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How Companies Select Employees

Updated on February 14, 2012


The selection process is one of the most critical pieces in an organization's practice. People are the most valuable assets companies have and are central to how they survive, adapt, and grow. Selecting employees is not and should not be based on a single factor, such as an employee's intelligence or how well they interview.

In order to find the right person, an organization usually goes through a series of steps which are listed below.

The Selection Process

Screening applications and resumes:

The first step in the selection process is screening applications and resumes. This is the initial test to see which applicants meet the basic requirements of the job. It would be very impractical for an employer to interview every single candidate. Applications are a low cost way of gathering information about a potential employee.

Another low cost and easy way of screening candidates for a job is through an applicant's resume. This is often a good starting point for a company; however, a resume can create a disadvantage for employers. This drawback comes from the bias a resume creates. In other words, applicants control what they put on a resume which means they can fluff it up or leave important parts out in order to make themselves look better.

Testing and reviewing work samples:

The next step in the selection process is to gather data about employees through testing. These can include intelligence, personality and simulations tests. Testing is more expensive but it also provides more information about the applicant's qualifications.

Interviewing candidates:

Interviewing is the most used practice in the selection process. There are many positive things that interviews provide. The positives include being able to see a candidate face to face, and checking the accuracy of the applications. Yet, according to an article written by Susan Heathfield, "'...the typical interview increases the likelihood of choosing the best candidate by less than two percent.'" In other words, organizations should not rely on this step alone because it may not be as important as it is perceived to be.

Checking references and backgrounds:

Employers check references and backgrounds to make sure there are no significant problems with a candidate. References do have their downfalls. This method can be biased based on the fact that applicants choose who they put down. It is also a very time consuming process.

Making the selection:

Once an organization goes through all the steps mentioned above, it is time to make the actual selection. A key factor is choosing a candidate who is the best fit for the organization.

Beyond the selection process

The selection process is a good tool to use in order to attain profitable employees. Yet, often times after all the challenges in selection employees, organizations still hire the wrong people. The problem lies not in the selection process itself, but what comes before the selection process. Organizations sometimes fail to sort out and meet with the appropriate people in order to discuss the need for a new employee. For example, a company could bring in a current successful employee to see what important qualities, experiences, education, and etcetera that they possess. Also, another problem companies have is weak job descriptions. Without a legitimate description of what type of position they are filing, organizations may hire the wrong people because of the ambiguity of the job in which they are recruiting for. Following a specific agenda of which type of person and how to go about hiring the right person can be more beneficial than the selection process itself.


The selection process can be one of the most important things a company does. Organizations should look for a person who will be the best fit for the job and for their organization. Relying too much on one part of the process can cause an employer to make the wrong decision.


Heathfield, Susan. "Sample Job Interview Questions." Human Resources. About, Web.10 November 2009

Heathfield, Susan. "Plan Your Recruiting to Ensure Successful Candidate Selection." Human Resources. About, Web 10 Novemeber 2009.


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