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Compiled in a vast field of highly debated and variant data, the ideology behind prudent hiring practices represents the future of industry and the success of expanding corporations. The essential nature of relevance in this field, coupled with the predictability of hiring decisions is entirely reliant on the modes of operation within a particular company. The ability to attract qualified applicants and properly evaluate their skills hinges on consistent evolution of assessment materials, including both the selection interview process and quantitative testing. While either mode of applicant evaluation may be used to achieve the same desired results, the validity protocol when applied to the selection interview is much more subjective then when activated within testing mechanisms. Ultimately, the potential benefit or detriment that a new hire may have within a corporation places great emphasis on the hiring process and the educated analysis performed by the well trained professional. Through consistent and qualified applicant screening, the generation of positive hiring results will have far reaching effects on corporate sustenance, contributing to future successes and growth opportunities.
The hiring process begins with a need, identification of this need can come from many sources, yet more regularly, it will be identified by the management team within the sector that employees are needed. To ensure that hiring practices represent the best interests of the corporation, management teams should collectively decide on the job function and general qualities expected from potential applicants. There are a diverse number of tactics utilized by corporations in attracting applicants, each with independent benefits and objectives. The initial decision, however, must be based on internal versus external candidates. Historically, internal sources are ignored due to time constraints and the bureaucracy associated with their acquisition. Transferring employees in between departments leaves gaps within the internal system and department or system managers may wish to avoid any efficiency loss due to personnel issues. When internal hiring is deemed opportune, sources often include localized posting boards as well as employee or management referrals.
One mode of attracting new employees is through external partnerships with recruiters and hiring firms. This method has both positive and negative benefits, as establishing a relationship framed by trust and the validity of the recruiter’s decisions requires time and commitment from both parties. Similarly, recruiters can have significant impact on an organization’s reputation. It becomes essential that whomever is doing the recruiting is intimately associated with the corporate value systems and the objectives surrounding the potential hire.
Additional external sources of applicants include career fairs, university partnerships, and industry recommendations. Supplemental modes of recruitment, advertisements and notifications when appropriately positioned can contribute to applicant interest and generate potentially qualified hires. Regardless of source, effective recruiting communication should be targeted to the “suitably qualified, experienced individuals who are able and willing to perform the job to the agreed standard for the organization in question.” Even the application itself can generate very specific and introspective information which supports the initial phases in the hiring and interview processes. The management team must be effective in their analysis of this information in order to ensure that every new employee is properly suited to their job. Deliberate ambiguity as well as open ended questions give the applicant an opportunity to illustrate their personality and work history through honest responses to standardized questions.
Perhaps equally essential to the recruiting process, the job description and explicit understanding of the position to be filled enables hiring managers to filter applicants and progress only those who meet predetermined expectations. Within the hiring manager’s responsibilities, it is essential that he completely understand the job requirements prior to the screening process. Understanding these expectations will sustain both the selection interview as well as creation of succinct ability examinations and further guarantee a positive result. A succinct job description enables this knowledge and sustains elimination of unqualified candidates prior to the interview phase. This description provides an opportunity to specify exactly the qualities and background that the company is looking for, and through further testing and interviewing, identify the ideal candidate.
One downfall of the job description itself, is that its precision and adherence to static expectations can be its weakness, leaving little opportunity for change or expansion according to the rapidly evolving needs of the business. This is one area where business most often fail to meet the expectations of a rapidly evolving industry, leaving job descriptions to instead define their employee expectations and failing to regularly evaluate them. These descriptions should, therefore, be individually tailored to the specific nature and duties of a particular position. If a new position is being generated, the job description will assist in guiding the hiring manager to an appropriate choice. Similarly, if this is a replacement position, defining the job description sustains current operating procedures and enables evaluation mechanisms during the hiring process that can help determine if the candidate is a good fit.
