Discussion of Employee Selection via Interview effect on Performance

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"Employee Selection via interview can help an organization to attract staff and encourage high work performance'' Critically discuss this statement.

In my assignment I will briefly introduce Human Resource Management. I will then discuss employee selection via interview and the advantages of the same. Then concentrating on why and how employee selection via interview would attract staff and encourage high work performance. I will also discuss about the limitations of selection via interview based on my analysis. Finally, concluding ''Employee selection via interview can help an organization to attract staff and encourage high work performance''.

"Human resource management is defined as a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization's most valued assets- the people working there, who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives". (Strategic Human Resource Management- Michael Armstrong- 4th Edition(2008) Kogan Page- London. Pg 1- 1st para.)

Like all the sections of the organization are important, recruitment also plays a vital role in any and every organization. Recruitment being the key aspect, it helps an organization to get the best of employees working for the organization under their policy. Due to this, people are absorbed in the organization pertaining to their skills and what is the best suitable job for them. It aims at a higher profit or goal. If recruitment as a process or HRM as a process was never taken into consideration in any organization then, the organizations would have had a hard time to find suitable people to work in a particular team or department. Being the most important and very basic level of department, recruitment has and further should be given a lot of importance.

With the wide variety of selection methods available for recruiters today it can be a difficult task to choose which one would be the most ideal selection method. Whatever the selection method used by an employer the outcome is only weighed in terms of the employee loyalty towards the company and how is the employee contributing to the overall vision of the organization.

Interviews are one of the most famous methods of employee selection. The word "interview" was first used in 1514 and it has originated from a Anglo-French word entreveue which means to see each other (Webster, 2010) (copied from http://mw1.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interview on 1st Dec 2010). Surprisingly the meaning of the word has changed since then till today where Interviews are perceived as employers interrogating or investigating the interviewee! Based on the fact that everybody likes to be treated differently, conversations in an interview are never the same. Interview is a two way communication (Torrington et al, 1991) and it is possible to say that an interviewer can judge the interviewee based on the conversation between them. This helps the interviewer to get the right people for the organization however, it totally depends on the interviewer's effective selection skills that the conclusion is drawn whether or not the interviewee would be the right fit for the organisation. This not only helps the organization or the interviewer to select the best of employees, but also the employees get to know more about the organization and its working pattern to the skills they have which is why interviews are conducted regardless of the position one applies for. As cited by Derek Torrington & Laura hall, "The various stages of the selection process provide information for decision by both the employer and the potential employee. While employment decision have long been regarded as a management prerogative there is considerable evidence that the two-way nature of the process is now being widely acknowledged". -(Human Resource Management- Derek Torrington, Lara Hall, Stephen Taylor-6th edition-page no 141 ,2nd para).

A two way process broadly means that the interviewer and the interviewee whether getting shortlisted and joining the organisation is completely at their own discretion. For the interviewer it depends on whether he / she thinks that the applicant is suitable for the role or not and for the interviewee it depends on what is his / her first impression about the organisation. Interviewers need to briefly inform the applicants about the organisation, the job description and the culture so that interviewees are in a position to also decide whether it is the right place for them.

Majority of the organisations use different methods of selection to choose a candidate who would be 'the right fit' (Miller, 2005). Selection via interview is used typically after the screening rounds have been conducted in order to filter a group of potential applicants who could be considered for the job. Interview can be conducted largely in two ways: face to face & telephonic. With face to face interviews (whether it is a video conferencing or when both the parties are sitting in front of each other) employers have an added benefit for checking the interviewee's body language. If the interviewee comes across as shy, reserved or nervous the most effective way to break the ice is to ask a few set of informal questions and slowly moving towards the pre decided structure of the interview.

There are different ways of interviewing depending up on a number of factors like cost, position, job type and location.

Telephonic interviews (Torrington et al, 1991) are more like an eliminatory round before a formal face to face interview. Based on the trend of online job portals coming in, organisations have a tough time selecting the right fit and if the job vacancy is required to be fulfilled in very little time it is a challenge for employers to schedule candidates for a personal interview. In scenarios like these telephonic interviews are ideally the most effective. It is one of the ways to eliminate the crowd and only schedule the potential ones for a personal interview. This method can be very useful in also checking if the applicant has the required telephone mannerisms. (in cases where the job vacancy is for tele-marketing or tele-sales executive) This can be an effective way to reach the applicants regardless of the distance faced by the organisation and the applicant. ( link all four types of interview)

Sequential Interviews (Torrington et al, 1991) are personal interviews carried out by head of departments to gauge candidates potential for various skills like - technical knowledge, team managing skills, interpersonal skills, etc. The applicant can go through various rounds of interviews with the head of departments before getting shortlisted. These are typically used for management level positions and can have a huge impact on the interviewee's final decision of joining the company or not depending the way the interviewers portray their organisation.

