With companies increasing their focus on the “human side
of competitiveness,” greater attention is
being given to
employee selection than ever before. Even though many
companies are laying off substantial portions of
their workforces, employee selection is a vital part of
HRM. In Chapter 5 you
will learn about the many principles and
procedures involved in employee selection.
Because of the importance of
reliability and validity in selection procedures, these
concepts are discussed early in the chapter. Following
these basic concepts is a section on sources of
information about job
candidates, except for testing and interviewing.
a discussion of what is involved in reaching a selection
Matching People and Jobs
The process of choosing individuals who have
relevant qualifications to fill existing or
projected job openings.
Considerations: Person-job fit: job
analysis identifies required individual competencies
(KSAOs) for job success. Person-organization fit:
the degree to which individuals are matched to the
culture and values of the organization.
Obtaining Reliable and Valid Information
There are various types of reliability.
Reliability is defined as follows:
the degree to which interviews,
tests, and other selection procedures yield comparable
data over time and alternative measures.
Validity is defined as
the degree to which a test or
selection procedure measures a person’s attributes.
Criterion-Related Validity Test
scores, interviewer ratings, and so on are correlated
with production records, supervisory ratings, training
outcomes, and other measures of success. It is often
easiest to think of the criteria as being some variation
of quantity and quality.
Content validity is assumed to exist when a selection
instrument measures a representative sample of knowledge
and skills needed to perform a particular job.
Content validity is established from the opinions of
subject-matter experts rather than by correlation
methods. Most often, these decisions are based on
information taken from job analysis. The
military forces have made considerable use of content
validity in the development of job knowledge tests. A
team of experienced individuals in the same job develops
an outline that covers the essential knowledge that one
should have to be able to perform in that job. The same
approach is used in developing licensing tests for
professionals (e.g., physicians, architects, and
Construct validity is the extent to which a selection
tool measures a theoretical construct or trait. For
example, a mechanical comprehension test consists of a
wide variety of tasks that are assumed to measure the
construct of mechanical comprehension. To use it in
employment situations, one has to show that the test
measures the construct and that the construct or trait
is related to satisfactory job performance.
Construct validity has not been used extensively in
employment situations but may be used in the future.
Sources of Information about Job Candidates
- Application Forms
- Online Applications
- Biographical Information Blanks (BIB)
- Background Investigations
- Polygraph Tests
- Integrity and Honesty Tests
- Medical Examinations
- Employment Tests
Application Forms It
is quite common for employers to use application forms
that are in violation of FEP legislation. The HR manager
should check all application forms periodically.
Application-form data are useful and are also valuable
as a basis for further exploration into an applicant’s
Many organizations provide online applications.
Approximately 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies have
adapted their web sites to accept job applications.
This practice speeds up the application process and
allows organizations to track applicants, combine
information, and disseminate possible leads to managers
Biographical Information Blanks
After being validated, biographical information blanks (BIBs)
are usually scored like tests. Weights are assigned to
an applicant’s responses according to how much a
response to a particular item relates to job success
(the criterion). During World War II, a BIB was
administered to candidates for aircrew positions in the
Army Air Forces. Experience in skiing and in riding a
motorcycle was found to be predictive of success in
learning to pilot an aircraft. Small bits of information
like this can add up when a BIB with a large number of
items, each having some degree of validity, is used.
Virtually all employers conduct background checks on
applicants to verify information supplied by the
applicants. Falsification of a college degree is
widespread. Even hospital administrators have been known
to hire “physicians” with fake degrees.
1. Checking References—The
mail and the telephone are used to check references.
Telephone checks provide for maximum candor.
Inadequate reference checking is one of the major
causes of high turnover, employee theft, and
white-collar crime. Employers should use all
available methods, but they should be consistent and
not discriminate by treating applicants differently.
2. Requiring Signed
Requests for References—It
is advisable to have applicants fill out forms
permitting information to be solicited from
reference sources. It is imperative to observe
privacy laws (state) and federal law, where it
3. Using Credit Reports—Note special
requirements when an investigative consumer report
is used. Also note requirements when regular credit
reports are used.
Polygraph Tests While
several states have had laws regulating the use of the
polygraph, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988
prohibits most private employers from using a lie
detector for pre-hire screening and random testing. Only
6 percent of firms in the general population currently
use lie detector tests.
Honesty and Integrity Tests
In response to the Employee Polygraph Protection Act,
employers have increased their use of paper-and-pencil
tests to assess a person’s honesty and integrity.
Research reveals that these are valid for predicting job
performance, as well as theft, disciplinary problems,
and absenteeism. Nevertheless, such tests should be used
cautiously and with other sources of information about
employers use handwriting analysis to make employment
decisions. Traditionally, it has been more popular in
Europe than in the United States. Graphology use
is now spreading throughout the United States. Use
of graphology is still not supported by formal and
rigorous validation. Therefore, academicians and
scientists view it with considerable skepticism.
