Use of Recruitment and Selection Scenarios


As global competition persists and industries become more skill intensive, the demand for talent or knowledge based workers with the capacity to be creative and innovative is escalating. In the light of this fact, it has become essential for the companies to adopt sophisticated recruitment and selection strategies to get the right employee at the right time (Tong and Sivanand, 2005).

Recruitment is 'searching for and obtaining potential candidates in sufficient numbers and quality so that the organisation can select the appropriate people to fill its job needs' (Dowling and Schuler, 1990); Selection is concerned more with 'predicting which candidates will make the most appropriate contribution to the organisation- now and in the future' (Hackett, 1991). The recruitment and selection process is concerned with identifying, attracting and choosing suitable people to meet an organisation's human resource requirements. They are integrated activities, and 'where recruitment stops and selection begins is a 'moot point' (Anderson, 1994) cited in (Wright and Storey, )

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The calibre of new recruits is of obvious importance to an enterprise. There is little doubt that it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract acceptable numbers of good quality applicants for key positions in many industry and professional sectors (Cooper et al., 2003). Managers are continually faced with the need to find and retain human resources capable of matching up to the tasks facing their departments and organisations (Cowling and Mailer, 1981). In a loose labour market, the employer can afford to pick and choose from among applicants, while in tight labour market the employer needs to make an effort to attract applicants (McCourt & Eldridge, ). One needs to use any and all methods of applicant sourcing in times of tight labour market where few individuals are looking for jobs. Further competitor strategies can lead an organization to change practice simply to attract the best applicants (Ryan and Tippins, 2004).

It is not enough to choose the most sophisticated selection method. We must tailor our choice to the character of the different stakeholders involved. It is better to use a method which is less sophisticated if the stakeholders will be more committed to the appointment (McCourt & Eldridge, ).

The key stages of a systematic approach to recruitment and selection is summarised as: defining the vacancy, attracting applicants, assessing candidates, and making a final decision.

Selective hiring (i.e. use of sophisticated techniques to ensure selection of the 'right' people) is frequently included in the 'bundles' of best HR practice. A study into small and medium-sized manufacturing establishments (Patterson et al., 1997) found the acquisition and development of employee skills through the use of sophisticated selection, induction, training and appraisals to have a positive impact on company productivity and profitability. Thus the practice of recruitment and selection is increasingly important from an HRM perspective.

Recruitment describes the process and various stages of searching for suitable candidates to fill vacancies in the work force. Three initial conditions however must be fulfilled before this search begins: (Cowling and Mailer, 1981)

Confirmation of the need to fill the vacancy;

Reference to the manpower plans to check on the overall situation;

Completion of appropriate job analysis and specifications.

Vacancies usually arise because of the departure of existing employees ('labour turnover'), but may also come about because a new position has been created. In either case it is important to check whether internal reorganisation or temporary staff can make recruitment superfluous. The search for suitable candidates to fill a confirmed vacancy should begin within the organisation. This is good practice for morale, assures employees of avenues for promotion, and endures that existing talent is not overlooked (Cowling and Mailer, 1981). However, care must be taken that this practice is not taken too far, hindering the recruitment of talent from outside (Cowling and Mailer, 1981).

HR professionals are challenged to address the organisation's varied needs when it comes to recruiting and staffing (Ryan and Tippins, 2004).

A Review of Good Practice

The recent legislation, social pressures and increased power of the trade unions have deterred employers from indiscriminate hiring and firing (Cowling and Mailer, 1981). While all agencies claim to investigate the credentials of the candidates they supply, it is good practice to check on this (Cowling and Mailer, 1981).

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Why should organisations take the trouble to introduce the model of good practice in its recruitment and selection process? This will help to improve the performance of the organisations by improving the quality of staff who work with them (McCourt & Eldridge, ).

The UK legislation has been introduced to prevent unfair discrimination (Storey and Wright, ).

