2.1 Recruitment Processes

The recruitment process is an important part of human resource management (HRM). It isn’t done without proper strategic planning. Recruitment is defined as a process that provides the organization with a pool of qualified job candidates from which to choose. Before companies recruit, they must implement proper staffing plans and forecasting to determine how many people they will need. The basis of the forecast will be the annual budget of the organization and the short- to long-term plans of the organization—for example, the possibility of expansion. In addition to this, the organizational life cycle will be a factor.

Forecasting is based on both internal and external factors. Internal factors include the following:

  • Budget constraints
  • Expected or trend of employee separations
  • Production levels
  • Sales increases or decreases
  • Global expansion plan

External factors might include the following:

  • Changes in technology
  • Changes in laws
  • Unemployment rates
  • Shifts in population
  • Shifts in urban, suburban, and rural areas
  • Competition

Once the forecasting data are gathered and analyzed, the HR professional can see where gaps exist and then begin to recruit individuals with the right skills, education, and backgrounds. This section will discuss this step in HR planning.

2.1.1 Recruitment Strategy

Although it might seem easy, recruitment of the right talent, at the right place and at the right time, takes skill and practice, but more importantly, it takes strategic planning. An understanding of the labor market and the factors determining the relevant aspects of the labor market is key to being strategic about your recruiting processes.

Based on this information, when a job opening occurs, the HRM professional should be ready to fill that position. Here are the aspects of developing a recruitment strategy:

  • Refer to a staffing plan.
  • Confirm the job analysis is correct through questionnaires.
  • Write the job description and job specifications.
  • Have a bidding system to recruit and review internal candidate qualifications for possible promotions.
  • Determine the best recruitment strategies for the position.
  • Implement a recruiting strategy.

The first step in the recruitment process is acknowledgment of a job opening. At this time, the manager and/or the HRM look at the job description for the job opening (assuming it isn’t a new job).

Assuming the job analysis and job description are ready, an organization may decide to look at internal candidates’ qualifications first. Internal candidates are people who are already working for the company. If an internal candidate meets the qualifications, this person might be encouraged to apply for the job, and the job opening may not be published. Many organizations have formal job posting procedures and bidding systems in place for internal candidates. For example, job postings may be sent to a listserv or other avenue so all employees have access to them. However, the advantage of publishing open positions to everyone in and outside the company is to ensure the organization is diverse.

Then the best recruiting strategies for the type of position are determined. For example, for a high-level executive position, it may be decided to hire an outside head-hunting firm. For an entry-level position, advertising on social networking websites might be the best strategy. Most organizations will use a variety of methods to obtain the best results.

Another consideration is how the recruiting process will be managed under constraining circumstances such as a short deadline or a low number of applications. In addition, establishing a protocol for how applications and résumés will be processed will save time later. For example, some HRM professionals may use software such as Microsoft Excel to communicate the time line of the hiring process to key managers.

Once these tasks are accomplished, the hope is that you will have a diverse group of people to interview (called the selection process). Before this is done, though, it is important to have information to ensure the right people are recruited. This is where the job analysis and job description come in.

2.1.2 Job Analysis and Job Descriptions

The job analysis is a formal system developed to determine what tasks people actually perform in their jobs. The purpose of a job analysis is to ensure creation of the right fit between the job and the employee and to determine how employee performance will be assessed. A major part of the job analysis includes research, which may mean reviewing job responsibilities of current employees, researching job descriptions for similar jobs with competitors, and analyzing any new responsibilities that need to be accomplished by the person with the position. A job diagnostic survey should be used to diagnose job characteristics prior to any redesign of a job.

To start writing a job analysis, data need to be gathered and analysed. Please note, though, that a job analysis is different from a job design. Job design refers to how a job can be modified or changed to be more effective—for example, changing tasks as new technology becomes available.

The information gathered from the job analysis is used to develop both the job description and the job specifications. A job description is a list of tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a job. Job specifications, on the other hand, discuss the skills and abilities the person must have to perform the job. The two are tied together, as job descriptions are usually written to include job specifications. A job analysis must be performed first, and then based on that data, we can successfully write the job description and job specifications. Think of the analysis as “everything an employee is required and expected to do.”

