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Chapter 4 Staffing: Recruiting and Selection Chapter Overview Recruiting is the process of generating a pool of qualified applicants for organizational jobs. If the number of available candidates equals the number of people to be hired, no real selection is required—the choice has already been made. The organization must either leave some openings unfilled or take all the candidates. Key components of strategic recruiting are presented followed by a discussion of the importance of training for recruiters and managers. The chapter then discusses the nature of labor markets and three labor market components—the labor force population, applicant population, and applicant pool. To determine which labor markets to recruit in organizations consider unemployment rates, industry/occupation, education/technical, geographic, and global labor markets. It is important to view recruiting broadly as a key part of staffing, and not just as a collection of administrative and operational activities. Based on the recruiting needs identified by HR planning, a number of strategic recruiting decisions must be made by the employer. Some of the strategic decision areas explored in this section include recruiting presence and image, organizational-based vs. outsourcing recruiting, regular vs. flexible staffing, EEO/diversity considerations, realistic recruiting job previews, and the choice of recruiting sources—internal vs. external. The topic of Internet recruiting is given specific attention. Internet based recruiting means include making use of job boards, tapping professional/career web sites, and using the organization’s own website. Recruiting using social networking, blogs, E-video, Twitter, legal issues surrounding Internet recruiting and advantages and disadvantages of Internet recruiting are also discussed. The recruiting methods used to tap external and internal applicant sources are explored with attention given to the relative benefits and limitations of each method. External recruiting sources for job applicants are discussed. These include media sources, competitive sources, employment agencies, labor unions, job fairs, creative recruiting methods, and educational institutions. Next, common internal recruiting methods are explored including internal recruiting databases, job posting, and employee-focused recruiting such as employee referrals. The chapter concludes by discussing recruiting metrics. Areas covered include quantity/ quality of applicants, recruiting satisfaction, time to fill open positions, recruiting costs, general recruiting process metrics, and increasing recruiting effectiveness. General recruiting process metrics explored include yield ratios, selection rates, acceptance rates, and success base rates. Chapter Outline Recruiting is the process of generating a pool of qualified applicants for organizational jobs. Selection is the process of choosing the best individual for the job. Recruiting and selection can be viewed broadly as staffing. I. Recruiting Recruiting is becoming more important, as labor markets evolve. Although recruiting can be expensive, an offsetting concept that must be considered is the cost of unfilled jobs. Although cost is certainly an issue, and some employers are quite concerned about cost per hire and the cost of vacancies, quality of recruits is an equally important consideration. II. Labor Markets Labor markets are the supply pool from which employers attract employees. To understand where recruiting takes place, one can think of the sources of employees as a funnel, in which the broad scope of labor markets narrows progressively to the point of selection and job offers. If the selected candidates reject the offers, then HR staff members must move back up the funnel to the applicant pool for other candidates, and in extreme cases may need to reorient the recruiting process. A. Labor Market Components The broadest labor market component is the labor force population, which is made up of all individuals who are available for selection if all possible recruitment strategies are used. The applicant population is a subset of the labor force population that is available for selection if a particular recruiting approach is used. This population can be broad or narrow depending on the jobs needing to be filled and the approaches used by the employer. The applicant pool consists of all persons who are actually evaluated for selection. Many factors can affect the size of the applicant pool, including the reputation of the organization and industry as a place to work, the screening efforts of the organization, the job specifications, and the information available to potential applicants about the job. B. Unemployment Rates and Labor Markets When the unemployment rate is high in a given market, many people are looking for jobs. When the unemployment rate is low, there are fewer applicants. Unemployment rates vary with business cycles and present very different challenges for recruiting at different times. Labor markets can be viewed in several ways to provide information that is useful for recruiting. These labor markets can include both internal and external sources. C. Industry and Occupational Labor Markets Labor markets can be classified by industry and occupation. For example, the biggest increases in U.S. jobs until the year 2016 are going to be in the positions of registered nurses, retail sales and customer service representatives, home health aides, and postsecondary teachers. D. Educational and Technical Labor Markets Another way to look at labor markets is by considering