Selection Process

  • Recruitment
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

In this guide, we'll discuss the recruitment and selection process, how to interview job seekers, and methods for hiring success.

To ensure your business succeeds, it's important you hire the right candidates. This means writing a suitable job description for open positions. And reevaluating your current recruitment procedure. Ultimately, it will help you conduct an effective hiring process.

If you fail to screen and interview applicants properly, your company could face several
consequences. These might include high staff turnover, poor job performance, and even employee fraud.

In this guide, we'll discuss the recruitment and selection process, how to interview job seekers, and methods for hiring success.

What is a selection process?

The selection process refers to interviewing suitable candidates to fill a job opening. Whilst the process varies from company to company, it typically follows the same format.

These steps range from defining the job description to advertising the job posting. This is in addition to screening qualified applicants and finally, making a job offer.

A hiring manager will usually conduct recruitment within a business, but this depends on the size of the company. You can appoint any senior manager to perform the selection process, or even yourself.

Why is planning important in selection processes?

Planning is necessary for every selection process, as it ensures you find the best candidates. Investing time and effort in your recruitment procedure will give you an insight into a candidate's personality. So you find the right fit for your business.

It sounds easy enough to follow, but it's important you conduct the process effectively. Without a plan that informs you of the certain skills your applicant pool needs, you might hire the wrong person. Or, fail to find employees who are loyal to your company.

The challenges in a selection and recruitment process

Whilst an effective recruitment and selection process can find the right candidate for your job openings, you could still face several challenges. It's important to be aware of them so you know what to avoid during recruitment.

Let’s explore these challenges in more detail:

Finding qualified candidates

One challenge you may have during a selection process is finding high-quality applicants.

If your job ad doesn't detail the skills an open position needs, your talent pool won't attract the right candidates. Consequently, recruiting becomes time-consuming and you might hire unqualified employees.

For example, if you are advertising for a client-facing role - you will need a confident person who likes speaking with others. But if you don't outline this on the job posting, you may attract shyer candidates - who likely won't be suitable.

Maintaining transparency

Another aspect of the selection process that could prove challenging is being transparent with applicants. Remaining transparent throughout the entire process of recruitment will provide a positive candidate experience.

This includes informing applicants of their progress during each stage of the process. And offering feedback on their application if you don't employ them. This will leave them with a good representation of your business, even if they don't obtain the role.

Consequently, this can be beneficial for your company's reputation. It might even attract further external candidates - if they hear from others that your interview process is fair and honest.

Time consuming

You might find conducting your recruitment and selection process to be time-consuming, if you don't have the correct recruitment software. As part of recruitment, you'll need to collate and process the personal data of applicants in accordance with GDPR.

If you don't have adequate software to process this information, it might take you longer to recruit. Because you'll have to invest time ensuring you collect data in a lawful way. This is in addition to performing multiple interviews - whilst putting your workplace duties on hold.

Examples of selection processes

It's important to look at the different methods employers use to find candidates. It might even help you find the best selection and recruitment process for your business.

These methods include:

Application forms

An application form is a document employers require candidates for a job opening to complete. This occurs at the beginning of the recruitment process and will include specific questions about the role.

Application forms help employers establish if a candidate is right for the job. These forms are usually accessible via an employer's website, but in some instances may be on paper. It might also be over the phone - similar to a screening call.

These forms cover questions about a candidate's personality, experience, and background. From the answers, employers can narrow down the pre-selection of candidates to take through the second phase.

Internal recruitment

Another method employers use to find top candidates is internal recruitment. Recruiting internally is when businesses look within their own company to find suitable candidates for a role.

For example, the human resources (HR) department might transfer staff between different teams - if an open position is available and an employee meets the requirements. They might also use a referral scheme, so colleagues can recommend each other for open roles.

Internal recruitment can be beneficial for a business as it saves time and money. You'll be able to identify qualified candidates easier as you'll be aware of your employees' skills. Plus, onboarding will take less time as the staff member will be aware of your company culture.

