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SELECTION Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                        Reading 6 Page 1 of 26

Gregory John Lee

1         Introduction

Selection follows on from recruitment. Once the recruitment process has attracted the
right number and type of applicants, it is up to the selection process to sift between them
for those that are most suited to the position. These will be hired, the rest (probably the
majority) will be thanked for applying but not accepted. See the diagram below:

       General                                     Those who                                    Those who
     workforce                                      apply for                                     get hired
                                                     the job

                          Recruitment                                       Selection
                             process                                         process

Thus the definition of selection is:

Selection is…
…the process of choosing from a group of applicants the individual(s) best suited for a
particular position.

As with recruitment, the quality and consistency of the selection process can have a huge
strategic impact on the organisation. If the right kind of people - those whose
characteristics are aligned with the corporate strategy - are hired, then the strategy will be
enabled. If the selection process for some reason is hiring people either whose skills do
not fit the job or organisation, or whose character does not (no matter what their skills),

    Practical Management Philosophy 101: “Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then
                                         beat you with experience”.
                                                                                              Reading 6 Page 2 of 26

then it may be very difficult to effectively implement strategy. Thus the selection process
is vital, and many (even most) HR and Labour Relations problems can be avoided merely
by hiring the right people in the first place.

                       Now read pp 217-218 of the attached textbook chapter

2           Pre-Requisites to Selection

1.        HR and corporate strategy must be decided upon. This enables us to know why
          we are looking for new employees, and for who we are looking.
2.        The job analysis process in the organisation must be in place, either along rigid or
          flexible lines as the HR philosophy desires. This enables us to know exactly what
          we are looking for in applicants.
3.        HR planning must have been done. This enables us to know how many employees
          and of what type we need.
4.        Recruitment must have drawn a suitable pool from which to select.

3           The Cost of Poor Selection

The entire selection process over the working life of individual is estimated to be
upwards of R1.8 million where a poor decision is made:

       There is a large productivity differential between those with good person-job fit and
        those without, as high as 1:3
       Dismissal is difficult and extremely costly, so it is difficult to get rid of poor
       High labour turnover can result too. This may have high cost & severe productivity

      Innovative excuses to miss a day of work: “My mother-in-law has come back as one of the Undead. We must
     track her to her coffin and drive a stake through her heart and give her eternal peace. One day should do it.”.
                                                                                        Reading 6 Page 3 of 26

It is also possible in the future that civil cases may be brought by dismissed employees
claiming organisation liability for negligent hiring (i.e. although the employee may have
performed poorly and deserved dismissal, they may claim that it is the organisation‟s
fault in the first place for having poor selection procedures that should not have chosen

4         Factors Affecting Selection in S.A.

There are many factors that are specific to the South African context or have a greater
weight here, and must be considered before selection decisions are made.

The most obvious example in this regard is affirmative action policies: as you know,
increased demand for affirmative action candidates must by definition influence selection
patterns resulting in proportionately greater selection of previously disadvantaged people.
See Reading 6.

Other examples are our high unemployment rate, and simultaneous low levels of skills
and education. These may affect selection patterns through the type of selection tools
used (for instance, you are hardly going to use an English aptitude test on someone who
is partially illiterate).

There are other SA specific considerations. You will learn more about these in the
lectures, and in your assignment which deals specifically with these things. Let us now
take a closer look at some of the more general considerations for selection, however:

    a.       Selection and Strategy: Again, selection is an implementation tool for
             strategy, providing the human inputs required. The strategy is a vital input into
             the type and number of people hired.
    b.       Legal considerations (see later)

                  Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to? - George Carlin
                                                                                              Reading 6 Page 4 of 26

       c.       Speed of decision making: how fast you need the people will affect the
                thoroughness of the selection process (e.g. the number & depth of steps)
       d.       Organisational hierarchy: Hiring for senior positions will tend to mean
                extensive selection tests and experience checks, while hiring for junior
                positions can mean less extensive measures (e.g. generally short interview and
                job related tests).
       e.       Applicant pool: This is essentially a relative measure of how many people we
                have to choose from compared to how many people we need. We look at what
                is called the „selection ratio‟:

                               no. of persons hired to fill a particular job
                                   the number of available applicants

            If the selection ratio = 1 then there is only one applicant for each job. If the ratio =
            0.1 then there are ten applicants for each job. The selection ratio can tell us the
            likely quality of our choices (although remember that we are aiming for the right
            number of candidates, not the most)