the education and technical qualifications that define the people being recruited. Employers may need individuals with specific licenses, certifications, or educational backgrounds. For instance, recruiting physicians for a medical organization. E. Geographic Labor Markets One common way to classify labor markets is based on geographic location. Markets can be local, area or regional, national, or international. Local and area labor markets vary significantly in terms of workforce availability and quality, and changes in a geographic labor market may force changes in recruiting efforts. F. Global Labor Markets The migration of U.S. work overseas has been controversial. While many decry the loss of American jobs, some employers respond that they cannot be competitive in a global market if they fail to take advantage of labor savings. III. Strategic Recruiting Decisions When there are economic declines in certain geographic areas and occupations, many talented individuals become more available, and recruiting costs can be lower. But whether recruits are plentiful or scarce, employers must decide on several basic recruiting issues. A. Recruiting Presence and Image Recruiting efforts may be viewed as either continuous or intensive. Continuous efforts to recruit offer the advantage of keeping the employer in the recruiting market. For example, with college recruiting, some organizations may find it advantageous to have a recruiter on a given campus each year. Intensive recruiting may take the form of a vigorous recruiting campaign aimed at hiring a given number of employees, usually within a short period of time. Sometimes such efforts are the result of unforeseeable changes in external factors, but they also can result from a failure in the HR planning system to identify needs in advance or to anticipate drastic changes in workforce needs. The employment brand or image of an organization is the view both employees and outsiders have of it. Organizations that are seen as desirable employers are better able to attract qualified applicants than are those with poor reputations. B. Regular versus Flexible Staffing Another strategic decision affects how much recruiting will be done to fill staffing needs with regular full-time and part-time employees. Decisions as to who should be recruited hinge on whether to seek regular employees or to use more flexible approaches, which might include temporaries or independent contractors. Many employers have decided that the cost of keeping a regular workforce has become excessive and is growing worse because of economic, competitive, and governmental requirements. Flexible staffing uses workers who are not traditional employees. Using flexible staffing arrangements allows an employer to avoid some of the cost of full-time benefits such as vacation pay, healthcare and pension plans. Flexible staffing may lead to recruiting in different markets, since it includes the use of temporary workers and independent contractors. Temporary Workers Employers who use temporary employees can hire their own temporary staff members or contract with agencies supplying temporary workers on an hourly, daily, or weekly rate. Some employers hire temporary workers as a way for individuals to move into fulltime, regular employment. Better-performing workers may move to regular positions when these positions become available. This “try before you buy” approach is potentially beneficial to both employers and employees. Independent contractors are used in many areas, including building maintenance, security, advertising, and others. One major reason for the use of independent contractors is that some employers experience significant savings because benefits are not provided to those individuals. C. Recruiting Source Choices: Internal versus External Most employers combine the use of internal and external recruiting sources. Both promoting from within the organization (internal recruitment) and hiring from outside the organization (external recruitment) come with advantages and disadvantages. Organizations that face rapidly changing competitive environments and conditions may need to place a heavier emphasis on external sources in addition to developing internal sources. A possible strategy might be to promote from within if a qualified applicant exists and to go to external sources if not. However, for organizations existing in environments that change slowly, emphasis on promotion from within may be more suitable. Recent evidence suggests that internal recruiting might produce the best results overall because existing employees who are given new work opportunities tend to perform considerably better than external hires, at least in the first three years of employment in a new job. IV. Internet Recruiting The growth in the Internet has led both employers and employees to use Internet recruiting tools. Internet links, company web sites, tweets, and other types of Internet/Web-based usages have become viable parts of recruiting. Of the many recruiting sites using special software, the most common ones are Internet job boards, professional/career websites, and employer websites. Numerous Internet job boards, such as Monster, Yahoo!, and HotJobs provide places for employers to post jobs or search for candidates. However, many of the individuals accessing these sites are “job lookers” who are not serious about changing jobs, but are checking out compensation levels and job availability in their areas of interest. Despite such concerns, HR recruiters find general job boards useful for generating applicant responses. Many professional associations have