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ln recent years, selection process has become one of the most crucial parts of any organizational decision . Selection processes should only be based on the ability to make a
contribution to the organization’s effectiveness and potential for development.'(Cornelius, 1999)
Every organization has different methods of carrying out selection and the choice of technique is largely dependent on the job role. Redman et al suggest that ‘Best-Practice employee selection is usually associated with the psychometric model designed to accurately measure candidates ‘(2009).
Google uses a complex mix of psychometric test to judge the attitude, skill and achievements of an individual to make sure they match the job requirements. The author proposes to evaluate the selection process at Google inc. where the candidates are faced with a selection processes designed not by the HR team but, by a team of highly qualified engineers and computer specialist.
The company puts great emphasis on finding candidates with great achievements in their
life. The researcher aims to evaluate the selection process and conclude whether or not the process at Google is a valid and reliable process and suggest recommendations if any.
2. Aims and Objectives
The aim of the research is to evaluate the employee selection process at Google and identifying potential areas of further research and development.
The Objectives of the research in order to achieve the desired aim are :
Defining Selection as a Process
What is selection and what are the different selection techniques?
What influences a company’s decision in choice of the selection method?
What is reliability and Validity of a selection process
2. Analysis of the current selection technique at Google
What is the current process of selection at Google.
Identifying the steps involved in the process.
Reason behind the choice of selection process.
3. Discussing the pro’s and con’s of the selection process at Google.
Positive aspect of the selection process at Google.
Analysing any possible flaws and assessing future need.
3. Literature Review
‘Management in organizations is making decisions, and these may be fundamental element, or underlying building block of strategy making’ (Leopold et al, 2009) and selection forms an important part of the entire decision making process. The main aim behind the selection is to get the right people in the right jobs and to retain them in the company. Mistakes do happen when attempting to select the most suited for the job, and hence it gets even more important to use the right method to selection. Some even argue the even before we choose the right selection method we need to attract the right candidate. The process of attracting right candidate is called as recruitment. Recruitment is described ‘as the stage where the role is sold to the candidate and it is either lost or gained.'(Roberts, 1997. Dale, 2003).In the part 3.1.1 of the project the author highlights the importance of a good recruitment campaign as a strong base for selection.
3.1.1 Recruitment: first stage to Selection
Recruitment is the very first stage to facilitate good selection. According to Oxford dictionary recruitment is ‘The action of finding new people to join an organization or support a cause’ (Oxford Dictionary).
Many people get confused with recruitment and selection being the same thing. They are a part of each other, i.e. they are in fact two sides of a coin. Recruitment is the method of establishing contact between the applicant and the company, whereas selection is picking the most suited out of the applicants to do the job. In words of Leopold et al ‘Recruitment activity filters applications through factors such as whether a realistic preview of the job is communicated, the ease or difficulty of application , the time scale for applicant response and the quality of the recruitment pack information'( Leopold et al, 2009)
The organizations need to identify many important points before proceeding with the recruitment process. The key question to answer in any recruitment activity is ‘who do you want to attract’. Who exactly would you want for that job role, with what set of qualifications, experience and skills. Methods like Job descriptions, job analysis and person specifications help in identifying the basic requirements for the job role. All three terms are very similar to each other especially by the means of purpose which they aim to establish that is a clear picture of what is required by the job role in terms of the ideal candidate. According to Margaret Dale the recent job descriptions are’ redefined to become the profile of the largest audience or segment of labour market.'(Dale,1995). ‘Job analysis is not expected to enhance reliability, but a job analysis should enhance the amount of job information brought into the interview, thus decreasing deficiency. Similarly, by focusing the interview on job-related content, it should reduce contamination’ (Campion et al, 1997)
The second question the organization needs to identify whether the wish to recruit internally or externally. Both the processes have their own advantages and disadvantages. Recruiting internally is always a cost effective way of recruiting as no money is spent advertising the vacancy to external sources and also the person chosen will be available to start work immediately, hence the gap is filled sooner. There are also strong arguments put against internal recruitment being ‘lack of fresh blood coming in the organization, and managing situations where internal candidates are unsuccessful’ (Taylor, 2005) . On the other hand external recruitment offers various methods that a company can choose from and the choice of method largely depends on’ the audience targeted, time available to fill the position and finally money available for the advertising’ (Taylor, 2005). Most modern and big companies use recruitment websites and professional link sites for recruitment. ‘While companies have long turned to sites like Monster and CareerBuilder to fill open jobs, they’re not always the best options for start-ups-especially those in specialized fields or that require specific skill sets'(Wang, 2011). Gareth Roberts also highlights the same concept explaining that ‘recruiting in house or externally is simply a matter of judgment which needs to be taken into account, as in any other decision, of cost, convenience and suitability’ (Roberts, 1997).
