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SELECTION PROCESS AS HUMAN RESOURCE FUNCTION

Selection relate to recruitment function in Human Resource Management


By,

Shillingi, Venance
E-mail:sshtz@yahoo.com

1.0 Introduction

Selection can be conceptualized in terms of either choosing the fit candidates, or


rejecting the unfit candidates, or a combination of both. So, selection process assumes
rightly that, there is more number of candidates than the number of candidates actually
selected, where the candidates are made available through recruitment process (Prasad,
2005, p. 242). According to Gupta (2006), selection is a process of choosing the most
suitable persons out of all the participants. In this process, relevant information about
applicant is collected through series of steps so as to evaluate their suitability for the job to
be filled. On other hand, selection is the process of assessing the candidates by various
means and making a choice followed by an offer of employment (Graham, 1998, p. 206).

Therefore, in simple terms, selection is a process in employment function which


starts immediately upon receipt of resumes and application letters, the major concern being
reviewing resumes for basic qualifications. A job seeker who does not meet the required
qualifications is not an applicant and should not be considered. It is a process which should
be based on job-related qualifications including, but not limited to: required or preferred
education; experience; and knowledge, skills, and abilities as identified in the job
description. Qualifications must be bona fide occupational qualifications. An applicant who
is hired must meet the required qualifications listed in the job description. In this regard,
Selection is a process of matching the qualifications of applicants with the job requirements.
It is a process of weeding out unsuitable candidates and finally identifies the most suitable
candidate.

2.0 Selection and Recruitment are compared


Selection is different from recruitment, where recruitment technically precedes
selection. Recruitment involves identifying the sources of manpower and stimulating them
to apply for jobs in the organizations. On the other hand, selection is the process of
choosing the best out of those recruited. Recruitment is positive as aims at increasing the
number of applications for wider choices or for increasing the selection ratio.

Selection is an important function as no organization can achieve its goals without


selecting the right people, where faulty in selection leads to wastage of time, money and

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spoils the environment of an organization. In this regard, scientific selection and placement
of personnel can go a long way in building up a stable work force, where it helps to reduce
absenteeism and labour turnover at the same time very helpful in increasing the efficiency
and productivity of the enterprise (Dessler, 2005).

With the same idea, (Prasad, 2005)1 argues that, recruitment and selection
differ in term of objective, process, technique, and outcome, which are discussed as follows:

Firstly, the ultimate objectives of both recruitment and selection are to acquire
suitable candidates but their immediate objectives differ, where the basic objective of
recruitment is to attract maximum number of candidates so that more options are
available; the basic objective of selection is to choose best out of the available candidates.

Secondly, recruitment differs from selection in terms of process, where it adopts the
process of creating application pool as large as possible; while selection adopts the process
through which more and more candidates are rejected and fewer candidates are selected or
sometime not even a single candidate is selected.

Thirdly, in respect to techniques involved, recruitment techniques are not very


intensive, requiring high skills, as against this, in selection process, highly specialized
techniques are required. Therefore, in the selection process, only personnel with specific
skills like expertise in using selection tests, conducting interviews and the like are involved.

Fourthly, since recruitment and selection are two inter-linked steps in the process of
manpower acquisition, they differ in term of outcome; where the outcome for recruitment
is application pool which becomes input for selection process, on the other hand, the
outcome of selection process is in the form of finalizing candidates who will be offered jobs.

3.0 Factors (Conditions) for Selection Process


The basic idea in a selection process is to solicit maximum possible information
about the candidates to ascertain their suitability for employment, and given the fact that,
there are factors which affect the seeking of such information(Prasad, 2005, p. 246), he
proposed the following factors which determine the steps involved in a selection process;

Firstly, various steps involved in a selection process depend on the type of personnel
to be selected. For example, more information is required for the selection of managerial
personnel as compared to subordinate workers.