employment sections at their websites. As illustration, for HR jobs, see the Society for Human Resource Management site, www.shrm.org, or World at Work, www.worldatwork.org. Despite the popularity of job boards and association job sites, many employers have learned that their own company websites can be very effective and efficient when recruiting candidates. Employers include employment and career information on their organizational websites under headings such as “Employment” or “Careers.” This is the place where recruiting (both internal and external) is often conducted. On many of these sites, job seekers are encouraged to e-mail résumés or complete online applications. A company website should present a favorable image of the employer by outlining information on the organization, including its products and services, organizational and industry growth potential, and organizational operations. A. Recruiting and Internet Social Networking Many people initially use the social media more than job board sites to look for a job. Social media networks often include people who work together as well as past personal contacts and friends. Evidence suggests that many graduates are using social media and the Internet to locate work opportunities, and many companies are utilizing technology to more extensively identify and attract talent. B. Legal Issues in Internet Recruiting With Internet recruiting expanding, new and different concerns have arisen. Several of these issues have ethical and moral as well as legal implications. The following examples illustrate some of these concerns: When companies use screening software to avoid looking at the thousands of résumés they receive, are rejections really based on the qualifications needed for the job? How can a person’s protected-category and other information be collected and analyzed for reports? Are too many individuals in protected categories being excluded from the later phases of the Internet recruiting process using unlawful information? Which applicants really want jobs? If someone has accessed a job board and sent an e-mail asking an employer about a job opening, does the person actually want to be an applicant? What are the implications of Internet recruiting in terms of confidentiality and privacy? C. Advantages of Internet Recruiting Employers have found many advantages to using Internet recruiting. A primary one is that many employers have saved money using Internet recruiting versus other recruiting methods such as newspaper advertising, employment agencies, and search firms, all of which can cost substantially more. Another major advantage is that, by reaching out to so many people potentially representing diverse backgrounds and regions, a very large pool of applicants can be generated using Internet recruiting. Internet recruiting also can save time. Applicants can respond quickly to job postings by sending electronic responses, rather than using snail mail. Recruiters can respond more rapidly to qualified candidates in order to obtain more necessary applicant information, request additional candidate details, and establish times for further communication, including interviews. D. Disadvantages of Internet Recruiting Because of broader exposure, Internet recruiting often creates additional work for HR staff members and others internally. More online job postings must be sent; many more résumés must be reviewed; more social media need to be dealt with; and expensive specialized software may be needed to handle the increased number of applicants resulting from Internet-recruiting efforts. In addition, many of the online applicants might not be qualified for open jobs, and some companies are shying away from Internet boards in favor of social networking websites that provide better leads. Another issue with Internet recruiting is that some applicants may have limited Internet access, especially individuals from lower socioeconomic groups and from certain racial/ethnic groups, raising issues of fairness in hiring. V. Other External Recruiting Sources External recruiting is part of effective HR staffing. A. Media Sources Media sources such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and billboards typically have been widely used in external recruiting. Some firms have sent direct mail using purchased lists of individuals in certain fields or industries. Internet usage has led to media sources being available online, including postings, ads, videos, webinars, and many other expanding media services. In some cities and towns, newspaper ads are still very prominent, though they may trigger job searchers to go to an Internet source for more details. Recruiting patterns differ depending on company and location; for instance, filling jobs at community banks in rural areas might involve different types of recruiting from filling jobs in larger banks in urban areas. Figure 4-2 shows the information a good recruiting ad contains. B. Competitive Recruiting Sources Other sources for recruiting include professional and trade associations, trade publications, and competitors. Many professional societies and trade associations publish newsletters or magazines and have websites containing job ads. Such sources may be useful for recruiting the specialized professionals needed in an industry. C. Employment Agencies Employment agencies, both public and private, are a recruiting source. Every state in the United States has its own state-sponsored employment agency. These agencies operate branch offices in cities throughout the states and do not charge fees to applicants or employers. They also have websites that