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Recruitment and selection is a critical course of action for an organization. Recruitment is any activity that provides a group of candidates for a job function. This also includes stimulating and encouraging the candidates to apply for the position. Recruitment is governed by various internal and external factors such as the recruitment policy of the organization, magnitude of the organization and the number of employees employed, the company's image as perceived by the candidates, etc. Recruitment can either be done internally or externally by recruiting people outside the organization. The sources for recruiting include existing employees, advertising for the job position, employee referrals, walk-ins, employment agencies, etc.
Selection is the process of discovering the job applicant's qualifications and skills for the job. Selection procedures are a critical element of HR management. A company can thrive in the market due to certain factors, however, unless the manager select the appropriate candidate for the appropriate position, it becomes increasingly difficult for the company to fulfill its objectives. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is an example of an organization with positive selection procedures (Robert L. Mathis and John Harold Jackson, 2008).
Fig. Scaffold of recruitment and selection
recruitment adverts aim of the organization Job analysis
Candidates Work Analysis Job description
Labor requirement Job specification
(Biswajeet Pattanayak (2005), Human Resource Management, 3rd edition, PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd., p55)
Braton and Gold (2007) emphasized on the testing concepts. These depends on;
Objectivity : Standardized psychological tests provides a means to search talents otherwise not evident.
Validity : Psychometric tests are a better assessment technique specially when combined and can therefore predict job performance.
Cost : Psychometric tests lowers the costs while maximizing the potential between the applicant and the job.
Various organizations use a number of different selection methods depending on their criteria for job requirement. This is essentially to minimize the risk of hiring people with inappropriate skills for the job.
Application blank: Application blank is a frequently used selection method. It is used more often than employment interview (Ulrich and Trumbo, 1965). The purpose of application blank is to provide information to the employer. It provides information on the academic qualification and experience of the interviewee for assessment by the employer. Data in the application blank form also helps the employer to conclude about the strength and the growth of the applicant.
E.g. 1: Ajax Power Company had relied on the procedure of application blank for the selection for many years. However, it had to hire an external consultancy to revise its application form as three of the questions asked in the form were violating the EEOC (Kenneth A. Kovach, 1996).
The questions asked in the Application Blank form should be carefully considered by the employees. Application blanks should not contain questions about age, gender, race, education background, conviction records, citizenship, disabilities, etc.
Age : Generally, the question relating to age is unimportant for hiring an applicant. If at all it is important to know about the age of the applicant, that can be known after hiring.
Physical disabilities: It is unlawful to question the applicants about their disabilities, unless the employers can provide the relevance of physical health for the performance of the particular job in question (Miner and Crane, 1995).
For instance, in the US, it is the violation of the American Disabilities Act to ask questions about the mental status, physical abilities of the interviewee.
Education : Application blanks should not contain questions about the academic background of the candidate, if the job in question does not require a particular level of qualification.
Arrest or conviction record: Employers are banned from asking questions to the applicants about their past conviction history by the EEOC, unless the job application is for "security services". This step has been implemented by the EEOC in response to the statistics that showed the lower number of minorities being convicted than the whites.
Memberships: It is illicit for employment applications to contain questions that are determinant of the candidates being a member or a non member of a particular community or trade union (Gareth Roberts,1997).
Citizenship: To avoid the charges for discrimination, the employment application forms should not have questions for the citizenship of the candidate. For example, Immigration Reform and Control Act prohibits the employer to be prejudiced towards a non US citizen( employment-law.freeadvice.com).
Interview is the oldest method of selection in which one party enquires and the other provides the relevant information. There are two types of interviews viz. structured and unstructured interview.
Structured interview: In structured interview, the interviewer are aware of the questions that they have to ask and also the sequence of the questions. Structured interviews should seem natural, according to Roberts(1997). The interviewee should not ask the questions in a mechanistic manner, although the questions are pre-determined. (Alan Price, 2000)
Unstructured interview: In unstructured interview, there is no fixed pattern of the questions to be asked by the interviewer. Unstructured interview is the one in which the interviewer asks spontaneous questions as they occur to him (Alan Price, 2000).