Remember that the ultimate aim is to fit the best person with the organisation (in general)
and the job (in particular). A good person-job fit leads to a more productive and happier
working environment. How can we begin to ensure better fit? Two basic things:

1.      The best strategic planners need to be selected into planning functions so that
        diverse, flexible and expert planning is done
2.      The best possible people need to be selected to implement plans

Different strategic types (see Reading 3) will tend to lead to differing selection policies,

 Porter‟s differentiation strategic approach may tend to work best with creative,
       independent, flexible, risk taking individuals with proven records of innovation and

                    As long as Santa isn‟t so jolly just because he knows where all the bad girls live.
                                                                                       Reading 6 Page 5 of 26

 Porter‟s overall cost leadership strategic approach may tend to work best with risk
    averse individuals who work well within structured and unchanging environments
    and who can be trained up over time
 etc…

Strategic considerations along with job requirements (job analysis) thus jointly form an
idea of the person needed

5         Aspects of a Good Selection Method

Various methods can be used to choose between various applicants. Any method should
optimally have the following aspects:

    1.         Reliability: Indicates the extent to which a measure is consistent, i.e. gives
               the same result every time the same subject is measured on this
               characteristic. Reliability thus looks at the consistency of the measuring
               instrument only, and assumes the construct being measured is stable (which
               is not always the case. Interests, for example, may change over time).
    2.         Validity: Indicates the extent to which a measure does in fact measure what
               is says it does (i.e. does selection method really measure the ability to do the
               job well?). See blow for the various ways of validating a measure.
    3.         Generalizability: Is the selection method valid in all circumstances (i.e. over
               all situations, samples, times?).
    4.         Utility: How much does the selection information enhance the bottom line?
    5.         Legality: Selection items must be legal (see below).

Now read pp 218-231 of the attached textbook chapter (“Selection Method

    Practical Management Philosophy 101: “I don‟t have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem”.
                                                                                         Reading 6 Page 6 of 26

5.1          More on the Assessment of Validity: Construct Validity

In the section on validity dealt with in your textbooks, you would have seen the two types
of validity called criterion-related and content validity.

I would like to add a third (rarer) type of validity. This is called construct validity.
Construct validity is the extent to which a selection item measures a trait that is assumed
(through research) to lead to performance.

For example, if co-ordination predicts performance for a snooker player, a test would be
construct valid if it genuinely measures co-ordination. In this case you are NOT
measuring the strength of the relationship between co-ordination and snooker success
(which would be criterion-related validity). Construct validity is only the ability of the
measuring instrument to measure co-ordination. Thus:

      Measuring             measures                   Trait              predicts            Performance

                           Construct                                      Criterion
                            validity                                      validity

5.2          More on Legality of Selection Methods in South Africa:

Firstly, Section 6 of the Employment Equity Act prohibits discrimination. See Reading 6.
Exactly the same rules as explicated in the recruitment section for non-discrimination
apply too to selection (in fact, discrimination suits will be far more prevalent over
selection procedures).

Secondly, affirmative action is also a consideration, as explicated in Reading 5. As
explained there, the Employment Equity Act requires designated companies to conduct

       Innovative excuses to miss a day of work: “I am converting my calendar from Julian to Gregorian”.
                                                                                          Reading 6 Page 7 of 26

consultations, an audit and make plans. Although there are currently no quotas, the
ultimate effect of AA plans is to advance the hiring of previously disadvantaged groups
(PDG‟s), over and above that of non-PDG‟s. So, this affects selection because, faced with
a woman applicant who is equally “suitably qualified” as a man (see Reading 6 for
definition of this), the woman should be selected. This goes too for “Black” and
“disadvantaged” peoples.

Thirdly, the EEA has passed laws on selection testing. Specifically, it deals with
psychometric and AIDS testing. These laws will be dealt with later under the testing

Insert figure summarising inputs into slection here

6           The Selection Process

Depending on the various factors (see above), the following are possible methods that
might be included as a part of a typical selection process:

1.   Pre screening
2.   Initial interview
3.   Reference and other checks
4.   Application forms or „blanks‟
5.   Selection testing
6.   Comprehensive interview
7.   Job offer
8.   Medical examination

There are no set rules, nor is there a set progression from one to another (they can occur
in any order). Bear this in mind as we look at each in turn.