A recent trend in recruitment has been observed and as Julie Beardwell and Tim Claydon (2007) define it as ‘1.Ethnocentric (filling positions by the nationals of the parent company), 2.Polycentric (where host country nationals fill most position), 3.Regiocentric (decisions made on regional basis), 4.Geocentric (where best people are recruited irrespective of nationality)’. These patterns can be observed in many companies where the local population gets a preference over other applicants which may be due to the government regulations and one of the most common reasons observed especially in the United Kingdom is the visa restrictions that people migrating from other countries have and hence they are not offered jobs . But largely speaking these are issues that are many a times beyond control of the organizations themselves.
As mentioned earlier the companies use multiple advertising sources to source candidates for any one position. ‘Despite the economy’s impact on employment it’s critical that recruiters continuously work hard to attract and compete for top performers’ (Aurthur ,1998). They have a wide choice starting from newspapers to internet websites and from doing it via internal HR to hiring Job agencies. It would be very difficult to class one method as the idle for all companies and job roles. According to a survey done by Hays recruitment for CIPD in 2012 it has been found that ‘ While the effectiveness of methods to attract applicants varies according to organisation sector and size, the most effective methods overall were reported to be through organizations’ own corporate websites and recruitment agencies, as was the case last year'(www.CIPD.co.uk). According to Adam Burroughs(2012) ‘one must be very careful in choosing agency as a means of sourcing, and must pay attention to culture, size, location, industries served and services provided are factors to consider (right fit)’
Recruitment as highlighted before also acts as an elimination activity as it helps removing candidates that are not suitable for the position by creating job descriptions which are precise and show a clear aim the hope to achieve. But, the author argues that there is a possibility of the recruitment process being flawed and the company rather than gaining may lose the right candidate. Recruitment is a first stage and a process of flow of information for both the recruiter and the employee. It is this flow of information that needs to be controlled and shared with a lot of careful thought. When a candidate applies for a job and reads the information provided about the role and the company creates and image in the mind of the applicant for the company and this is the point where the decision of applying or not to has been made. According to Margaret dale(1997) research and experience has indicated that if clear messages are not transmitted early, the damage done by the mismatch can be costly to both the parties. Thus, as Torrington et al (1995)comment’ A good recruitment system is crucial to the organization, not least because the recruitment of suitable employees will improve retention and morale among the existing workforce by accentuating to those inside and outside the organization the importance it attaches to people’.
3.1.2 Reliability and Validity of Selection
All employers are searching for the very best employees available, but very few know exactly how to increase their odds of finding just the right person (Mills, 2007). The ‘right fit’ as the modern HR uses to address the best candidate out of the total applications received. ‘The crucial importance of selecting people who can meet the requirements prescribed in the job description and person specification hardly needs to be stressed.'(Tyson, 2007).Candidate is assessed by various selection methods and these selection methods are the decision making factors as well. ‘Selection methods provide a systematic means by which information can be gathered about candidate and help predict their performance in that particular job’ (Dale,1995).