Selection Interview Process
While many different evaluation mechanisms exist for candidate assessment, none are so widely supported as that of the selection interview. Definitively, “the objective of selection is to predict the likely future performance of applicants—in the job that is open, as well as other jobs that the new hire might hold at the company in the future.” Understanding that this is a cyclical process, one which has far reaching effects on an organization’s strategic capabilities sustains the need for an effective and consistent selection process, one which guarantees successful employee integration. Many theorists have noted that within the initial stages of the selection process, hiring managers will be able to determine whether they can afford to evaluate multiple candidates over an extended period of time, or if they will have to actively recruit for a particular position. Coined the selection ratio, this formula represents a tangible evaluation mechanism of a company’s recruitment practices. In an ideal scenario, the lower the selection ratio, the greater the opportunity to find qualified, outstanding applicants and the more selective a company can be. Management teams can use this to their advantage as they recognize the cyclical nature of the hiring process, utilizing the moving averages to balance periods of stagnant labour pools.
Once applicants are deemed qualified for the position sought, the selection interview will actually determine if initial indicators are realistic or if additional data voids their candidacy. As job based competencies may be considered predictors for future performance, it is essential to evaluate past work performance and education history to ensure that the candidates meet basic qualifications. Comparatively with ability tests, this segment of the hiring process is much more subjective, relying on the intuitive nature of the interviewer as opposed to objective research. A multiple hurdle practice utilized in common hiring framework requires candidates to surmount several different fields of evaluation beginning with the application before they are accepted as hireable. Essential to this process, structured interviewing and consistent questions enables a recruiter to evaluate multiple candidates across a wide range of interviews. There are many methodologies which underlie the study of interviewing, although each is generally reliant on another form of testing, such as a personality evaluation to sustain the applicant as a plausible candidate. Easily recognizable is the fact that in spite of the best interview techniques, the products of a selection interview do not represent a comprehensive data set corresponding to all of the applicants abilities. Ability tests and their objective nature can hereby fill this gap and sustain consistent hiring methodology.
One mode of gauging an applicant’s congruence within the expected corporate framework is to base interview questions around behavioural scenarios. These responses tend to represent honest reactions and real life scenarios which are exemplary of the applicant’s moral composition and values. When standardized into a particular examination, even behavioural questions can be objectively determinant of an individual’s appropriate corporate fit. By balancing the applicants responses with those ideologies of the corporation, on the other hand, a hiring manager can easily ascertain during the selection interview whether there will be a good long term fit with the unique features of that business. Identifying inconsistencies within the application itself also helps the interviewer to understand the historical relevance of past jobs and an applicant’s appreciation of their merits. “The goal of the interview is to gather as much job-related data as possible in a short period of time and to ensure that irrelevant discussions to not occur.” Interestingly, however, interviewers learn “much more about people as a result of their attitudes and reactions toward a given job” than from their description of past job duties. Hiring managers must therefore be attuned to inconsistencies within this process, reserving judgement, and ensuring that the candidate is an appropriate fit. For an unqualified candidate, the task of rejection requires significant skill and finesse, leading many corporations to utilize a form letter to inform of an unfavourable decision. As all aspects of the hiring process are an attempt to find employees who are committed and productive, the responsibility held during the selection interview is solely on the shoulders of the hiring manager. Therefore, in order to ensure that prudent decisions are made when limited to this form of identification, it is essential that objectivity be maintained at all times.
Where corporations find that consistent interviewing is simply not enough of a qualifying mechanism, they will oftentimes introduce methods of testing and analysis to determine if a candidate will have the necessary skills and abilities to perform the expected job. In the framework of human resource management there are countless examples of potential evaluations, however, the true test of a particular mode of examination is its validity in context with the position to be filled. Definitively, “validity refers to the usefulness of information for predicting job applicant’s job and organizational outcomes.” Validity is essential to the testing process, sustaining the efficacy of the questions and maintaining a consistency within the structure of the job description. While a selection interview is only valid based on the consistency of its format, in the same way, the ability test is only valid once evaluated and established as equitable to the skill sets desired.
