The selection interview is heavily criticized and currently seen as a contributing factor to poor job performance. The controversial aspect is that, a big number of people with high job performances have been employed using this criterion being questioned. Altogether, the blame cannot be placed on the critics or any other party, but only on the change in time. Time advancement has made people invent ideas that are in their favor. Unsuitable and suitable job applicants have devised ways of twisting and maneuvering interviews and panelists respectively, into their favors. Consequently, applicants hired are incompetent and partially skilled or totally unskilled leading to poor job performance. Therefore, ways and means of solving this problem have become the core priority in all the organizations. Compromise of highly set standards is a thing of the past and organizations have shifted their focus towards enhancing recruitment and selection process to regain lost stature from incompetence.
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The terms selection and recruitment, are often not differentiated and in most cases are assumed to mean the same, but in reality, they have different meanings. According to (Rynes and Cable 2003), Recruitment means the process in which an organization persuades individuals to apply for vacancies (p. 55). ‘The Times 100’ (2009) also defines recruitment ‘as the procedure in which a firm recognizes a vacant position to be filled to the point of receiving applications from interested candidates’ while selection on the other hand, is the process of picking the applicant appropriate for the vacant position (par. 1). There are different methods of recruitment and selection as explained below;
How Recruitment and Selection Is Carried Out
Recruitment can be categorized into two; Internal and External (Rynes and Cable p.55). Internal recruitment is the process whereby an organization influences existing employees within the company to apply for vacant positions, and it is done either through; word of mouth, or memorandums, or internal job postings, or even through internship programs. For example, a subordinate staff working within an organization can be told to apply for a clerical position pronounced vacant. A deputy chief executive can respond to an internal job posting by applying as a chief executive officer. On the other hand, external recruitment is focused on external labor force. Employment agents, campus recruitment, job referrals, job advertisements are some of the methods used in the latter form of recruitment (Rynes and Cable 2003, p.56).
Selection methods include; interviewing, presentations by the candidates, practical tests of skills and so on (Rynes and Cable 2003, p. 60). Selection starts when applicants are sifted, then face-to-face interviews are conducted and they include, individual, and or panel interview. Then behavioral testing is conducted and the procedure ends with the welcoming of the desired candidate into the organization.
Criticism of Selection Interview
Interview is part of the process of selection, but it has been met with much criticism. It is believed that it results in poor job performance of the successful candidate. (Dean and Whyte 1958) asked whether ‘the interviewer knew if the interviewee tells the truth and if the truth being sought is constant?’ (p. 34). This criticism arises many suspicions revolving around selection interviews. The candidates always say what the panelists want to hear, but the bottom line is do they say the truth? Many interviewees aim at acquiring the job in question at the expense of telling the truth. The reason being, their lies cannot be proved and if they are to be proved then, more time will be needed.
(Dean and Whyte 1958) further criticizes interviews by denoting that, ‘what people say and do is different (p. 35). For example, a particular company may be aspiring to employ the best person with information and technology knowledge. The candidate in question is therefore asked if he can develop software and also create a website. As the candidate is desperate for the job, he may choose to say yes though he does not know how to do that. If he is absorbed his performance will be below par with the expectations of the company. This strongly adds weight to the reasons why Dean and colleagues did not support interviews as a way of selecting a candidate to fill a position in a firm. The third criticism by Dean and colleague was that ‘there is data inadequacy in interviews weighed against data that could be retrieved from observation’ (1958, p. 38). If observation is done, more of the hidden facts and facets of the candidates resurface. This cannot be achieved in the interview as the candidate seals the traits.
Barriers to Recruitment and Selection
The criticism of interviews as a selection process has led to a lot of research being done on the barriers to effective recruiting and selection of candidates. The researchers argue that if recruitment and selection process is being hindered then the end result (candidate chosen) will be inefficient and ineffective. (Bernthal n.d) did a study on recruiting and selection. In this study he pointed out some of the obstacles that block effective recruiting and selection of candidates. They included (Bernthal n.d, p. 10):
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- The difficulty to obtain a contender with specific skills set – a company might need to hire someone who has specific set of requirements, but the applicants do not match the exact description they require. This results in choosing a candidate who almost has the required skills and thus the quality of job output is compromised in future.
- Competition for the same candidate – if a candidate is in high demand, the recruiting and selection procedures are altered in order to keep the candidate in their favor. This act may make the company overlook small traits on the applicant which may affect productivity in the later stage.