A good practice of recruitment & selection includes:

Best Recruitment and selection practices (Armstrong, 2)

Guest (1999)

Patterson et al (1997)

Pfeffer (1994)

US Department of Labor (1993)

Selection and the careful sure of selection tests to identify those with potential to make a contribution

Sophisticated selection and recruitment process

Sophisticated induction programmes

Employment security

Selective hiring

Careful and extensive systems for recruitment, selection and training

Formal systems for sharing information with employees

Clear job design

Good practice: (Armstrong, 2)

Recruit and retain high quality people with innovative skills and good track record

Use sophisticated procedures to recruit people who are likely to deliver quality and high levels of customer service

Develop core/ periphery employment structures; recruit people who are likely to add value; if unavoidable, plan and manage downsizing humanely

Analyse characteristics of committed employees; use sophisticated selection methods to identify candidates who have the characteristics and are likely to be committed to the organization; define and communicate organizational core values

Analyse characteristics of well-motivated employees and structure selection interviews to obtain evidence of the extent to which candidates are likely to be well motivated.

Such structured selection process are not just good ways to select employees; they are better than the other unstructured ones (Ryan and Tippins, ).

A selection criteria and all other personnel procedures will be reviewed initially and regularly thereafter to ensure that individuals are appointed, promoted and treated on the basis of the relevant merits and abilities and not on the basis of minority, disability, etc. ( Armstrong, ). A good practice ensures that the selection plans must be formulated in a way which will facilitate consistency, fairness and equity (Armstrong, ). It will however be necessary to achieve a balance between best practice and best fit.

Because personnel selection is concerned with predicting people's future behaviour on the job (always a difficult task), it is essential go adopt the best practice for the selection of employees. The relevant abilities should be properly assessed and measured so as to provide a sound basis for reflective decision-making (Cooper et al., ). Companies that use selection procedures which discriminate against minority groups or discriminate on grounds of gender are likely to find themselves facing litigation suits from unsuccessful applicants (Cooper et al., ). Psychologists have identified am important distinction between two different kinds of justice. Procedural justice concerns the fairness of how something is done, whereas distributive justice is concerned with how things are shared with people. Both kinds of justice are important in personnel selection. The way in which a selection procedure is conducted is an indication to participants of the level of procedural justice involved (Cooper et al., ).

Job Description:

The traditional approach to 'recruitment and selection' involves writing a comprehensive job description of the job to be filled. This enables the recruiter to know exactly what the purpose, duties and responsibilities of the vacant position will be and its location within the organisational structure (Wright and Storey, 1997). Job descriptions start with the job's official title ('Head of Contracts Compliance Unit') and then say how the job fits into the organisation ('organising and leading a team of seven implementing {a London borough} Council's contracts compliance policy'), before listing the job's main duties (Beardwell and Wright, 2004).

A job description sets out: (The Times 100, 2008).

the title of the job

a simple description of roles and responsibilities

to whom the job holder is responsible

for whom the job holder is responsible

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However, too attractive or glamorous description can lead to an absurdly large response and it is one of the characteristic of an unsatisfactory job advertisement. If a good job description presented represents the job accurately then it attracts applicants who have skills and experience that better match the job demands and ultimately reduces the number of unsuitable job applications.

In practice, selection without a written job description is usually muddle-headed, capricious and incomplete (Smith and Robertson, 1994).


Van Zwanenberg and Wilkinson (1993) offer a dual perspective to person specification. They describe 'job first-person later' and 'person first-job later' approaches. The first starts with analysing the task to be done, presenting this in the form of a job description and from this deriving the personal qualities and attributes or competencies that are necessary to do the task cited in (Torrington & Hall, ). Competencies have been defined as characteristics of a person which result in effective or superior performance, they include personal skills, knowledge, motives, traits, self-image and social role (see Boyatzis, 1982) cited in (Torrington & Hall, ). Developing a competency profile as a means of setting the criteria against which to select (Torrington & Hall, ). However, using the competencies as the only selection criterion is considered to be limiting and unhelpful (see, for example, Brittain and Ryder, (1999) and Whiddett and Kandola (2000)).

The concept of competence was first popularized by Boyatzis (1982) who defines it as:

A capacity that exists in a person that leads to behaviour that meets the job demands within the parameters of the organizational environment and that, in turn, bring about desired results (Armstrong, ).

The concept of competence lies at the very heart of personal management. It is directly linked to a fundamental aim of strategic HRM- to obtain and develop highly competent people who will readily achieve their objectives and thus maximise their contribution to the attainment of the goals of the enterprise (Armstrong, ).