Secondly, selection process depends on the sources of recruitment and the method
that is adopted for making contact with prospective candidates. For example, in the case of

1
P.242-243

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advertisement, selection process is more comprehensive and time-consuming, where as in
the case of campus recruitment; the process is shortened and may be completed in a day.

Thirdly, selection process depends on the number of candidates that are available
for selection. If the number is large enough, there is a need for creating various filtering
points and reducing the number of applicants at each successive point. However, where the
number of applicants is small, lesser number of filtering points are required.

Fourthly, organization’s selection policy also determines the ways to be involved in


selection process. For example in Tanzania context, there are various organizations which
conduct selection tests for employment positions such as TRA2 and NMB3, while government
ministries and LGAs4 go through interview only.

Also, Gupta5 suggests that, the selection process can be successful if the following
conditions are satisfied:-

Firstly, someone should have the authority to select, where this authority comes
from the employment requisition as developed through analysis of the workload and
workforce.

Secondly, there must be some standard of human resource with which applicant can
be compared. In other words, a comprehensive job description and job specification should
be available beforehand.

Thirdly, there must be a sufficient number of applicants from whom the required
number of employees may be selected

In this regard, recruitment and selection process invariably influence the whole matter of
employment function in the organization.

4.0 Steps in Selection Process


Selection process consists of a series of steps, at each stage, facts may come light
which may lead to the rejection of the applicant. It is a series of successive hurdles or
barriers which an applicant must cross. These hurdles or screens are designed to eliminate
an unqualified candidate at any point in the selection process

There is no standards selection procedure to be used in all organisations or for all


jobs. The complexity of selection procedures increases with the level and responsibility of
the position to be filled. Therefore, the strategy and method used for selecting employees
varies from firm to firm and from one job to another. For instance in Tanzania, the

2
Tanzania Revenue Authority
3
The National Microfinance Bank Limited
4
Local Government Authorities.
5
(2006. P.7.16)

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recruitment and selection conducted in public sector is quite different with those done by
private organisations in term of procedures and general process, as most if not all of
employment process in public sector are controlled by Ministry of Public service
management(UTUMISHI), where it involve requesting of employment permit before starting
recruitment process.

Scholars of Human Resource Management such as Gupta, Prasad, and Armstrong6


suggested the following steps to be involved in employees’ selections process, though not
necessary to be implemented chronologically:-

4.0.1 Preliminary Interview (screening applications)


Initial screening is done to weed out totally undesirable/unqualified
candidates at the outset. It is essentially a sorting process in which prospective
candidates are given the necessary information about the nature of the job and the
organisation, at the same time, the necessary information is also elicited from the
candidates about their education, skills, experience, salary expected and the like. It
helps to determine whether it is worthwhile for a candidate to fill up the application
form. At this juncture, test of authenticity for candidate’s relevant certificates is
done.

4.0.2 Application Form


Application form is a traditional and widely used device for collecting
information from candidates. It should provide all the information relevant to
selection, where reference for caste, religion, birth place, may be avoided as it may
be regarded an evidence of discrimination. However, in respect to Tanzania
perspective, the use of application forms is mostly used by private organizations and
especially international organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, where in respect to
public service especially local government to whom I have been working for couple of
years, this forms are filled while the applicant have already issued employment letter,
and are filled for the purpose of being sent to UTUMISHI so as the employed
applicant can be adapted to the government payroll to effect his or her salary.

4.0.3 Selection Test


Psychological tests are being increasingly used in employee selection, where
a test may involve some aspect of an individual’s attitudes, behavior and
performance. Tests are useful when the number of applicants is large, as at best it
reveals that the candidates who scored above the predetermined cutoff points are
likely to be more successful than those scoring below the cutoff point. For instance, I

6
(Armstrong, 2005; Prasad, 2005; Gupta, 2006)

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witnessed this type of exercise being done at FINCA Tanzania where I attended their
interview, where there process involves aptitude test, written test and finally oral
interview.