- Rise in complexity of searching and choosing the right candidate – the issue of finding and even recognizing the best candidate becomes a task as qualified and skilled personnel are hard to find.
- The delaying and tiresome process of selection – qualified candidates might give up even before the end of the selection process due to delays. Some companies set up long and time-consuming processes which may chase away suitable candidates.
- The scope of job responsibilities – the expanding scope of the job description might also be an obstacle in the fact that many applicants may weigh it with the return and even decide not to take the offer. Also, the wide coverage of job responsibility might make one perform ineffectively.
- Inadequacy of human resource personnel – low number of the human resource personnel may prolong the process, or hurriedly select the candidate due to tiresome nature. This compromises the quality and the set standards of the company.
- Also corruption and bribery can be a tool hindering effective recruitment and selection process. This makes unqualified candidates have undue advantage over the qualified ones. The long-run results are poor employee job performance.
- Sexual favors can make a member of the panelist be biased resulting in unqualified candidate being chosen.
Recommendations and Suggestions
Selection interview is an important tool when hiring an individual but following the criticisms mentioned earlier it cannot be effective. In order to achieve an effective and efficient recruiting and selection process, both (criticisms to the interview process and barriers to effective selection and recruiting process) need to be addressed.
(‘CIPD’ 2009) recommends that before recruiting, job analysis should be done (par. 6). It is of utmost importance for a company to have good knowledge of the job they are advertising for. This implies that, the analysis should go beyond the tasks, to the intention of the job, the end results of the job holder and how suitable the position is to the firm. The quality and ability of the suitable candidate to execute the laid down responsibilities should be addressed effectively.
A guide for selectors published in the year 2005, recommends that other selection methods should be used to complement interviews, as they are inadequate by themselves. This is due to the fact that, they provide more proof for a better decision to be reached (p. 9). They also provide more weight to the matter in question. The supplement methods include (a guide for selectors 2005):
- Skills tests – they are practice tests that determine whether the candidate possesses the skills required.
- Presentations – they judge the qualities an individual possesses. For example, if a company requests the applicant to conduct a presentation on something, then it is evident they are testing the reasoning, attitude, and or academic qualifications and professional experience of the applicant. These selection methods should therefore be well examined and chosen carefully to execute fairness to all candidates (p. 9).
Rynes and colleagues (2003) state that, ‘orderly planning and preparation inflates the probability of hiring the right individual’ (p. 62). The basis of effective recruitment is good organization. They further denote that the cost incurred in recruiting the wrong person is noteworthy, but the cost of hiring the wrong person can be more than his salary. Rynes and colleagues emphasize that, it is of utmost importance for the candidate’s qualities to match the organization’s requirements. Chauvinism and bias generated by the corporate culture of the organization should never be executed when it comes to recruiting and selecting.
The best package for the interviewee should be set out in order to avoid losing the best candidate to competitors. Also, the shortlisting and invitations to interviews should be done immediately after the closing dates of recruitment process to avoid delays and shifts of the best candidates. Policies tackling issues related to corruption and the like should be made functional to avoid undue advantages to some individuals. An organization should ensure that the human resource department is well equipped with relevant and adequate personnel. It is also advisable to link job descriptions to individual requirements, highlighting what the candidate knows and what he needs to learn from the job offered.
The productivity capacity, mode of operation, societal image portrayed is all geared towards the type of personnel an organization has. This in return may impact society either positively or negatively. The effectiveness of a particular organization is felt through the output passed on by its employees. Thus, if a company has hired less productive employees, the quality and the standards of the products and services produced will be questionable in the eyes of the customers. An organization should scrutinize its recruitment and selection process so as it can have the best and most qualified staff. The percentage of reliance on selection interviews should be reduced as this method alone is ineffective. Critics have solemnly criticized interviews and blamed them on ensuing poor job performance. Therefore, it is recommended that other selection methods should be used together with interviews to achieve maximum beneficial outcomes.
‘A guide for selectors’, 2005, effective recruitment and selection, p.9.
‘The times 100’, 2009, recruitment and selection, Web.
Bernthal, RP n.d, ‘Recruitment and Selection’, Development Division International, 2009. Web.
CIPD, 2009, Recruitment-an overview, Web.
Dean JP & Whyte WF, 1958, ‘how do you know if the informant is telling the truth?’, Human Organization, Wiley, New York. Pp. 34-8.
Lingham, L 2008, ‘Human Resource-Recruitment’, All Experts, p. 1.
Rynes SL & Cable DM, 2003, Recruitment research in the twenty-first century, Wiley, New York. Pp. 55-76.