Jacobs (1989) offers a typical definition of competence: 'an observable skill or ability to complete a managerial task successfully' (Cook, 2004). It sets out the skills, characteristics and attributes that a person needs to do a particular job. Together the job description and the competency framework provide the basis for job advertising. Job descriptions and person specifications show how a job-holder fits into a specific organisation and business (The Times 100, 2008). There is a backward linkage from the competency stage to the job description, since the competency framework presents the abilities which the postholder will need to carry out the duties of the job description (McCourt & Eldridge, ).

Refer pg 12-13 (Hackett, )


The advertisement should, in part, reflect the contents of the person specification.

There are many ways in which employers can try to attract applicants, such as advertisements, agencies (public or private), word of mouth, the Internet, 'walk-ins' (people who come in and ask if there are any vacancies), job fairs, etc. Employers should analyse recruiting sources carefully to determine which of these find effective employees matching the job description (Cook, 2004). Advertising a vacancy can be undertaken internally as well as externally depending upon the organisational requirement and the circumstances. But perhaps this is the opportunity to let an inflow of new ideas and expertise into the organisation.

Internal advertising is usually the cheapest and quickest way of advertising a vacancy. It involves an announcement of the vacancy at a meeting, a memo on notice boards or an insert into the company newsletter. Such transfers help to complete the process of advertising quickly, with fewer formalities and training requirements. Strauss and Sayless (1980) maintain that two-thirds of newly hired employees learn about their job through informal recruitment of this kind (Smith and Robertson, 1994). However such advertising disallows access of new ideas into the organisation. One of the disadvantages of internal recruitment is that it often does not solve the problem: it merely transfers it elsewhere (Smith and Robertson, 1994). Existing employees passing on the information to someone searching for a job is also another way of internal advertising.

Apart from the various internal bodies, a wide variety of external bodies, both public and private, provide the advertising service to the recruiter. Recruiting services are offered by management recruitment agencies, consultants, regional job centres, headhunters (exclusive for top level jobs), e-recruiters, magazine and newspaper (classified, lineage ads.). Private agencies provide a free service to the prospect employees, while others charge a commercial fee based on the services used or the salary offered. They frequently specialise in office, technical, or professional and managerial staff. The services offered range from advertising and initial search for suitable candidates, to interviewing, testing, checking references and final selection (Cowling and Mailer, 1981).

Application Process

Essentially there are two main methods used for job application submission, the application form and the CV (Cooper et al., 2003). In some countries the application form is the dominant way in which individuals apply for jobs while in other countries the CV is much more prevalent (Shackleton and Newell, 1997).

For most professional jobs, applicants are most often asked to send their CVs along with a covering letter. A copy of the applicants relevant documents is also to be submitted along with the names of the referees. The way an applicant writes his CV may be a valid indicator of how good he or she will be at the job.

The application form mainly contains space to fill up the 'Biographical information' through questions about education, training, work experience, and interests (Ryan and Tippins, 2004). The primary purpose of an application form is to aid good selection. The secondary purpose is to provide personal information when and if the applicant commences employment. The form should encompass: (Cowling and Mailer, 1981)

Personal details-name, address, age, next of kin, etc

Education, training, qualifications, and skills

Career history to date

Health record

Extra-mural interests

In the United Kingdom, application forms are increasingly being tailored to the needs of the specific company and the specific job within that company, with the questions designed to assess competencies which will be related to the success on the job. However, in germany, there is much more use of standard application documents (Shackleton and Newell, 1997).

As Smith and Robertson (1993a) highlight, a good application form has many advantages. When application forms are well designed and structured to capture key information relevant to the job they can make screening easy, and reliable, and act as an aid to the initial interview imposing some level of structure on this.


The interview is the most widely used and the most heavily criticized of all selection methods globally. Sometimes defined as a 'conversation with a purpose', it is a meeting, usually lasting anything from five minutes to one hour, between a representative or representatives of the employer who asks questions, and a candidate who has to answer them (McCourt & Eldridge, ). It is basically an exchange of information which enable both parties to make a decision: to offer or not to offer a job; to accept or not to accept the offer (Armstrong, 1996).

Selection interviews aim to provide answers to three fundamental questions: (Armstrong, 1996)

Can the individual do the job? Is he or she competent?

Will the individual do the job? Is she or he motivated?

How is the individual likely to fit into the organization?

