Assessing SELECTION METHODS used in the Recruitment Process

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In this report I am going to outline the assessment methods for selection and ideal profiles for the following positions: Sales representative, a Member of international team and Chief executive officer. For the first position I am going to use different internet sources to identify the appropriate skills and abilities for a sales person. In the next section I will show another, more sophisticated approach for selection using job analysis for determining the suitable skills. In addition, I suggest certain selection procedures for Chief Executive Officer which I found most practical for Bulgaria with representing a high-level decision-making process.

A number of important judgments must be made in determining what to assess in a process of recruitment, but one of the main is to determine whether the focus should be on the person or the work. It can be work-oriented assessment strategy built around the things people do carrying out their work or person-oriented - around the characteristics of individuals that influence their performance (Murphy, 2010).

Work-oriented approaches in the procedure for selection can be useful during the process of placement and development. Parallels between performance in previous and current jobs and the performance in future jobs are valuable to be identified developmental requirements and gaps between the skills, knowledge, and experiences shaped up in previous jobs and those, essential in future assignments.

Another strategy for decision-making in respect of selection method is person-oriented analysis. This approach takes our knowledge, human cognitive ability, personality, interests and value orientations as a starting point for determining what to assess. Individual differences in those traits are assumed to affect the performance, effectiveness, motivation and long-term success of workers at all levels in an organisation.

Today, the rules of the workplace are rapidly changing: it is often said that a high IQ may assure you a top position, but it may not make you a top performer. Traditional intelligence has never been enough to succeed and the emotional intelligence is what makes you star performer (Nadler, 2010).

Emotional intelligence (EI) is comprised of competencies that are involved in the identification, understanding, and management of emotions. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, the three most significant causes of career derailment for executives involve deficits in emotional competence: difficulty handling change, inability to work in a team, and poor interpersonal relations (Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2002). Thus, the use of EI measures for career selection and placement purposes has become a common practice in many organisations.

When constructing EI assessment instruments to meet organisational requirements we have to first identify the specific context, needs and purposes for which that EI test is being developed. It should be distinguished occupations where emotional skills are relevant to successful job performance (in our case they are the sales person and the chief executive officer) from those in which such skills might be desirable but not crucial (accountant, programmer).

Variety of Selection Methods

There are a lot of methods and ways for selecting the best candidate. Many classifications have been designed to organize different methods in comprehensive practical tools. In this section I would first distinguish what is need to be assessed, and then the appropriate selection method.

What is assessed in personNel selection process

Assessments collect data from candidates and try using it to predict their future job performance. Some main headings are mentioned below:

Physical characteristics - a job may needs some specific physical abilities as physical strength, manual or verbal dexterity, endurance, etc.;

Personality - these are personality traits to think, feel, or behave in particular way. One prominent model in the contemporary psychology is the Five-factor model of personality (Murphy, 2010). This model suggests that the personality can be described largely in five broad factors: neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness and openness. In addition, I would add as a supplement the emotional intelligence;

Cognitive ability - these are brain-based skills which an individual needs to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. Some people are able to understand new concepts quicker, to see relations that other don't, or to solve the problems faster;

Knowledge - every job require appropriate knowledge, some require specific one. The knowledge is not necessary to be a precondition for hiring as it can be acquired on the job by training.

Work skills - these are abilities to perform work quickly and efficiently. For example in a casino the croupiers must be very dexterous and brisk;

Social skills - these skills can be very important for some jobs (sales representative is an illustration for this). The American psychologist Daniel Goleman even set the social intelligence as the most important part of the emotional intelligence (Goleman, 2006). He divides the former into two major "ingredients": social awareness (primal empathy, attunement, empathic accuracy and social cognition) and social facility (synchrony, self-presentation, influence and concern);

Interests and value orientation - it is important that the values and interests of an individual be congruent with the work environment for long-term success and satisfaction.

selection Techniques

The variety of selection techniques is complicated enough, as each method has its advantages and disadvantages. The methods can be divided into several main groups in respect of their nature and I am going to outline them here. Some will be elaborated later in the cases:

Collecting initial information - CV with background and experience, references from previous employers, career achievement record;

Tests - personality tests, cognitive ability tests, sales ability tests, emotional intelligence test, integrity test, motivational fit questionnaire;

Interviews - structured, semistructured and unstructured interviews;

Behavioral simulations - business simulations designed to assess analytical skills, team-building, ability for decision-making, business strategy simulations, etc.

