Selection Process: Definition, Steps in Selection Process

Selection is the process of choosing the most suitable candidates from those who apply for the job. It is a process of offering jobs to desired candidates.

Once the potential applicants are identified, the next step is to evaluate their qualification, qualities, experience, capabilities, etc. & make the selection. It is the process of offering jobs to the desired applicants.

Selection means choosing a few from those who apply. It is picking up of applicants or candidates with requisite qualifications and qualities to fill jobs in the organization.

Definition of Selection

According to Harold Koontz, “Selection is the process of choosing from the candidates, from within the organization or from outside, the most suitable person for the current position or for the future positions.”

Dale Yoder said, “Selection is the process by which candidates for employment are divided into classes those who will be offered employment and those who will not.”

David and Robbins said, “Selection process is a managerial decision-making process as to predict which job applicants will be successful if hired.”

According to R.M. Hodgetts, “Selection is the process in which an enterprise chooses the applicants who best meet the criteria for the available positions.”

Selection is the process of choosing from a group of applicants those individuals best suited for a particular position.

Most managers recognize that employee selection is one of their most difficult, and most important, business decisions.

This process involves making a judgment -not about the applicant, but about the fit between the applicant and the job by considering knowledge, skills and abilities and other characteristics required to perform the job Selection procedures are not carried out through standard pattern and steps in this.

The process can vary from organization to organization some steps performed and considered important by one organization can be skipped by other organization.

Personnel Selection is the methodical placement of individuals into jobs. Its impact on the organization is realized when employees achieve years or decades of service to the employer.

The process of selection follows a methodology to collect information about an individual in order to determine if that individual should be employed. The methodology used should not violate any laws regarding personnel selection.

Steps in Selection Process

The selection process typically begins with the preliminary interview; next, candidates complete the application for employment.

They progress through a series of selection tests, the employment interview, and reference and background checks. The successful applicant receives a company physical examination and is employed if the results are satisfactory.

Several external and internal factors impact the selection process, and the manager must take them into account in making selection decisions.

Typically selection process consists of the following steps but it is not necessary that all organization go through all these steps as per the requirement of the organization some steps can be skipped while performing the selection process.

Steps in Selection Process

  1. Initial Screening.
  2. Completion of the Application Form.
  3. Employment Tests.
  4. Job Interview.
  5. Conditional Job Offer.
  6. Background Investigation.
  7. Medical Examination.
  8. Permanent Job Offer.

1. Initial Screening

The selection process often begins with an initial screening of applicants to remove individuals who obviously do not meet the position requirements.

At this stage, a few straight forward questions are asked. An applicant may obviously be unqualified to fill the advertised position, but be well qualified to work in other open positions.

The Purpose of Screening is to decrease the number of applicants being considered for selection.

Sources utilized in the screening effort

Personal Resume presented with the job application is considered a source of information that can be used for the initial screening process. It mainly includes information in the following areas:

  • Employment & education history.
  • Evaluation of character.
  • Evaluation of job performance.

Advantages of Successful Screening

If the screening effort is successful, those applicants that do not meet the minimum required qualifications will not move to the next stage in the selection process. Companies utilizing expensive selection procedures put more effort into screening to reduce costs.

2. Completion of the Application Form

Application Blank is a formal record of an individual’s application for employment. The next step in the selection process may involve having the prospective employee complete an application for employment.

This may be as brief as requiring only an applicant’s name, address, and telephone number. In general terms, the application form gives a job-performance-related synopsis of applicants’ life, skills and accomplishments.

The specific type of information may vary from firm to firm and even by job type within an organization. Application forms are a good way to quickly collect verifiable and fairly accurate historical data from the candidate.

3. Employment Tests

Personnel testing is a valuable way to measure individual characteristics.

Hundreds of tests have been developed to measure various dimensions of behavior. The tests measure mental abilities, knowledge, physical abilities, personality, interest, temperament, and other attitudes and behaviors.

Evidence suggests that the use of tests is becoming more prevalent for assessing an applicant’s qualifications and potential for success. Tests are used more in the public sector than in the private sector and in medium-sized and large companies than in small companies.

