The two key elements in making the final selection are:
Gathering the evidence
Making the decision
Gathering the evidence
The development of the specification at the beginning of the selection
process should form the framework for making the decision, and
therefore the checklist, for ensuring that all data have been
In using a non-competency based approach the PERSON-specification
will be checked to ensure that there is evidence of the Personal
qualities, the Experience required, the Record of achievement
desired, the Skills and qualifications needed, the fit with the
Organization, and whether the Needs of the candidate are likely to
be fulfilled in this position.
Using the competency-based approach the process is slightly easier
because there is a logical structure. Each of the competencies being
sought is clear, and the framework for the choice of selection tools
will provide a map of where the evidence can be found.
USING DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES TO SEARCH FOR EVIDENCE OF
Planning and Organization
Making the decision
There are two main approaches to selection decisions:
The actuarial approach is very mechanistic and objective. The scores
for each stage of the selection process are added together and the
position(s) offered to the candidate(s) with the highest score(s). It
may be the case that certain stages are weighted to give greater
emphasis. For example, using a non weighted approach,
candidates A and B may be assessed on a five point scale as
follows: A B
Application 3 3
Test 4 3
First Interview 4 5
Exercise 4 4
Second Interview 4 5
Total scores 19 20
Making the decision
And candidate B would be offered the job. A similar approach can be
used where each competency is assessed and scored, again using a
five point scale for illustration:
Planning and organizing 3 4
Relationships 4 5
Knowledge 3 3
Judgment 4 3
Adaptability 4 5
Total Scores 18 20
In the second example, each of the competencies would be assessed
from different stages or techniques but with some perhaps being
measured by more than one technique (assuming, for example, that
judgment is measured by a test plus an interview then the final score
would be the average of the two).
Both of these examples assume that equal importance would be
attached to each stage (in the first example) or each competency
(in the second example). It may, of course, be the case that
greater importance is to be attached to one or another, and a
weighting system would be applied. Using the same examples, if
the test in the first example received a weighting of 2.0 and the
exercise received a weighting of 1.5, then both candidates would
have equal scores. In the second example, weighting
competencies of ‘relationships’ and ‘adaptability’ by 1.5 would
increase the advantage of B over A.
USING BAR CHARTS TO COMPARE CANDIDATES WITH THE JOB SPECIFICATION
Role Profile Candidate
Ignoring the specification may seem an obvious mistake but one that is
not always so easily avoided since there can be a danger of the
selection assignment becoming a competition rather than a search, and
candidates are compared with each other rather than compared with the
over-reliance on a single element can sometimes lead to mistakes
where, for example, a first class interview performance is allowed to
eclipse concerns about past experience or test results.
The halo effect is a variation on this theme and it occurs where a
particular virtue of the candidate is allowed to obscure or downplay
Stereotyping occurs positively and negatively. In positive stereotyping,
people of a certain age or background or experience in common with
others employed, but of no causal relationship to performance, are
deemed to be suitable candidates. In negative stereotyping a similar
process occurs to the detriment of the candidate.
Mirroring or ‘similarity-identity bias’ occurs where the selector favors a
candidate, usually subconsciously, because the candidate matches the
selector’s own outlook, experience, etc.
Prejudice occurs both consciously and unconsciously. There
are, sadly, still incidents of people being rejected because of
physical disabilities or age or social background or ethnicity.
Non-involvement of clients in the selection process and in
decision-making may adversely affect the successful integration
of the new appointee and therefore corrupt the decision
There are three main areas for checking
Documents checking is concerned with verifying that the
qualifications, certificates etc, claimed by the candidate
can be substantiated. Documents may include personal
certificates such as birth and marriage certificates, which
may be relevant to the job in terms of minimum age but
are more frequently a requirement for satisfying pension
scheme eligibility. Since qualifications ought only to be
sought and mentioned where they are pertinent to job
performance, it follows that any claims ought to be
verified and the original documents checked.
There are certain statutory obligations which must be fulfilled by an
employer. Employees must be registered for National Insurance
contributions and it is the duty of an employer to ensure that there
is such registration for National Insurance purposes. At one time,
employees were provided with National Insurance cards which an
employer could obtain but nowadays the only ‘proof’ is a National
Insurance number which the employee should quote when taking
up work. There is still some leeway for employers to allow the
employment to begin, and to make payments to the employee,
but this can only be a short term arrangement and if the
employee cannot provide a National Insurance number within 14
days of beginning employment, the employment must be
suspended until such time as a number can be obtained.
References from schools or universities, often focusing on academic
achievement. Some head teachers decline to provide references
because of the sheer workload and the availability of Records of
achievement which should provide the evidence employers require.
Personal or character references which generally show that the new
employee is a decent sort of person and may be sought from friends,
colleagues, acquaintances or, more frequently, ‘reputable’ people in
Work references may be the most sought-after. Sometimes such
references are simply an open request for information about the
candidate, sometimes they may be a closed questionnaire seeking
specific information to verify claims made etc, perhaps asking specific
questions on employment dates, attendance record, work performance,
relationships with people and other pertinent information from their past.
Specialist references such as credit history, medical history and criminal
References are often regarded as a form of check or safeguard rather than
being part of the selection process. It is possible to use references as a
form of workplace assessment, good results have been achieved through
use of 360-degree appraisal, in which managers, colleagues and
subordinates assess the performance of an individual and their likelihood
of succeeding in a new role it is, however, a complicated process to
establish purely for selection decisions. If organizations are already 360-
degree appraisal it will be worthwhile considering its use for selection
Along with space for general comments and candidates ‘particular qualities’
and areas for improvement, their internal reference form specifically asks
‘referee’ managers to ‘comment in detail on the following attributes, based
on current performance and potential:
Knowledge of the coastguard association
Operational command qualities
Resource management (financial, time, material etc)
Administration, drafting and representational skills.
Conditional offers fall into two main types of:
Pre-conditions include making the offer ‘subject to receipt of
satisfactory references’ or subject to attainment of certain
qualification or educational grades ,such pre-conditions should
clearly be treated by both the employer and potential employee as
deferring the appointment to the new role until such time as the
conditions have been met.
Post-conditional offers may include an appointment ‘subject to
completion of a satisfactory probationary period’ or (less common
nowadays) taking up residence within a certain time period. It
should be clear that where such conditions are not subsequently
met, the employment will terminate.
It needs to be remembered that employment is a legal contract.
While the new hire may not become an employee until the
employment begins, the contract itself is legally enforceable as
soon as it is formed. It is formed when:
There is an offer, and acceptance of the offer.
Both parties intent it to be a legally binding arrangement..
There is ‘consideration’ (something of value attached to the
There is sufficient certainty of terms.