Welcome to your back-to-basics guide to the recruitment selection process!

In recruitment, selection is the process of identifying the right applicant to fill an open position. It involves filtering though candidates who are a good fit and rejecting those who aren’t. During the process, useful information about the applicant is collected (usually in a series of steps) and used to evaluate the applicants’ suitability for the position. The criteria for the selection process includes but is not limited to: required or preferred education, knowledge, experience, technical and soft skills, and personality.


Factors affecting the steps in a selection process for recruitment

Selection should focus on soliciting maximum relevant information regarding a candidate to evaluate their suitability for the job. The number and length of steps required for the selection process depends on a number of factors including;

  • The type of role being recruited for – is this a new role or is there an incumbent? Is it a manager or a subordinate?
  • The location of the role – is this in a local office or remote location?
  • The number of decision makers involved – is there one ultimate decision maker or multiple? How difficult will it be to coordinate them if there are multiple?
  • The number of applicants available for selection – is there a candidate shortage in your market? If there is an oversupply of candidates, how long will it take you to filter through them all?
  • Organization’s selection requirements – different companies have their own selection policies.

For a successful selection process, it is recommended to have clear hiring criteria established and agreed upon by all key decision makers.


The Selection Process

Selection usually consists of a series of step, however there is no standard selection procedure and individual organizations develop their own process. Below is a general framework for selection commonly adopted by employers:

  • Application Review – Review all resumes and applications received based on pre-established hiring criteria e.g. experience, education. If using a formal application form, be sure to avoid any reference to religion, sex, political views and age.
  • Preliminary Screening – Often done over the phone, or via Skype. In pre-screens, the candidates are given the necessary information about the nature of the job and the organization while eliciting information on their education, skills and expected salary among others. Sometimes preliminary psychological tests are also administered to test attitude, performance and behavior.
  • Interview/s – Candidate interviews serve three purposes: obtaining information on the background, education, training, experience and interest of the candidate; giving the applicant information about the company and the specific job; and establishing an early relationship between the potential employee and the employer. Depending on the role and employer, there can be one or multiple interviews required.
  • Background Check/Medical Examination/Credit Check (optional) – Some jobs require certain checks and tests to be conducted on employees before they are hired. This is normally a formality that takes place at the final stages of selection.
  • Reference checks – It is advisable to speak to 2-3 references for each candidate, with at least one being a former supervisor.


The final approval

In many companies, much of the recruitment process is left to the HR department, with the help of the concerned department. However, final approval is usually the responsibility of an executive of the recruiting unit or department. After approval, there are the offer, negotiation, induction and onboarding stages.

While it can be a lengthy process, a formalized selection process is a critical component of successful hiring.