Large organizations are likely to have trained specialists to run their testing programs.

Advantages of using tests

Selection testing can be a reliable and accurate means of selecting qualified candidates from a pool of applicants.

As with all selection procedures, it is important to identify the essential functions of each job and determine the skills needed to perform them.

Potential Problems using Selection tests

Selection tests may accurately predict an applicant’s ability to perform the job, but they are less successful in indicating the extent to which the individual will want to perform it.

Another potential problem, related primarily to personality tests and interest inventories, has to do with applicants honesty. Also, there is the problem of test anxiety.

Applicants often become quite anxious when confronting yet another hurdle that might eliminate them from consideration.

4. Job Interview

An interview is a goal-oriented conversation in which the interviewer and applicant exchange information. The employment interview is especially significant because the applicants who reach this stage are considered to be the most promising candidates.

Interview Planning

Interview planning is essential to effective employment interviews.

The physical location of the interview should be both pleasant and private, providing for a minimum of interruptions. The interviewer should possess a pleasant personality, empathy and the ability to listen and communicate effectively.

He or she should become familiar with the applicant’s qualifications by reviewing the data collected from other selection tools. In preparing for the interview, a job profile should be developed based on the job description.

Content of the Interview

The specific content of employment interviews varies greatly by an organization and the level of the job concerned.

  1. Occupational experience: Exploring an individual’s occupational experience requires determining the applicant’s skills, abilities, and willingness to handle responsibility.
  2. Academic achievement: In the absence of significant work experience, a person’s academic background takes on greater importance.
  3. Interpersonal skills: If an individual cannot work well with other employees, chances for success are slim. This is especially true in today’s world with increasing emphasis being placed on the use of teams.
  4. Personal qualities: Personal qualities normally observed during the interview include physical appearance, speaking ability, vocabulary, poise, adaptability, and assertiveness.
  5. Organizational fit: A hiring criterion that is not prominently mentioned in the literature is organizational fit. Organizational fit is ill-defined but refers to management’s perception of the degree to which the prospective employee will fit in with, for example, the firm’s culture or value system.

5. Conditional Job Offer

Conditional job offer means a tentative job offer that becomes permanent after certain conditions are met.

If a job applicant has passed each step of the selection process so far, a conditional job offer is usually made.

In essence, the conditional job offer implies that if everything checks out – such as passing a certain medical, physical or substance abuse test – the conditional nature of the job offer will be removed and the offer will be permanent.

6. Background Investigation

Background Investigation is intended to verify that information on the application form is correct and accurate.

This step is used to check the accuracy of application form through former employers and references. Verification of education and legal status to work, credit history and criminal record are also made.

Personal reference checks may provide additional insight into the information furnished by the applicant and allow verification of its accuracy.

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. It is important to gain as much information as possible about past behavior to understand what kinds of behavior one can expect in the future.

Knowledge about attendance problems, insubordination issues, theft, or other behavioral problems can certainly help one avoid hiring someone who is likely to repeat those behaviors.

Background investigations primarily seek data from references supplied by the applicant including his or her previous employers. The intensity of background investigations depends on the level of responsibility inherent in the position to be filled.

Common sources of background information include:

  • References are provided by the applicant and are usually very positive.
  • Former employers should be called to confirm the candidate’s work record and to obtain their performance appraisal.
  • Educational accomplishments can be verified by asking for transcripts.
  • Legal status to work.
  • Credit references, if job-related.
  • Criminal records can be checked by third-party investigators.
  • Background checks are conducted by third-party investigators.
  • Online searches as simple as “Google” search of a candidate can turn up information on press releases or news items about a candidate that was left off the application or resume.

7. Medical/Physical Examination

After the decision has been made to extend a job offer, the next phase of the selection process involves the completion of a medical/physical examination.

This is an examination to determine an applicant’s physical fitness for essential job performance.

Typically, a job offer is contingent on successfully passing this examination.

For example, firefighters must perform activities that require a certain physical condition. Whether it is climbing a ladder, lugging a water-filled four-inch hose or carrying an injured victim, these individuals must demonstrate that they are fit for the job.