potential applicants can use without having to go to the offices. Private employment agencies operate in most cities. For a fee collected from either the employee or the employer, these agencies do some preliminary screening and put employers in touch with applicants. Private employment agencies differ considerably in the level of service, costs, policies, and types of applicants they provide. The size of the fees and the aggressiveness with which some firms pursue candidates for executive and other openings have led to such firms being called headhunters. These employment agencies focus their efforts on executive, managerial, and professional positions. D. Labor Unions Labor unions may be a useful source of certain types of workers. For example, in electrical and construction industries, unions traditionally have supplied workers to employers. A labor pool is generally available through a union, and workers can be dispatched from the hiring hall to particular jobs to meet the needs of employers. In some instances, labor unions can control or influence recruiting and staffing activity. An organization with a strong union may have less flexibility than a nonunion company in deciding who will be hired and where those people will be placed. Unions can benefit employers through apprenticeship and cooperative staffing programs, as they do in the building and printing industries. E. Job Fairs and Creative Recruiting Employers in various labor markets needing to fill a large number of jobs quickly have used job fairs and special recruiting events. Job fairs have been held by economic development entities, employer and HR associations, and other community groups to help bring employers and potential job candidates together. Drive-through job fairs at shopping malls have been used by employers in many communities. Creative recruiting methods sometimes can be used to generate a pool of qualified applicants so that jobs can be filled in a timely manner. F. Educational Institutions and Recruiting College and university students are a significant source of entry-level professional and technical employees. Most universities maintain career placement offices in which employers and applicants can meet. Many considerations affect an employer’s selection of colleges and universities at which to conduct interviews. Since college/university recruiting can be expensive and require significant time and effort, employers need to determine whether both current and future jobs require persons with college degrees in specific fields. For many employers, a desirable grade point average (GPA) is a key criterion for evaluating job candidates during on-campus interviews. Attending elite universities can also enhance the attractiveness of a candidate, but evidence suggests that, in the long run, there is little difference in success between individuals who attend more prestigious schools and those who do not. In addition, employers also are more likely to hire college candidates with related employment experience, which is why internships are very important to employers, candidates, and college/university efforts. High schools and vocational/technical schools may be valuable source of new employees for some organizations. Many schools have a centralized guidance or placement office. Participating in career days and giving company tours to school groups are ways of maintaining good contact with school sources. Cooperative programs, in which students work part-time while attending school, may also be useful in generating qualified future applicants for full-time positions. VI. Internal Recruiting Methods Filling openings internally may add motivation for employees to stay and grow in the organization rather than pursuing career opportunities elsewhere. The most common internal recruiting methods include organizational databases, job postings, promotions and transfers, current-employee referrals, and re-recruiting of former employees and applicants. HR information technology systems allow HR staff to maintain background and knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) information on employees. As openings arise, HR can access databases by entering job requirements and then get a listing of current employees meeting the job requirements. Employment software can sort employee data by occupational fields, education, areas of career interests, previous work histories, and other variables. The major means for recruiting current employees for other jobs within the organization is job posting, a system in which the employer provides notices of job openings and employees respond by applying for specific openings. Without some sort of job posting system, it is difficult for many employees to find out what jobs are open elsewhere in the organization. A reliable source of people to fill vacancies is composed of acquaintances, friends, and family members of current employees. Current employees can acquaint potential applicants with the advantages of a job with the company, furnish e-mails and other means of introduction, and encourage candidates to apply. Word-of-mouth referrals and discussions can positively aid organizational attractiveness and lead to more application decisions by those referred. However, using only word-of-mouth or current-employee referrals can violate equal employment regulations if protected-class individuals are underrepresented in the current organizational workforce. Former employees and applicants represent another source for recruitment. Both groups offer a time-saving advantage because something is already known about them. Seeking them out as candidates