Two types of job analyses can be performed: a task-based analysis and a competency- or skills-based analysis. A task-based analysis focuses on the duties of the job, as opposed to a competency-based analysis, which focuses on the specific knowledge and abilities an employee must have to perform the job. An example of a task-based analysis might include information on the following:

  • Write performance evaluations for employees.
  • Prepare reports.
  • Answer incoming phone calls.
  • Assist customers with product questions.
  • Cold-call three customers a day.

With task job analysis, the specific tasks are listed and it is clear. With competency based, it is less clear and more objective. However, competency-based analysis might be more appropriate for specific, high-level positions. For example, a competency-based analysis might include the following:

  • Able to utilize data analysis tools
  • Able to work within teams
  • Adaptable
  • Innovative

You can clearly see the difference between the two. The focus of task-based analyses is the job duties required, while the focus of competency-based analyses is on how a person can apply their skills to perform the job. One is not better than the other but is simply used for different purposes and different types of jobs. For example, a task-based analysis might be used for a receptionist, while a competency-based analysis might be used for a vice president of sales position. Consider the legal implications, however, of which job analysis is used. Because a competency-based job analysis is more subjective, it might be more difficult to tell whether someone has met the criteria.

Once you have decided if a competency-based or task-based analysis is more appropriate for the job, you can prepare to write the job analysis. Of course, this isn’t something that should be done alone. Feedback from managers should be taken into consideration to make this task useful in all levels of the organization. Organization is a key component to preparing for your job analysis. For example, will you perform an analysis on all jobs in the organization or just focus on one department? Once you have determined how you will conduct the analysis, a tool to conduct the analysis should be chosen. Most organizations use questionnaires (online or hard copy) to determine the duties of each job title. Some organizations will use face-to-face interviews to perform this task, depending on time constraints and the size of the organization. A job analysis questionnaire usually includes the following types of questions, obviously depending on the type of industry:

  • Employee information such as job title, how long in position, education level, how many years of experience in the industry
  • Key tasks and responsibilities
  • Decision making and problem solving: this section asks employees to list situations in which problems needed to be solved and the types of decisions made or solutions provided.
  • Level of contact with colleagues, managers, outside vendors, and customers
  • Physical demands of the job, such as the amount of heavy lifting or ability to see, hear, or walk
  • Personal abilities required to do the job—that is, personal characteristics needed to perform well in this position
  • Specific skills required to do the job—for example, the ability to run a particular computer program
  • Certifications to perform the job

 

Once all employees (or the ones you have identified) have completed the questionnaire, you can organize the data, which is helpful in creating job descriptions. If there is more than one person completing a questionnaire for one job title, the data should be combined to create one job analysis for one job title. There are a number of software packages available to help human resources perform this task.

Once the job analysis has been completed, it is time to write the job description and specifications, using the data you collected. Job descriptions should always include the following components:

  • Job functions (the tasks the employee performs)
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities (what an employee is expected to know and be able to do, as well as personal attributes)
  • Education and experience required
  • Physical requirements of the job (ability to lift, see, or hear, for example)

Once the job description has been written, obtaining approval from the hiring manager is the next step. Then the HR professional can begin to recruit for the position. Before we discuss specific recruitment strategies, we should address the law and how it relates to hiring.

NOTE: One of the most important parts of HRM is to know and apply the law in all activities the HR department handles. Specifically with hiring processes, the law is very clear on a fair hiring that is inclusive to all individuals applying for a job. The laws discussed here are applied specifically to the recruiting of new employees.

2.1.3 Recruitment Strategies

2.1.3.1 Recruiters

Some organizations choose to have specific individuals working for them who focus solely on the recruiting function of HR. Recruiters use similar sources to recruit individuals, such as professional organizations, websites, and other methods discussed in this chapter. Recruiters are excellent at networking and usually attend many events where possible candidates will be present. Recruiters keep a constant pipeline of possible candidates in case a position should arise that would be a good match.

There are three main types of recruiters:

  • Executive search firm. These companies are focused on high-level positions, such as management and CEO roles. They typically charge 10–20 percent of the first year salary, so they can be quite expensive. However, they do much of the upfront work, sending candidates who meet the qualifications.
  • Temporary recruitment or staffing firm. Suppose your receptionist is going on medical leave and you need to hire somebody to replace him, but you don’t want a long-term hire. You can utilize the services of a temporary recruitment firm to send you qualified candidates who are willing to work shorter contracts. Usually, the firm pays the salary of the employee and the company pays the recruitment firm, so you don’t have to add this person to your payroll. If the person does a good job, there may be opportunities for you to offer him or her a full-time, permanent position. Kelly Services, Manpower, and Snelling Staffing Services are examples of staffing firms.
  • Corporate recruiter. A corporate recruiter is an employee within a company who focuses entirely on recruiting for his or her company. Corporate recruiters are employed by the company for which they are recruiting. This type of recruiter may be focused on a specific area, such as technical recruiting.