There are several types of interviews. They are;
Employment interview: Employment interviews have greater validity for the prediction of the applicants performance. It may measure interpersonal skills and work motivation (Hunter and Hunter, 1965). In this type of interview, the researcher visits the firm and selects the best performers and evaluates the job description rather than the traditional method of forming the questions based on the job which is task oriented. Also, this type of interview are administered by telephone, thereby making it a no time bound interview (Frank Schmidt and Mark Rader, 1999).
E.g.2 : Gallup organization uses the employment selection interview. This method gives the organization a prediction of the production and sales record of the applicant (Frank Schmidt, Mark Rader, 1999).
Behavioral interview: This technique estimates the applicants behavior in the past and future. That is, it works on the logic that past performance predicts future performances (observe.about.com)
This interview is administered through telephone and therefore is more efficient to validate the applicants initial reaction due to the absence of the interviewers expression in person.
E.g. 3 : Behavioral interview technique has been employed by Gallup organization to predict its sales applicants performance (Gary Oliphant et al, 2008)
Experience based interview: In this type of interview, the employer asks questions based on the past experiences of the applicants. In other words, experience -based interviews estimates how the applicants handled the situation in their past. However, the validity of the response in experience-based interview questions was higher than situational interview (Elaine Pulakoo and Neal Schmitt, 1995).
Situational interview: In situational interview, applicants are provided with a job related circumstance and asked how they would respond. The applicants are provided with a hypothetical situation and are asked to answer the questions based on their understanding or experience in the same situation (Neo et al, 2003).
E.g. 4: Situational interviews have been employed by a Government owned automobile Iranian Company (Sara Banki, Gary P. Latham).
Stress interview: The applicants facing stress interview are asked a number of questions by the interviewer which unnerves them. The importance of this type of interview is that it measures the mental stability of the applicants (Dessler, 2005).
Panel interview: In panel interview, the applicant faces a board of interviewers and is assessed individually by them (Dessler, 2005).
Mass interview: In this type of interview, a group of applicants are interviewed by a group of interviewers (Dessler,2005).
However, the method of interview may not always be valid for selection of the applicant. While interviewing the applicants, the interviewers face a basic problem. When the applicants are confronted with a situational interview, they tend to give an answer that they assume the interviewer wants to hear (Alan Price, 2007).
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE APPLICANTS:
Although a variety of interview methods are employed, most applicants face problems during the interview. This may be because of the managers discrimination against the applicant acts as a ,major barrier in the selection process.
Obesity : Managers show differential treatment in hiring individuals who are fatter than the other normal applicants
E.g. 5: Fictional applications in pairs were sent to real job openings in Swedish labour market. One facial photo was morphed so as to represent as an obese individual. The finding of this experiment was that the applications with the morphed photo had a relatively lower response for an interview (Rooth, Dan-olof, 2009)
Disabilities : Applicants are discriminated on the basis of physical disabilities. Almost about 3% of the respondents felt that they were discriminated on similar basis.
E.g. 6: A law suit was filed against Hibbing Taconite Company, a mining company for refusing to hire an applicant who had a hearing disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC) sued the company for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) (Zachary, Mary-Kathryn; 2010)
E.g. 7: Most of the working age group is disabled, almost about 16%. Lloyds TSB has a positive approach and goes beyond the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 while recruiting and provides solutions for each of its disabled employee (www.times100.co.uk)
Domestic violence: Organizations cannot be discriminating against applicants who are victims of domestic violence or harassment.
E.g. 8: Health Maintainance Organizations in New York have been banned from discriminating applicants because they have been victims of domestic violence (Insurance Advocate, 1996)
Age : The Age Discriminating Act makes it very unlawful for the employers to ask questions to the applicants regarding their age in an interview. Many organizations have a tendency to discriminate the job applicants in the interview between the age group of 40 and 65 (Beardwell and Claydon, 2007).