Medical Examinations About
one-half of the employers reporting to a BNA survey
indicated that they give pre-employment medical
Drug Testing A
growing number of employers use drug tests to screen
applicants. Urinalysis is the preferred form of test.
More sophisticated tests are used to validate positive
findings from urine tests. Since passage of the
Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, applicants and
employees of federal contractors, the Department of
Defense, and the Department of Transportation are
subject to drug testing.
While the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
resulted in problems for employers with testing and a
decline in the use of employment tests, there has been a
return to using them. Employers have learned how
to develop programs that avoid unfair discrimination.
Nature of Employment Tests
An employment test is an objective and standardized
measure of a sample of behavior that is used to gauge a
person’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and other
characteristics (KSAOs) in relation to that of other
individuals. Even though tests are constructed and must
meet the standards of reliability and validity, it is
the responsibility of the HR staff to conduct validation
Classification of Employment Tests
Tests can be classified, generally, as either aptitude
(measuring a person’s capacity to learn or acquire new
skills) or achievement (measuring what a person
currently knows and can do).
THE EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW
Traditionally, the interview has played a very important
role in the selection process. Researchers, however,
have their doubts about its value. A recent proposal is
that the focus should be on differences among
interviewers rather than on the validity of the
interview as a method, since some interviewers are more
valid than others in their evaluation of applicants.
The Nondirective Interview The
nondirective interview allows maximum freedom to the
interviewee to determine the course of the interview.
This type of interview is particularly useful in
bringing out any information, attitudes, and feelings
that may otherwise be concealed or not allowed to
surface. This method is often used in at least one
interview conducted with candidates for high-level
The Structured Interview In response
to EEO requirements and a concern for maximizing the
validity of interviews, the structured interview uses a
standard set of questions (based on job analysis) and an
established set of answers for rating applicants.
The Situational Interview The situational
interview is similar to a structured interview, but it
gives applicants a hypothetical situation and asks them
how they would deal with it. As with the structured
interview, there are pre-established benchmark answers
for rating applicant responses.
The Behavioral Description Interview The
behavioral description interview (BDI) is similar to a
situational interview in that it focuses on real work
incidents. However, in this case, the applicant is asked
about what he or she actually did in a given situation
(e.g., “Tell me about the last time you dealt with an
irate customer.”). Use of the BDI assumes that past
performance is the best predictor of future performance.
In addition, the behavioral description interview is
more effective than the situational interview for hiring
higher-level positions such as general managers and
The Panel Interview In the panel
interview, the candidate meets with three to five
interviewers who take turns asking questions. These
panelists then pool their observations to reach a
The Computer Interview Some
companies have begun using computers to ask a
preliminary set of multiple-choice questions. The
computer does not make an evaluation per se, but it can
summarize responses, itemize contradictory responses,
point out potentially problematic responses, and
generate a list of questions that an interview might
address. Most organizations still use the computer
interview to supplement conventional interviewing
Video Interviews Companies such as AT&T,
Dell Computer, Shell Oil, and Nike are using
videoconference technologies to evaluate job candidates.
Video interviews are faster, more flexible, and less
costly than face-to-face interviews. They also allow
higher-quality decisions than other interviewing forms.
Ground Rules for Employment Interviews
- Establish an interview plan
- Establish and maintain rapport
- Be an active listener
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues
- Provide information freely
- Use questions effectively
- Separate facts from inferences
- Recognize biases and stereotypes
- Control the course of the interview
- Standardize the questions asked
Selection Decision Models
Compensatory Model Permits a high
score in one area to make up for a low score in another
Multiple Cutoff Model Requires an
applicant to achieve a minimum level of proficiency on
all selection dimensions.
Multiple Hurdle Model Only applicants with
sufficiently high scores at each selection stage go on
to subsequent stages in the selection process.
Due Wednesday, Mar. 8:
Chapters 5 and 6 in the textbook. Answer the essay questions
listed below. Total length of the combined
answers should be 2-3 pages. Apply the principles
and concepts from the assigned reading in answering the
(From Chapter 5)
(1) Identify and explain the five primary types of
(2)Compare and contrast the following four interview
approaches: nondirective interview, structured
interview, situational interview, and behavioral
(From Chapter 6)
(3) Explain the systems approach to training.
(4) Explain the P.R.O.P.E.R. method of on-the-job
Be sure to include your name, class number, and
assignment number on your completed work. Answers
to questions can be
in handwriting or typed in Microsoft Word.
can be e-mailed to me or placed in
one of my mail boxes. More options for submitting work
to me appears on the syllabus for this course.