‘There are wide variations in recruitment and selection practices, reflecting an organizations strategy and its philosophy towards the management of people'(Bratton et al , 2000).Many organizations would do the traditional one-to-one interviews where as some may have day long assessment days where candidates are screened using different techniques. Farr et al suggest that any organization must consider the four important points before a selection program can be called sustainable and that is 1. Support of organization purpose, 2. Alignment with HR strategy. 3. Acceptability of governance and 4.effectiveness of process management (Farr et al, 2010). Support of organization implies that the selection activity must get a person that is the right fit for the organization. Daine Arthur(1995) describes ‘right fit’ is by identifying the past achievements and skills, willingness to use the skills and how? And lastly the intangible qualities. The integration observed by Delery and Shaw (2001) where HRM strategy links with the firms performance level clearly indicates that organization can maximize profit and production with the aliening its purpose with the HR strategy with and the aim of the business. (Askoh chanda HRM strategic intergration..)
The four elements form a part of the decision making factor for the choice of the methodology used for selection, but many authors point out two key factors that underlie any selection activity and that is reliability and validity.
The ‘Reliability can be stated as consistency in the measurement or extent to which an instrument gives the similar results when subjected to same working conditions’ (www.oppaers.com) ‘According to CIPD reliability of a selection technique refers to ‘Temporal or’re-test’ stability where the effectiveness of a selection tool is assessed by consistency of results obtained over time and Consistency – that is, does the test measure what it sets out to?'(www.CIPD.co.uk).Considering the factor that selection deals with humans and each person is different from the other it would be very difficult to obtain the same results and this is where the reliability is used to ensure the best selection tool is used in order to get good result.
Several different sorts of reliability test are used in selection technique research. Searle also points out the reliability is an issue that is increasingly becoming an matter of legal requirement.(Searle, 2003)
The first test of reliability that is Test-Retest Reliability ‘can be done by getting the same person to complete the same measure on two different occasions.'(Searle, 2003).A central measure to this type of reliability is that the trait measured remains the same and does not change with time. The scores on the first test must be related to the scores of the second test in order for the measure to be reliable. If the scores are different then the measure does not stand valid. Reliability in this case is usually expressed as a correlation. ‘The scores may be interview ratings or ability test scores or personality questionnaire profiles. Retest reliability is also used for work performance measures'(Cook, 1996).the second type of reliability used in selection is Inter-rater reliability. This is not a very popular and widely used measure for reliability but it still allows generating results. This method involves one candidate being assessed by two assessors and each gives scores and if the scores of the assessors do not match then at least one of them must be wrong. The author suggests that one of the reason of the method not being popularly used would be that one could never easily get two assessors to score the same hence the results that shall be obtained will more likely be wrong and will be disputed. The last measure that is used is Internal Consistency Reliablity. ‘This is concerned with reliability through the internal consistency of a test, rather than the temporal change and learning of the test taker’ (Searle, 2003).’Internal consistency reliability checks whether all questions are measuring the same thing'(Cook, 1996).Consistency can again be measured in two ways split-half testing and Kuder-ricahrdson reliability or also known as coefficient alpha. In split-half testing the results or the test itself can be split into two and the results from both can be compared. ‘But, split half can create problem in that the test which is completed is only half to its correct length’ (Searle, 2003).the other method which is the Coefficient alpha is much simpler to carry out. ‘It is based on result of only one administration of the test. And this form of reliability is based on assumption that reliable test contain more variance and therefore more discriminating’ (Searle, 2003). The reliability of a selection method as discussed above can be obtained by using various tests. All the measures give results in mathematical form and hence are easier to understand and predict. But, reliability measures are supported by the measure of validity.
