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The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka completes 32 years of existence in 2010. In this time, it has acted as an engine of growth creating a considerable impact on the country's economic development. The organization had its origins in the Greater Colombo Economic Commission, which was established in 1978 to generate development in the outskirts of Colombo. Fourteen years later, in 1992, the Commission was reconstituted as the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) with its mandate encompassing the entire island.
The BOI is structured to function as a central facilitation point for investors. It operates as an utmost statutory body. The Board of Directors drawn from the Private and Public sector and its several departments are geared to facilitating the investment process.
A high powered Cabinet Sub Committee inter-ministerial leadership providing a form for investor assistance has been set up to strengthen the BOI, clear all bottlenecks and ensure speedy clearance of investment approvals so that investors can implement projects in a hassle free atmosphere.
The BOI companies today employ over 400,000 workers. They account for nearly 70% of Sri Lankan exports and 80% of the country's industrial exports. The BOI is therefore a significant agent of change and its quarter century existence has radically transformed Sri Lanka both economically and socially, placing the country in a position where it can compete in an increasingly globalized world.
Significantly, when you sign an agreement with the BOI, the provisions embodies in the agreement remains valued for the life of the enterprise. Successive Governments cannot change these provisions, ensuring a degree of stability that few other countries can offer or match.
Vision, mission and core values of BOI
"To make Sri Lanka Preferred destination for investment in Asia"
"To be in the forefront of achieving sustainable economic development and employment by promoting and facilitating foreign and local investments throughout Sri Lanka"
1.2.3 Core values
Integrity and professionalism
Respect and courtesy
Fairness, consistency and transparency
Innovation and technology driven
Proactive and caring
Recruitment and selection
Recruitment and selection process in a series of hurdles aimed at selecting the best candidate for the job. Recruitment and selection refers to the chain and sequence of activities pertaining to recruitment and selection of employable candidates and job seekers for an organization. Every organization has some well-defined employment and recruitment policies and hiring procedures. The HR department of large organizations, businesses, government offices and multilateral organizations are generally vested with the responsibilities of employee recruitment and selection.
Fig. 2.1 process of recruitment and selection
Final candidate to make final choice
Candidate become Employee
Applicant complete application forms
Use selection tools to screen out most applicants
Recruiting; Build a pool of candidates
Employment Planning and forecasting
Source: Lecture note-Managing People, recruitment and selection, 3rd slide
It's not easy to find out qualified person from over night. When we post the opening we can find out lot of applicantions specially for management trainee positions of BOI. Out of all of this applicants we need to find out most suitabale person to fill the vacant. Proper recruitement and selection process which featured validity and reliability will make success employement at the end.
As above diagram, recruitment would be end up with pooling of candidates applications. Under this term paper our main concern is to investigate how selection process of BOI for management trainees.
Selection is a process by which the best individual is chosen from among the applicants who have offered their services to the organization for employment.
Once you have a pool of applicants, the next step is to select the best candidate for the vacancy. This usually means whittling down the applicant pool by using the screening tools, such as test, assessment centre's and background and reference checks.
Selecting the right candidate is important for three main reasons.
So selection of human resources is a most crucial task. Because it is the one determine the success or failure of the organization. When we are not selected the suitable person, it will directly effect to the performance of the organization.
Selection of Management trainees of BOI
The number of step has been practiced by BOI to select management trainees as it is very important to fulfill best person to junior management level. They strict to process below and it has been consumed considerable time to appointments as it is government approved slow moving activities consisted of.
Screening and short listing of application
Employment test/selection test
When we draw selection process in to flow chat, it is realized that flow chats doesn't consists of "decision" tabs. It comprises start-end buttons and action buttons only. No secondary remedial action is taken placed to back to any activity above. If we missed or couldn't achieve the required level of performance in particular activity, we have to repeat whole process again.
Fig. 3.1 Existing flow chat for selection of management trainees
Start of selection
Screening and short listing of applicants
Exit from selection
Exit from selection
Employment test/selection test
Exit from selection
Exit from selection
Exit from selection
Exit from selection
End of selection
Source: BOI cooperate plan- recruitment and selection, 2008
Screening and short listing of application
It is already decided to recruit management trainees by properly analyzing job requirement of BOI. Selection process is functioning under close review of HR department.