A contingent recruiter is paid only when the recruiter starts working, which is often the case with temporary recruitment or staffing firms. A retained recruiter gets paid up front (in full or a portion of the fee) to perform a specific search for a company.

While the HR professional, when using recruiters, may not be responsible for the details of managing the search process, he or she is still responsible for managing the process and the recruiters. The job analysis, job description, and job specifications still need to be developed and candidates will still need to be interviewed.

2.1.3.2 Campus Recruiting

Colleges and universities can be excellent sources of new candidates, usually at entry-level positions. Consider technical colleges that teach cooking, automotive technology, or cosmetology. These can be great sources of people with specialized training in a specific area. Universities can provide people that may lack actual experience but have formal training in a specific field. Many organizations use their campus recruiting programs to develop new talent, who will eventually develop into managers.

For this type of program to work, it requires the establishment of relationships with campus communities, such as campus career services departments. It can also require time to attend campus events, such as job fairs. Setting up a formal internship program might also be a way to utilize college and university contacts.

2.1.3.3 Professional Associations

Professional associations are usually nonprofit organizations whose goal is to further a particular profession. Almost every profession has its own professional organization.

2.1.3.4 Websites

If you have ever had to look for a job, you know there are numerous websites to help you do that. From the HR perspective, there are many options to place an ad, most of which are inexpensive. The downside to this method is the immense number of résumés you may receive from these websites, all of which may or may not be qualified. Many organizations, to combat this, implement software that searches for keywords in résumés, which can help combat this problem.

2.1.3.5 Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and MySpace are excellent places to obtain a media presence to attract a variety of workers.  The goal of using social media as a recruiting tool is to create a buzz about your organization, share stories of successful employees, and tout an interesting culture. Even smaller companies can utilize this technology by posting job openings as their status updates. This technique is relatively inexpensive, but there are some things to consider. For example, tweeting about a job opening might spark interest in some candidates, but the trick is to show your personality as an employer early on.

Creativity with a social media campaign also counts. Facebook allows free job postings in Facebook Marketplace, and the company Facebook page can also be used as a recruiting tool. Some organizations decide to use Facebook ads, which are paid on a “per click” or per impression (how many people potentially see the ad) basis. Facebook ad technology allows specific regions and Facebook keywords to be targeted. Some individuals even use their personal Facebook page to post status updates listing job opportunities and asking people to respond privately if they are interested.

2.1.3.6 Events

Many organizations hold events annually to allow people to network and learn about new technologies.

Some organizations host job fairs all over the country; participating in this type of job fair may be an excellent way to meet a large variety of candidates. Other events may not be specifically for recruiting, but attending these events may allow you to meet people who could possibly fill a position or future position.

2.1.3.7 Special/Specific Interest Groups (SIGs)

Special/specific interest groups (SIGs), which may require membership of individuals, focus on specific topics for members. Often SIGs will have areas for job posting, or a variety of discussion boards where jobs can be posted. Recruiting using SIGs can be a great way to target a specific group of people who are trained in a specific area or who have a certain specialty.

2.1.3.8 Referrals

Most recruiting plans include asking current employees, “Who do you know?” The quality of referred applicants is usually high, since most people would not recommend someone they thought incapable of doing the job. E-mailing a job opening to current employees and offering incentives to refer a friend can be a quick way of recruiting individuals. Due to the success of most formalized referral programs, it is suggested that a program be part of the overall HRM strategic plan and recruitment strategy. However, be wary of using referrals as the only method for recruitment, as this can lead to lack of diversity in a workplace. Nepotism means a preference for hiring relatives of current employees, which can also lead to lack of diversity and management issues in the workplace.

Usually, most incentives require the new employee to be hired and stay a specified period of time. Some examples of incentives that can be used to refer a friend might include the following:

  • A gift card to the employee
  • A financial incentive
  • Raffles for most referrals

These types of programs are called employee referral programs (ERPs) and tend to generate one of the highest returns on investment per hire. To make an ERP program effective, some key components should be put into place:

  • Communicate the program to existing employees.
  • Track the success of the program using metrics of successful hires.
  • Be aware of the administrative aspect and the time it takes to implement the program effectively.
  • Set measureable goals up front for a specialized program.

