Getting the right test and the interpretation is costly, and then the selection method needs to be backed up with other techniques. Biographical data involves the subject answering a detailed questionnaire on their work and personal lives, then matches the results of the questionnaire with the top employees in the sector the subjects are entering into, to compare like with like. Because of this biodata needs to be separately designed for each job type it is used for.
It is often used in the finance sector, and can be constantly developed. Biographical data can be criticised on the fact that it might discriminate, so questions have to be non-discriminatory. Biographical data as a selection tool is not always practical, and some take the view that it is unfair. It is used when there are both large numbers of existing staff and a large number of applicants, and where applicants are screened centrally, such as when selecting an accountant for an accountants firm.
Biodata has a high predictive validity, through the established successful trends from the questionnaire being matched to the employee questionnaires. It picks the best “type of person” for the job. It is resource intensive and there are ethical doubts that exist concerning biographical data. An assessment centre is a process by which candidates are rated on their prospective merits. Numerous work exercises and activities enable the centre to have good predictive ability, due to the range of the tests available.
The exercises include group activities, role-plays, work simulation exercises and some forms of psychometric tests. The assessment centre observes the candidate’s actions and reactions throughout the exercises to see which candidate is the top performer. The focus here is on how potential employees are likely to behave. Assessment centres are however very expensive to run and for this reason are not practical for a small organisation or a low-skilled position. They are often used when selecting managers, or graduates, or a worker who will be heavily invested in by the organisation.
Assessment centres do not unfairly discriminate against any one type of candidate although there may be a bias towards candidates with relevant work experience or to those who have been to an assessment centre before and know what to expect. The Civil Service, a large public sector organisation with enough funds to support this method of selection uses assessment centres extensively. “Work sampling as an employee selection technique provides candidates with opportunities for candidates to experience job tasks.
” (Corbridge M ; Pilbeam S, 1998). Work sampling provides an insight into the potential of the employee and shows the employee what the job may require of them. It is, as suggested by the name, work sampling. It is straightforward to see where this method of selection may be used, for example a chef may have to prepare a meal for a panel. It is crucial that the work sampling is effectively designed. It must cover all of the skills required for a job and also provide an opportunity for the candidate to show they are equipped with these skills.
Work sampling cannot be carried out alone – it requires a back up selection method such as an interview to ensure the correct selection is made. Work samplings distinct advantage is in predicting how a candidate will perform when on the job. Unfortunately for work sampling, the difficulty in designing it for many jobs puts employers off using it as a selection technique. It is demanding in terms of peoples time and company resources, much more so than interviewing. Work sampling is however a good selection technique providing that it is well designed.
The identified methods of selection have been evaluated and their advantages and disadvantages discussed. It is not surprising to see that the higher the cost of selection technique or techniques used, the higher the predictive validity of the method or methods is. It is noted that in many cases more than one selection method is used in order to increase the validity of the selection. The employee also plays a role in the selection process; they need to be kept informed of what selection method will be used in order that they do not feel that they have lost control over the selection process.