Employment Essentials : Selection

I was once asked by a client ‘I’ve just sacked a new picker and packer in our warehouse, that’s all right isn’t it?’  When I enquired further, the individual had been given his marching orders within half an hour of him turning up for work on his first day, because he had only one arm.

Similarly, on another occasion a different client, having undertaken a costly auditing exercise into increasing levels of mispostings in their accounts department’s ledgers, found that an employee who had been redeployed there into a new role following a redundancy situation, had “dyscalculia” (a condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills).

Irrespective of any other issues raised by these two examples, one point it does highlight is the importance of ensuring appropriate, objective and equitable selection criteria and assessments.

An effective recruitment and selection procedure comprises a variety of techniques to identify the right person for the job – and in these harsh economic times, when most employers are inundated with applications for their job vacancies it is cost-effective and time-saving to use robust selection tools.

Most businesses are familiar with the ‘usual’ selection methods . . .

  • the application form
  • education and qualification history
  • interview (which is not always done as well as it should be!)
  • references
  • CRB checks
  • eligibility to work in the UK . . . and so on.

Some businesses will understand the usefulness of occupational testing and psychometric questionnaires, but not all.  And even if they are understood, their worth and benefits may not be recognised.

Occupational testing, sometimes called aptitude and ability testing is used to determine an applicant’s capacity to do a particular job.  For example, how good are they with details, spotting errors and inaccuracies.

Work sampling, getting an applicant to undertake an actual job-relevant activity.

Psychometric questionnaires include the identification and measurement of personality traits.  Personality and behavioural characteristics play an important part in a candidate’s success or otherwise in particular roles, for example are they likely to follow rules or do they exhibit a preference for working on their own.

All of these selection tools provide insight into how a candidate can perform and enable the employer to make a really informed decision on the best person for the job.  It also ensures a robust defence if challenged by an unsuccessful and disgruntled applicant.

Had these tools been used in the two situations mentioned above, it would have saved not only a lot of effort and money, but also heartache and upset.

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