The criticisms for interviews are levelled particularly at unstructured interviews, and in response to this, developments have focussed on more formally structuring the interview or supplementing the interview with more subjective selection tools such as psychometric tests and work sampling (Beardwell and Wright, 2004).

A structured interview adheres to a standard set of questions and structures every part of the interview (Campion, Palmer & Campion, 1997) cited in (Cook, 2004).

Interviewers questions are structured often to the point of being completely scripted

Interviewers' judgements are structured by rating scales, checklists, etc.

Some structured interview systems-but not all of them-forbid the interviewer to ask any follow-up, probing or clarifying questions

The traditional last phase of the interview-in which the interviewee is asked if he or she has any questions-is sometimes dropped on the grounds that interviewees could bias the interviewers by asking a silly question.

There is nothing like a good interviewing practice. In certain countries, notably the United states and the United Kingdom competency-based interviews are becoming increasingly popular, especially with large companies that recruit a considerable number of graduates. There are a number of forms of competency-based interviews which are variously described as behavioural, situational or criterion based (Shackleton and Newell, 1997).

Interviews are usually conducted face to face, although some organisations are now using telephone interviews as part of their selection procedure. The number of interviews involved in the selection process is frequently determined by the status of the vacancy (Wright and Storey, 1997).


Where large numbers of candidates apply, it is unfeasible to invite all of them for the final selection stage, for this the employers often use a short listing procedure to reduce applicants to a manageable number for interview (McCourt & Eldridge, ). It is extremely unlikely that all job applicants will meet the necessary criteria, and so the initial step in selection is to categorise candidates as probable, possible or unsuitable. This is done by comparing the information provided on the application form or CV against pre-determined selection criteria (Beardwell and Wright, 2004).

Best practice recommends that unsuccessful candidates should be informed as soon as possible; in practice, written notification of rejection is less common and several application forms warn candidates that if they have not had a response by a set date, they can assume they have been unsuccessful (Wright and Storey, 1997).

Shortlisting decisions should be based on the selection criteria stated in the competence framework. The scoring system for the competence framework is used while shortlisting. If more than one selector is involved in shortlisting (which is desirable to control bias), they should score independently, and stick to their scores (McCourt & Eldridge, ).




Written test







Counselling skills



Report writing ability




Presentation skill



Experience of personnel work




Knowledge of Personnel code





Advanced diploma or degree








(McCourt & Eldridge, ).

The 1st column is the selection criteria. The rest represent four methods for obtaining evidence for each criterion. It is always preferred to have atleast two methods to judge the above mentioned criterions in an applicant. For instance, the above chart indicates a minimum of two sources for the criterions expect for the 'advanced diploma or degree' as for this criterion a support of documental evidence is a must. The highest scoring candidates are then invited for the interview round

Final selection/ decision

The aim of the overall recruitment and selection process is to provide enough information to enable recruiters to differentiate between those who can do the job and those who cant (Wright and Storey, 1997). Usually a small number of applicants is invited to the final selection stage. Final selection may comprise of a number of different elements, of which the one probably the most familiar to you is the selection interview. Following the final selection stage the organization is in a position to make an appointment. Before the appointment is confirmed, organisations normally ask candidates to nominate reliable informants who can provide an opinion in writing - usually called a reference, or testimonial - based on their personal knowledge about the candidate's suitability for the post. Organisations usually take up references either when the candidates are invited to the final selection stage, or following the final selection stage for the candidate recommended for appointment (McCourt & Eldridge, ). References can be used to confirm the information provided by the applicant and/or to obtain views on the previous work performance or personal characteristics of the applicant (Smith and Robertson, 1994). Organisation may or may not provide a technical (written) feedback to the candidates.

The selection decision involves measuring the candidates individually against the selection criteria defined in the person specification, and not against each other (Torrington & hall, ).

