Methods of personnel selection for HR managers

Methods of personnel selection apply to certain professions and certain types of people. The methods are:

Interview. It is used everywhere and in any kind of work. When there are several interviewers, the so-called “panel interview”.

It is important to determine the structure of the issues that are directly related to the work. When the interview is a “panel”, each of the specialists observes a certain criterion in the candidate. The interview should provide information about the content and working conditions, the technique, the organization of work and the work regime, the type of play, the way of moving in the hierarchy.

The candidate should be required mainly information about the experience, the motives (for leaving the old job and for applying for this one). Above all, the “situational interview” is also used. Its essence is in the preliminary determination of the critical moments in a profession, based on which a variant is built, according to which the person is put in the situation to decide what behavior he will have in the given “critical” situation.

Psychometric tests

They include:

1. Tests for cognitive abilities:
(a) general intelligence tests;
b) verbal ability tests;
(c) numerical ability tests;
d) tests for different qualities of attention (volume, concentration, distribution).

These tests usually have the highest coefficient of validity and are most often used in organizing selection.

But people who are subject to selection are more negative about the use of intelligence tests (protective reaction) because they believe that this is how their whole personality is characterized. Other tests are more partial and acceptable.

Personality tests (Kettle’s 16-PF, etc.)

They are widely used, although they have little differentiating ability. Personality tests in the selection are based on some kind of factor model for the personality.

The use of personality tests as predictors of effectiveness was considered insufficient (due to the low average validity of personality testing).

But according to new data, they are useful in the selection, especially if the parameters they study are closely related to the criteria for success in the profession.

The interesting thing about personality tests is that the same personality profile can be effective for many professions and that individual values ​​for certain personality traits are preferable in the analysis before the final results. Read more: “Analysis of the work of employees in the organization“,

Training tests (for training ability in specific work operations)

They were created in England by Sylvia Downs. They do not always meet the very qualities needed for professional activity (because in real conditions it is different). Their main purpose is to assess whether the candidate is suitable for training or not. It has been proven that their validity decreases over time.

Tests of ability to learn, as well as other tests on work tasks, are closely related to the specifics of the specific task, and the more experience in an activity, the more these tasks become routine and insignificant.

Knowledge tests

They are widely used for admission to vocational schools, universities, language schools. They are difficult to compile because there must be standards for all schools with the appropriate training, and they must be individually differentiated).

Tests for work tasks

They include actions and operations of the specific type of work. They modify a specific work task that must be completed in a short period.

The main criteria for successful completion of the specific task are defined. It is something like an exam in the main activity. These tests show very good criterion validity.

They are used when receiving stenographers, typewriters, etc. Quality (including errors) and execution time are assessed.

Biographical data

They are obtained in different ways:

By freely describing the career path of development;

By answering questions correctly (about 150, which are many questions, so mistakes are made), which include: education, professional qualifications, number of past jobs, additional activities related to the profession, awards, etc., subjective preferences for the particular work.

This method is also mandatory when submitting documents, ie. The first stage must be accompanied by a biographical questionnaire.


They are usually received from current or previous employers and are generally included in the final stage of selection.

They do not have particularly high validity, because the recommendation is from people with a good opinion of the person and they depend on the situation (the desire of the management to leave the person or not).

They can also be given by specialists in a field who even know the person indirectly.

Graphological tests

The assessment is performed through the specific features of handwriting (slope, the shape of the letters, etc.). Longer written material from the applicant is required.

The assessment is difficult and specific, so it is not widely used (in England – very little, in France – 7%, in Bulgaria – no).

Other methods can be used: lie detector (for emotional stability), self-assessment (rarely used because overestimation is considered prevalent in such situations, ie unreliable), interpersonal assessment, etc.

They have potential opportunities to provide information on the expected (by the candidate) decision for his election after the selection. Due to the personal use of the self-assessment method (based on Bandura’s theory), it is suggested that it be applied more often because it helps to realize certain qualities.

Interpersonal assessment is used more often (if people know each other), but people must be sufficiently prepared (according to the procedure, with the necessary education) and not have personal negative relationships with each other.

Assessment Centers (increasingly entering Europe and the United States).

They are increasingly popular for selection and evaluation in organizations – both for the selection of external candidates and for the evaluation of staff in a promotion or other cases.

This complex method has been criticized by skeptics for being just a new name for an existing practice. Proponents point to it as one of the most effective methods, gaining popularity in the last 25 years.

Many more techniques are used, which unite around the assessment of personality behavior.

