Choosing staff

Finding the right profile for a position requires assessing an applicant’s factual information as well as their psychological profile.

Choosing the right applicant is a crucial step in making sure a company runs smoothly. To make the best selection possible, it may prove helpful to combine different methods: aptitude tests, interviews on the applicant’s skills and personality, using test centers, and even conducting handwriting tests.

In this way, it is possible to form a more accurate idea of the individual’s skills and motivation as well as their psychological characteristics, and to assess to what extent this individual might or might not be suitable for a given position. A general point can be made: the higher the position within the company, the more precise and detailed the selection process should be. 

Selection of applications

Having published an advertisement online or in the press, companies can expect to receive a large number of applications. Companies are advised to send a response to each applicant, whether positive or negative, as a courtesy for having expressed interest. Ideally, this response should not be standardized, but personalized. 

Information provided during the interview

If the applicant presents the profile the company is looking for, a preliminary interview should be scheduled. Additional information can then be obtained.

The recruiter should ask the following questions: Did the applicant talk a lot? What was their reaction to contact (handshake, eye contact)? Did they seem optimistic? Did they express themselves intellectually or simply and directly? Did they seem sure of themselves? Did they express emotion? 

Post-interview assessment

Two main areas of information usually emerge from an interview. First, the applicant’s factual information and aptitudes (training, education, professional experience). Second, more subjective information associated with the overall impression made by the applicant.

One of the subtleties of the interview consists of revealing the personality hidden behind the factual information, but also behind gestures, how they speak and how they conduct themselves as an applicant.

After the interview, companies are advised, initially, to put to one side what they might have heard or observed, focusing solely on the overall impression made by the applicant.

An important point should be made: due to the stakes involved, many candidates find it difficult to act naturally during a job interview. It is therefore difficult to form an opinion after just one meeting, hence the advantage in planning at least two meetings, particularly for positions with more responsibility.

Similarly, it is a good idea for people in different roles within the company (from human resources or management, for example) to give their opinion on an applicant to reach the most objective assessment possible. 

Other decision-making methods

Some companies are not satisfied with the usual selection procedures and look for other options to limit the risk of making a poor choice.

They may use intelligence, aptitude, situation or personality tests. Test centers can prove useful for the most important positions. For example, an applicant’s social or conflict management skills can be assessed.

For more discretion, a personal evaluation can also be considered. It is also possible to set up a group discussion, where different applicants can find out about the position, before carrying out more in-depth personal interviews.

Source: Personalmanagement, Theorie und zahlreiche Beispiele aus der Praxis, Marc A. Hermann and Clarisse Pifko

Last modification 27.02.2020

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