The Employment Equality (Age) Regulation 2006 states it illicit to discriminate on the grounds of age for workers under the age of 65.
E.g. 9: A legal case was filed against Dixie Metals Products Inc. of Ocala, Florida for discriminating against a 58 year old job applicant (Contractor's Business Management Report, 2000)
E.g. 10: BBC presenter Miriam O'Reilly dragged the organization to court for discriminating her on the grounds of age. She was being told that she was "refreshed" , for which she filed the court case and won it (www.telegraph.co.uk)
E.g. 11: Terence McCoy filed a case in opposition to Belfast Timber firm when they turned him down for the position of a sales person due to his age(58 years) (www.diversiton.com)
Sex discrimination: Selection may be bigoted and subjected to influence by the employers and could result in breaching of the discrimination act. About 2% of the respondents felt that they were prejudiced for their gender in 2006-2007.
In the UK, the Sex Discriminating Act 1975(amended 1986) has provisions for disallowing to discriminate. However, discrimination is done either as:
Direct : For some job positions, applicants of a particular gender are preferred than the other gender applicants. For example, some organizations may employ males for higher management positions.
Indirect : Here, apparently the employer treats the participants equally but is actually being biased towards a particular group. For instance an advert stating that an applicant should be more than 1.80 meters might result in low responses from female applicants (John Bratton and Jeffrey Gold, 2001).
E.g. 12: A group of six female employees has sued Citibank for firing them from their respective positions. The bank was alleged for underpaying them and for using the economic crisis a reason to sack them. (www.telegraph.co.uk)
E.g. 13: Marion Shaub of Wrightstown won a case against Fed Ex and received $3.2m for the distress and damage she had to go through. This was because Fed Ex violated the 1964 Civil Right Act (usgovinfo.about.com)
Race : There are proposals in the California state Government that prohibits discriminates on the basis of race. Special attention was given to schools and colleges selection procedures (Carbado Devon et al)
E.g. 14: Balbinder Chagger dragged high street bank Abbey to the court in 2008 for making him surplus in 2006 due to his race. He walked away with £2.8m compensation (www.aboutequaloppertunities.co.uk)
E.g. 15: Reuters news Company was sued by its employees for racial discrimination. They put forward the allegations that the Company favored "the whites" over "blacks". One of the employee, Eric Berry was the key suspect (www.guardian.co.uk)
E.g. 16 : A barrister was alleged of passing racist comments , showing an unethical behavior towards a solicitor's clerk. He was not only suspended but also heavily fined for the violation of the discrimination act (www.guardian.co.uk)
E.g. 17: Emma Knightley and Kimberley Wildman's children were denied admission from the Council funded playgroup. This was because the school was meant solely for foreigners and the victims were British. Thus, it meant that the playgroup organization discriminated on the basis of race which is very unlawful according to Civil Rights Act. (www.bbc.co.uk)
Religious discrimination : Furthermore, it is unlawful for the employers to ask question regarding the religious beliefs of the applicants. It is because the applicant may feel that he/she might have been discriminated for their religion if they are not employed.
E.g. 18: Tesco was summoned to the court of law by one of its employees, Mohammed Ahmed for religious discrimination. He claimed that he was forced to handle alcohol, an action which is strictly against his religious beliefs. (www.dailymail.co.uk)
E.g. 19: An employee took legal actions against British airways for sending her home for wearing the crucifix. This was a form of religious discrimination by the Airline Company. (www.dailymail.co.uk)
ADDITIONAL SELECTION METHODS:
Pre employment Information Services
Pre employment services are in vogue now-a-days for managing an applicant's life. The databases stores information about the employees credit history and reimbursement. Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of the organization to employ services that abide the legal laws (Dessler, 2005).