This method became widespread in Germany, England, the United States, and after 1993 – in the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, and others. It was established in 1953.

The need for a more comprehensive study of man (single tests are no longer enough) makes professionals turn to this method and improve it.

For example, in the United States, this method is used in the Secret Service (this activity is headed by Murray, who is one of the most famous researchers of the method; Murray improves the method by including simulation and surveillance techniques).

It is also widely used in the reception of managers. In the United States, special committees (eg, the Equal Opportunities Committee) are set up to select and evaluate staff using this method. Thus, the method is considered one of the best methods of eliminating discrimination (sex, race, skin color, etc.).

The so-called positive discrimination, ie allocating the best to perform the respective activity. Individual and group classes, tests, and simulations are included. The method is a means of determining individual growth and potential, and the techniques used are close to the natural work environment.

The information about the final evaluation of the candidate is formulated in everyday language to be understandable for the managers.

Are used:

Preliminary analyzes of the activity;
The efficiency criteria are displayed.

Based on these data, a system of methods is compiled that validly examine these criteria.

The Assessment Center method covers several methodologies:

Job interview (including simulation and motivational)

We all know what a job interview is. We will not discuss this topic individually.

Situational games (they can also be used alone)

Represent the presentation of common or critical situations in a profession.

Usually, the role in this situation is played by a psychologist (Note: researchers are divided into two groups – with a role in simulations and evaluators, ie observers).

He submits the conditions and creates them so that the candidate shows the quality that the analysis has identified as professionally significant. Such situations are difficult to create and the preparatory work is quite long (situation compilation, replay, and analysis).

Prominent specialists from the profession themselves take part in the research and help to compile the situations. The situational play itself is observed by at least 3-to 4 people who keep notes of every detail of the candidate’s behavior.

In the analysis, they associate this behavior with professionally significant behavior and assess the extent to which they correspond on a 5-6-point scale.

Depending on whether the profession enjoys dialogue, other situational games are usually made (group discussion of problems), which include assessment of relationships, presentation, verbal expression, ability to lead discussions, flexibility, perseverance, and more.

Usually, in these games, 2-4 candidates gather, who are observed by others (each observes one candidate), hold a discussion on a certain important issue for the profession (with specific issues), consider alternatives and come to a decision (which is evaluated).

Tests and questionnaires

These are usually cognitive, intellectual, personality, biographical tests, behavioral tests, and more.

A study of one person with the Assessment Center lasts all day (from 9 am to 4 pm). During this time, a group of 4 evaluators did not survey more than 4 people.

It starts with an introduction, everything is explained in detail and then we move on to individual research.

After completing the research, the group of evaluators discusses the behavior of each candidate, on each parameter, on each methodology. The arithmetic mean value is not used in the evaluation! Assessors must reach a consensus by offering motivation and evidence for their assessment.

The overall assessment is then discussed and the respective candidates are ranked. It is not determined who will necessarily be appointed, only who is the best in the defined activities. In reality, it is almost impossible to find a person who is 100% fit for the profession.

Therefore, ranking is most appropriate. The head is responsible for the appointment.

Reasons for the denial of professional selection by some managers: 1) fear of intervention of the psychologist; 2) the desire of some psychologists to impose the decision.

Usually, when evaluating the results of all types of staff selection methods, all three types of validity are used: 1) criterion; 2) constructive; 3) differential. Criteria validity is the focus. It determines the relationship between the test result, the criteria, and the selection procedure itself.

It is good for tests for research of work tasks, tests for abilities, Assessment Center, tests for cognitive abilities, biographical data. From bad to good is the criterion validity of interviews. It is lower in personality tests. It is zero in graphological tests.

Only methods (without reference to the relevant theories) are used in the study of intelligence, and this leads to difficulties in their use.

Professional selection is a two-way significant process:

It is useful for the candidate because it guarantees the qualities needed for the activity. Then his confidence and self-confidence in the profession are greater;

It is important for the organization because it does not allow people who are unsuitable for an activity.

However, the recruitment activity is still not sufficiently evaluated by: 1) the candidates (fear that they are not well evaluated); 2) managers (fear that their decision-making functions for appointments will be taken away).

Opportunities to collect information on:

Physical data (from interviews and medical research);
Education and qualification (from biographical tests, recommendations, interviews);
Abilities (from tests, interviews, business games);
Motivation (from the interview, recommendations, personal characteristics, personality tests, motivational interview, business games);
Career development conditions (from preliminary documents, biographical tests, interviews, medical research.