                 If all the world is a stage, where are the audience sitting? - George Carlin
                                                                                    Reading 6 Page 8 of 26

6.1          Pre-Screening

A certain amount of screening will probably already have been already done before the
initial interview, possibly in the recruitment phase and through some screening processes
(probably an analysis of the CV, an application form etc).

Humour in HR: Real Statements Taken From CV’s

Those that just came out wrong:

     Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store (either you mean „running‟
      or you can‟t be serious)
     Wholly responsible for two failed financial institutions (all on your lonesome? Impressive!)
     Please don‟t misconstrue my 14 jobs as job-hopping. I have never quit a job (and this is good
     Education: College, August 1880-May 1984 (Ah, first year, the best 101 years of my life. I think
      this was one of my HR students)
     Here are my qualification for you to overlook (oh, very well then).
     Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year (well, we won‟t ask you to spread your expertise
     I‟m a rabid typist (down boy!)
     I am extremely loyal to my present firm, so please don‟t let them know of my immediate
      availability (we‟d better chain this one to his desk…)

Then, there are those that may be just a little too honest:

     References: none. I‟ve left a path of destruction behind me (hopefully this one has just left the
     I intentionally omitted my salary history. I‟ve made money and lost money. I‟ve been rich and
      I‟ve been poor. I prefer being rich (OK, Rich).
     Qualifications: I am a man filled with passion and integrity, and I can act on short notice. I‟m
      a class act and I don‟t come cheap (this will doubtless be a huge relief to the management of
     I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant (don‟t phone us, we‟ll phone you…soon)
     I failed the bar exam with relatively high grades (relative to who? Ally McBeal?)
     It‟s best for employers that I not work with people (OK, we‟ll put you in the legal department)
     I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing (OK,
      we‟ll put you in the legal department too).

Then, there are those that require one just to open mouth and change feet:

     Let‟s meet so you can ooh and aah over my experience (oh, we can‟t wait)
     I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse (darn, that‟s just what we needed)
     I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0, computor and spreadsheat progroms (RAU, huh?)
     The company made me a scapegoat, just like the previous 3 companies (don‟t worry, we won‟t
      be making the same mistake)
     My goal is to become a meteorologist. But since I have no training in meteorology, I suppose I
      should try stock brockerage (don‟t worry, we all joined straight from McDonalds too)
     I came 8th out of my class of 10 (it‟s OK, you can still do my HR class, if nothing else)

                                If Murphy‟s law is true, it would never go right.
                                                                                        Reading 6 Page 9 of 26


     Personal interests: donating blood. 14 gallons so far (our Transylvania office has an opening).
     Marital status: „often‟. Children: „various‟ (men‟s ward only, nurse).
     Marital status: Single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved. No commitments. (oy ye!)
     Personal: I‟m married with 9 children. I don‟t require prescription drugs? (why not? What‟s
      wrong with you?)

As stated above, the pre-screening might include any number of methods or steps (even
some tests). Ultimately, it is likely that from the pre-screening, a short list will be chosen
for further selection sifting.

6.2         Initial Interview

This interview (unlike that described later) is not in-depth. It is designed to be very broad
and general to screen for very obvious critical requirements. It tends to be quite
subjective (i.e. the interviewers make their own judgments not based on measurements).

Humour in HR: Interviews

The classified ad said, “Wanted: a very experienced lumberjack”. A man answered the ad and was
asked to describe his experience. “I've worked at the Sahara Forest”. “You mean the Sahara Desert”,
said the interviewer. The man laughed and answered, “Oh SURE, that's what they call it now!”

Employer to applicant: “In this job we need someone who is responsible”. Applicant: “I'm the one
you want. On my last job, every time anything went wrong, they said I was responsible”.

6.3         Checking References

The fifth method mentioned here is reference checks. However these may have many
problems, including questionable validity, a tendency for replies to be lenient (few people
give negative references) etc.

                             Now read p 233-234 of your textbooks.

                  The two most and looked up at in stars, and though “Where the stupidity.
          Last night I lay in bedcommon elements thethe universe are hydrogen and heck is the ceiling?”.
                                                                                             Reading 6 Page 10 of 26

6.4           Application Forms

This is a written form, if possible tailored for a specific job specification. It normally
looks mostly at the past attributes of the applicant (i.e. what they have done to date). The
application form can be used to elicit job relevant information, provide a framework for
an interview or provide written information for if the applicant gets job (e.g. for skills

HR Humour: Application Form Questions

Actual answers to the question “Why did you leave your last job?”:

       Responsibility makes me nervous (don‟t worry, we don‟t plan to give you any)
       They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 each morning. Couldn‟t work under those
        circumstances (poor baba).
       Was met with string of broken promises and lies, as well as cockroaches (Gee, not even we can
        top that)
       I was working for my mom until she decided to move (OK, what did you do?)
       Maturity leave (who left who first?)