But, it’s still important to ensure you avoid bias or favouritism. Even when hiring internally.

Work sample tests

Work sample tests - otherwise known as aptitude tests - ask applicants to complete tasks related to the role they apply for. Employers use this recruitment method to determine how suitable a candidate is.

For example, an individual applying for an office manager role may be asked to take phone calls, manage mail, or file paperwork. These tests usually take place in the final stage of interviewing.

Integrity tests

Employers might also use integrity tests to verify whether a candidate is trustworthy and honest. It's a form of personality test which uses yes or no, and true or false questions.

Organisations that work with vulnerable people and children may use these tests. For example, a school hiring a teacher might ask candidates to perform an integrity test, to ensure they have the right intentions. So they can protect children from harm.

How to avoid bias in the selection process

You should avoid bias in your methods of applicant selection - this means implementing practices during recruitment that stop bias from happening. Failure to do so could mean your business faces discrimination claims, legal costs and even closure.

Let's look at some ways you can avoid bias in your selection process:

Introduce blind-skill challenges

Blind skill challenges hide the personal details of an applicant. They focus solely on candidate talent, or their ability to perform a task. Because it removes the chances of an employer committing unconscious bias.

For example, if an employer didn't use a blind skill challenge when they set a task, their unconscious bias might prevent them from hiring the most qualified candidate. This can have negative effects on the business's performance and employee retention.

Use inclusive language

Another way to prevent bias in the recruitment process is to use inclusive language in a job description or job posting. Using inclusive language means using terms that apply to everyone, rather than just a specific set of people.

For example, instead of saying 'both men and women are encouraged to apply' you might say 'anyone qualified is encouraged to apply'. This prevents you from limiting your applicant pool, and missing out on great candidates.

But if you use inclusive language, those with protected characteristics - could feel encouraged to apply. This is because you have presented your business as an inclusive place to work.

Reevaluate your job descriptions

Reassessing your job descriptions could help find the right candidate for your company. A job description should display what the role entails, and the skills the employee requires. They should also actively encourage anyone capable to apply.

This means using gender-neutral language and unbiased terms. For example, instead of listing only essential skills, you could include other lists, such as 'desired skills' or 'bonus requirements'.

This will highlight what is absolutely necessary for a candidate to have, such as qualifications and experience. It could also encourage less confident candidates to apply. Because there are fewer requirements they need to meet in order to apply for a role.

How to conduct an effective selection process

Now you've planned your selection process, it's time to conduct it. To make sure you implement it effectively, we've outlined the following seven stages for you to follow.

These are:

Promote the job vacancy

The first step in the recruitment and selection process is to promote the job vacancy. The advertisement should state which skills and experience you require. As well as detail what the job involves.

You should also outline:

  • The job title and responsibilities. For example, if it's a cashier role - they should be confident handling money.
  • The working hours and working style. For example, if it's flexible or remote working.
  • Personal characteristics. For example, if you need an applicant who can juggle multiple tasks at once.
  • Employee value proposition - or the unique benefits your company has. For instance, if you allow employees to take 'mental health days'.

You should also include the closing date for applications. If you need to hire quickly, this will need a tighter deadline. But if you can, ensure candidates have enough time to apply so you don't limit your application pool.

Review candidate applications

Next, you need to review candidates by assessing their applications. This will help narrow down the applicants into a manageable group - which you can then begin interviewing.

It's important to consider a range of factors when evaluating applications. This includes checking their experience and qualifications, to ensuring they have answered your questions properly.

Schedule in-person interviews

An essential step in any recruitment process is the initial screening of candidates. These are typically in an interview setting within the workplace. Since the pandemic, first-round interviews usually take place over video calls. But this varies from industry to industry.

Before you start interviewing, ensure you know which questions you'd like to ask your applicants. The questions can be competency-based, where you ask candidates how they would handle a certain scenario - which relates to the role.

Additionally, you might also ask qualification and experience-based questions. This establishes what parts of the role your candidate is familiar with. You'll most likely want to use the same interview questions for all candidates that apply for a role - but you can tailor them if necessary.