2.2 Interviewing

Interviewing people costs money. As a result, after candidates are selected, good use of time is critical to making sure the interview process allows for selection of the right candidate. In an unstructured interview, questions are changed to match the specific applicant; for example, questions about the candidate’s background in relation to their résumé might be used. In a structured interview, there is a set of standardized questions based on the job analysis, not on individual candidates’ résumés. While a structured interview might seem the best option to find out about a particular candidate, the bigger concern is that the interview revolves around the specific job for which the candidate is interviewing. In a structured interview, the expected or desired answers are determined ahead of time, which allows the interviewer to rate responses as the candidate provides answers. For purposes of this section, we will assume that all interviews you perform will be structured, unless otherwise noted.

2.2.1Types of Interviews

Interview processes can be time-consuming, so it makes sense to choose the right type of interview(s) for the individual job. Some jobs, for example, may necessitate only one interview, while another may necessitate a telephone interview and at least one or two traditional interviews. Keep in mind, though, that there will likely be other methods with which to evaluate a candidate’s potential, such as testing.

Here are different types of interviews:

  • Traditional interview. This type of interview normally takes place in the office. It consists of the interviewer and the candidate, and a series of questions are asked and answered.
  • Telephone interview. A telephone interview is often used to narrow the list of people receiving a traditional interview. It can be used to determine salary requirements or other data that might automatically rule out giving someone a traditional interview. For example, if you receive two hundred résumés and narrow these down to twenty-five, it is still unrealistic to interview twenty-five people in person. At this point, you may decide to conduct phone interviews of those twenty-five, which could narrow the in-person interviews to a more manageable ten or so people.
  • Panel interview. A panel interview occurs when several people are interviewing one candidate at the same time. While this type of interview can be nerve racking for the candidate, it can also be a more effective use of time. Consider some companies who require three to four people to interview candidates for a job. It would be unrealistic to ask the candidate to come in for three or four interviews, so it makes sense for them to be interviewed by everyone at once.
  • Information interview. Informational interviews are usually used when there is no specific job opening, but the candidate is exploring possibilities in a given career field. The advantage to conducting these types of interviews is the ability to find great people ahead of a job opening.
  • Meal interviews. Many organizations offer to take the candidate to lunch or dinner for the interview. This can allow for a more casual meeting where, as the interviewer, you might be able to gather more information about the person, such as their manners and treatment of waitstaff. This type of interview might be considered an unstructured interview, since it would tend to be more of a conversation as opposed to a session consisting of specific questions and answers.
  • Group interview. In a group interview, two or more candidates interview at the same time. This type of interview can be an excellent source of information if you need to know how they may relate to other people in their job.
  • Video interviews. Video interviews are the same as traditional interviews, except that video technology is used. This can be cost saving if one or more of your candidates are from out of town. Skype, for example, allows free video calls. An interview may not feel the same as a traditional interview, but the same information can be gathered about the candidate.
  • Nondirective interview (sometimes called an unstructured interview). In a nondirective interview, the candidate essentially leads the discussion. Some very general questions that are planned ahead of time may be asked, but the candidate spends more time talking than the interviewer. The questions may be more open ended; for example, instead of asking, “Do you like working with customers?” you may ask, “What did you like best about your last job?” The advantage of this type of interview is that it can give candidates a good chance to show their abilities; however, the downside is that it may be hard to compare potential candidates, since questions are not set in advance. It relies on more of a “gut feeling” approach.

It is likely you may use one or more of these types of interviews. For example, you may conduct phone interviews, then do a meal interview, and follow up with a traditional interview, depending on the type of job.

2.2.2 Interview Questions

Most interviews consist of many types of questions, but they usually lean toward situational interviews or behavior description interviews. A situational interview is one in which the candidate is given a sample situation and is asked how he or she might deal with the situation. In a behavior description interview, the candidate is asked questions about what he or she actually did in a variety of given situations. The assumption in this type of interview is that someone’s past experience or actions are an indicator of future behavior. These types of questions, as opposed to the old “tell me about yourself” questions, tend to assist the interviewer in knowing how a person would handle or has handled situations. These interview styles also use a structured method and provide a better basis for decision making.