Historically, such forms asked basic questions („bio-data‟): name, age, address,
qualifications, experience, future aspirations etc.

Humour in HR: Application Form Questions

An applicant was filling out a job application. When he came to the question, "Have you ever been
arrested?" He answered, "No." The next question, intended for people who had answered in the
affirmative to the last one, was "Why?" The applicant answered it anyway: "Never got caught."

However questions of subjectivity arise in the case of this kind of data (how can
information be compared? Do all candidates understand the questions?). To make forms
more objective (less susceptible to claims of discrimination), application blanks can be

       Weighted application blanks (WAB‟s)
       Biographical information blanks (BIB‟s)

           Innovative excuses to miss a day of work: “I am extremely sensitive to a rise in the interest rates”.
                                                                                      Reading 6 Page 11 of 26

6.4.1            Weighted Application Blanks and BIB’s

WAB‟s attempt to link certain characteristics of applicants to productivity. For every
question on the form, a WAB gives a weight to each response, based on studies of
productivity in previous applicants. Imagine, for example, that we are selecting
salespeople, and studies for that type of salesperson show that:

       High productivity differs by any previous work experience: 77% of candidates
        with more than 5 years experience perform highly, but only 52% of candidates with
        1-5 years do so and 28% of candidates with no experience.

       High productivity differs by type of past job: 86% of candidates with past sales
        experience perform well, but only about 56% of candidates without past sales
        experience perform well.

Therefore in the WAB we would give full weighted scores to past experience and type of
past job. Let us look at the past experience scores:

                                                                      Weighted Score
              > 5 yrs experience                                      8
              1-5 yrs experience                                      5
              no experience                                           3

Thus on your application blank one of the questions would be something like “How many
years of work experience have you had before applying for this job?”. You would then
allocate a score, as above, depending on the answer.

The same is done for any characteristic that shows a connection to productivity. Finally
you would come to a total (summated) score for the candidate based on all answers given.
You would have figured out in advance what the cut-off score to proceed is (based on

             If one synchronised swimmer drowns, do all the others have to drown too? - George Carlin
                                                                                        Reading 6 Page 12 of 26

correlation between employee performance and WAB scores). The cut-off may differ for
different types of employees (AA candidates may have a lower cut-off). Those
employees who score on or above the cut-off are allowed to proceed to the next selection

Validation of scores shows that the WAB can be an objective way to choose candidates.

Biographical information blanks are similar to WAB‟s, but with more questions that are
more wide ranging, including personality type questions, social, family, hobby and other
wide ranging questions.

 Now read the second half of p 234 of your textbook. Note that the rest of this chapter
                            has nothing else on application forms.

Humour In HR: Application Forms

What Job Applicants Really Mean On Open-Ended Application Form Questions:

“I know how to deal with stressful situations”: I'm usually on Prozac. When I'm not, I take lots of
cigarette and coffee breaks.
“I seek a job that will draw upon my strong communication & organizational skills”: I talk too much
and like to tell other people what to do.
“I'm extremely adept at all manner of office organization”: I've used Microsoft Office.
“My pertinent work experience includes”: I hope you don't ask me about all the McJobs I've had.
“I take pride in my work”: I blame others for my mistakes.
“I'm balanced and centred”: I'll keep crystals at my desk and do Tai Chi in the lunchroom.
“I have a sense of humour”: I know a lot of corny, old jokes and I tell them badly.
“I'm willing to relocate”: As I leave Bloemfontein, anywhere's better.
“I'm extremely professional”: I carry a Day-Timer.
“My background and skills match your requirements”: You're probably looking for someone more
“I am adaptable”: I've changed jobs a lot.
“I am on the go”: I'm never at my desk.
“I'm highly motivated to succeed”: The minute I find a better job, I'm outta there.
“I have formal training”: I'm a college dropout.
“I interact well with co-workers”: I've been accused of sexual harassment.
“Thank you for your time and consideration”: Wait! Don't throw me away!