Sales Person

What is common across these positions is that all have as a desired outcome selling a product or service to a potential customer. In my view, one of the most important work activities and work context characteristics for this job are communication skills. Besides, the most important work style tend to focus on characteristics that are related to building and maintaining trust and being conscientious with the prospective customers.

Table 1 shows knowledge, skills, abilities, work activities, work context, and work styles derived from O*NET ("Skill Assessment and the Occupational Information Network System") content model "41-2031.00 - Retail Salespersons" (U.S. Department of Labor). They are more or less universal across sales positions and are focused on all necessary that need a successful sales person.

Table 1

Knowledge

Skills

Abilities

Sales and marketing

Active listening

Oral comprehension

Customer and personal service

Persuasion

Oral expression

Speaking

Speech clarity

Service orientation

Speech recognition

Negotiation

Problem sensitivity

Social perceptiveness

Written comprehension

Reading comprehension

Written expression

Coordination

Category flexibility

Critical thinking

Deductive reasoning

Work Activities

Work Context

Work Styles

Performing for or working directly with the public

Telephone

Dependability

Selling or influencing others

Contact with others

Cooperation

Getting information

Deal with external customers

Self-control

Establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships

Face-to-face discussions

Integrity

Communicating with persons outside organisation

work with work group or team

Attention to detail

Communicating with supervisors and peers

Physical proximity

Concern for others

Identifying objects, actions, and events

Freedom to make decisions

Initiative

Thinking creatively

Importance of being exact or accurate

Adaptability/Flexibility

Updating and using relevant knowledge

Spend time standing

Social orientation

Making decisions and solving problems

Achievement/Effort

The selection techniques I would suggest for choosing the best candidate are the following:

Background and Experience. This form of assessment is based on the premise that past success is the best predictor for future success. Here must be noted that there is an important difference between sales experience and sales success. Having years in the position of sales person is not the same as becoming better or being qualified for the next hierarchical level - for example team leader. This type of assessment can be useful for predicting retention only, but not their success.

Sales Ability Test. It is generally designed to measure knowledge of selling techniques, sales performance and marketing knowledge of the applicants. Some strengths of this method are easy scoring and administering, short testing time and strong face validity (Brown, 2010). Many off-the-shelf tests are available, but it is recommended for better prediction to be used customized ones.

Personality Test. Personality tests are popular in sales selection processes. Personality is thought to be a significant factor in the success of a sales person. According to the role, the sales personality can be outgoing, aggressive and persuasive. This stereotype is especially strong for salespeople who earn commission as is in our case. A well-developed personality test can provide good measures of conscientiousness and extraversion, both valid predictors of sales performance ratings. If chosen and implemented with professional guide, a good off-the-shelf personality test can be effective in sales selection for smaller sales organisations, but if it is for a large multinational company, it is better to use a tailored personality test.

Interview. The most popular assessment method used in sales selection processes is usually an unstructured interview. Regardless of limited validity of this selection method, a lot of companies rely on it firmly believing that it is more effective than other assessment techniques. Although unstructured interviews are inexpensive and therefore preferred, they have very low level of validity (Brown, 2010). On the other hand, structured interviews have a strong measure of the communication and interpersonal skills and they are easy to administer, inexpensive to development and have relatively moderate evidence of validity.

Accountant - A member of an international team

In many cases the selection process starts with careful job analysis through thorough investigation of what people exactly work, how they work and what knowledge, skills and abilities they need to do their work well. Information for this can be obtained from the employees, their managers or external experts, knowledgeable in job analysis. After collecting the necessary information the process starts with analysing the data and Cook (2009) suggests the way this to be conducted:

Subjective - writing a job description as a first step after collecting information;

Rational - the job is descripted and different jobs (if any) are grouped by rational methods;

Factor analysis - this is usually statistical analysis which find factors for job performance;

Cluster analysis - useful for grouping different jobs and is orientated to grouping people while the previous method groups tasks.

Cook (2009) also suggests utilizing different job analysis techniques as critical incident technique, repertory grid technique, cognitive task analysis, etc.