Validity of a test is concerned with what is being measured. Kaplan and Saccuzzo (2001) define validity as ‘the agreement between a test score and measure and, the quality it is believed to measure.’ In other words, it measures the gap between what a test actually measures and what it is intended to measure. The gap can be caused by two particular circumstances, ‘1.desing of the test not suited to the real purpose intended and 2. The test being used for a purpose which it was not intended for’.(www.changing minds.org). Vernon(1963) , however added an interesting modification to this, suggesting’ that validity may vary depending on the purpose it is put to'(Searle, 2003).There are four ways in which validity can be identified: face validity; content validity; construct validity and criterion related validity.
Face validity as the term suggest means that just by looking at the test the validity can be established. ‘ Face validity is especially important to test takers as they have invested time in trying to get the job and therefore want to feel that they have been assessed by something that is relevant for the role'(Searle, 2003). Searle indentifies that a possible problem that lies with designing test that pass the face validity that at times test-takers may get cues just by looking at the test, which may be irrelevant and distort their responses accordingly.
Content Validity ‘pertains to selection procedures that test a sample of significant parts of a particular job that is- a demonstration that the content of a selection procedure is representative of important aspects of job performance’ (Arthurs, 1998). Construct Validity is concerned with the construction of the test. ‘Construct validity assumes that we can define and measure anything. The adequacy of the original definition and the availability of appropriate comparison measure is critical’ (Searle, 2003). Validity helps in understanding of which personal attributes and personality traits are important in predicting the traits of the test-taker.
The reliability and validity as mentioned above form a very important part of the decision making process that is the choice of selection method. CIPD argues that ‘validity, along with fairness, should be the overriding indicator of a selection method for high performance organizations and that it is important to obtain sophisticated data on validity in all its forms’. But, apart from this there are other factors as well that affect the choice of selection method and that is resource and cost constraints and the applicability of the technique. ‘Selection techniques differ widely in their requirements and cost to support. Cost must be looked into from the perspective of development, production and usage’ ( Roberts,1997).
3.2 Candidate Selection
According to CIPD, selection process has two sub-processes attached to it short listing, and assessing applicants to decide who should be made a job offer (www.CIPD.co.uk). Short-listing is reviewing the applications received to a quality and number that can be easily managed for the next stage that is the assessment stage. But, even before the author explores as to what takes place in a short-listing process it is vital to know what is the stage prior to it. The stage prior to this is that the candidate applying for a job.
Applications can be received in two ways, either through application forms or through a CV According to a survey done by CIPD, ‘application forms were used in some shape or form by 80 per cent of the recruiters especially in larger organizations and the other alternative available is to allow candidate build their own CV. Many employers made use of both the application form and CV’ (Taylor, 2005). The aim of both CV and a customized application form is to obtain as much information from the applicant in order to make the right decision. According to BIS ‘ CV provides a chance for the candidate to promote and sell themselves in a creative and unrestricted way, and an application form can provide a more accurate basis for comparison of candidates and help by asking candidates to provide appropriate and relevant information .'(www.bis.gov.uk)
Torrignton and Hall(1995) point out that ‘application form initially were intended to form the basis of an individual’s personal record but as the times and labour market has evolved it now forms part of a decision making activity’.Diane Arthur(1998) says that ‘every organization must have their own application form whether paper or electronic, that reflects its own environment’. ‘The design of an application form will clearly depend on particular situations and needs.'(Tyson, 2007). Application forms consist of set of questions which an employer will need to know about the candidate before inviting them for an interview. Alan Price comments that ‘comparison of applications becomes easier if the information supplied is in a standard form (Price, 2007). For this particular reason employers develop application forms that help in achieving uniformity. Even though the application forms help in yielding al lot of relevant information from the applicant they suffer from certain drawbacks which are ‘they could be time consuming, language barrier, too much information that might not be relevant (www.BIS.gov.uk).’
Another way of applying for jobs is through Curriculum Vitae or widely known as CV. CV’s provide a creative unrestricted way of promoting oneself for a job position. Mark Freebairn(2007) in an article comments that ‘CV is going to market you as best as possible’.() CV’s do not have a set format but a general standard is observed and varies from country to country. ‘A single CV can be used for many job applications’ (www.BIS.gov.uk). A CV allows the ‘applicants are able to tailor their application to their own strengths and are not restricted to fitting relevant information into boxes of pre-determined size’ (Taylor, 2008). Cv’s are widely criticized for information overload by applicants and at times information that may not stand true.