                      Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad cheque.
                                                                                     Reading 6 Page 13 of 26

6.5          Testing for Selection

A selection test is…
…standardised measure of aptitude, knowledge, ability, personality or performance
with fixed rules for administration and scoring.

6.5.1            Legal Implications

Legal developments in South Africa have changed the norms for testing completely.
Section 8 of the Employment Equity Act states that:

S (8): Psychological testing and other similar assessments of an employee are prohibited
unless the test or assessment being used -

       has been scientifically shown to be valid & reliable
       can be fairly applied to all employees
       is not biased against any employee or group

Therefore, firstly, tests must be consistent and job related, as covered earlier in this
Reading under the concepts of reliability and validity. No questions should be easier to
understand of answer by any one group of people, or have answers that differ as to
„correctness‟ in different cultures. This is a difficult criterion, as almost all tests have
some kind of bias. However certain tests are better assessed for all these requirements,
and professional psychometric testers and companies can inform organisations about
which tests are considered acceptable in terms of the legislation.

6.5.2            Advantages of Selection Tests

There are several advantages to selection tests. These include possible productivity gains
from good selection, accurate assessment of employee potential (which aids
development) and potential accuracy (it is difficult to manipulate a test).

          Practical Management Philosophy 101: “My reality check bounced. Can I have a refund please?”.
                                                                                       Reading 6 Page 14 of 26

6.5.3             Disadvantages of Selection Tests

Likewise there are several disadvantages, including the fact that tests only indicate an
applicants ability to do a job, but not motivation to do it (i.e. application), they cannot
account for test anxiety (some people just don‟t reflect well in tests), and many tests have
been accused of having a possible bias, especially towards certain cultures and languages
(thus making them illegal - see above).

6.5.4             Testing Requirements

There are certain things that can be done to ensure good test results and good outcomes
from the process (other than reliability, validity, generalizability etc). You preferably
need qualified testers, a positive approach to the process (even if leads to rejection, other
desirable jobs should be pointed out to the applicant). It is a good idea to discuss test
scores with the applicant (they are relevant to them). Test scores should be kept strictly
confidential. The following section has some general tips too:

6.5.5             Characteristics of Properly Designed Tests

Well designed tests have the following characteristics:

A. Standardisation: Same physical environment and times
B. Objectivity: Any person scoring the test will achieve the same result (multiple choice
   / sums often give good results)
C. Norms: The test should enable comparison. If statistically sound, one can think of
   putting test scores into standardised normal distribution. This provides a frame of
   reference for comparing an applicant‟s performance with that of others, and reflects
   distribution of many scores obtained by people similar to applicants being tested.
D. Reliability (see previously)
E. Validity (see previously)

   Innovative excuses to miss a day of work: “I can‟t come to work today because the Environmental Protection
      Agency has determined that my house is completely surrounded by wetlands and I have to arrange for
                                           helicopter transportation”.
                                                                                      Reading 6 Page 15 of 26

We will now look at some different types of tests.

6.5.6          Types of Tests

A.      Psychomotor tests

Measure physical strength, co-ordination and dexterity (e.g. for typist).

Now read pp 234-235 of your texts (“Physical Ability Tests), note that our Employment
                     Equity Laws (see above) substitute for their laws

B.      Cognitive ability tests

These measure types of mental ability, including memory, reasoning, vocabulary &
verbal comprehension, quantitative ability and perceptual speed. However they do tend to
be culture based & language biased, therefore potentially discriminatory. Again, the
Section 8 rules must be fulfilled.

Some versions of these tests claim to be able to measure aptitude to learn and acquire
knowledge based on the accumulation of learning from all possible sources. They have
generally been used in the past to predict future performance.

               Now read p 235 of your textbooks (“cognitive ability tests”)

C.      Personality tests

Various tests measure aspects of personality, including constructs of:

 Emotional makeup
 Motivation & drive
 Likes and dislikes, etc.

                 Don‟t sweat the petty things, and don‟t pet the sweaty things. - George Carlin
                                                                                       Reading 6 Page 16 of 26

These need to be closely linked to job analysis (i.e. performance) to be valid.

            Now read pp 236-238 of your textbooks (“Personality Inventories”)

D.      Work Ability and work sample tests

Measure current abilities of applicant to some degree (e.g. mechanical / artistic / social
ability etc.). These are especially used for “lower level” workers e.g. driver. A similar
application is assessment centres for potential managers, where simulated managerial
exercises are used, such as case studies, business games, role playing, leaderless group
exercises, in - basket technique etc.