Determine your criteria
It is important to highlight the key things which are looking for so HR department can evaluate all applications on a level playing field. An effective job description of management trainee which advertised in news papers gives you the basis for the criteria to mark all candidates against.
BOI usually be split into three sections:
technical - does the candidate have the necessary education (degree), training or qualifications to succeed as a management trainee
experience - For management trainees BOI did not expect more than 1 year experience where as they prefer fresh graduates
personal - has the candidate given examples of when they have demonstrated the required competencies
3.2.2 Developing a screening chart
A screening chart enables HR manager to mark which candidate meets which criteria. It allows going through each CV putting a score by each key factors. HR manager able to realized who every the candidate meets the best basic requirement by grasp CVs quickly.
For example, Normally BOI management trainee position is required to be a degree holder to pre- qualified as first place. As it is, BOI uses the following basis to sort out applications
No degree or a degree
Degree in Related field
Degree with 1st or 2nd Upper class or below that
Fresh graduate or well experience graduate
3.2 Preliminary interview
After screened out the applications they will call interview for selected applicants who enable to pass through screen unit. The BOI is conducting the structured interview to select the person.
Within the interview, the BOI mainly concerned the attitude, value, believes of the person rather than experience as management trainees position is concerned. The BOI believes the status of person and his knowledge and skills are directly affected to the performance of the organization.
The purpose of preliminary interviewing is to appoint the best person for the job based solely on merit and suitability. The BOI selection framework achieves this by using methods that are systematic, thorough, fair, unbiased and based on rational, objective, job related criteria.
At the interview, each candidate should be treated consistently. To achieve this panel should;
Ask the same initial questions of each candidate - self introduction
Supplement their understanding of the candidate's responses by following up questions as appropriate
Be consistent in allowing access to presentation material, notes and so on if necessary or request by interviewers
Not allow any discriminatory questions, harassment, or any other conduct which breaches the BOI equal opportunities policy or code of conduct
Secure that information obtained throughout the selection process is treated as confidential and is known only to parties involved in the selection process
Keep records of interviews and the reasons for decisions - returning this information to HR for filing (and disposal six months later).
Panel members would be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure recruitment/interview documentation is stored securely and confidentially whilst in their possession.
The BOI is conducting two selection tests for their employees. Normally, BOI used to practice writing exam as a selection tool for management trainees. Practical test would be applied for technicians and drivers only. Written paper is general knowledge testing examination and cover areas such as mathematics, social science, English language and case study analysis. Although recently BOI realized that aptitude testing process also need to introduce to measure quick decision making ability of personalities. But it would be taken more time to get approval through ministries and other government authorities. BOI has foreseen to introduce aptitude testing procedure near future.
Examination consists of mainly two parts;
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
Writing of Essay and case study
Both MCQs and written papers would be marked by one of panel selected by top management who is working under department of training & development. It is very secrete and non-accessible process of all employees except who are above the deputy directors of each and every department.
Marks release 28 days after the examination. It is uploaded in to official web site as well as displays in notice board of training and development division. Based on number of management trainees required for each and every department, BOI human recourse department will decide what the cut off level is. BOI held responsibility about the validity and reliability of the tests and the confidentiality of marks.
This in-depth interview will focus on niche and soft skills. The "Soft skills" of a candidate are gauged by using interview techniques. Technical skills are scrutinized by utilizing customized screening methods that will be identified during the initial meeting
BOI will also conduct additional screening where appropriate with reference to few departments of management trainees concerned. As example, the department who responsible for environment conservation might be either from engineering back ground for social science back ground. That that specific instances, the following screening tools may be utilized:
Face-to-Face technical interviews
Scenario questions ( general and specific to the management trainee position of specific department )
Secondary interview panel consists of political representation from relevant ministry and operational and middle level managers. Secondary interview committee is not included strategic level managers as such post of management trainee is categorized under operational management level in BOI regulations.
Medical test should be passed by the selected candidate after screed through secondary interview. Even though it was not practiced as the hard and fast rule for management trainees. No medical test has been faced by any management trainees who filtered through secondary interview in BOI selection process.