Panel interviews (Torrington et al, 1991) are a quicker way of conducting sequential interviews if the head of departments are well synced with the requirements of the post and the structure of the interview. This approach of interviewing is also known as board interviews.

Personal interviews (Torrington et al, 1991) are commonly used for entry level or middle management positions. The head of department or the manager will conduct the interview to gauge if the applicant is the right organisation fit as well as a team fit.

Selection via interview also gives a chance for the interviewee to meet his / her potential boss. Effective interviewing skills add a personal touch to the recruitment process. As cited by Derek Torrington & Laura Hall, "there is a number of areas in which the potential of the interview cannot be surpassed by other selection methods. These areas are the collecting and giving out of information and the human and ritual aspects of the interview." (Torrington 2nd edition page 309..2nd para). Effective interviews will lead to an overall positive recruitment experience for the applicant and will help in word of mouth publicity which further helps in generating a pool of applicants who would be interested in an organisation.

In today's competitive world an organisation, whether big or small, strives to be the best place to work in its market segment. There is a need to attract people for any organisation as with the growing competition all the applicants have a choice of joining an organisation they wish to work with. Earlier the saying was, "First impression is the last impression" and now the saying has slightly changed to, "first impression is not the last impression but the long lasting impression." An important aspect to be considered is - are organisations today struggling to find people to work for them or do they have applicants walking to them directly. There are a lot of ways to attract staff however there are cost & time implications too. With the urge to attract staff, organisations who do not have the bandwidth to promote or advertise their organisation have the option to outsource it to Recruitment advertising agencies (Torrington et al, 7th edition) also commonly known as consultants. Consultants are well informed about the quality & quantity and are often based on achieving targets. Consultants have a huge database as different companies have a tie up with them and can be a good resource to find potential and suitable candidates. Social Media is now slowly coming up where small media companies are given the task to create and promote a website for a company. "Another golden rule in recruitment is that if you do not have the expertise or knowledge in house, go out & get it." (Grant Thornston, pg 6 2nd last para)

It is very important to have a structured recruitment process in place to have a database of applicants who were not shortlisted however could be considered for another job at a later stage. As mentioned earlier, the way applicants are treated throughout the recruitment process makes them choose that organisation as their workplace. This holds true for both - the interviewer & the interviewee. Below mentioned are a few factors which influence the interviewee's decision on whether or not to join an organisation:

Fair treatment, no gender biases

Professionalism of the interviewer

Appropriate feedback post interview

Ambience & the infrastructure of the organisation

These mentioned above are just a few of the first impressions based on which an applicant makes a decision. Applicants who apply for the job vacancy for that organisation could be called as potential employees and they also need to be treated like an organisation would treat its employees. Word of mouth is one of the fastest ways to sell or de-sell an organisation. Having been an interviewee at many stages of my career, I would often make judgements about the organisation just based on my experience during the interview. There are a lot of organisations who don't bother informing the candidates who were not shortlisted. A formal letter should be sent to the ones who were not shortlisted with a brief feedback for not being shortlisted. An interviewer needs to be extremely sensitive towards those applicants specially who did not get through the interview process. We are in a small world where applicants will talk about their recruitment experience with his/ her industry colleagues.

Describe this picture

According to Schneider (1987), he states that, "The people are functions of an Attraction - Selection - Attrition cycle. Attraction: People are differentially attracted to careers as a function of their own interests and personality (Holland, 1985). Other signs of attraction are researched by Tom (1971) and Vroom (1966). They have stated that people search environments that fit by their personality and that people would like to obtain their outcomes by selecting a specific organization. Selection: Organizations select people who they think are compatible for many different kinds of jobs. In that way organizations end up choosing people who share many common personal attributes, although they may not share common competencies." Schneider, B. (1987). The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40, 437-453.

