The human resource management takes a leading role in enhancing the global competitiveness of an organization. One of its vital functions is to implement effective and organized procedures in the selection process of hiring employees. Selection involves the process of using instruments in choosing from a pool of candidates applying for a job (Tiwari, 2015). There are different selection methods involved when choosing the right candidate for a job position. These methods include the use of application form, psychometric tests, resume or curriculum vitae review, formal (structured) interview, informal (unstructured) interview, teaching observation, presentation of the candidates to a panel of teachers and online testing. Selection tests and interviews are commonly used in evaluating the applicants and these are conducted either in a structured or an unstructured form.
There is no single best or most ideal form of selection method. Most organizations use the combination of different instruments instead of using only a single form of selection method. Ideally, the combination of using the application form, resume or curriculum vitae, psychometric test and an informal (unstructured interview) are highly recommended. These provide the employer a more accurate means of assessing the skills, personality, educational background, intention and experience of an applicant. The application form is important as a means of communicating the applicant’s desire for employment.
An application form is usually structured in order to extract the same job related information that the employer wants to obtain from the applicants. Organizations usually provide a format with the same questions to be answered by the applicants (Heathfield, 2014). This process allows the employer to easily compare one applicant from the others based on the information provided for their reference. Larger organizations usually spend time in designing their application form in such a way as to ask questions that the applicants need to answer even if these involve matters that an applicant may want to avoid. Stated otherwise, an application form is a tool used by employers to extract specific information that they want to know about the applicants. The application forms are also used to speed up the process of shortlisting candidates to continue further on the selection process. Shortlisting allows the human resource manager to select the best candidates that qualify for a job criteria (University of Kent, 2013).
When shortlisting candidates, the application form, together with the applicant’s resume or curriculum vitae, are being considered for assessment by the employer. The main objective of shortlisting is to reduce the number of applicants to a position. It is an elimination process where the candidates are screened based on their answers in the application form and their resume or curriculum vitae. The resume provides for the summary of the qualifications and the experiences of the applicant that is relevant to a job position. This is an important selection tool that an employer needs in order to identify qualified applicants with relevant experience and qualifications to the job responsibilities for a specific position title. The curriculum vitae or resume communicates to the employer the education and experience of the candidate that prepares him for a specific job. Both the application form and the resume are taken together when shortlisting an applicant to go further on the next stage of the selection process, which is the interview.
An interview involves a discussion between the candidate and the employer. The interview process provides an opportunity to establish the suitability of the applicant and his qualifications to the position being applied for. The interview is usually an important step in the selection process, because those who are not shortlisted for the interview are most likely to be excluded for further consideration for the position. The interview process promotes a personal encounter between the interviewee and the interviewer. The employer has better opportunity to ask more probing questions from the applicant and can extract information that may not be immediately available from the applicant’s resume and application form. There are two forms of interviews, namely the formal or structured and informal or unstructured. Between the two, the informal interview is more beneficial because it allows the interviewer to extract more sensitive information that cannot be asked during a formal interview because the questions asked are only limited to the pre-defined or structured questions. The informal or unstructured interviews remain to be the most predominant tool that is used in screening decisions (Dana, Dawe and Peterson, 2013) because of the freedom to ask exploratory questions that help them know the candidate better.
The conduct of the psychometric test is also recommended because it allows the conduct of an aptitude test that helps in measuring the talents, skills, personality and attitude of an applicant that can be crucial in the successful performance of the job. It aids the employer to explore the personality aspect of the candidate, including his honesty and ability to manage anger (HR@Amity University, 2014), that can translate to his competence in performing the job even without past work experience. It gives the employer a more objective measure on the candidate’s qualification other than the criteria for relevant work experience and other factors that may not be apparent during the interview process and based on the application form and resume. The psychometric testing is a systematic and objective procedure in observing the candidate's behavior which cannot be measured more efficiently during an interview.
In conclusion, to make the selection process more efficient and objective, the combination of various screening tools are highly recommended. The use of an application form is necessary to communicate the desire of the applicant for employment together with the curriculum vitae which will provide a summary of his work experiences and educational qualifications to be qualified during the shortlisting process. Employers do not rely solely on these two tools when selecting the candidates, but takes the selection process further to the next stage which is the interview. This stage allows them to get to know the applicant better and ask probing questions to extract information that are not initially available from the application form and resume. To close the gap of information, a psychometric test is employed to gather more information that is not available from the interview, application form and resume. The combination of these selection methods provide a more comprehensive approach in selecting an ideal candidate for a job.
Dana, J., Dawe, R., and Peterson, N. (2013). Belief in the unstructured interview: The persistence of an illusion. Retrieved from http://journal.sjdm.org/12/121130a/jdm121130a.pdf.
Heathfield, S.M. (2014). Human resource management. Retrieved from http://humanresources.about.com/od/glossaryj/g/job-application.htm.
HR@Amity University (2014). Latest trend in HR hiring psychometric testing. Retrieved from http://www.hrzone.com/community-voice/blogs/hramity-university/latest-trend-in-hr-hiring-psychometric-testing.
Tiwari, R.K. (2015). Recruitment: Process, goals, sources, constraints, selection: Methods and differences between them. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/rktiwarisagar/recruitment-process-goals-sources-constraints-selection-methods-and-difference-between-them-43474042.