8. Permanent Job Offer

Individuals who perform successfully in the preceding steps are now considered eligible to receive the employment offer. The actual hiring decision should be made by the manager in the department where the vacancy exists.

Notification to Candidates

The selection process results should be made known to candidates—successful and unsuccessful—as soon as possible.

Any delay may result in the firm losing a prime candidate, as top prospects often have other employment options. As a matter of courtesy and good public relations, the unsuccessful candidates should also be promptly notified.

Ways of Making an Effective Employee Selection

All companies, irrespective of size, make hiring mistakes, but here are few tips experts /suggest to help avoid making them.

Determine the criteria a candidate must meet

Before filling a position, the HR manager of a company must clearly define the skills, experience, character, ‘educational background, work experience, technical skills and competencies, they must possess.

Hiring without testing

Skill testing is a must. Every job has some form of measurable, objective performance standard. Identify it and test for it.

There are tests that can indicate if a job candidate meets the required criteria. With these pre-hire screening tools, a recruiter can test the knowledge of potential hires before they are extended an offer.

Hiring after the first interview

It is important to have several interviews with the same person — and not to hire from one interview. The person may not present the same later, and HR manager may get fresh insights from different meetings.

Underestimating the unemployed.

A person who does not have a job at the Vnoment may be the right fit for the position. They are plenty of good talent out there that are not hired.

Poor or no reference checking

It is important to know how to conduct a detailed ‘reference check. A proper reference check verifies job skills and the behavioral fit in which the person operates. It is essential to conduct an extensive background investigation and reference checks.

Avoid hiring out of desperation

Too many hiring decisions are made out of operation. The following scenarios occur repeatedly; a key manager quits and must be replaced now; rapid growth forces a company to fill positions without enough forethought; programmers are so scarce that anyone will do.

If we hire employees in haste, we may find out later that the new recruits are not trustworthy or competent.

If an HR manager is unable to conduct a thorough, timely hiring process, hire a temporary or leased employee or borrow an employee from another company.

Watch out for fascination

A series of surveys have revealed that during the hiring process, most interviewers made their decision-up or down within the first 10 minutes of the interview.

They then spent the next 50 minutes internally justifying that decision. We buy cars in the same way.

First, we choose the car we want to buy from an emotional standpoint and then search for objective data to justify that emotional decision.

We all know that facts tell, but emotions sell. The recruiter can guard against obsession by having coworkers’ interview prospects, having group interviews, and by conducting follow-up interviews.

Carefully evaluate candidates recommended by employees and associates.

Just because someone recommends a person they think would be highly capable for a particular position doesn’t mean that person is qualified.

We have seen many occasions where someone was hired without going through the usual evaluation process simply because they were recommended by another employee or colleague Follow the usual channels and requirements when anyone-no matter how highly recommended-seeks to work for the organization.

Do not blindly promote from within

It is widely believed that the HR manager should recruit employees from within the organization. The best performers are not necessarily always the most qualified candidates for a specific job. This is especially true when promoting to the management level.

Simply because someone is particularly adept at handling a certain function doesn’t mean they are capable of managing others. It is important to remember the Peter Principle.

It is a concept in management theory in which the selection of a candidate for a position is based on their performance in the current role rather than on their abilities relevant to the intended role.

Peter suggests that people will tend to be promoted until they reach their “position of incompetence”.

One’s career may cripple after such a promotion. Promoting solely from within can create inbreeding and stagnate creativity.

To guard against these pitfalls, companies should consider filling at least one-third of all positions involving promotions with people from outside the organization.

Common Mistakes in the Selection of Employees

If workers are carefully selected, the problems of employee discipline will be negligible.

Consequently, hiring employees is a major part of the success of every company. Colin, (2011) and Fraser (2012) identified some common mistakes that might occur while hiring new employees.

Organizations today are experiencing high rates of employee turnover, wrongful hiring claims, gender discrimination, political consideration, regionalism, workplace violence; and employee theft, etc.

Hiring a wrong person may aggravate such risk.

The wrong person is under-qualified, insubordinate, and detrimental to the entire firm. Indeed, the seeds of many failed employee-employer relationships are planted during the hiring process.

