Selection Methods


Carla K. Shull


Tailor the Selection System to the Competencies Required for the Job

A job analysis is conducted to determine what the most important competencies are and what level of proficiency is required for each competency. This provides the foundation for what your selection methods should measure.

Use a Holistic Approach

There are a variety of selection methods and it is important to understand which are better at measuring different characteristics and to combine the methods wisely. For example, cognitive ability is easier to measure using an online test while interpersonal presence would be easier to measure in a face-to-face interview.

Train Selection System Users 

Depending on the selection methods that are used, the level of training needed will vary. Some online tests are very easy to interpret so would require little training, while interviews and assessment centers require more rigorous training. System users should be trained so that consistent approaches and selection criteria are applied across all candidates.

Develop an Efficient Process

If there is a large candidate pool for a position, the selection funnel should start with a method that is easy to administer and screens out unqualified candidates (e.g., online assessment that is relevant to the job). The more expensive and labor-intensive methods (e.g., interviews, assessment centers) should be used later in the process once the number of candidates has been reduced. 

Consider the Experience of the Candidate

Throughout the selection process, candidates are gathering information about the organization and job to help them make a decision if they receive a job offer. The design of the selection process should allow ample opportunity for the candidate to ask questions, gain a clear understanding of the job, meet people who they will be working with and for, and obtain information about the culture of the organization.

Evaluate the System

The selection system needs to be monitored and continuously evaluated for ease of administration, legal defensibility, impact on the image or reputation of the organization, validity and cost-effectiveness. Ensure that you have a process that delivers the best possible filtering within the budget available. Also, be able to show the benefits of using your system. If your selection system is effective, benefits can be numerous, including reduced turnover, better culture fit, accelerated productivity of new hires, improved employee performance and better business results.

Keep Your Methods Up-to-Date

Research on selection methods continues to be conducted and it is important to stay abreast of the latest developments. Maintaining current knowledge of the research will help ensure your system is improved when needed. 

Be Consistent

The selection methods and processes should be applied consistently across all candidates.


Do not Use Information not Relevant to The Job

Use of non-job related information (e.g., gender, minority status, age, medical conditions) may result in discrimination of candidates and lead to legal trouble for the organization.

Do not be too Narrowly Focused

The selection process should measure several job-related competencies. If an organization relies on only one selection method (e.g., just an interview) or on only a few competencies, there will be limited information on the candidate and it will be difficult to determine if they are a good fit for the job or with the organization. 

Do not Build too Much Redundancy into System

Administration of selection methods often requires a significant amount of time from candidates, recruiters and hiring managers. Ensure that the process is efficient and does not include multiple measures of one characteristic (e.g., cognitive ability assessed with 3 or 4 instruments). Also, avoid creating overlap in questions that are asked by interviewers.

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