is known as rerecruiting because they were recruited previously. Former employees are considered an internal source in the sense that they have ties to the employer; sometimes they are called “boomerangers” because they left and came back. VII. Recruiting Evaluation and Metrics To evaluate recruiting, organizations can see how their recruiting efforts compare with past patterns and with the recruiting performance of other organizations. Measures of recruiting effectiveness can be used to see whether sufficient numbers of targeted population groups are being attracted. Information about job performance, absenteeism, cost of training, and turnover by recruiting source also helps adjust future recruiting efforts. General metrics for evaluating recruiting include quantity and quality of applicants. A. Evaluating the Cost of Recruiting Different formulas can be used to evaluate recruiting costs. The calculation most often used to measure such costs is to divide total recruiting expenses for the year by the number of hires for the year: The problem with this approach is accurate identification of details that should be included in the recruiting expenses. The costs can be allocated to various sources to determine how much each hire from each source costs. Another useful calculation is the selection rate, which is the percentage hired from a given group of candidates. B. Increasing Recruiting Effectiveness Evaluation of the following recruiting activities should be done to make recruiting more effective: Résumé mining—a software approach to getting the best résumés for a fit from a big database Applicant tracking—an approach that takes an applicant all the way from a job listing to performance appraisal results Employer career website—a convenient recruiting place on an employer’s website where applicants can see what jobs are available and apply. Internal mobility—a system that tracks prospects in the company and matches them with jobs as they come open. Realistic job previews—a process that persons can use to get details on the employer and the jobs Responsive recruitment—whereby applicants receive timely responses Recruiting effectiveness can be increased by using the evaluation the data to target different applicant pools, tap broader labor markets, change recruiting methods, improve internal handling and interviewing of applicants, and train recruiters and managers. VIII. Selection and Placement Selection is the process of choosing individuals with the correct qualifications to fill jobs in an organization. Without these qualified employees, an organization is far less likely to succeed. The ultimate purpose of selection is placement, or fitting a person to the right job. Placement of human resources should be seen primarily as a matching process. How well an employee is matched to a job can affect the amount and quality of the employee’s work, as well as the training and operating costs required to prepare the individual to do the work. Selection and placement activities typically focus on applicants’ knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), but they should also focus on the degree to which job candidates generally match the situations experienced both on the job and in the company. A. Selection, Criteria, Predictors, and Job Performance At the heart of an effective selection system must be the knowledge of what constitutes good job performance. When one knows what good performance looks like on a particular job, one needs to identify what it takes for the employee to achieve successful performance. These are called selection criteria. A selection criterion is a characteristic that a person must possess to successfully perform work. Ability, motivation, intelligence, conscientiousness, appropriate risk, and permanence might be selection criteria for many jobs. To determine whether candidates might possess certain selection criteria, employers try to identify predictors of selection criteria, which are measurable or visible indicators of those positive characteristics (or criteria). The information gathered about an applicant using the individual predictors included in application forms, tests, and interviews should focus on the likelihood that the person will execute the job competently once hired, so the factors need to be valid for the purposes of selection. B. Combining Predictors When an employer uses predictors such as three years of experience, possesses a college degree, and acceptable aptitude test score, job applicants are evaluated on all of these requirements and the multiple predictors combined in some way. Two approaches for combining predictors are as follows: Multiple hurdles—a minimum cutoff is set on each predictor, and each minimum level must be “passed.” Compensatory approach—scores from individual predictors are added and combined into an overall score, thereby allowing a higher score on one predictor to offset, or compensate for, a lower score on another. IX. The Selection Process Most organizations take a series of consistent steps to process and select applicants for jobs. Company size, job characteristics, the number of people needed, the use of electronic technology, and other factors cause variations on the basic process. Selection can take place in a day or over a much longer period of time, and certain phases of the process may be omitted or the order changed, depending on the employer. If the applicant is processed in one day, the employer usually checks credentials/previous employment after selection. A. Applicant Job Interest Individuals wanting employment can indicate interest in many ways. Traditionally, individuals