All applications and CV’s received go through the short listing process or what is called as ‘reduction’ process .Reduction has the objective of reducing the pool of applicants to a manageable number by eliminating and rejecting unsuitable candidates’ (Pilbeam et al, 2006). This is done by using job descriptions and person specifications which are drawn up during the recruitment process. This is the stage where the person involved in performing the reduction carefully bares in mind the law and equal opportunities and makes correct decisions.
Reduction is widely also known as screening of application. The applications can be screened in two ways either the traditional way or the modern way with use of technology.’ Some of the traditional devices used to screen resumes no longer bear the weight they once did. These include the quality of the stationery, the design of the actual document, and the envelope in which the documents arrived’ (Heathfeild, 2012).The traditional way which many recruiters still make use of is by developing competency charts or screening charts. As described by BIS a screening chart is’ A screening chart enables you to mark which candidate meets which criteria. It allows you to go through each CV putting a score by each key criterion. You will be able to quickly see which candidates best meet your needs.'(www.bis.gov.uk). Hence once a job application is received the companies rate the applicants on the screening chart and the ones having higher scores are the ones that are then invited on to the next stage. The biggest drawback of the manual method is it being slow and is subject to human errors.
The use of online recruitment methods has given rise to online screening methods. ‘Online recruitment can mean employers receive large numbers of applications from unsuitable candidates, so it can be helpful also to use technology to help manage the application forms'(www.cipd.co.uk). Hence once the application is received via internet the applications are run through the screening system and the screening systems then chooses the right applicants. Modern online screening tools include personality questionnaire, ability test, and self-test questionnaire. These all aim to establish the basic person skills requirement of any job. These are significantly used in areas where employers are trying to attract application from people who are less experienced says Stephen Taylor. One of the most popular known electronic software of screening application and CV is the ‘Resumix’. ‘Resumix does more than just scan and file applications, it is also a job analysis system'(Taylor, 2005).According to Mark Cook (1996) ‘ automated sifting systems can eliminate bias directly based on ethnicity, age or gender.’ Other authors like Joyce Kennedy (2011) argue the ‘these systems do nothing but search for key words’. This again leaves a question that how carefully the company setting up this system has selected what key words that could best describe the person who will be suited for the job role. It does pose a question of whether or not the talent has been lost as the candidate was unable to write a CV that will successfully pass the system test. ‘The whole concept is highly questionable professionally as it introduces a strong element of chance into the short-listing procedure where good candidate is rejected simply because they have used one word rather than the other , while poor ones slip through'(Taylor,2008). Lisa Rowan, program director of HR, Learning and Talent Strategies,IDC explains that modern application screening systems or what are now called as ATS(application tracking system) not only look for key phrases but “It goes much further, (with the technology looking) at descriptive materials, and (the ATS) parsing things out like a human would when reading it.”(Vass, 2009)
It would be difficult to say which system is best suited for any particular job position. Patrick Hauenstein , Vice President Navient Corporation(2005) points that any effective screening tool must be ‘efficient, valid, legal defensibility, length, fairness and coverage’. He also goes on to compare manual Cv screening to automated CV screening ‘Manual resume reviews do not perform well considering efficiency, validity, or fairness criteria and automated CV screening address efficiency concerns and reduce subjectivity that might adversely impact fairness, but still do not perform well when considering the validity criterion’.(Hauenstein, 2005)
Thus, recommending one system of application screening to be the ideal one for any selection process would not be suitable. Every company has to make a choice on the method to use as it also depends a lot on the position advertised and the resources a company has available for the screening process. All efforts must be made from the side of the applicant to overcome the first barrier of the selection process and move to the second stage of selection which is the candidate assessment.
