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Selection Methods

19 January, 2016 - 15:28

A clinical selection approach is probably the most common selection method, and it involves all who will be making the decision to hire a candidate. The decision makers review the data and, based on what they learn from the candidate and the information available to them, decide who should be hired for a job. Because interviewers have a different perception about the strengths of a candidate, this method leaves room for error. One consideration is disparate treatment, in which one’s biases may result in not hiring candidates based on their age, race, or gender. One way to handle this and limit the personal stereotypes and perceptions of the interviewers is to use a statistical method in hiring.

In the statistical method, a selection model is developed that assigns scores and gives more weight to specific factors, if necessary. For example, for some jobs, the ability to work in a team might be more important, while in others, knowledge of a specific computer program is more important. In this case, a weight can be assigned to each of the job criteria listed. For example, if the job is a project manager, ability to work with the client might be more important than how someone dresses for the interview. So, in the example shown in Figure 5.4 "Sample Selection Model, with Sample Scores and Weighting Filled In", dress is weighted 1, while being able to give bad news to a client is weighted 5. In the example, the rating is multiplied by the weight to get the score for the particular job criteria. This method allows for a fairer process and can limit disparate treatment, although it may not limit disparate impact. A statistical method may work like this: you and the hiring team review the job analysis and job description and then determine the criteria for the job. You assign weights for each area and score ranges for each aspect of the criteria, rate candidates on each area as they interview, and then score tests or examine work samples. Once each hiring manager has scored each candidate, the hiring team can compare scores in each area and hopefully hire the best person in the best way. A sample candidate selection model is included in Figure 5.4 "Sample Selection Model, with Sample Scores and Weighting Filled In".

With the statistical approach, there is more objectivity than with the clinical approach. Statistical approaches include the compensatory model, multiple cutoff model, and the multiple hurdle model. In the compensatory model, a similar method of scoring is used as the weighted model but permits a high score in an important area to make up for a lower score in another area. In our Figure 5.4 "Sample Selection Model, with Sample Scores and Weighting Filled In" example, ability to give bad news to a client might outweigh a test score. These decisions would be made before the interviews happen.

A multiple cutoff model requires that a candidate has a minimum score level on all selection criteria. In our Figure 5.4 "Sample Selection Model, with Sample Scores and Weighting Filled In" example, the candidate may be required to have a score of at least 2 out of 5 on each criteria. If this was the case, the candidate in Figure 5.4 "Sample Selection Model, with Sample Scores and Weighting Filled In" scored low on “bad news to a client,” meaning he or she wouldn’t get the job in a multiple cutoff model. In themultiple hurdle model, only candidates with high (preset) scores go to the next stages of the selection process. For example, the expectations might be to score a 4 on at least three of the items in Figure 5.4 "Sample Selection Model, with Sample Scores and Weighting Filled In". If this were the case, this candidate might make it to the next level of the selection process, since he or she scored at least a 4 on three criteria areas.

Once the discussion on whom to hire has occurred and a person has been selected, the final phase of the process is to make an offer to the candidate. This is discussed in "Making the Offer".

Figure 5.2 Sample Selection Model, with Sample Scores and Weighting Filled In 

Key Takeaways

  • Once the interview process is complete, some companies use other means of measuring candidates. For example, work samples are an excellent way of seeing how someone might perform at your company.
  • An aptitude test or achievement test can be given. An aptitude test measures how well someone might be able to do something, while an achievement test measures what the candidate already knows. Tests that measure cognitive ability and personality are examples.
  • Some organizations also perform drug tests and physical tests. A physical test might consist of being able to lift a certain amount of weight, if required for the job. Honesty tests are also given; these measure the honesty level of the candidate. However, these tests may not be reliable, since someone can guess the “right” answer.
  • Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking websites are also used to gather information about a candidate. Calling references is another option.
  • Every person interviewing the candidate should have a selection model; this method utilizes a statistical approach as opposed to a clinical approach. The selection table lists the criteria on the left and asks interviewers to provide a rating for each. This method can allow for a more consistent way of measuring candidates.


  1. Develop a sample candidate selection for your current job.
  2. Visit your or another person’s Facebook page. Consider the content from an interviewer’s point of view. Should anything be removed or changed?