Examples of situational interview questions might include the following:

  • If you saw someone stealing from the company, what would you do?
  • One of your employees is performing poorly, but you know he has some personal home issues he is dealing with. How would you handle complaints from his colleagues about lack of performance?
  • A coworker has told you she called in sick three days last week because she actually decided to take a vacation. What would you do?
  • You are rolling out a new sales plan on Tuesday, which is really important to ensure success in your organization. When you present it, the team is lukewarm on the plan. What would you do?
  • You disagree with your supervisor on her handling of a situation. What would you do?

Examples of behavior description interview questions might include the following:

  • Tell me about a time you had to make a hard decision. How did you handle this process?
  • Give an example of how you handled an angry customer.
  • Do you show leadership in your current or past job? What would be an example of a situation in which you did this?
  • What accomplishments have given you the most pride and why?
  • What plans have you made to achieve your career goals?

There are many types of interview questions that would be considered illegal or impolite. Here are some examples:

  • National and ethnic minority origin.
  • Marital status. You can’t ask direct questions about marital status or ages of children. An alternative may be to ask, “Do you have any restrictions on your ability to travel, since this job requires 50 percent travel?”
  • Religion and politics. It’s illegal to ask candidates about their religious or political affiliation in EU-countries.
  • Disabilities. You may not directly ask if the person has disabilities or recent illnesses. You can ask if the candidate is able to perform the functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.
  • Personal questions. Avoid asking personal questions, such as questions about social organizations or clubs, unless they relate to the job.

Also, be aware of a halo effect or reverse halo effect. This occurs when an interviewer becomes biased because of one positive or negative trait a candidate possesses. Interview bias can occur in almost any interview situation. Interview bias is when an interviewer makes assumptions about the candidate that may not be accurate. These assumptions can be detrimental to an interview process. Contrast bias is a type of bias that occurs when comparing one candidate to others. It can result in one person looking particularly strong in an area, when in fact they look strong compared to the other candidates. A gut feeling bias is when an interviewer relies on an intuitive feeling about a candidate. Generalization bias can occur when an interviewer assumes that how someone behaves in an interview is how they always behave. For example, if a candidate is very nervous and stutters while talking, an assumption may be made that he or she always stutters. Another important bias called cultural noise bias occurs when a candidate thinks he or she knows what the interviewer wants to hear and answers the questions based on that assumption. Nonverbal behavior bias occurs when an interviewer likes an answer and smiles and nods, sending the wrong signal to the candidate. A similar to me bias results when an interviewer has a preference for a candidate because he or she views that person as having similar attributes as themselves. Finally, recency bias occurs when the interviewer remembers candidates interviewed most recently more so than the other candidates.

2.2.3 Interview Process

Once the criteria have been selected and interview questions developed, it is time to start interviewing people. Your interviewing plan can determine the direction and process that should be followed:

  1. Recruit new candidates.
  2. Establish criteria for which candidates will be rated.
  3. Develop interview questions based on the analysis.
  4. Set a time line for interviewing and decision making.
  5. Connect schedules with others involved in the interview process.
  6. Set up the interviews with candidates and set up any testing procedures.
  7. Interview the candidates and perform any necessary testing.
  8. Once all results are back, meet with the hiring team to discuss each candidate and make a decision based on the established criteria.
  9. Put together an offer for the candidate.

As you can see, a large part of the interviewing process is planning. For example, consider the hiring manager who doesn’t know exactly the type of person and skills she is looking to hire but sets up interviews anyway. It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine who should be hired if you don’t know what you are looking for in the first place. In addition, utilizing time lines for interviewing can help keep everyone involved on track and ensure the chosen candidate starts work in a timely manner. Here are some tips to consider when working with the interview process:

  • Make sure everyone is trained on the interviewing process. Allowing someone who has poor interviewing skills to conduct the interview will likely not result in the best candidate.
  • Listen to the candidate and try to develop a rapport with them. Understand how nervous they must be and try to put them at ease.
  • Be realistic about the job. Do not try to paint a “rosy” picture of all aspects of the job. Being honest up front helps a candidate know exactly what they will be in for when they begin their job.
  • Be aware of your own stereotypes and do not let them affect how you view a potential candidate.
  • Watch your own body language during the interview and that of the candidate. Body language is a powerful tool in seeing if someone is the right fit for a job.
  • Stick to your criteria for hiring. Do not ask questions that have not been predetermined in your criteria.
  • Learn to manage disagreement and determine a fair process if not everyone on the interviewing team agrees on who should be hired. Handling these types of disagreements is discussed further in Chapter 9 "Successful Employee Communication".

