Best practices for selection

Select the best

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Thursday, Nov 11, 2021

Very few HR professionals would disagree that your employees make your organisation what it is. That’s why employee selection is so important—and why you need to bring the best talent to your company by following our selection process best practices.

Below are the key principles that should guide your selection process, regardless of the specific methods you choose.

Be systematic and impartial

When the selection process isn’t systematic enough to assess each candidate equally, you can miss out on hiring the best-fitting candidate. That’s why your selection process must be systematic and impartial.

Design your selection process carefully

It’s easy to stick with the conventional job interview. But is that the best way to assess suitability for this particular role?

The job interview is an excellent opportunity for you to ask candidates about their skills and experience face-to-face. But research shows that job interviews can sometimes be unreliable, and that other effective selection process options are available to you.

Psychometric tests are structured, unbiased, can be carried out remotely, and are statistically reliable. Assessment centres allow you to see how candidates perform in group and individual simulations.

Your selection process should be thorough

When selection methods are ad hoc and haphazard, they’re very unlikely to give each applicant a fair opportunity. Your interviews, tests, and practical assessments should be:

  • Designed in advance to meet your specific assessment needs
  • Conducted in the same way for each applicant
  • Prepared by a qualified professional, especially when you’re conducting psychometric or assessment centre tests
  • Evidence-based. Record notes, test results, and other data you can use in your decision-making later

Always select according to the job specification

There are serious risks in selecting a new employee based on unfair criteria. Firstly, you could reject the perfect candidate for invalid reasons. And secondly, rejected candidates could make a costly unfair discrimination claim.

The first step in recruitment is to create a job description and requirement specification. These documents should then guide every step of your selection process:

  • Write a list of essential and desirable criteria to score applications in the shortlisting process.
  • Prepare interview questions that inquire about candidate skills and experiences that are relevant to the job. Never ask irrelevant questions about protected characteristics.
  • Make sure psychometric tests and assessment centre exercises are relevant to the job requirements.

Base hiring decisions on factual evidence

When you come to make your hiring decisions—whether you’re shortlisting applicants, or making the job offer—they should be based on facts, not any kind of gut feeling. Your systematic selection process should produce plenty of evidence that you can use to compare candidates.

Equip selectors with the right skills

No matter how well you design your selection process, it’s still a human-centric process—and humans make mistakes. For example, interviewers could unwittingly judge candidates based on stereotypes, first impressions, or how alike the candidate is to them.

Provide selectors with appropriate training to make sure that they:

  • Have effective shortlisting, interviewing, or assessment skills
  • Are aware of their responsibilities to only discriminate based on job suitability
  • Are able to carry out your selection process professionally and methodically

Selectors who fail to meet your standards should be excluded from the selection process in the future. The risk of unfair discrimination, and the cost of hiring the wrong person, are both too great for your business to take.

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