4.0.4 Employment Interview


Interview is an essential element of selection and no selection procedure is
complete without one or more personal interviews, where the information collected
through application letter or application forms and tests can be cross-checked in the
interview, where candidates demonstrates their capabilities and strength in relevant
to their academic credentials.

A selection in interview serves three purposes:

a) obtaining information about the background, education, training, work history


and interests of candidate
b) giving information to candidates about the company, the specific job and human
resource policies; and
c) establishing a friendly relationship between the employer and the candidate so
as to motivate the successful applicant to work for the organization.

However, in practice interview becomes a one-sided affair serving only the first
purpose.

4.0.5 Medical Examination


Applicants who have crossed the above stages are sent for a physical
examination either to the company’s physician or to a medical officer approved for
the purpose. Such examination serves the following purposes:-

a) It determines whether the candidate is physically fit to perform the job,


where those who are physically unfit are rejected.
b) It reveals existing disabilities and provides a record of the employee’s health
at the time of selection. This record will help in settling company’s liability
under the workmen compensation Act for claim for any injury.
c) It prevents the employment of people suffering from contagious diseases.
d) It identifies candidates who are otherwise suitable but require specific jobs
due to physical handicaps and allergies.

4.0.6 Reference Checks


The applicant is asked to mention in his application form, the names and addresses
of two or more persons who know him well. These may be his previous employers, heads of
education institutions or public figures. These people are requested to provide their frank
opinion about the candidate without incurring any liability. In government and public sector

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organizations, candidates are generally required to route their applications through their
present employers, if any. The opinion of referees can be useful in judging the future
behavior and performance of candidate, but is not advisable to rely exclusively on the
referees because they are generally biased in favour of the candidate.

Also Graham (1998) added that, a clear, unbiased and comprehensive description of
candidate’s abilities and behavior by his or her employer would be of enormous value in
selection, particularly if the employer also supplied job specification, but unfortunately this
ideal is never realised, for several reasons:-

(a) Most candidates are employed at the time of their application, and do not wish their
employers to know they are looking elsewhere.
(b) Because of (a) a prospective employer would be breaking a confidence if he or she
asked for a reference before an offer of a job had been made and accepted.
(c) By the time an offer has been accepted, selection is over and the reference is too
late to affect it.
(d) An offer may be made ‘subject to satisfactory references’, but as most references
are received after the candidate has started work, they can only be used to warn
managers of possible faults in the candidate which in serious cases may eventually
lead to warnings followed by dismissal.
(e) Employers giving references are usually extremely cautious; many references merely
state the job title, the date of employment, and reasons for leaving.
(f) References are occasionally biased, giving a good reference to hasten an employee’s
departure or a poor one because of a grudge.

Therefore, the best references are obtained in person, where there is a chance to
see whether nonverbal behavior matches what is said. If such a meeting cannot be
arranged, telephoning is the next best alternative.

4.0.7 Final Approval


In most of the organizations, selection process is carried out by the human resource
department, where the decisions of the department are recommendatory. The candidates
shortlisted by the department are finally approved by the executive of concerned
departments or units.

4.0.8 Employment.
Employment is offered in the form of an appointment letter mentioning the post,
the rank, the salary grade, the date by which the candidate should join and other terms and
conditions in brief. In some organizations, a contract of service is signed by both the
candidate and the representative of the organization. It is at this point where a selected
applicant is handled with a letter of offer for a job, as Graham argues that, the initial offer of
a job needs special care, particularly as regards the following points:-

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a) The wage or salary offered must not only be appropriate to the job and attractive to
the candidate but consistent with the earnings of present employees.
b) The job must be named and any special conditions stated, for instance, the first year
you will be under training at the head office, then you will be transferred to up-
country branches.
c) The candidate must know the essential conditions of employment, such as hours of
work, holidays, bonuses and fringe benefits.
d) Any provisos must be clearly stated, for example, your employment will be subject to
satisfactory references and medical examinations.