Once you have successfully managed the interview process, it is time to make the decision.

2.3 The Selection Process

Once you have developed your recruitment plan, recruited people, and now have plenty of people to choose from, you can begin the selection process. The selection process refers to the steps involved in choosing people who have the right qualifications to fill a current or future job opening. Usually, managers and supervisors will be ultimately responsible for the hiring of individuals, but the role of human resource management (HRM) is to define and guide managers in this process.

Because of the high cost, it is important to hire the right person from the beginning and ensure a fair selection process.

The selection process consists of five distinct aspects:

  • Criteria development. All individuals involved in the hiring process should be properly trained on the steps for interviewing, including developing criteria, reviewing résumés, developing interview questions, and weighting the candidates. The first aspect to selection is planning the interview process, which includes criteria development. Criteria development means determining which sources of information will be used and how those sources will be scored during the interview. The criteria should be related directly to the job analysis and the job specifications. In fact, some aspects of the job analysis and job specifications may be the actual criteria. In addition to this, include things like personality or cultural fit, which would also be part of criteria development. This process usually involves discussing which skills, abilities, and personal characteristics are required to be successful at any given job. By developing the criteria before reviewing any résumés, the HR manager or manager can be sure he or she is being fair in selecting people to interview. Some organizations may need to develop an application or a biographical information sheet. Most of these are completed online and should include information about the candidate, education, and previous job experience.
  • Application and résumé review. Once the criteria have been developed (step one), applications can be reviewed. People have different methods of going through this process, but there are also computer programs that can search for keywords in résumés and narrow down the number of résumés that must be looked at and reviewed.
  • Interviewing. After the HR manager and/or manager have determined which applications meet the minimum criteria, he or she must select those people to be interviewed. Most people do not have time to review twenty or thirty candidates, so the field is sometimes narrowed even further with a phone interview. This is discussed in Section 5.3.1 "Types of Interviews".
  • Test administration. Any number of tests may be administered before a hiring decision is made. These include drug tests, physical tests, personality tests, and cognitive tests. Some organizations also perform reference checks, credit report checks, and background checks. Types of tests are discussed in Section 5.4.1 "Testing". Once the field of candidates has been narrowed down, tests can be administered.
  • Making the offer. The last step in the selection process is to offer a position to the chosen candidate. Development of an offer via e-mail or letter is sometimes a more formal part of this process. Compensation and benefits will be defined in an offer. We discuss this in Chapter 6 "Compensation and Benefits".

2.3.1 Criteria Development and Résumé Review

2.3.1.1 Criteria Development Considerations

Many HR professionals and managers develop the criteria for hiring, as well as the interview questions, before reviewing any résumés. This allows for a streamlined process with specific guidelines already set before reviewing a résumé. For example, criteria for a project management job might include the following:

  • Two years of experience managing a … HUF/EUR or more project budget
  • A bachelor’s degree in business or closely related field
  • Ability to work on multiple projects at once
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Conflict-management ability
  • Ability to manage a team of five to six diverse workers
  • Score of excellent from most recent employer

By setting criteria ahead of time, the hiring team has a clear picture of exactly what qualifications they are looking for. As a result, it is easier to determine who should move forward in the selection process. For example, if someone does not have a bachelor’s degree, given this is a criterion, their application materials can be filed away, perhaps for another job opening. Likewise, the HR manager can include those résumés with two or more years of experience and bachelor’s degree in the interview pile and then develop interview questions that show the candidates’ problem-solving, multitasking, and conflict-management abilities. Résumé parsing or résumé scanning software is readily available and can make the initial screening easier.

2.3.1.2 Validity and Reliablity

The validity refers to how useful the tool is to measure a person’s attributes for a specific job opening. A tool may include any and all of the following:

  • Résumé-scanning software
  • Reference checks
  • Cognitive ability tests
  • Work samples
  • Credit reports
  • Biographical information blanks
  • Weighted application forms
  • Personality tests
  • Interview questions

Biographical information blanks (BIBs) are a useful part of the application process. A BIB is a series of questions about a person’s history that may have shaped his or her behavior. The BIB can be scored in the same way as an interview or a résumé, assuming the organization knows which types of answers are predictable for success in a given job. Similarly, a weighted application form involves selecting an employee characteristic to be measured and then identifying which questions on the application predict the desired behavior. Then scores are assigned to each predictor. Of course, the development of the scoring should be determined before any résumés and application forms have been reviewed. In other words, any tool you use to determine someone’s qualifications for a job should have validity to determine they are the right fit for the job.