The wrong person may be an unavoidable liability for the organization. The wrong person can do a lot of damage to the organization. Hiring mistakes can be more costly.

These mistakes can include the cost of termination, replacement and productivity loss. They can impact the organization’s bottom line as well as the morale and productivity of other employees.

Selecting the right people is a key leverage point to support and drive an organization’s growth and development.

But selecting the right person is not an easy task. Many mistakes may occur while selecting employees. The cost associated with the making such a mistake are tremendous.

Both dismissal and turnover are costly.

The best way to reduce turnover is to make the right selection decision in the beginning of the entire process. Selecting the right people is crucial to an organization’s success.

How can HR manager make sure that he or she is not making the top hiring mistakes?

Colin (2011) says, “It’s important to get your hiring right the first time and encourages employers to take steps to reduce the likelihood of costly hiring mistakes”.

However, the following mistakes are identified in the selection process of an employee:

Poor listening

Few recruiters do not pay full attention to the candidate. In fact /following the 80: 20 rule, the 80% needs to come from the applicant.

The interviewer should listen 80% of the time.

Recruiters listen to the candidate’s words

They should pay more attention to the body language, posture, eye contact: essentially all the non-verbal communication cues.

About 93% of all communication is nonverbal, so being attuned to the multitude of nonverbal cues provides an interviewer with much richer information about the candidate (McMurray, R. N., 1990).

They should read and observe the personality of the applicants.

For example, voice quality is important for a candidate to become a teacher, in addition to his academic qualification. Recruiters should talk less and listen more.

Questions are not purposeful

This is due to a lack of preparation. If recruiters /have benchmarked the job and prepared a list of questions in advance, then they cannot go wrong.

Recruiters should get prepared both for the basic and follow-up questions.

A review of the job specification and employee specification may help the interviewer prepare specific questions. They should build rapport with the interviewee. The burden to establish rapport falls on the interviewer.

Recruiters do not know what they are looking for

The recruiters may lack in / preparation. So make a list of all the hard skills as well as soft skills (personality traits and personal values) that employers need for the employee.

Jot down any additional demands the job requires, such as lots of overtime, travel and set hours. The recruiter must know exactly what they are looking for, they are more likely to get it. Like most decision making, employee selection is fundamentally emotional.

Therefore, it is important to define and prioritize the Critical Success Factors for the job in advance.

This enables clear thinking to establish a specific position profile. Yes, it takes time, but it is an effective use of time versus “shooting in the dark.”.

Use the gut feels the approach

Experience and intuition are important no doubt but do /not ignore the selection process. Have procedures in place which will assist a recruiter in making the right choice, such as testing, pre-interview questionnaires, psychometric assessments, etc.

It is important to verify and check all information provided in the resume to make sure that nothing is given wrong.

Be open to the possibility that some of them might not be totally honest and are bending the truth to get the job. It is very common for applicants to paint a much brighter picture on their resumes so this makes testing extra important.

Time and work under pressure

Recruiters spend too little time on hiring and make /take too long to look for a replacement. They should understand that the costs of hiring are nothing as compared to turnover costs.

Don’t meet the candidate only once. Create opportunities for other managers to meet the applicant as well and hear what they have to say. It is very important to get the whole picture and see whether the applicant will be an overall good fit for the company.

Will they be able to fit into the organizational culture and get along well with the rest of the team?

Go with the flow

Most interviewers do not take control of the interview. HR /managers must remember, it is his interview. He not candidate-set the process, timing, roles, pace, and questioning.

Take candidates at their word

Do not settle for vague general responses just because you want to be polite. Let the candidate know at the beginning of the interview that as an HR manager, your goal is to fully and- specifically understand his/her capabilities.

Oblivious to the legal

This may not prevent HR managers from making the right /selection decision, but it will increase the company’s liabilities to solve this problem, the HR manager must know the law, train employees and enforce the law in his selection process.

Ignorance is no excuse.

Where Recruitment Ends Selection Starts

Recruitment involves attracting and obtaining as many applications as possible from eligible job seekers. Recruitment is the process of finding and attracting capable applicants for employment.