have submitted résumés by mail or fax, or applied in person at an employer’s location. But with the growth in Internet recruiting, many individuals complete applications online or submit résumés electronically. Regardless of how individuals express interest in employment, the selection process has an important public relations dimension. Discriminatory hiring practices, impolite interviewers, unnecessarily long waits, unreturned telephone inquiries, inappropriate testing procedures, and lack of follow-up responses can produce unfavorable impressions of an employer. Job applicants’ perceptions of the organization, and even about the products or services it offers, will be influenced by how they are treated. B. Pre-employment Screening Many employers conduct pre-employment screening to determine if applicants meet the minimum qualifications for open jobs before they have the applicants fill out an application. The use of pre-employment screening or assessment has grown. Much of this screening utilizes computer software to review the many résumés and application forms received during the recruiting and application process. C. Application Forms Some employers do not use pre-employment screening prior to having applicants fill out an application form. Instead, they have every interested individual complete an application first. These completed application forms then become the basis for prescreening information. But collecting, storing, and tracking these forms can create significant work for HR staff members. Application forms, which are used universally, can take on different formats. Properly prepared, the application form serves four purposes: It is a record of the applicant’s desire to obtain a position. It provides the interviewer with a profile of the applicant that can be used during the interview. It is a basic employee record for applicants who are hired. It can be used for research on the effectiveness of the selection process. D. Security Concerns and Immigration Verification Businesses are required to review and record identity documents, such as Social Security cards, passports, and visas, and to determine if they appear to be genuine because it is illegal to knowingly hire employees who are not in the country legally. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can audit the record of a business to make certain there has been compliance with employment eligibility laws and rules. Employers must use the revised form I-9 for each employee hired and must determine within 72 hours whether an applicant is a U.S. citizen, registered alien, or illegal alien. X. Selection Testing Literacy tests, skill-based tests, psychological measurement tests, and honesty tests are used to assess various individual factors that are important for the work to be performed. However, selection tests must be evaluated extensively before being utilized as a recruiting tool. The development of the test items should be linked to a thorough job analysis. Initial testing of the items should include an evaluation by knowledge experts, and statistical and validity assessments of the items should be conducted. A. Ability Tests Tests that assess an individual’s ability to perform in a specific manner are grouped as ability tests. These are sometimes further differentiated into aptitude tests and achievement tests. Cognitive ability tests measure an individual’s thinking, memory, reasoning, verbal, and mathematical abilities. Valid tests such as the Wonderlic Personnel Test and the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB) can be used to determine applicants’ basic knowledge of terminology and concepts, word fluency, spatial orientation, comprehension and retention span, general and mental ability, and conceptual reasoning. Physical ability tests measure individual’s abilities such as strength, endurance, and muscular movement. Many organizations use situational tests, or work sample tests, which require an applicant to perform a simulated job task that is a specified part of the target job. Situational judgment tests are designed to measure a person’s judgment in work settings. The candidate is given a situation and a list of possible solutions to the problem. The candidate then has to make judgments about how to deal with the situation. An assessment center is not a place but an assessment exercise composed of a series of evaluative tests used for selection and development. Most often used in the selection process when filling managerial openings, assessment centers consist of multiple exercises and are evaluated by multiple raters. In one assessment center, candidates go through a comprehensive interview, a pencil-and-paper test, individual and group simulations, and work exercises. Individual performance is then evaluated by a panel of trained raters. B. Personality Tests Personality is a unique blend of individual characteristics that can affect how people interact with their work environment. Many organizations use various personality tests that assess the degree to which candidates’ attributes match specific job criteria. Faking is a major concern for employers using personality tests. Many test publishers admit that test profiles can be falsified, and they try to reduce faking by including questions that can be used to compute a social desirability or “lie” score. C. Honesty/Integrity Tests Companies are utilizing different tests to assess the honesty and integrity of applicants and employees. Employers use these tests as a screening mechanism to prevent the hiring of dishonest employees, to reduce the frequency of lying and theft on the