Detailed job analysis requires information which is not available in our case study. Nevertheless here I would try to outline some frequently used characteristics for accountants who will work on a new accounting software package as members of an international team. The main characteristics I am going to derive from Wageman's (1997) critical success factors for self-managing teams:

Clear, engaging direction - ability for planning, prioritising and organising the work;

A real team task - ability for establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships, team-working, active listening, social intelligence ;

Rewards for team excellence - self-management, motivation, contribution;

Basic material resources - knowledge in accounting, economics, computer software;

Authority to manage the work - judgment and decision making, critical thinking, complex problem solving;

Team goals - near vision, inductive and deductive reasoning;

Teams norms that promote strategy thinking - seeking new ways for increasing work effectiveness, finding best practices from other teams, etc.

Of course there are many more KSAs we can identify to determine the best profile which cannot be included in this shortlist. However the main point in this section is to be highlighted the method of using job analysis for defining the profile. Below will be listed some useful selection techniques to be used in recruiting procedure:

Professional measurement test - standard off-the-shelf test can be used;

Personality test;

General cognitive ability test

Structured interview - for assessing work attitude and interpersonal skills.

The job analysis in this case also must specify the longevity of previous work experience as prerequisite for applicants and the possession of a degree or certain professional certificate.

Chief executive officer

The higher a position is in the managerial hierarchy, the greater are its scope and scale. The transition from operational to strategic leader is considered definitely difficult; it is not just a step up in scope and scale but a step beyond, into a different kind of responsibility. The position of CEO of a Travel agency certainly requires a strategic look at the further development and the selectee must possess the qualities necessary for the company success. Furthermore, the organisation circumstances such as a crisis, start-up, turnaround, or focus on growth at the time when selection decisions are made define the particular accountabilities the executive will have. The latest research of Citrin and Ogden (2010) showed that the leadership challenges in a stable, growing company are fundamentally different from those faced by an organisation in trouble. In their view, the most important factor in determining which type of CEO - insider or outsider candidate to be selected - is the health of the company. Therefore the assessments should be tailored to the business situation, or their result may not completely satisfy organisational requirements.

The priorities for executive assessment should be driven by the business strategy. The selectee must have the necessary experience and skills to carry out the organisation's strategy. He must fit the executive team and board of directors and be able to collaborate effectively with them.

The position of CEO in a Travel agency also involve planning, monitoring and controlling the overall running of the organisation; the role encompasses motivating and inspiring employees to nurture positive attitudes toward work and creating a sense of commitment among them. From this point of view, the emotional intelligence has a substantial impact on his or her performance by leadership skills he/she possesses. In his article "What Makes a Leader" Goleman (1998) says:

"Moreover, my analysis showed that emotional intelligence played an increasingly important role at the highest levels of the company, where differences in technical skills are of negligible importance. In other words, the higher the rank of a person considered to be a star performer, the more emotional intelligence capabilities showed up as the reason for his or her effectiveness. When I compared star performers with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90% of the difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities."

(Goleman, What Makes a Leader, 1998, pp. 82-91)

Based on the job analysis I would suggest that the general responsibilities for the Chief Executive Officer must be the following:

Developing and execution a coherent strategy and vision; conveying company values through actions;

Building a high performance corporate culture by encouraging creativity, learning, motivation and integrity;

Team-building - keeping all employees working in a common direction;

Capital allocation - setting budgets, fund projects, raising capital.

From these general points we can derive the necessary skills, abilities, knowledge and experience which a CEO must possesses for conducting successfully his or her job in our Travel agency. Some of them, but not all, are:

Very good analytical and decision-making skills;

Ability to develop strategic plan and interpreting financial data;

Excellent written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills;

Knowledge of contracting, negotiating and change management;

Skills in examining and re-engineering processes and procedures.

Here I suggest an example of selection process that combine different techniques and is designed to align with the success profile for our Travel agency:

Career achievement profile - candidates provide their application form with career history and information about their experience. The forms can be received online;

Emotional intelligence test - assesses individual's potential for adaptive, intelligent behavior that promotes personal success and general well-being. It can be the multidimensional EQ-i model proposed by Bar-On or another;

Behavior-based interview - a semistructured interview where the candidates can describe their previous work experience and competences;

Business simulation - to assess ability for decision-making, business strategy analysis, leadership and team-building.

All mentioned above denote that the executive selection is more of a holistic, dynamic process where synthesis is more important than cutoffs.

Conclusion

The process of selection can play a critical role in uplifting an organisation from mediocrity to excellence. Recruiting, selection, and choosing the right people have always been challenges in the changing business environment. As HR managers develop better and more effective methods for assessing applicants, job seekers are becoming more sophisticated in their approaches. The more evolved assessment processes become, the more adept the candidates become at giving the answers that HR managers are looking for.

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