Work sample tests are a very specific type of work ability tests. They are a set of tasks
representative of the job (e.g. programmer writes a program as a test). There is naturally
high validity as to content and criterion, but work sample tests are costly and very job

                     Now read p238 of your textbooks (“Work Samples”)

E.      Trade tests

These tests measure trade knowledge (e.g. what a mechanic knows about an engine).

F.      Vocational interest tests

These assess what work would interest and motivate the applicant. They first analyse
what patterns of interest differentiate high performers, then applicants are measured and
compared as to their own interests.

     Practical Management Philosophy 101: “The trouble doing something right the first time is that nobody
                                     appreciates how difficult it was”.
                                                                                       Reading 6 Page 17 of 26

Humour in HR: New Selection Test Method

Take the prospective employee and put him in a room with only a table and two chairs. Leave him
alone for two hours, without any instruction. At the end of that time, go back and see what he is

      If the applicant has taken the table apart, put him/her in Engineering.
      If the applicant is counting the butts in the ashtray, assign him/her to Finance.
      If the applicant is waving his arms and talking out loud, send him/her to Consulting.
      If the applicant is talking to the chairs, Personnel is a good spot for him/her.
      If the applicant is sleeping, the applicant is Management material.
      If the applicant is writing up the experience, send him/her to the Technical Documentation
      If the applicant doesn't even look up when you enter the room, assign him/her to Security.
      If the applicant tries to tell you it's not as bad as it looks, put him/her into Marketing.
      If the applicant is wearing green sunglasses and needs a haircut, Software is his niche.
      If the applicant mentions what a good price we got for the table and chairs, send him/her to
      If the applicant mentions that hardwood furniture does not come from rainforests, Public
       Relations will suit him/her well.

G.       Honesty tests

                               Now read pp 238-243 of your textbooks

H.       Drug / substance abuse tests

Direct testing for drug or other substance abuses may fall under Section 7 of the
Employment Equity Act - see later under “Medical Testing”.

I.        Aids tests

Again, see “medical tests” for legality.

6.6           Employment Interviews

In addition to a possible very informal initial interview, there may at some stage also be a
formal interview with far more weight attached to it. This interview may come anywhere

      Practical Management Philosophy 101: “On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key”.
                                                                                      Reading 6 Page 18 of 26

in the process, and may be the primary means of selection (although see later for
comments on validity).

6.6.1            Objectives of the Interview

There are several possible objectives for this kind of interview, including to obtain
additional information, provide information about the firm, distinguish those believed
likely to prove satisfactory from those not.

A new way of thinking about the selection interview, based upon the person-job fit
principle, is that it is two-way process. In other words, the applicant should also get
something out the interview that will help him or her to make the final decision about
whether or not to take the job.

Humour in HR: Interviews

"Young man, do you think you can handle a variety of work?" "I ought to be able to. I've had ten
different jobs in four months."

The navy psychiatrist was interviewing a potential sailor. To check on the young man's response to
trouble, the psychiatrist asked, "What would you do if you looked out of that window right now and
saw a battleship coming down the street?" The baby sailor said, "I'd grab a torpedo and sink it."
"Where would you get the torpedo?" "The same place you got your battleship, Sir!"

6.6.2            Content of the Interview

There are several things that may possibly be covered in a final interview. These include
issues of:

       Academic achievement: (e.g. the interviewers may want to investigate underlying
        influences on marks, such as part-time work causing a bad year).
       Personal qualities (e.g. physical appearance, speaking ability, poise, adaptability,
        assertiveness etc)
       Occupational experience (skills, abilities, willingness to handle responsibility etc)
       Interpersonal competence

                    Innovative excuses to miss a day of work: “I prefer to remain an enigma”.
                                                                                          Reading 6 Page 19 of 26

       Career orientation and objectives
       Information on issues such as work history, educational background, attitudes,
        integrity, transportation problems, knowledge of company, ability, performance,
        needs and expectations, reasons for leaving last job, salary, family situation etc.

6.6.3            Types of Interviews

A.       Unstructured (nondirective) interviews are those employing open ended, probing
         questions where the applicant does most of talking. They are time consuming, and
         potentially unreliable as well as low in validity.

B.       Structured (directive / patterned) interviews are those where all applicants are
         asked a specific series of questions. Reliability and accuracy can be significantly
         increased as answers can be compared. Situational, job knowledge, job simulation
         and worker requirement expectation questions are common here.