job, and to communicate to applicants and employees alike that dishonesty will not be tolerated, and to reduce accidents. The polygraph, more generally and incorrectly referred to as a lie detector, is a mechanical device that measures a person’s galvanic skin response, heart rate, and breathing rate. The idea behind the polygraph is that if a person answers a question deliberately incorrectly, the body’s physiological responses will “reveal” the falsification through the recording mechanisms of the polygraph. As a result of concerns about polygraph validity, Congress passed the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, which prohibits most employers from the use of polygraphs for pre-employment screening purposes. Federal, state, and local government agencies are exempt from the act. Also exempt are certain private-sector employers such as security companies and pharmaceutical companies. The act does allow employers to use polygraphs as part of internal investigations of theft or losses. D. Controversies in Selection Testing Two areas in selection testing generate controversies and disagreements. One is the appropriateness of general mental ability testing, and the other is the validity of personality testing for selection. General mental ability testing is well established as a valid selection tool for many jobs, but since some minority groups tend to score lower on such exams, there is considerable controversy over whether such tests ought to be used. When these tests are used, the case for business necessity must be made, and the instrument used should be validated for the organization using it. Personality testing for selection flourished during the 1950s. But the use of these tests dropped drastically. In the 1990s, interest in research on personality as a selection tool resurfaced and vendors began selling personality-oriented selection tests. But a seminal research article appearing in Personnel Psychology concluded that personality explains so little about actual job outcomes that we should think very carefully about using it at all for employment decisions. XI. Selection Interviewing Interviewing of job applicants is done both to obtain additional information and to clarify information gathered throughout the selection process. Interviews are commonly conducted at two levels: first, as an initial screening interview to determine if the person has met minimum qualifications. Later, as an in-depth interview with HR staff members and/or operating managers to determine if the person will fit into the designated job. A structured interview uses a set of prepared, job-related questions that are asked of all applicants so that comparisons can be executed more easily and better selection decision can be made. The structured interview is useful in the initial screening because many applicants can be effectively evaluated and compared. However, the structured interview does not have to be rigid. The predetermined questions should be asked in a logical manner but should not be read word for word to the interviewee. The structured format ensures that a given interviewer has similar information on each candidate. It also ensures that when several interviewers ask the same questions of applicants, there is greater consistency in the subsequent evaluation of those candidates. A biographical interview focuses on a chronological assessment of the candidate’s past experiences. This type of interview is widely used and is often combined with other interview techniques. In the behavioral interview technique, applicants are asked to describe how they have behaved or performed a certain task or handled a problem in the past, which may predict future actions and show how applicants are best suited for current jobs. The situational interview contains questions about how applicants might handle specific job situations. A variation is termed the case study interview, which requires a job candidate to diagnose and correct organizational challenges during the interview. Situational interviews assess what the interviewee would consider to be the best option, not necessarily what they did in a similar situation. A. Less-Structured Interviews Some interviews are unplanned and are not structured at all. Such interviewing techniques may be appropriate for fact finding, or for counseling interviews. However, they are not best for selection interviewing. A stress interview is designed to create anxiety and put pressure on applicants to see how they respond. In a stress interview, the interviewer assumes an extremely aggressive and insulting posture. Firms using this approach often justify doing so because employees will encounter high degrees of job stress. B. Who Conducts Interviews? Job interviews can be conducted by an individual, by several individuals sequentially, or by panels or teams. For some jobs, such as entry-level jobs requiring lesser skills, applicants might be interviewed solely by a human resource professional. For other jobs, employers screen applicants by using multiple interviews, beginning with a human resource professional and followed by the appropriate supervisors and managers. Then a selection decision is made collectively. Managers need to ensure that multiple interviews are not redundant. In a panel interview, several interviewers meet with the candidate at the same time so that the same responses are heard by all. In a team interview, applicants are interviewed by the team members with whom they will work. However, without proper planning, an unstructured interview can occur during these group sessions, and applicants are sometimes