The culture of an organisation will possibly be the one of the indicators of effective staffing and encouraging high work performance. There are a lot of other factors also which promote high work performance in an organisation like the HR practices. As agreed by Michael Armstrong (2009), John Walton (1999), Derek Torrington & Laura Hall (2005) and Schneider (1987) Organisations' most valued assets are its employees. In order to achieve high work performance employers need to understand if their processes have been designed in a way that promote high work performance. According to Derek Torrington & laura Hall (1991), "Factors intrinsic to the content of the job, such as experiencing a sense of achievement, recognition & responsibility at work, are those that motivate employees. If a job is designed so that these needs can be fulfilled, then the employee will perform to a high standard because he is satisfying personal as well as organisational requirements." There is a direct link between performing employees & motivation.

There is a lot of research done on the link between HRM & an organisations (CIPD 2005) work performance. According to CIPD, 2005 they state that, "a number of US publications have explored the links between HRM & performance (eg. Arthur, 1994; Pfeffer, 1994; Huselid, 1995; MacDuffie, 1995; Delaney & Huselid, 1996; Delery & Doty, 1996; Huselid & Becker, 1996; Youndt et al, 1996; Ichniowski et al, 1997; Pfeffer, 1998; Appelbaum et al, 2000; Capelli and Neumark, 2001; Batt et al, 2002; Bartell, 2004) This has been supplemented by an increasing number of studies in Britain (eg. Wood, 1995; Wood and Albanese, 1995; Patterson et al, 1997; Guest & Conway, 1998; Wood and De Menezes, 1998; Guest et al, 2000a, 2000b, 2003; Purcell et al, 2003).

The below figure shows a link between HRM & Performance as modelled by Guest et al (2000):

The reason I chose to discuss the model by Guest et al (2000) is because it shows a direct link between how an organisations business strategy if linked to the HR strategy can help to achieve financial performance with effective HR practices which result into a win-win situation from employees personal goals achieved to an organisations financial goals achieved.

Effective HR polices are directly proportional to employee feeling nurtured and being valued as assets which results in high employee motivation towards their job. The main focus for an employee is to achieve personal growth as well as professional growth and when both the objectives are met employee tend to put in their best potential towards their job.

However, Purcell et al (2003) and Ulrich (1997) have a different opinion towards the link between HRM & Performance. "HR practices seem to matter; logic says it is so; survey findings confirm it. Direct Relationships between investments and attention to HR practices are often fuzzy, however, and vary according to the population sampled and the measures used." (Ulrich, 1997 - strategic HRM, Michael Armstrong pg 80 2nd para)

Paradoxically, it is very unrealistic to say that it is only because of HR policies that an organisation will achieve high work performance. Wood et al (2006) mention that there are other important factors like the characteristics of an individual should match the requirements of the job to aid performance. There needs to be willingness coming from the employee to perform while having the opportunities for an employee to excel. "Performance is a function of Ability + Motivation + Opportunity (AMO)." Michael Armstrong strategic hrm pg 85 1st para. There are a lot of organisations who still fail to perform even with the best of HR policies. Who takes an account for checking if those policies are undertaken practically or are just a part of the HR manual? As agreed, "The view of a single respondent as to which practices are in place, with no account taken of how the practices are implemented." (Derek Torrington, 6th edition pg 227, last para)

Encouraging high work performance needs to flow from the top management level till the bottom. It is only when employees are embedded with how would they be individually rewarded if high work performance is achieve will they work to the best of their abilities. Employers today are focussing a lot on performance related pay (Torrington et al (6th edition) to encourage employees especially at the top management level to perform. Earlier employees used to perform only under circumstances when they wanted to attain a promotion, however with PRP coming in, employees are much more motivated as there is a component of 'payment' included with their performance.( try nd link the below para)

Pfeffer (1998) identifies, "7 people management policies: 1. Emphasizing employment security, recruiting the right people, extensive use of self managed teams and decentralization, high wages solidly linked to organisational performance, high spending on training, reducing status differentials, and sharing information". As rightly mentioned, one of the important factor identified is getting the right person on board. This could be achieved through effective interviewing. Interviewers need to set expectations right at the interview stage itself and at the same time also need to understand what expectations the interviewee holds of the job being recruited for. In case the expectations for the interviewee are different from what the job is, interviewers then need to further go through a few more applicants. Once the basic expectation is met, which most of the times is the salary; employees feel motivated and tend to put in their best of the knowledge or skill for the job.

"In the work context this would mean that employees who are so underpaid they can hardly afford to eat properly will be more concerned with earning money in order to eat than they will be in the development of their true potential in their jobs." (Derek Torrington & laura hall 2nd edition pg 423 last para)

However, it is not only salary that employees feel motivated to work for, it is also on how their bosses are rewarding them when they perform well. As agreed by Torrington et al, "Not only it is possible to say, Performance is rewarded, one can now begin to say, performance is a reward." Derek torringtin..pg 254 2nd last para 7th edition. It has become extremely crucial for managers to recognize and reward their employees for outstanding performance and this shouldn't be done only at the appraisal time but at all the times when the employees perform to the best of their abilities. This also brings in competency between peer groups and the positive implication to this is that it will only result in a high performing team. For e.g. in the BPO industry where for every target achieved there is an incentive.