Some methods of interviewing include the normal interview with a few selectors, group
interviews (whole groups of employees at once), panel interviews (several organisational
representatives one after another) and stress interviews (deliberate stress created, often
through situational questions).

6.6.4            Reliability, Validity & Utility

There is much doubt as to whether interviews really choose the best candidates
consistently. There are many possible sources of bias, overall reliability & validity may
be low (although can be improved through use of board / panel interviews, training etc).
Selection interviews also have quite high indirect costs for the organisation (especially in
lost time for selectors).

                              Now read pp 232-233 of your textbooks.

                  One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor. - George Carlin, why not to drink.
                                                                                         Reading 6 Page 20 of 26

6.7           Employment Decision

There comes a time when those involved in the selection process must decide who to
choose for the job, and who to reject.

One consideration here is whether to eliminate candidates at each step in the process (so
that only those who do well in the prior stage go on to the next) or to let all candidates do
all the steps and then decide at the end (“comprehensive selection”). Cost and time
considerations will make a difference in deciding this, as will AA and other policies.

Humour In HR: How To Handle Rejection

Dear [Interviewer‟s name]

Thank you for your letter of April 17. After careful consideration I regret to inform you that I am
unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment with your firm. This year I have been
particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied
and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite Acme Inc.‟s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find
that you rejection does not meet with my needs at this time. Therefore, I will initiate employment
with your firm immediately following graduation. I look forward to seeing you then.

Best of luck in rejecting future candidates.

[Your Name]

6.8           Medical Examinations

Medical examinations would include general physical exams, aids testing etc. In the past,
they have been used as a selection variable (e.g. testing all applicants for AIDS and
rejecting those who have it). Many companies however only did testing on those who
have already been selected, often for medical aid reasons.

However once again the status quo has been upturned by the Employment Equity Act.
Section 7 states the following:

    If it‟s true that the average woman would rather have beauty than brains, it‟s because the average man can
                                             see better than he thinks.
                                                                                     Reading 6 Page 21 of 26

7. (1) medical testing of an employee is prohibited, unless:

(A)     legislation permits or requires the testing; or
(B)     it is justifiable in the light of medical facts, employment conditions, social policy,
        the fair distribution of employee benefits or the inherent requirements of a job.

(2)     testing of an employee to determine the employee‟s hiv status is prohibited unless
such testing is determined to be justifiable by the Labour Court…

Thus one must tread very carefully around this issue of whether or not to test medically.
This Act (along with the Freedom and Security of the Person and privacy clauses of the
Constitution), makes it clear that unless one or more of the above requirements are
fulfilled, a person cannot be forced to undergo any medical examination. However if one
of the requirements are fulfilled, then it is permissible to test.

Let us therefore take a look at the requirements:

     Testing may be required by legislation, which is fairly straightforward (if there is
      an Act, test!).
     „Medical facts‟ refers to the nature of the condition being tested for. If under the
      circumstances the condition would cause danger, given medical facts, testing would
      be permissible.
     „Employment conditions‟ refers to the context in which the work is done - if the job
      is conducted in an environment that would be dangerous given a certain condition,
      then testing is permissible.
     „Social policy‟ refers to broader social norms on causing danger.
     The „fair distribution of employee benefits‟ refers largely to medical aid benefits in
      this case - if the lack of medical testing would jeopardise the other members in an
      employee benefit scheme, then testing might become applicable.

                Practical Management Philosophy 101: “I don‟t suffer from stress, I‟m a carrier”.
                                                                                          Reading 6 Page 22 of 26

     Finally, „inherent requirement of the job‟ refers (as before - see Reading 6) to the
      actual content of the job, i.e. the nature of the tasks done. If medical testing is
      necessary given the nature of the tasks, then it is permissible.

HIV testing is even stricter - even the requirements above are not enough. The
organisation must approach the Labour Court for express permission to do HIV testing.
The Court will decide, and can give any directives it wishes including restraints on the
procedure, which Section 50 (4) states can include the provision of counselling, the
maintenance of confidentiality, the period in which testing can be done and the specific
categories of employees who may be tested. Of course, organisations can provide for
employees to undertake voluntary testing, but must bring no pressure to bear.

In the case of a dispute, the onus is always on the employer to prove, on the basis of the
above, that the testing is necessary.