uncomfortable with the format. C. Problems in the Interview Operating managers and supervisors are more likely than HR personnel to use poor interviewing techniques because they do not interview often or lack training. Several problems anyone may exhibit include the following: Snap judgments—some interviewers decide whether an applicant is suitable within the first two to four minutes of the interview and spend the rest of the time looking for evidence to support their decision. Negative emphasis—when evaluating suitability, unfavorable information about an applicant is often emphasized more than favorable information. Halo effect—the halo effect occurs when an interviewer allows a positive characteristic such as agreeableness to overshadow other evidence. The phrase devil’s horns describes the reverse of halo effect; this occurs when a negative characteristic overshadows other traits. Biases and stereotyping—“similarity” bias occurs when interviewers favor or select people whom they believe to be like themselves on the basis of a variety of personal factors. Interviewers should also avoid any personal tendencies to stereotype individuals because of demographic characteristics and differences. Cultural noise—interviewers must learn to recognize and handle cultural noise, which stems from what applicants believe is socially acceptable rather than what is factual. XII. Background Investigations Background information can be obtained from many sources. Some of these sources include past job records, credit history, testing records, educational and certification records, drug tests, Social Security numbers, sex offender lists, motor vehicle records, and military records. Failure to check the backgrounds of people who are hired can lead to embarrassment and legal liability. Nationally background checks are required for people with commercial drivers’ licenses who drive tractor-trailer rigs and buses interstate. A. Negligent Hiring and Retention Lawyers say that an employer’s liability hinges on how well it investigates an applicant’s background. Consequently, details provided on the application form should be investigated extensively, and these efforts should be documented. Negligent hiring occurs when an employer fails to check an employee’s background and the employee later injures or harms someone while performing job duties. There is a potential negligent hiring problem when an employer hires an unfit employee, a background check is insufficient, or an employer does not research potential risk factors that would prevent a positive hire decision. Similarly, negligent retention occurs when an employer becomes aware that an employee may be unfit for employment but continues to employ the person, and the person injures someone. B. ADA and Medical Inquiries The ADA prohibits the use of pre-employment medical exams, except for drug tests, until a job has been conditionally offered. Also, the ADA prohibits a company from rejecting an individual because of a disability and from asking job applicants any question related to current or past medical history until a conditional job offer has been made. C. Drug Testing Drug testing, a widely used selection tool, may be conducted as part of a medical exam, or it may be done separately. If drug tests are used, employers should remember that the accuracy of tests varies according to the type of test used, the drug tested, and the quality of the laboratory where the test samples are sent. Because of the potential impact of prescription drugs on test results, applicants should complete a detailed questionnaire on this matter before the testing. If an individual tests positive for drug use, then an independent medical laboratory should administer a second, more detailed analysis. Whether urine, blood, saliva, or hair samples are used, the process of obtaining, labeling, and transferring the samples to the testing lab should be outlined clearly and definite policies and procedures should be established and followed. D. Previous Employment Checks/Personal References Work-related references from previous employers and supervisors can provide a valuable snapshot of a candidate’s background and characteristics. Previous employment checks protect the company from negligent hiring claims, provide an overview of job candidates’ past performance and generalized honesty, and verify work credentials. Good questions to ask previous supervisors or employers include the following: What were the dates of employment? What was the position held? What were the job duties? What strengths/weaknesses did you observe? Were there any problems? Would you rehire this person? XIII. “Soft Skills” and Selection Selection in its “scientific” form is about finding valid predictors of what will be needed on a job and picking people who score high on those predictors. Valid predictors measure “hard skills” that include cognitive skills, the acquiring of knowledge through education, and technical skills. Alternatively, “soft skills,” which include interpersonal, human behavior, and leadership skills, often complement other characteristics and prompt outstanding individual job performance. Even though these skills can be challenging to identify, there is growing interest in the assessment and development of “emotional intelligence,” or individual self-awareness and self-regulation that enhances one’s ability to work well with others, as a mechanism for cultivating soft skills. Instructor Manual for Human Resource Management: Essential Perspectives Robert L. Mathis, John Jackson, Sean Valentine 9781305115248

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