Selection criteria

Candidate 1

Candidate 2

Candidate 3

Candidate 4

Criterion a

Criterion b

Criterion c

Criterion d

Criterion e

General comments

Fig. 2 A selection decision-making matrix

(Torrington & Hall, )

This is a sample selection decision-making matrix, which is to be filled up/ used by all the selectors. This is a quickest way to arrive to a decision. This is a good method of ensuring that every single candidate is assessed against each selection criterion and in each box in the matrix the key details can be completed (Torrington & Hall, )


E-recruitment as a business activity is fast growing globally and is emerging as handy and advantageous method over traditional methods (Tong and Sivanand, 2005). According to the US recruiting consulting firm, Internet business Network, the number of world wide web sites containing job listings exploded from 100,000 in 1995 to 2.5 million in 1998 (Tong and Sivanand, 2005). Cappelli (2001) states that with the presence of online hiring (e-recruitment) in the internet through powerful search engines, the labor market has become a true market, uncontrolled by individual companies, and unconstrained geographically with thousands of resumes being posted daily by job seekers to online hiring sites (Tong and Sivanand, 2005). Using internet for recruitment has the advantage of faster cycle time, cheaper, and more convenient for both the employers and job seekers. It is providing a radical change to the recruitment process. The change allows the company, employment information to be displayed on the sits for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the advertisement expires. It is easily accessible and provides direct interaction with the company by the interested job seekers (Braunschweig, 2000) cited in (Tong and Sivanand, 2005). Companies like,, and ( are e-recruitment service providers that receive job postings from employers to their web-sites (Tong and Sivanand, 2005).

Preceding stages in the selection process are viewed as merely a means to an end, necessary to get the candidates to the final selection stage where the 'real decisions' are made. Herein

CASE STUDY DISCUSSION - JP Morgan Chase Bank, India

JP Morgan Chase (JPMC) is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking businesses that serve customers under the 'Chase' brand. It has its operations extended over the globe. However, its commitment to India is well established. India is an important focus for JPMC's expansion in the Asia Pacific region. The line of business includes the Investment Bank, Private Equity, Asset Management and Treasury and Securities Services. JPMC has a large Global Service Centre in India that is rapidly expanding in scope and size. The service centre delivers process innovations that benefit various lines of business and support operations across the world. The branch was opened in 1990s.

This international expansion is a part of JPMC's policy to diversify and grow the business. For this, JPMC aims to ensure all roles work together to drive its business objectives. It needs to ensure it has the right number of people in the right jobs at the right time. To do this, it has a good structured process for recruitment and selection to attract applicants for both managerial and operational roles (The Times 100, 2008). This paper will attempt to review the process of recruitment and selection undertaken in the Indian Branch of JPMC.

Vacancies/Positions at JPMC become available because:

Some employees leave the company-when they retire or resign- or get promoted to other positions within JPMC

New roles are created as other International processes are outsourced to India

JPMC tries to manage most of the vacancies internally by rotating the various existing roles within a department. This system of job rotation helps to break the monotony of work amongst the employees and also makes them multi- tasked (every individual in JPMC is expected to be well-versed with 2-3 types of operations undertaken in the branch). However, if there is no suitable employee matching the job description for the vacant position, then such positions are advertised internally through the intranet for employees in other departments in the branch for a period of 2 weeks. This is a process that lists current employees looking for a move, either at the same level or on promotion.

Once the process of internal advertisement completes its period of 2 weeks, and if still the role remains unfilled, then such vacancies is put up on the company website for the external visitors to apply. JPMC also regularly hires the services of private external agencies like,, to post its vacancies for external aspirants. Apart from this, ads are presented in the newspapers & magazines for walk-in interviews which are held twice a week.

JPMC encourages its existing employees to recommend friends and relatives for the various available vacancies. JPMC is strictly against 'Nepotism or Favouritism' and appoints only those candidates amongst the referred who match the Personnel specifications as per the company standards. It further supports this 'good practice' by rewarding its employees with a specific amount to appreciate the help provided in referral. However, this reward is granted only on the selection of the referred candidate. No discrimination is observed. By eliminating discrimination and introducing good practice, the org. tries to create a 'level playing field' where all the 'players' compete in equal conditions (McCourt & Eldridge, ).

The recruitment and selection process at JPMC varies as per the business areas. However, a more or less standard recruiting practice is followed all over the India operations. The process starts with the applicants filling up the application form either online or by walk-in to the company office. Along with the application form a copy of the CV and a cover letter is expected to be submitted. As per the CV, cover letter & other details provided, the company shortlists the candidate for its next stage of taking the aptitude test. Aptitudes tests (pg 202, Torrington) are mostly multiple-choice questions or essay type questions measuring bodies of knowledge (often technical) required by a job (Ryan and Tippins, 2004). Also a written test (related to the area of application) is taken to provide the evidence of candidates reporting writing ability and also to check his knowledge in the field (McCourt & Eldridge, ). These tests determine whether or not the candidate will progress to the next stage.

