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Selective hiring

10 May, 2016 - 14:43

By Kristen Giacchino and Emily Gray

In recruiting, it is beneficial to attract not only a large quantity of applicants but a group of individuals with the necessary skills and requirements for the position. After obtaining a large, qualified applicant base managers need to identify those applicants with the highest potential for success at the organization. According to Pfeffer and Veiga, selecting the best person for the job is an extremely critical piece of the human resources inflow process (Pfeffer & Viega, Putting People First for Organizational Success, 1998). Selective hiring helps prevent the costly turnover of staff and increases the likeliness of high employee morale and productivity.

In order to evaluate the fit, it is important for managers to create a list of relevant criteria for each position before beginning the recruitment and selection process. Each job description should be associated with a list of critical skills, behaviors or attitudes that will make or break the job performance. When screening potential employees, managers need to select based on cultural fit and attitude as well as technical skills and competencies. There are some companies, such as Southwest Airlines, based out of the United States, who hire primarily based on attitude because they espouse the philosophy that you hire for attitude, train for skill. According to former CEO Herb Kelleher, “We can change skill levels through training. We can’t change attitude” (O'Reilly & Pfeffer). After determining the most important qualifications, managers can design the rest of the selection process so that it is in alignment with the other human resource processes.

Managers must strive to identify the best applicants at the lowest cost. Companies have a variety of processes available to screen potential employees, so managers must determine which system will generate the most accurate results. The methods of selection vary both in levels of effectiveness and in cost of application. In addition to biographical information, companies can conduct personal interviews, perform background checks, or request testing. Because of the costs associated with these measures, companies try to narrow down the number of applicants in each round of hiring. In some countries, such as the United States, the selection procedures are subject to Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines (Recruitment). Therefore, the companies also need to ensure that the process is accurate, with a high level of validity, reliable and related to critical aspects of the job. Proactively taking these measures will help companies avoid litigation related to discrimination in the selection process.