Human Resources Management Selection Tools
The current state of the economy has increased the number of people out of work and looking for work a hundredfold. This is both good and bad, and that is for the same reasons. Human resource professionals have a much more diverse group to select from. People from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds are looking for any level position in an effort to keep food on the table and a roof over their head. They are willing to accept less money than they would have in the past. This provides an ideal environment for the employer. We must consider the other side of the coin. The populace feels betrayed by the companies that laid them off or went out of business. This means their current or future employers may have to deal with an overwhelming lack of loyalty. A good employee may be found, hired, and trained only to jump ship at the next, slightly better offer to come along. With so many people out of work, it is also harder to sift through the number of applicants for any given position. Both quality and poor choices can slip through the crack in opposite directions. To make things a little bit easier, it is essential to choose the appropriate selection tools to help in locating the right fit for any given position. As an example, we will examine some choice selection tools to be used when hiring for a position within a local grocery store.
The HRM Selection Tools Overview
According to Bohlander and Snell (2007), there are a myriad of selection tools at our disposal when trying to determine if a candidate is the right person for a job. These selection tools include—but are not limited to—work samples, references and recommendations, unstructured interviews, structured interviews, assessment centers, specific aptitude tests, personality tests, general cognitive ability tests, biographical information blanks, criminal records checks, drug screening, employment verification, education verification, verification of professional licenses and certifications, motor vehicle record check, credit history, and integrity evaluation. These tests all have their place, but not all of them should be used by every company for every possible position. In the event of hiring for a local supermarket—we will assume that we are hiring for an entry level position—some of these selection tools seem to fit better than others. Using a background check, personality inventory, and drug test seem to be the three most useful selection tools.
Human Resources Selection Tools: Background Checks
A background check is imperative, particularly in today’s society. There are many people out there who have made mistakes in the past, and this does not always judge how they will react or behave in the future. It is still a necessary evil to dig into one’s past. AS Bohlander and Snell (2007) point out, “courts have ruled that companies can be held liable for negligent hiring if they fail to do adequate background checks.” The company is responsible for the safety of both its employees and its customers. As a result, a proper background check can help alleviate some of that burden. Background checks include more than just a criminal records search. Background checks include checking previous employment, references, any listed awards or certifications. During the process of checking on these, interesting facts can turn up. The main goal is often to make sure that the applicant was honest with the information provided, and honesty is very important in any position but even more so in a retail oriented position.
Human Resources Management Selection Tools: Personality Inventory
There are a variety of uses for a personality inventory. These are becoming more popular with the advents in psychological research. Some can be quite costly, and some are relatively inexpensive. Companies such as Wal-Mart, Toys’R’Us, and even Sears make a personality test part of the application. Other companies may not require you to take such a test until after your initial interview. One of the main things companies are looking for here again is the honesty of the applicant. Integrity is an important part of being a good employee. When you have access to cash amounts in registers and physical product, one of the company’s primary goals must be to prevent shrinkage. According to Kathy Grannis of the National Retail Federation (2009) a startling 44% of retail shrinkage—which amounts to about $15.9—is due to employee theft. With this in mind, it is imperative that employees be properly screened for the likelihood of stealing before being placed in a position that would allow them to do so. The personality tests would allow for a certain degree of confidence in a potential employee’s honesty. These tests can also measure their likelihood of absenteeism, problem solving ability, how well they handle stress, and their overall mental stability and outlook on important matters in life.
HRM Selection Tools: Drug Testing
Drug testing has an advantage to any employee selection process. “Compared to the cost of even one employee with a substance abuse problem, most firms find eliminating the problem in the first place is well worth the time and money involved in a drug-testing program” (Pre-employmentDrugScreening.com, n.d.). One would not leave their children in the care of an addict, so why would you leave the well being of an entire organization to the designs of one? Substance abuse issues bring about a variety of problems. The employee’s behavior can be erratic and unreliable. Their absenteeism is most likely to be high. The chances that they will steal are increased exponentially. For these reasons, many companies have introduced some sort of drug testing within their organizations. Putting an employee in a position where they have access to cash and products as well as affect the safety of everyone around them, drug screening is an important tool in the process of employee selection.
Human Resources Management Selection Tools: Behavioral Analysis
Behavioral analysis is most likely the most important selection tool suggested in the past few paragraphs. The proper test will give as an insight into how the employee would think and behave. We can tell if they are a self-starter, able to accept direction, able to accept change, and a whole host of other traits that are important for us to have in our employees. Background checks and drug testing is more of a statistical analysis. Check here if the applicant was honest in this specific scenario. Check here if the employee has a criminal history. These are cold hard facts while the behavioral analysis can give employers an insight into how an employee would operate and even why.
HRM Selection Process: The Interview
No employee selection process would be complete without at least one face-to-face interview. During the interview, you can cover topics with a potential employee that are not covered in the application or whichever tests they have undergone thus far. A skilled interviewer pays attention not only to the answers of the questions they ask, but how they are answered. What is the applicants tone or body language indicating? What questions do they ask? This is important to help determine their mindset in regards to the position. A combination of the non-directive interview and the situation interview as described by Bohlander and Snell (2007) is an ideal interviewing method. Start off with the non-direct method, where the applicant is asked a series of open ended questions. These questions should run along the following lines:
- Tell me more about yourself.
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why would you make a good employee?
If the applicant seems to do well with these initial questions, move on to the second part of the personal interview, and provide the applicant with a host of situational hypotheticals.
- Tell me about a time where somebody was dishonest at your previous place of employment and how it affected you.
- Tell me about a time where you came into work one day and new process had been implemented since you were gone.
- Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a fellow co-worker or manager.
By using the non-directive method of interview first, we allow the interviewee to get comfortable with the scenario of the interview and themselves. In all honesty, it breaks down their walls a little bit so that we are more likely to get honest answers during the second part of the interview. Depending how the applicant does during this process, we should utilize the other tests and checks implemented to determine if they should move forward toward the next step of the process, which might mean being offered a position.
As stated earlier, employee selection tools are an important thing in any company, perhaps even more important now than ever before. It can be a challenge determining what the right process is to find the right employees for any position. Experts often consult on such topics. Often, it is a series of trial and error. An application process starts out one way as a test and is reviewed later. If it worked well, it worked, but there is always something can be improved. Companies must measure the balance between the worthiness and importance of the position alongside the cost of whatever selection tools they decide to implement. The goal is to find the best candidate for the job. There are those who are missed and even those who slip through the cracks, no matter how thorough and excellent the selection process is. It is not worth trying to select the perfect tools and align them with the foolproof process. Such a thing does not exist. Instead, HR professionals must try to find the best and most cost effective way to find the right employee for any position.
Bohlander, G. W., & Snell, S. A., (2007). Managing human resources (14th ed.). Florence, KY: Thomson Learning Higher Education
Grannis, K. (2009). Trouble economy increases shoplifting rates, according to national retail security survey. National Retail Federation. Retrieved March 7, 2010 from http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=746
Pre-employmentDrugScreening.com. (n.d.). Intro to drug screening. Retrieved March 7, 2010 from http://www.employmentdrugtesting.com/screening.html