On the contrary there are arguments that, "those organisations with a big idea, which expresses what the organisation stands for and what is it trying to achieve, were more able to sustain their performance over the longer term." (Torrington et al, 7th edition pg 258 last para). Until employees do not know what exactly are they expected to do, they will not do it. It is the duty of managers to reinforce about organisational objectives and goals to their staff.

Sharing best practices is also one key. Managers can ask their teams to put down a few of the best practices adopted in their prior organisation. This can be a classic way to get some insights in to the industry best practices, in case if they were not known to the managers, and act upon implementing the same effectively. Another effective way to inculcate best practices is to include this aspect at the interview stage. The interviewer can understand from the interviewee the best practices in his / her prior organisation. This will help an organisation to get some of the most effective best practices in the industry.

"It is no good having all the right people all in the right place, but not delivering the goods" (Torrington et al, 6th edition, pg 222). It is very important for interviewers to judge the talent of the interviewee and with effective questioning skills this could be achieved. I was once asked a very difficult question which portrays the company's belief in high work performance. The question was, "How do you grow / develop talent in an organisation or a team?" The question itself portrayed how performance driven the organisation is.

With in-depth study on how can an effective interview get the best applicant on boarded by various researchers, it is important to see whether or not interviews are really conducted effectively and by the right people? "Typical interviews are unstructured" (Wilson 2005, pg 35). It is more advisable for organisations to train their set of interviewers on effective interviewing skills. There are a lot of interviewers who have very little practical knowledge on interviewing skills and if these are the kind of people who will be searching for the right candidate for the job; in my opinion maybe that is the reason why interviews are criticized as agreed and cited by Morgan, 1973 Lopez, 1975; Wagner, 1949; Sidney & Brown, 1966. (2nd edition Torrington pg 308) "Interviewers often make hasty decisions relating to recruiting the right candidate and typically think they are doing a better job than they actually are, yet many interviewers are not using effective techniques to hire the best talent and, as a result, they are leaving their organizations open to hiring the wrong person, with all the associated problems and costs of a poor decision", Newhall, strategic HR review - journal article.

Interviewing is a skill and requires a lot of practical experience to develop this skill. "Most people in this country believe that they are good drivers, good lovers and good interviewers." (Wilson 2005, pg 35). Which is true for a lot of organisations today not only in this country but across the globe. Recruitment should be held responsible for employee who attrite within 6 months of joining an organization. With effective interviewing and other selection methods used it is not an ideal situation for an employee to quit unless there are sudden personal issues that arise for which they decide to quit. As highlighted earlier, the cost of a wrong hire is a lot more not only in terms of financial but also in terms of time taken in training and developing the employee. As agreed by Newhall who says that, "64 per cent of recruiters worry they will miss important information about a candidate's weaknesses that will show up later - and perhaps this is why so many new hires fail within six months of starting their new role." Newhall, strategic HR review - journal article. This purely happens because even today recruitment fails to adopt the right methods of selection and completely go with their intuition while interviewing.

To summarize, there could be a number of factors which result in a wrong hire (Yate, 1994) like poorly defined job functions, inadequate interviewing or questioning techniques and misconceptions about the personality skill profile. While the skill of the interviewer is important, factors like how processes are defined, what structure of recruitment is followed, who is taking an account for re-validating applicants who are shortlisted. It is also common for an interviewer to be biased about an applicant who has been referred through his /her social network. There is no system in place which re-validates the decision of the interviewer. "Lopez (1975) maintains that interview results should be treated with great caution until further research and refinement indicate that they can be used with greater confidence." Torrington 2nd edition pg 308. As mentioned earlier, interviewing as a tool for selection could be one of the best forms of selection methods; it is the people to be questioned more than the process. "Lopez (1975) points to the fact that all the complaints and denunciations boil down to the argument that it is the interviewer and not the interview that is at the heart of the problem", Torrington 2nd edition pg 308. Precisely it is the interpersonal communication skills that interviewers need to improve on and get more of training and development for conducting effective interviews. The other alternative is that HR head needs to decide whether the team responsible for interviewing is really the 'right fit' for that job.

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