3.2.2 Selection Techniques
As discussed earlier the very first part of an actual selection process is screening of the applications received. But, for many small companies in olden days the application forms were a basis of selection and the interview or one-to-one meeting would just be to formally. Philip Plumbley explains’ well-constructed application forms are one of the best selection tool, as they compare like with like and the selector is unbiased with the presence of the person’ (Plumbley,1991). But, one cannot solely rely on application forms as they do suffer from various drawbacks and one of the biggest being of language. Hence, companies moved on to `use what is also referred as the ‘Selection by the classic trio’. This is the trio of application form, reference check and interview (www.media.wiley).
3.2.2.a Application forms
Have been discussed in the earlier section in quite depth and hence the author will proceed to the next selection tool which forms the part of the trio and that is interviews. ‘The history of interviewing could be traced long back to the 13th century where the interviews were more like in form of interrogation, literature on interviews started appearing from the 1930’s onwards and today there is endless data available on them'(Edenborough,2005).
‘An interview is a specialized form of conversion conducted for a specific task-related purpose’ ‘(Whetton & Cameron, 2002). The purpose of an interview is to fill the vacant position with the most suitable candidate. ‘Interviewing is the most widely used selection tool but also the most abused and least reliable if left in the hands of the untrained,(Plumbley, 1991). Interviews are broadly classed as unstructured and structured interviews. This classification is broadly based around as the name suggest around the structure of the interview. Both the structured and un-structured interviews have sub-categories. To understand the sub-categories it is important to have a clear picture of what the two main categories are. Un-structured interviews are one in which ‘Interview is without any set format but in which the interviewer may have some key questions formulated in advance. Unstructured interviews allow questions based on the interviewee’s responses and proceeds like a friendly, non-threatening conversation. However, because each interviewee is asked a different series of questions, this style lack the reliability and precision of a structured interview. Also called non-directive interview’ (www.business directory). ‘The interview is unstructured in the sense that the candidate is encouraged to lead the interview and talk freely in response to the set of questions or a question’ (Roberts, 1997).
The questions asked during an unstructured interview are not based on a job analysis and unlike the structured interview; follow-up and probe questions are encouraged (Blackman, 2002).
In most cases the unstructured interviews begin with the question of ‘tell me about yourself’ and the interviewer has to ask questions from the answer given by the interviewee. ‘An unstructured interview is more open to interviewer effects than it’s structured and semi structured counterparts. To become a skilful interviewer it takes knowledge and experience’ (Minichiello et al, 1990).A question then arises about the reliability and validity of using unstructured interviews as a method of selection. Many researchers have conducted meta-analysis to predict the validity of the un-structured style of interviewing. One such research was conducted by Steven Crownshaw from the Department of Management Concordia University. Montreal (1988) found that ‘structured interviews produced mean validity coefficients twice as high as unstructured interviews. The research also suggested that higher validity coefficients are associated with more reliable interviews and the use of formal job-analytic information in developing interview questions’ (Cronshaw et al,1988) . Michael Companion and David Palmer from University of Huston also conducted a study aiming to review the structure in selection interviews also comment that ‘previous review has concluded that structuring the se-lection interview improves its psychometric properties, they suggested that interviews can be improved by involving a structure and should be a future for research and practise’ (Companion et al, 1997).
Structured interviews do not mean following a seven-point plan but it simply implies that questions are structured, judgments are structured, and certain phases of traditional interviews are sometimes eliminated(Cook,1996). In recent years several developments have occurred in structured interview techniques that are aimed to improve test results. ‘There are several ways to structure an interview but all would primarily involve systematic and pre-determined rules of observation and evaluation’ (Stephan et al ,1995). Structured interviews, regardless of content, are more valid than unstructured interviews for predicting job performance criteria .When the content of the interview is job related, structured interviews are still more valid than unstructured interviews (McDaniel et al , 1994).
‘A major ¬nd in interview research a few y
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