The process begins when new recruits are sought and ends when their applications are submitted. The result is a pool of applicants from which new employees are selected.

Selection is the process of differentiating between applicants in order to identify and hire those with a greater likelihood of success in a job. Though some selection methods can be used within the organization for promotion or transfer, in this case, the statement of the question is not correct.

But when the selection of applicants from outside the organization has occurred then the given statement in the question is correct.

Recruitment and relation are the two crucial steps in the HR process and are often used interchangeably. There is however a fine distinction between the two steps.

While recruitment refers to the process of identifying and encouraging prospective employees to apply for jobs, the selection is concerned with picking the right candidates from the pool of applicants which are obtained during the recruitment process.

So in this case selection is derived from after completing the recruitment process. Recruitment is said to be positive in its approach as it seeks to attract as many candidates as possible.

Selection, on the other hand, is negative in its application in as much as it seeks to element as many unqualified applicants as possible in order to identify the right candidates from the pool.

So in the recruitment and selection process; recruitment is the first step and selection is the second steps or final step.

In conclusion, we can say “When recruitment ends selection to start.

Selection, Recruitment and Job Analysis Relationship

Job analysis

Job analysis is the process of collecting job-related information. Such information helps in the preparation of job description and job specification.

A job is a collection of tasks that can be performed by a single employee to contribute to the production of some product or service provided by the organization.

Each job has certain ability requirements as well as certain rewards associated with it. Job analysis is the process used to identify these requirements.

Job analysis involves the following steps:

  1. Collection and recording job information.
  2. Checking the job information for accuracy.
  3. Writing job descriptions based on the information
  4. Using the information to determine the skills, abilities, and knowledge that are required on the job.
  5. Upgrading the information from time to time.

Job analysis has an impact on all foundations of HRM. Job analysis, if properly has done will enhance the effectiveness of all HR activities.

It benefits the organization in the following ways:

  1. Laying the foundation for human resources planning.
  2. Laying the foundation for employee hiring.
  3. Laying the foundation for training and development.
  4. Laying the foundation for performance appraisal.
  5. Laying the foundation for salary and wage fixation.
  6. Laying the foundation for safety and health.


Recruitment involves attracting and obtaining as many applications as possible from eligible job seekers. It is the process of finding and attracting capable applicants for employment. The process begins when new recruits are sought and ends when their applications are submitted. The result is a pool of applicants from which new employees are selected.


Selection is the process of differentiating between applicants in order to identify and hire those with a greater likelihood of success in a job.

Recruitment and selection are the two crucial steps in the HR process and are often used interchangeably.

There is, however, a fine distinction between the two steps.

While recruitment refers to the process of identifying and encouraging prospective employees to apply for jobs then the selection is concerned with picking the right candidates from a pool of applicants.

From the above discussion, we can find a relationship between the recruitment and selection i.e. recruitment is the precondition for the selection of an employee for the organization.

The relationship between “Job analysis” and “Recruitment and Selection” is i.e. job analysis is the foundation of recruitment and selection for selecting a qualified and capable employee as required for performing the job accurately.


The objectives of the selection process are to select the candidates whose success probability in the job is the highest and motivate right candidates to opt for the vacancy by a proper presentation of the organization to the potential candidates.

In many HR departments, recruiting and selection are combined and called the employment function. In large HR departments, the employment function is the responsibility of the HR Director.

In smaller departments, HR managers handle these duties.

The selection process relies on three helpful inputs. Job analysis information provides the description of the jobs, the human specifications and the performance standards each job requires.

Human resource plans tell HR managers what job openings are likely to occur. These plans allow selection to proceed in a logical manner.

Finally, recruits are necessary so that the HR manager has a group of people from which to choose. These three inputs largely determine the effectiveness of the selection process.

The selection process is a series of steps through which applicants pass.

For example, a candidate who fails to qualify for a particular step is not eligible for appearing for the subsequent step. The result of each step is crucial. Failure of any step disqualifies the candidate from attempting the next step.

Because of this characteristic, Yoder (1972) has termed this process as a succession of hurdles. It is designed to determine the most likely candidates to be successful at fulfilling the job requirements by eliminating those candidates least likely to succeed.

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