Reliability refers to the degree in which other selection techniques yield similar data over time. For example, if you ask the same interview question of every applicant for the project management position, and the “right” answer always yields similar, positive results, such as the hiring of a successful employee every time, the question would be considered reliable. An example of an unreliable test might occur with reference checks. Most candidates would not include a reference on their résumé who might give them a poor review, making this a less reliable method for determining skills and abilities of applicants.

2.3.1.3 Fit Issues

Fit includes not only the right technical expertise, education, and experience but also fit in company culture and team culture. If a potential candidate is not interested in long-term career growth, he or she might not be deemed an appropriate strategic fit with the organization. In today’s organizations, most people are required to work within teams. As a result, fit within a team is as important as company culture fit.

2.3.2 Reviewing Résumés

Once we have developed our criteria for a specific job, we can begin the review process. Everyone prefers to perform this differently. For example, all the hiring decision makers may review all résumés, list the people they would like to meet in person, and then compare the lists. Another method might be to rate each candidate and interview only those above a certain score. Obviously, much of the process will depend on the organization’s size and the type of job. None of this process can be done fairly without first setting criteria for the job.

When looking at résumés to determine whom to interview, a manager should be concerned with the concepts of disparate impact and disparate treatment. Disparate impact is unintended discrimination against a protected group as a whole through the use of a particular requirement. Disparate impact may be present in the interviewing process, as well as other employment-related processes such as pay raises and promotions. Every criteria developed should be closely considered to see if it might have disparate impact on a protected group of individuals. For example, the requirement of a certain credit score might have a negative impact on some groups, who may not have a well-developed credit rating. However, if being able to manage money is an important requirement of the job, this requirement might not be discriminatory.

Disparate treatment in hiring might include not interviewing a candidate because of one’s perception about the candidate’s age, race, or gender. The last consideration is the hiring of internal versus external candidates. A bidding process may occur to notify internal candidates of open positions. Generally speaking, it is best to go through a formal interview process with all candidates, even if they work within the organization. This way, an HR professional can be assured that disparate treatment does not occur because of favoritism. For example, a senior colleague of your organization just left, and you believe a younger colleague in that department is qualified to take over the position. Suppose, though, that the colleague has been lobbying you for the job for some time and has even taken you out to lunch to talk about the job. While this person has maintained high visibility and lobbied for the promotion, there may be equally qualified internal candidates who did not use the same lobbying techniques. Automatically offering the position to this internal candidate might undermine others who are equally qualified. So while hiring internally can be a motivator, making assumptions about a particular person may not be a motivator to others. This is why it is best, even if you hire internally, to post a formal job announcement listing the job description and job qualifications, so everyone in the organization can have an equal opportunity to apply for the job. Once you have completed the criteria for the particular job and narrowed down the field, you can begin the interview process.

2.3.3 Testing

A variety of tests may be given upon successful completion of an interview. The major categories of tests include the following:

  • Cognitive ability tests
  • Personality tests
  • Physical ability tests
  • Job knowledge tests
  • Work sample

A number of written tests can be administered. A cognitive ability test can measure reasoning skills, math skills, and verbal skills. An aptitude test measures a person’s ability to learn new skills, while an achievement test measures someone’s current knowledge. Depending on the type of job, one or both will be better suited.

A cognitive ability test measures intelligences, such as numerical ability and reasoning. It is important to note that some cognitive ability tests can have disparate impact. Some sample test categories might include the following:

  • Reasoning questions
  • Mathematical questions and calculations
  • Verbal and/or vocabulary skills

Aptitude tests can measure things such as mechanical aptitude and clerical aptitude (e.g., speed of typing or ability to use a particular computer program). Usually, an aptitude test asks specific questions related to the requirements of the job.  Personality tests may be measured and then compared with successful employee scores.

The Big Five personality test looks at extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Self-assessment statements might include the following:

  • I have an assertive personality.
  • I am generally trusting.
  • I am not always confident in my abilities.
  • I have a hard time dealing with change.