Set a task or assessment

Following the first round of interviews, you might want to ask the remaining applicants to take a task, test, or even a full assessment. Many employers use this stage to filter the right candidates from the wrong ones.

For example, you may ask candidates to perform a work sample task that displays their capabilities in your workplace. Or an academic task which will establish if they are qualified for the position.

This stage may not be necessary if you have a small applicant pool and a smaller business. But, if you have a number of candidates apply - it can streamline the recruitment and selection process.

Make the final selection

Once you've interviewed all applicants and received results from their tests, you might be in a place to make a final selection. This is where you narrow down the talent pool to a few of the best candidates. So you can make a hiring decision.

During this stage, many employers will interview these candidates again. This allows them to ask more specific questions about their role and themselves.

They'll likely have gotten to know the candidate's personality. So can ask questions that relate to the advantages and disadvantages this type of person might bring to the workplace. Which should make it easier to make a final decision.

Inform applicants of the decision

Once you're certain you've found the best candidate, it's time to inform applicants of your final decision. There are a number of ways to do this, and they all depend on the time you have spare, the type of role, and an applicant’s reasonable adjustments.

If you're able, the best way to inform applicants of your choice is in person, or via phone. If not, an email will suffice - but make it personal by including feedback, whilst relating to your experience with them.

For the candidate you choose to hire, you should inform them via phone. Then, follow up with a confirmation of your decision using a job offer letter.

Verify the candidate's background

If the candidate accepts the job offer, you then need to verify the information they provide you with. This includes performing background checks, right to work checks and reference checks. Depending on your business, you may need to perform health and drug tests too.

A background check can involve a number of different reviews. This might include checking the potential employee's social media for anything offensive. Or, you might need to perform an enhanced DBS check.

Background checks are an important part of the hiring process. They verify candidates are who they say they are, and ensure you've hired someone suitable for your company. Without them, you might risk employee wrongdoing, fraud, and the consequences of hiring an illegal worker.

The benefits of an effective selection process

Whilst it may require planning and time, an effective selection process can provide plenty of benefits to a company. These include:

High job performance

Your business may experience high job performance with an effective selection process. If your recruitment methods are thorough and identify the skills you need, it's more likely you will find suitable candidates.

For example, your selection process might test a candidate's ability to perform certain workplace tasks. This could separate the suitable applicants from the unqualified candidates, and actually give you an accurate insight into how applicants perform the job.

This means you'll hire people who are more than capable of performing a job. As a result, your workplace becomes more efficient, as you can invest your time in the company instead of training. Not to mention a new hire may bring business in as well.

Promotes diversity in the workplace

Another benefit your business may gain from an effective hiring process is a more diverse workplace. Effective recruitment avoids bias and promotes inclusion, which results in a variety of applicants.

For example, if you choose to use inclusive language that applies to any gender, sexual orientation, or ability in your job postings, it might encourage candidates from different backgrounds to apply.

This can be beneficial to your workplace for a number of reasons. Not only does it promote equality and inclusion in your business, but it also only takes one candidate to offer a fresh perspective. Which could improve your company as a whole.

Low staff turnover

If you find that employees within your business move on sooner than you'd like, it might be down to your recruitment and selection process. As you might be hiring the wrong people to work at your firm.

For example, you might not specify what skills a role requires, and hire someone that doesn't have the right experience. Consequently, they may find the job too difficult and leave the business. This means you'll have a higher staff turnover - and will be constantly recruiting.

Additionally, if you offer a workplace with great benefits and training, staff’ll likely remain loyal to you.

Get expert help from Peninsula

You should ensure you apply an effective recruitment and selection process. This includes avoiding bias in application reviews and interviews. As well as properly screening new employees, and ensuring they are qualified for the role.

Failure to perform an adequate selection process might put your company at a disadvantage. It could also narrow the chances of your business developing. Not to mention, it might result in employee fraud and wrongdoing.

Peninsula offers expert advice on the selection process. Our teams offer 24/7 HR advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our HR experts.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.

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