Appointment is generally made on probation of one or two years, where upon satisfactory
performance during this period, the candidate is finally confirmed in the job on the terms
employed with, whether permanent or contractual basis.

4.0.9 Induction.
The process of receiving employees when they begin work, introducing them to the
company and to their colleagues, and informing them of the activities, customs and
traditions of the company is called induction( (Graham, 1998, p. 219). At this juncture
various induction courses are done to new recruit in order to acclimatize them with the new
working environment. In Tanzania for instance, this exercise is much emphasized in public
service, where various secular have been released to emphasize the issue.

4.0.10 Follow – up (Evaluation)


All selection should be validated by follow-up, as Graham7 argue that, it a stage
where employee is asked how he or she feels about progress to date and the worker’s
immediate supervisor is asked for comments, which are compared with the notes taken at
the selection interview. If a follow-up is unfavourable it is probable that selection has been a
fault; the whole process from job specification to interview is then reviewed to see if a
better choice can be made next time. Also, (Prasad, 2005, p. 249)added that, though
evaluation is not strictly a step of selection process but helps in ensuring its effectiveness as
it tries to measure the reliability and the validity of various steps used in the selection
process.
Therefore, it is essential to follow up newly engaged employees to ensure that they
have settled in and to check on how well they are doing, if there any problems, it is much
better to identify them at an early stage rather than allowing them to fester8.

5.0 Applicability of selection process in Tanzania


In respect to Tanzania environment, most of the above steps in selection process are
applied by both private and public organizations; however, the exercise does vary from one
organization to another. For instance, in local government authorities, once letters of

7
(Graham, 1998, p. 219)
8
(Armstrong M. , 2006, p. 437)

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applications are received, short listing of applicants is done by the team of experts in respect
of the applied jobs, interview is organized, methods of assessment is done by preparing
various forms to be used by members of employment board while interviewing applicants,
then short listed applicants are called for interview, applicants are interviewed where are
required to attain at least 50% out of 100% on the question asked, if all applicants gets
below 50%, the post should be advertised again for recruitment. But if they scored above
50%, the leading applicant is taken for the post applied, thereafter; selected applicant is
called to fill various forms including medical examinations to effect his or her employment; if
found fit, is awarded offer for employment stipulating terms and conditions of employment;
duties are assigned and orientation course is undertaken as directive from UTUMISHI.9

Therefore, effective in selection in Tanzania environment, should undergo the


following steps in selection process:-

First step, is screening applications, where the available applications should be


reviewed to shortlist applicants in respect to their qualifications and experience
concurrence to the specified requirements of the job, only applicants with relevant
qualifications as well as their strength should be considered for interviewed. However, if are
many with qualifications with qualifications which look more less the same, aptitude test
can be used to screen them, where those with higher marks are taken. For instance in
Tanzania, this practice of using aptitude test is mostly used by TRA, CRBD, and NMB10 just to
mention a few. Also, in many organizations in Tanzania three candidates are shortlisted to
compete for one post.

Second step, is to prepare for interview, where at this step the type of interview is
established, it can be in groups or individually; written or oral interview; instruments and
guidelines are prepared on how to go about the interview; and then questions for interview
are prepared, whether open or closed as well as the place for interview is prepared. In
respect to questions; may for instance, be prepared by Human Resource department or
respective department which has the technical expertise in respect to job advertised, where
those questions are submitted to Human Resource department for verifications and approval
of those questions if they serve the required purpose. Also, is better to let the applicant
interview the panel, as evaluation goes both ways. While the applicant might not get the job
if he or she doesn’t perform well, you might not get a great employee if you don’t put your
best foot forward too.