Some institutions also require physical ability tests; for example, to earn a position in a fire department, you may have to be able to carry one hundred pounds up three flights of stairs. If you use tests in your hiring processes, the key to making them useful is to determine a minimum standard or expectation, specifically related to the requirements of the job. An HR manager should also consider the legality of such tests.  A job knowledge test measures the candidate’s level of understanding about a particular job. For example, a job knowledge test may require an engineer to write code in a given period of time or may ask candidates to solve a case study problem related to the job.

Work sample tests ask candidates to show examples of work they have already done. In the advertising business, this may include a portfolio of designs, or for a project manager, this can include past project plans or budgets. When applying for a pharmaceutical representative position, a “brag book” might be required. A brag book is a list of recommendation letters, awards, and achievements that the candidate shares with the interviewer. Work sample tests can be a useful way to test. These work samples can often be a good indicator of someone’s abilities in a specific area. As always, before looking at samples, the interviewer should have specific criteria or expectations developed so each candidate can be measured fairly. Once the interview is completed and testing occurs, other methods, including checking references, driving records, and credit history, can be performed. Some companies even use Facebook as a way of gauging the candidate’s professionalism.

Reference checking is essential to verify a candidate’s background. It is an added assurance that the candidate’s abilities are parallel with what you were told in the interview. While employment dates and job titles can be verified with previous employers, many employers will not verify more than what can be verified in the employment record because of privacy laws. However, if you do find someone who is willing to discuss more than just dates and job titles, a list of questions is appropriate. Some of these questions might include the following:

  • What was the title and responsibilities of the position the candidate had while at your company?
  • Do you think the candidate was qualified to assume those responsibilities?
  • Does this person show up on time and have good attendance?
  • Would you consider this person a team player?
  • What are the three strongest and weakest characteristics of this candidate?
  • Would you rehire this person?

If a candidate will be driving a company car or vehicle, driving records may be checked. Criminal background checks may also be used if the position will include interaction with the public.

Some organizations will also require physical examinations to ensure the candidate can perform the tasks required. A final form of testing is the honesty test. A number of “what would you do” questions are asked. The challenge with this type of test is that many people know the “right” answer but may not be honest in their responses.

2.3.4 Making the Offer

Oftentimes once the decision is made to hire a candidate, HR professionals feel their job is finished. But making the offer to the chosen candidate can be equally as important as the interview process. If the offer is not handled properly, you can lose the candidate, or if the candidates takes the job, he or she could start off on the wrong foot.

Detailed information should be asked of the candidate before the offer is even made. As soon as the offer is made, power is shifted to the candidate. To handle this, he suggests asking salary questions in the interview, including the following:

  • “If we were to make a job offer today, when would you be in a position to accept or reject the offer?” If the candidate answers “right now,” this indicates they do not have other job offers on the table or if they do, you are their first choice.
  • “At what point, EUR/HUF wise, would you accept our job offer and at what point, EUR/HUF wise would you reject the offer?” The advantage of using this strategy is that it gets to the point of understanding the candidate’s expectations. If the interviewee does not respond right away, you can clarify by asking, “I am asking this question because I would like to gauge your interest level. Share with me the ideal salary offer versus at what point you would be willing to walk away from this opportunity.”

Asking these questions can assist in qualifying candidates, based on salary expectations. For example, if a candidate requests 20 percent more than you are able to pay for the job, this discussion can be had before the offer is even made, perhaps making this candidate no longer viable. Once you have determined in the interview process that the salary expectation is in the range of what you can offer, the first step is to make the offer as soon as the decision is made. In a tight labor market, waiting a week or two may impact your ability to hire your first choice.

Based on the range of salary you can offer, consider the following questions when making the offer to a candidate:

  • What is the scarcity of the particular skills set?
  • What are the “going” wages in your geographic area?
  • What are the current economic conditions?
  • What is the current pay for similar positions in your organization?
  • What is your organizational compensation strategy?
  • What is the fair market value of the job?
  • What is the level of the job within the organization?
  • What are your budget constraints?
  • How soon will the employee be productive in the organization?
  • Are there other candidates equally qualified that might have lower salary expectations?
  • What are the national and regional unemployment rates?
  • If you cannot pay more, can you offer other perks such as a signing bonus or flexible work schedule?