfully cleared all written tests, interviews, approved by supervisors, stands good in various inquiries, and is medically declared fit. After all this, appointment letter is formally given to the candidate.

This will indicate the time and place of reporting. Usually, sufficient time is provided for reporting. If the candidate was already in job, he should bring relieving certificate from the previous organization.

10. Contract of Employment:

Once an organization made a job offer and the candidate accepts the offer, then there is need to prepare and execute a contract of employment.

Generally, this includes the following items:

(i) Job title.

(ii) Duties in detail.

(iii) Date when continuous employment starts.

(iv) Remuneration and method of payment.

(v) Working hours, overtime, lunch and tea break, etc.

(vi) Details of holidays.

(vii) Sickness rules.

(viii) Length of notice due to and from the employee.

(ix) Grievance handling system.

(x) Disciplinary procedure.

(xi) Work rules.

(xii) Conditions of termination of employment.

(xiii) Terms of union memberships.

(xiv) Employer’s right to vary terms and conditions of contract subject to proper notification being given.

Proper care should be taken while drafting the contracts. Big organizations may take the help of law firms/agencies for drafting and finalising the contracts.

11. Evaluation of Selection Procedure:

Finally, there should be an assessment of the selection process followed by the organization. Success of a good selection process can be measured by the availability of competent, qualified and committed personnel in the organization. Organizations must conduct a periodic audit by people who work independently of the HR department.