Most organisations endeavour to attract and retain the highest calibre of employees, but what formal processes can managers use to improve their chances of selecting the right person?

Clearly all potential employees must be selected for roles on the basis of merit, i.e. their capability to fulfil the job role requirements.  However, it is also important to ensure that potential employees are provided with the necessary information to enable them to make appropriate decisions.

Firstly, all vacant roles should have a job description, and essential minimum selection criteria associated with it.  The criteria should include qualifications, experience, key skills, capabilities and appropriate behaviours.

To ensure consistency, it is best if applicants are asked to complete a standard application form to enable an initial assessment of their capabilities against the job role’s essential minimum criteria.

In addition, applicants should be provided with information such as: job description, terms and conditions, brief history of the organisation, key strategic objectives, and a brief on how the role holder is expected to contribute to the business.  In this way they can understand what is potentially required of them which will help them to make appropriate decisions.

When it comes to selection, ultimately, the job role should dictate the selection process being used, with a fairly simple process for junior employees, to more complex selection methods for senior employees.  For example a simple process might include the following:

1. Initial screening – A standard application form to initially assess a candidate’s suitability, accompanied by proof of relevant qualifications.

2. Initial interview – A competency based interview with HR., including relevant skills and/or aptitude tests relating to the job role.

3. Final interview – A formal interview with HR and the Line Manager, with the final decision being made jointly between the Line Manger and HR.

For more senior managers, the process might include:

1. Initial screening – A standard application form, personality test, verbal, numerical and critical thinking tests, proof of relevant qualifications and a written submission to a business problem.

2. Interview and meeting – A competency based interview HR and the Line Manager, followed by a meeting with peers to determine fit with organisation’s direction and culture.

3. Final interview and presentation – A final interview with the Line Manager, HR, and other Senior Managers at which the candidate(s) deliver a presentation which demonstrates their capability for the role and a plan for what they will do in their first 6-12 months.  The final decision being made jointly by those present.

It should be noted that all methods of selection must be reliable, objective and guard against bias.

Finally, it is good practice (and for some roles a legal requirement) that checks are undertaken before a final offer is made to any candidate.  For example these might include: proof of identity, criminal record, qualifications, references, state of health, and driving license.

Most organisations wish to attract the highest calibre of employees, as the right person can have a considerable impact on an organisation’s success.  However, by inference the opposite must also be true, that selecting the wrong person could potentially be disastrous.  This is why it is important to not simply hire on a hunch or gut feel, it makes much more sense to invest in a formal process.