3.5 Reference check
Reference Checks are completed at this time by BOI Human resource department and will be kept confidential until requested by the selection committee through written document. HR department will immediately provide a general report that will highlight the candidate's strengths and weaknesses identified through the reference check. Past track records and current work references will be undertaken at the discretion of the candidate if they got doubt further to ensure performance of the candidate.
Under special circumstances, BOI used to ask police clearance certificate and "Grama sewaka certificate" to make sure credibility of the person. While it states no discrimination take place based on ethnic groups under BOI culture, BOI more concerned and gather additional information especially when Tamil people are selected as a management trainees during period of civil war was continue. Al most all free zones were controlled under BOI where as those areas recognized as high security zone in Sri Lanka. That was the main reason to pay more attention for Tamil people. But, it doesn't mean that BOI did not provide equal opportunity to different ethnic group of Sri Lanka. It is temporary implemented practiced by BOI to ensure the national security of Sri Lanka.
3.6 Selection decision
After complete the all above filtering processes, BOI has to acquire approval from secretary of the department of management service. Secretary of department of management services should be taken approval from BOI board of directors, and next approve from relevant ministries. Normally it would be long process and time consuming activity to print off written document of approved management trainee list just after secondary interview or reference check.
HR department will send an appointment letter to approved candidates' permanent address by register post under receipt of approved list of management trainees has been received to the department. It might states salary scale, grade of the position, probation period, contract type and contract period, working hours per week, leave entitlements, etc.
As BOI is following public services procedures for selection of management trainees, it has consumed considerably more time than private sector. As result of it, applicants discourage to apply the positions of BOI while more opportunities are hands on private sector employers. Considerable delay of whole recruitment and selection process has been occurred on stage of "selection decision" stage as HR departments' statistics. Approval had been linked to several department and ministries of public sector. Most of the cases, approval is postpones by stating lack of funds while it is essential to fill the management trainees to continue function of the department properly date today basis. I would like to suggest that it is better to hold "selection decision" by BOI itself under review of separate panel which consists of one representative from each and every department as well as approved by board of directors. It might be facilitated BOI to make their selected decision quickly without hesitation long run of approval through unnecessary links.
Furthermore, Management trainee selection process also seems to be considerably long. It is more effective if BOI can shorten the process of selection and offer 3 years probation period and strict with performance of individuals at first 3 years time to make sure the best contribution of individual is sufficient to relevant department. Key performance indicators would be setup and frequently review the improvement and development of the management trainees and report back to HR department. In order to shorten the selection process, I would like to propose new the selection process as such starting from selection test, broad view interview, reference check and selection decision. As it is recruitment for middle level or operational level management, it is not essential to held secondary interview if we can offer long probation period and vigilantly monitor their performance. If selected employees are not performing well, BOI get an opportunity to either development of non- performers or make negotiation under probation period.
Another pathetic thing here is that, political back hand is forced to short circuit the selection process as it is directly dealing with ministries. Secondary interview panel also consist of ministry - political related person to make final decisions. The best adaptation is that minimized the involvement of politicians to selection process. New proposed selection flow chat will avoid unnecessary participation of politicians.
Other than that, the best way is that display the test result and maintain another pool of candidates (Pool-2) who just missed the interview and scored marks closer to cut off level to call for broad interview in order to replace candidates (Pool-1) who above the cut off level and doesn't performing at interview well. Otherwise HR department needs to call for another news paper advertisement and repeat whole process again to acquire required number of management trainees. This procedure will save the money of the BOI as well as valuable time of current BOI employees. However, it should be a pool of candidate (Pool-2) who just missed the interview neither far below scored candidate nor politically influenced candidate.
Most of management trainees are energetic and new blood youth who seek to build up their carrier with further professional development. It is valuable criteria to make consideration of personal interest and sports involvement along with extracurricular activities under "development of screen chat" apart from educational qualifications. Personal out bound experience helps to estimate ability of team work performance, interpersonal skill, communication skills and commitment to works.
Other than written examination, it is recommended to introduce well designed Assessment Centres (ACs) to identify appropriate competencies of the candidate along with interview. "Interview- broad view of investigation" comprises ACs such as management games. Management games ensure ability of problem solving and quick decision making. It is very essential to identify those competencies as management trainees selection process is concern.
All above listed of suggestions, output and out come to improve the management trainee selection process are summarized as below.