The truth is that “without predictive validity information there is no way of establishing selection standards.” It is therefore, essential to ensure that applicants are tested against similar categories which generate qualifying data which sustains the particular job duties and responsibilities. One mode of evaluation is characterized as systematic scoring in which evaluations are standardized for all applicants and validity is based on this common criteria. There are many potential failures within the validity process, including biases in the representative data sets and limited flexibility for evolving jobs; managers must be aware of potential failed elements and ensure that they offer an educated evaluation of the candidate. Characterized by empirical or theoretical methods, differentiation between these modes of data analysis tend to rely only on the number of applicants and either analysis method will generate the required data sets.
Choosing the employee group to ensure proper validity evaluation is perhaps the most important part of this process. “The ratio of the standard deviation in the worker group to the standard deviation in the applicant group is called the restriction ratio.” Within this framework, there are many difficulties associated with determining an appropriate restriction ratio, as employee selection for the worker control group is oftentimes a difficult task and will determine the validity outcome of test results. “Prediction equations are usually based on a linear regression model and are influenced by means and standard deviations of the test and criterion measure as well as the correlation.” Through tangible analytical determinations, specific qualifications of a give position will be integrated into the testing methodology, enabling the recruiter to evaluate applicants based on their proficiency in areas relevant to the job they will actually be performing.
Reliability and Testing
Even within the methodology of validity, there tends to be variance within data sets that undermine the proper analysis of applicants. In theory, “the reliability of a predictor is the degree to which it yields dependable, consistent results.” In human resources, unreliable predictors are often characterized by human error, such as having different observers administer evaluations and then score the result. Assessor reliability is of significant concern during the evaluation process. Past studies have found that “assessors differentiated among participants’ skills with a high degree of consistency.” In order to eliminate this potential for unreliability, managers must constantly utilize the validity theory to devise examinations that are both objective and targeted to the desired position. Supplementing these data sets with the subjective methodology of the selection interview will further sustain decisive action.
One mode of ensuring consistency is often debated within the human resource field due to the potential for discrimination. Commonly known as test score banding, this method “is an alternative decision-making procedure that forms groups of applicants whose scores are sufficiently close to each other to render them indistinguishable from one another.” Relevant to larger corporations where diversification is of high importance, banding has been criticised as contributing to discriminatory hiring practices. Conversely, improved diversity due to banding is not always relevant to an increase in ethnic representation. Diversification within a business should be relevant to the needs of the corporation, including expanding academic representation, experience, and age-relevant skill sets. Managers should utilize the banding framework to diversify their business, only if previous evaluation of hiring practices had determined that inappropriate and inconsistent decisions have been made.
Testing in hiring practises is an extremely vast field in which there are many different variations of testing methods. Frequently utilized are personality tests, knowledge examinations, ability tests, and medical examinations. For more intangible job skills, targeting each of these categories through specific question manipulation can shed substantial light on a candidate’s unique qualifications. Coupling the examinations with the selection interview doubly ensures that the candidate will be accurately portrayed and well suited for the position in question. In practice, “any given assessment exercise can be constructed to provide either a measure of ability or a measure of motivation.” While the interview process represents an opportunity for intuitive evaluation, the examination process enables tangible analysis of unbiased applicant information. The level of validity in standardized testing, however, is much more substantial than the potentially subjective reconnaissance of the interview process.
While either mode of applicant selection will return qualified applicants, consistency within the hiring process dictates that the human resource professional adhere to strict guidelines when choosing their method. The selective interview process is an essential part of global business, as it produces an interpersonal interaction which establishes the undertones of both value systems and mutual expectations with a fairly rapid period of time. Testing mechanisms, on the other hand, also work to define these categories, yet their consistency and comparable results present a much more valid mode of analysis. When coupled, these two modes of applicant screening provide a tangible basis for decision making, comparing qualifications between respondents for similar positions, while at the same time determining proficiencies in areas relevant to the actual job itself. The future of human resource management lies in the appropriate use of both mechanisms to secure positively oriented human capital in an ever competitive marketplace.
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