The applicants shortlisted from the aptitude test then have an interview. Interviews in JPMC are mainly taken by the senior management. However, there does not exist a panel of interviewers and instead only 1 interviewer is present. This increases the chances of 'Nepotism' and 'Gender discrimination' in the company. The interviews are based on qualifications, past experiences and other accomplishments. These are also taken to consider the candidates suitability and interest in the organisation. Apart from that, they are useful in checking the intelligence and confidence. Interviews are semi-structured in most of the Indian organisations and JPMC is no exception to it. India is weak in uncertainty avoidance country according to Hofstede's dimension of uncertainty. In weak uncertainty avoidance countries, managers and non-managers may feel uncomfortable with rigid rules and regulations (Hofstede, ). They do not prefer more objective data, such as test results to base their selection decisions (McCourt & Eldridge, ). The results and selections are then conveyed to the candidates within a week's time either by a phone call or an e-mail.

However, such job level tests at the entry level are not needed at the time of hire (Schmitt & Chan, 1998) cited in (Ryan and Tippins, 2004).

An in depth job analysis is done by the top management according to which a detail job description is prepared considering the roles, responsibilities, etc. In such case the employees are to fill the application form once they reach the venue. Campus recruitment is also another very important way of hiring graduates for various positions in JP wherein, the role vacancy and description is put up on the notice board of the University or college.

JPMC hires the most talented undergraduates, graduates, MBAs and experienced employees for its various operations/ services and graduate programmes in India. Campus presentation is an important event which is not advised to be missed by all who wish to apply to JP Morgan. These presentations are organised in order to provide information to the students about the organisation and also to make them aware about the various areas/ departments available for them to apply to. Attending such presentations give an opportunity to the students to interact with the representatives from all the lines of business and other experts on campus and clarify themselves on specific areas.

If recruits leave when their training is complete, or are deemed to be unsuitable during the training period, the organisation will bear the brunt of these costs in addition to those of finding and training a replacement (Cooper et al., 2003).



An assessment centre is not a place but rather a process which 'consists of a small group of participants who undertake a series of tests and exercises under observation, with a view to the assessment of their skills and competences, their suitability for particular and their potential for development (Fowler, 1992) cited in (Wright and Storey, 1997). Some countries include psychometric tests while in some countries involving these tests is a common and good practice.

In countries like Britain and Belgium, the use of psychological tests is fairly widespread and growing, especially in large companies (Wright and Storey, 1997). In some countries, personality tests are more often used than cognitive tests (e.g. Australia), while in other countries cognitive tests are more often used than personality tests (e.g. United states). Both these tests are commonly used in UK, Australia and Belgium (Wright and Storey, 1997).

Generally, after the aptitude test, a recruitment process comprises a day for assessment centres. Assessment centres are usually group activities measuring the knowledge, skills, and abilities through a series of work samples/exercises that reflect job content and types of problems faced on the job, cognitive ability tests, personality inventories, and/or job knowledge tests, presentation skills (Ryan and Tippins, 2004). Applicants are given various exercises, including team-working activities or problem-solving exercises. These involve examples of problems they might have to deal with at work (The Times 100, 2008). However, such activities are not included by JPMC in its Recruitment & Selection process. As per Hofstede's cultural dimension (Hofstede,), JPMC in India has a 'Collectivist Feminine Culture' where employees work in teams or groups. Also, regular presentations are to be presented in front of the senior managers. Hence, assessment centres can be very important tool to check the candidate's ability to work in groups and also useful in testing the presentation skills. (Pg 205)

Assessment centres use a range of assessment techniques to determine whether or not candidates are suitable for a particular job or for promotion (Armstrong, ).


There is no ideal selection process. The best way to arrive at a solution that meets your needs and those of your candidates is to work step by step from your employee specification (Hackett, 1995). Research shows that firms using 'good and effective staffing practice' (structured interviews, cognitive ability tests, etc.) have higher levels of annual profit, profit growth, sales growth, and overall performance (Terpstra and Rozell, 1993) cited in (Ryan and Tippins, 2004).