The Americans with Disabilities Act forbids the organizations from employins such services because the data obtained from these services can become the reason for discriminating the applicants for their gender, race, etc. (Dessler, 2005)
Work samples procedures
These procedures comprises tests called "in-basket tests", also identified as "in-tray exercises". The applicants are provided with resources in a tray such as letters or reports. They are then asked to evaluate the reports within a time limit (Alan Price,2007).
E.g. 20: The main job of the Mathison was to organize meetings in Brazil. To verify if Mike was ideal for the position, simulating a meeting by sending Mike to Brazil or by calling the employees to California might be fruitful. This method can be convincing and dependable, nevertheless expensive. However, since Mike was accustomed to the employees in California, he might have faced difficulty dealing with the Brazilian employees to implement change. This would have given the interviewer a clear idea of Mike's abilities (Linda K. Stroh, J. Stewart Black).
Assessments centers are expensive selection measures. It works on the principal that no single selection method is useful. Also, the assessment may not be perfect. Therefore, several methods and multiple assessors are employed for this procedure who are not opinionated. Their decisions are based on the skills and the potential of the applicant. However, these procedure are time consuming (Alan Price,2007).
Assessments centers have been viewed by the central courts as a fair procedure for selection. However, the assessment centers have been used in place of paper and pencil methods to crop up with the problems arising from the latter (John Walter Jones, 1991).
E.g. 21: A valve company was ordered to implement assessment centers method instead of the conventional paper and pencil method of selection. The former method was a substitution for the latter as an agreement, as a chief means of selecting the supervisors. Although, slightly more whites than blacks were selected for the position ( John Walter Jones, 1991).
E.g. 22: Another example of the acceptance of the assessment centers comes from the application of this method by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1977 and 1978. Executives from inside as well as outside the Government were evaluated using this method (John Walter Jones, 1991).
Handwriting analysis has been one of the oldest methods of selection. The analysis helps to describe an individual's personality. This functions on the prime idea that the personality traits remain unchanged and that a person will react in a particular way irrespective of a situation (Alan Price, 2007)
E.g. 23: University of Berne and the Swiss Personnel Management Society provided results which stated that 68% of the organizations in Switzerland used graphology as a selection method (Thom N and Zaugg R, 1995).
These are psychological tests that are used to describe the mental status of the appointee. These tests are mostly employed for selection of candidates at higher posts such as for executive levels (Gareth Roberts, 1997).
This might be to evaluate the compatibility levels of the candidate with other members of the team or to explore unusual traits such as 'outside the box thinking', which would not be easily assessed by other selection methods. The results of this tests assists the management to make a decision for the selection of the applicant (Robert Edenborough, 2007).
E.g. 24: In Nov. 2004, a review report showed the use of selection process of train drivers. The British rail industry employs psychometric tests as one of its selection procedures (Psychometric testing-review report, 2004).
Various organizations use a number of different recruitment selection methods depending on their criteria for job requirement. The organizations are always on the lookout for selecting the right candidates that suit the required job profile. The most eligible candidates are shortlisted and then interviewed to make final decisions. Interviews will always help the organization in making a final decision which when conducted within the legal rights of the company ( referring to various Civil Acts) would help in making right decisions.
It must be noted that employers must not ask irrelevant question that are not part of the job related questions. Although in some cases it is mandatory for the interviewer to conduct tests that help in eliminating those candidates who do not suit the job profile. This helps the organization save on additional costs and extra training because if the wrong candidate gets selected which would result in lower productivity and eventual losses for the company.
Once the applicants are selected, they might face problems in the workplace in the form of discriminating attitude. Therefore, it is important for the employers to protect the personal data of the candidates. According to the Data Protection Act, the information obtained by the organization should be kept discreet.
Thus to conclude, I agree that the paper and pencil should be done away with. However, according to me, interviews are a critical part of an organization's management and therefore, every employer has a right to conduct interviews. It can lead to productive results only if the interview is conducted remaining in the legal confines of the Acts.