The third step, is to develop factors and method of assessment, where various score
sheets and assessment forms are prepared in order to maintain the consistence for all
applicants in locating their score during interview, if the interview is done by panel or

9
WARAKA WA UTUMISHI NA: 4 WA MWAKA 2005 KUHUSU
MAFUNZO ELEKEZI YA AWALI KWA WATUMISHI WA UMMA
(ORIENTATION COURSE)- attached in this paper.
10
Tanzania Revenue Authority, CRDB Bank Limited, The National Microfinance Bank Limited.

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employment board, all members are supplied with these forms, where at the end all scores
from all members are totalized to know who has won the interview.

Forth step, is to conduct the interview, where at this stage all applicants are given
the same equal chance to demonstrate their strength and capabilities in respect to need
requirement of the job in question. Short listed applicants are asked the same questions in
order to maintain consistence and formality.

Fifth step is to undertake cross referencing for interviewees, where the contacts that
should be made depend on the nature of a job; in any case the references listed on an
application letter or resume are not always useful. Applicants tend to list only those people
who are likely to praise their job performance. Hence at this juncture, there in need do the
best to get the reliable information, for instance, People you know and trust are the only
ones you can really rely on to give an accurate picture of a potential employee. Even then,
people have different perceptions and personalities. So consider all these things.

The six step, is communicating the decision to candidates, at this stage the applicant
is informed by phone or letter that he or she has won the interview and asked to come to fill
required forms to effect the employment.

The seven step, is requiring the selected applicant to undergo medical examination,
where the applicant is taken to approved medical practitioner for medical examination, this
is to avoid selecting employee who might fail to perform the thought duties of the job, or if
he or she needs special treatment in order to perform the expected duties. This exercise is
very essential, although is not given more weight by many employers in Tanzania especially
in civil service sector, however, one should put into consideration the issue of HIV victims as
my bring some challenge from various groups including government which does not
encourage mistreating HIV victim in respect to employment.

The eight step; is to offer letter of employment and filling required forms to effect
employment function, where in that letter, terms and conditions of employment are
stipulated. The Human Resource Director should use a standard offer letter approved by the
organization to avoid inadvertently creating a contract of employment, which can put the
organization into legal problem.

The ninth step is placement and orientation, it is at this step the selection process
ends up, where the employed applicant is placed to his or her immediate supervisor and
required orientation programs are carried out in order to help the newcomer to acclimatize
with the new environment. For instance, the best thing one can do while undertaking
orientation; is to create the kind of environment in which employees are not afraid to ask
questions. Such an environment helps employees and managers work together to make the
team the best it can be. One should take the time to listen to both questions and ideas. New
employees may bring a new approach to old problems. Take advantage of their fresh
perspective.

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6.0 Concluding Remarks

Therefore, the basic objective of selection is to hire those candidates with a high
probability for job success. A multiple hurdle plan is the best selection strategy. Selection
hurdles or tests include pre-employment inquiries, application forms, initial screening
interviews, background investigations, work sample tests, and interviews.

Also, Recruiting and selecting the right people for your business is a challenge, and
every situation is unique. If one is innovative, persistent and realistic, and can communicate
the strengths of his business and the benefits of the positions one offers, one should be
successful in attracting high quality employees to build careers with his or her organisation.

Generally, characteristics which employers look for while hiring are: the person
should be hungry for success and have a risk taking capacity. He or she must also be able to
‘think-out-of-the-box’, learn to live with stress, be a great team player and have a
commitment outlook. Hence, the organisation will end up having strong committed team to
meet its goals and objectives.

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Bibliography
Armstrong, M. (2006). A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice (10th Edition ed.).
London: Kogan Page Limited.

Dessler, G. (2005). Human Resource Management (10th Edition ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice
Hall.

Graham, H. &. (1998). HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (9th Edition ed.). London: Prentice Hall.

Gupta, C. (2006). HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (Rev.Edition ed.). New Delhi: Sultan Chand &
Sons.

Prasad, L. (2005). Human Resource Management (2nd Edition ed.). New Delhi: Sultan Chand & Sons.

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