When an adequate number of applications or names of interested candidates have been collected through the recruitment exercises, the selection process starts. Selection refers to the process of choosing the most suitable person from among the list of interested candidates.

It involves going through the qualification and experience of all candidates and matching them with the expectation for the job so as to decide on the most suitable ones for the job.  The entire process goes through a number of steps which may be called as selection procedure.

Selection Procedure

The selection procedure consists of a number of steps in logical order to identify the candidates who are to be finally appointed. These steps are:

  1. Screening the applications
  2. Holding tests
  3. Selection interview
  4. Checking references
  5. Medical examination of the candidates
  6. Issue of appointment letter

1. Screening the Applications

After receiving the applications from the candidates through recruitment process, the same must be examined to decide which ones deserve to be considered and followed up. Normally, the candidates are asked to apply in their own handwriting on a plain paper. Sometimes the job advertisement mentions the particulars to be given in the application.

In many cases the candidates are required to apply in the prescribed form of the company, containing particulars of name, address, nationality, religion, mother tongue, date and place of birth, marital status, education and training, employment history, references, etc. Screening exercise involves checking the contents of the applications so as the ascertain whether or not the minimum eligibility conditions in respect of age, experience, qualifications and skills are fulfilled by the candidates who have applied for the job.

Screening is usually done by a senior officer of the company or by a screening committee. The purpose of screening is to prepare a list of eligible candidates who are to be evaluated further. Candidates not eligible are thereby excluded from further consideration.

2. Holding Tests

After screening the applications, eligible candidates are asked to appear for selection tests. These tests are made to discover and measure the skill and abilities of the candidates in terms of the requirements of the job.

For example, if the job of a typist requires a minimum typing speed of 40 words per minute, a test is given to see whether the candidates applying for the job have the required typing speed. Passing the test by a candidate does not mean that he will be employed. It implies that all those who have passed the test are qualified for further processing and those who have failed are not to be considered.

The nature of test depends upon the nature of the job involved. For clerical jobs, for examples, an intelligence and aptitude test may be arranged which may include test of general knowledge, test on quantitative problems, and test of reasoning power and vocabulary. For industrial workers and technical hands, performance tests may be organised. For example, to judge the speed and accuracy of typing, candidates may be given a standard paragraph to type.

Similarly, candidates for an auto mechanic job may be asked to replace a piston. This is known as Skill or Trade test. For supervisory and managerial jobs, tests are given to find out the candidate’s personality, decision-making abilities, etc.

3. Selection Interview

Interview is the most important part of the selection procedure. It serves as a means of checking the information given in the application form and making an overall assessment of the candidate’s suitability for the job. In an interview, the candidate has a face-to-face interaction with the employer or representatives of the employer, where they try to judge the ability of the candidates.

They also get an opportunity to go into the details of the candidate’s background which helps a lot in assessing the candidates suitability.

4. Checking of References

In addition to the requisite educational qualification, skill and experience, it is expected that the candidates who are to be considered for employment must have other qualities like balanced temperament, honesty, loyalty, etc. These qualities cannot be judged on the basis of any test. Therefore, information is obtained and verified from the heads of educational institutions where the candidates have studied, or from the persons whose names are given by the candidates as referee, or from their previous employers.

For certain jobs, like the job of a cashier or a security guard, reliability is very important job requirement. Therefore, references are required to be contacted to ensure that persons can be relied upon. In case of experienced employees their previous employers can also be contacted for this purpose.

5. Medical Examination

Candidates finally selected for the job are asked to undergo medical examination to see whether the selected candidates are physically fit for the job. A proper medical examination ensures higher standard of health of the employees and their physical fitness which, in turn, reduces the labour turnover, absenteeism and accidents.

The medical examination would also reveal whether he or she suffers from any illness which can be cured e.g., poor eyesight etc. Medical test is essential for certain types of jobs as in the case of police and army, where physical fitness is very important. For certain categories of jobs like the job of driver, proper eyesight is very much essential.\

6. Issue of Appointment Letter

Candidates finally selected are offered to join the organisation for which a formal appointment letter is issued containing the nature of job, the remuneration, pay scale, and other terms and conditions relating to employment. Usually a reasonable time is given to the candidates to join the organisation.

Though a number of steps in the selection procedure have been listed, all the steps need not be followed in all cases. For example, for employing casual workers on daily wages, simply an interview by a company’s officer is sufficient. Whereas for the job of a typist or clerk, screening of applications, holding tests and interview will be essential. Similarly, for the job of a cashier, checking of references may also be needed.

Probation period

In most of the organisations the candidates are not initially appointed on permanent basis because it is considered better to try them for a few months on the job itself. This period of service is known as the period of probation. It is necessary because no procedure of selection can fully establish the qualities of a selected candidate. It is only by observing a person at work that one can find out how he performs and also how he behaves with his superior and fellow employees.

If during the probation period, his performances not found satisfactory, his period of probation may be extended. The management may also transfer him to some other job at which he may be expected to do better.

Difference between Selection and Recruitment

Recruitment and selection are the two essential components of the staffing process. While the recruitment helps in attracting suitable candidates, selection helps in finding out the candidates who meet the requirements of the job. These are closely inter-connected activities.

However, recruitment and selection differ in certain respects. While the recruitment refers to the process of attracting good applicants for jobs, selection identifies the most suitable among the applicants. In the recruitment process, the effort is to attract the candidates as many as possible and it is regarded as a positive process. But, selection is a negative process as it involves rejection of many candidates.

Recruitment involves decisions as regard to the sources of potential candidates. Selection is made through different steps in the procedure adopted. Recruitment helps the manager to attract good candidates, the selection leads to making the right choice.