       Innovative excuses to miss a day of work: “Yes, I seem to have contracted some kind of attention-deficit
      disorder and, hey, how about those Cats, hey? So, I won‟t be able to, yes, could I help you? No, no, I‟ll be
                               sticking with Old Mutual, but thank you for calling…”.
                                                                    Reading 6 Page 23 of 26

                           (all based on past exam questions)


ABET Training PTY LTD is a training company dealing with functional literacy in the
workforces of large companies. They have a salesforce of 83 people, whose job it is to
bring in clients. Three years ago they initiated a performance appraisal system for
salespeople. Performance is measured by identifying the total number of hours of training
given to the clients brought in by each salesperson. ABET have discovered the following
information about the salesforce:

   Of those who scored high on the performance scores, 75% were over the age of 30,
    while 67% of the poor performers were under the age of 30.
   54 salespeople have good English speaking and communication skills. Of these, 87%
    are good performers. Of those without such skills, only 35% are good performers
   61% of the salespeople had previous sales experience. Of those who did, 77% were
    good performers and 23% were poor performers. Of those did not have previous
    experience, 39% were good performers and 61% were poor performers




You have recently developed a new work sample test to be used in the selection of skilled
tradesmen at a furniture plant. Because of past discrimination claims at the plant (18 of
the 19 current skilled tradesmen are white and male), legal counsel has advised you that a
validation effort should be undertaken before the test is actually used as a basis for
                                                                        Reading 6 Page 24 of 26

selection decisions. Forecasting efforts identified a potential shortage of 10 skilled
tradesmen in the coming year due to growth, changes in the production process, and
turnover. As a result, you are eager to put the test into use as soon as possible.



Agropac Inc. is a company that produces tractors and tractor parts. The job of salesperson
has the following features:

   The salesperson has an area almost exclusively consisting of first language Klingon -
    speaking people, who have a religious terror / disgust for HIV positive people and
    will not speak to anyone with AIDS
   The sales force is taken on an initial training week at which they learn the simple
    invoicing and ordering system of the company.
   The sales force gets the new catalogue of tractors once a year, the contents of which
    they must know for the rest of the year
   Pay is on a strictly commission basis (i.e. a percentage of each sale), with no medical
    aid or pension

The rest of the year is spent travelling periodically to various parts of the area, which
requires intensive travel with long periods away from home

The following items make up the selection process for a salesperson:

1. An Initial Screening Interview

The initial interview screens candidates on two levels:
                                                                       Reading 6 Page 25 of 26

Firstly the applicant is checked for:

   a certain minimum level of qualifications (must have at least a university degree),
   experience (at least 5 years experience) and
   a certain age limit (cannot be over 45 years old).

The level of qualifications is less for black and Indian people however, who can also pass
at this stage with a diploma or two years experience. At the second stage those candidates
who passed the first level are rejected if they are found to have any “critical” deficiencies
or problems. The list of critical deficiencies includes:

   if the applicant has AIDS,
   if the person cannot speak near-perfect English as well as Klingon (English is spoken
    at head office),
   if the applicant is a pregnant woman or
   if the person is disabled.

2. An Application Form

The remaining candidates are asked the following on an application form:

   Name, age, address
   Qualifications
   Hobbies and interests
   Any previous criminal convictions

At this stage the top twenty applicants are chosen in terms of those with the highest
qualifications of any kind whose hobbies and interests match most closely with those of
the top management, who believe that their salespeople should fit into the company and
management culture. Criminal convictions do not lead to a rejection unless connected to
fraud, but records of convictions are kept.
                                                                        Reading 6 Page 26 of 26

3. An Intelligence Test

An intelligence test is now used to narrow the list of 20 down to 5 applicants with the
highest test scores. Some of the candidates are tested in the early morning before work
starts, and some in the evening, with the balance tested during the midday lunch break.

4. A Final Interview

The final interview is used to whittle the five remaining candidates down to one. The aim
is to gauge the way that the applicant comes across as a person - the most „likeable‟ and
„straight forward‟ applicant gets the job. The CEO and human resource manager usually
conduct the interview. The applicant is:

   first asked to tell a joke to the interviewers,
   asked to talk about him or herself
   asked some general knowledge questions about the economy, politics etc
   asked to criticise any problems the applicant had with past jobs.

Based on the perceptions of the CEO and HR manager, the most „likeable‟ candidate is

5. Medical tests
The final candidate is subjected to a medical test which includes an HIV test.



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