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Few HR professionals would disagree that it’s the people who 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 selection best practices.

These 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-fit candidate. That’s why your selection methods must be well structured and impartial.

Choose selection methods 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 to ask candidates about their skills and experience face to face. But research shows it can also be unreliable, and other effective options are available. Psychometric tests are highly structured, impartial, can be carried out remotely and are statistically reliable. And assessment centres allow you to see how candidates perform in group and individual simulations.

Design systematic selection methods

 

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 person 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 experience 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 ‘gut feeling.’ Your systematic selection process should produce plenty of evidence you can use to compare candidates.

Equip selectors with the right skills

 

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

Provide selectors with appropriate training to make sure they:

  • Have effective shortlisting, interviewing or assessment skills
  • Are aware of their responsibilities to not discriminate unfairly
  • Are able to carry out your selection process professionally and systematically

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

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