"Organisations use a range of selection methods to fill job vacancies. Discuss these methods and critically evaluate their reliability and validity."

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In the modern HRM practice, selection plays a very important role. It is very important for an organisation to be able to choose the right person when recruiting, especially when high ranks such as managerial positions are concerned. Beaumont (1993) explains the issue of importance as:

"The design of a selection system... supports the overall organisation strategy, the monitoring of the internal flow of personnel... matches emerging business strategies, and [there is] a need to match key executives to business strategies."(STOREY-A critical text, p.203)

"For the selectors, success will be written in sand and failure in stone"(BEARDWELL & HOLDEN, p.232) therefore special care must be given to the design of the selection. Although there are a few methods of selection there is no one best method but one must choose the right combination of methods to succeed in the aim of choosing the right employee.

As I have already mentioned, there are many methods but before we go on, we must discuss the two principal models, the psychometric and the social model.

The psychometric model is the one where all today's methods come under. Its focus is the job itself. In this model, performance criteria and the specific attributes are chosen on which the candidates will be assessed. This model also values individualism and managerialism. The main criticism about this model is that it is based on the assumption that attributes displayed by an individual remain stable and that objective selection is possible.

The social model which is what the modern HRM manager 'should' be using focuses more on the actual process of selection and the impact it has on the candidate, which is why it is deemed as a social process. This model is based on the assumptions that people constantly change and that subjective thinking is a key to motivation and performance.

Selection methods

There are many selection methods but the main ones, as I will be discussing are interview, biodata, group methods, in-trays, presentation, work simulation, personality assessment and assessment centres.


The interview is the most used method maybe because of the fact that it is cheap. It can take different forms, which are one-to-one, sequential and panel. The one-to-one interview is just the interviewer and the interviewee. The sequential interview is the same as the one-to-one version but here the candidate will move from room to room where each room will have a different interviewer from a different field. The panel interview consists of the interviewee and a panel of interviewers varying between two and fifteen. In the panel interview, factors like noise, lighting and manner of the interviewer are very important.

The design of the interview is also important, as it must meet organisational needs.

Other factors, which need attention, are non-verbal communication and the issue of prejudice.


Biodata refers to biographical information about the candidate that is gathered by application forms. There are two parts to the biographical information being factual biographical information and attitudes and values. The design of the application form is also very important. Open-ended questions should be treated with care as a person that knows how to give the right impression will score more than someone that gives an honest answer, but academic performance can be trusted in open-ended questions. Biodata can also show skills like leadership skills but criticism is given to shortlisting from application forms:

"Herriot, Glendinning and Wingrove (1984) found that selecting candidates on the basis of application forms was a haphazard affair with candidates who filled in the white spaces on the form standing greater chance of selection because filling in the spaces was equated with motivation." (BEARDWELL & HOLDEN, p.236)

Group methods

There are three group selection methods:

1. Like an assessment centre,...
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