Selection Methodologies

Choosing an assessment tool

The purpose of a selection process is to gather information to make an informed decision as to who is the best applicant for the job.  There are a number of assessment tools that can be used throughout the recruitment process including:

•    Shortlisting. This is the most common method for choosing applicants for the initial applicant pool, to be assessed further.
•    Structured behavioural interview. This is the most common method of further assessment of shortlisted applicants.
•    Self advocacy interview. This interview requires the applicant to provide a presentation on their claims to the position. It does not usually include any behavioural interview questions. There may be followup questions from the interview panel but they are usually relating to the applicant's presentation.
•    Assessment centre. Assessment centres are used for bulk recruitment and can include a variety of methodologies. They are used for, most commonly, general processing or customer service administration positions where there are multiple positions to fill and bulk applicant numbers.
•    Cognitive ability test. These types of tests include general reasoning, spacial reasoning etc.
•    Peer assessment. This is similar to a 180 degree feedback situation. Peers are required to answer oral questions or fill out a questionnaire regarding their peers. This has not been found to be a reliable recruitment methodology for anything but specialised positions.
•    Reference checks. It is always recommended that reference checks be carried out. Although only approximately 2% of reference checks provide insightful information that was not evident in the written application or interview, this 2% usually consists of information that would prevent a hiring action.
•    Work sample tests. Applicants complete a part of work during the interview or separate assessment session.
•    Work examples. Applicants are required to bring examples and samples of their work to the interview. Or submit this work at the conclusion of the interview.
•    Practical skills tests. This can include skills such as computer skills testing or basic numerical ability.
•    Presentations. Similar to a self advocacy interview, applicants are asked to deliver a presentation, usually as part of a structured behavioural interview.

There are no legislative requirements specifying the assessment techniques to be used in a selection process, the only requirement is that the selection method(s) chosen must be fair and appropriate for assessing applicants against the requirements of the role.

The choice of assessment tool depends on many factors including the nature of the position and the nature of the applicants.  Generally, there should be more than one tool used in arriving at a selection recommendation as no tool alone is a totally reliable predictor of an applicants job performance.  If applicable, applicants should be made aware of the tools that are going to be used.

Most commonly the selection panel will choose to use shortlisting, structured behavioural interviews and reference checks.

If you are going to use any of the other tools you should have a good foundation for your choice and also be aware of how you are going to interpret and use any test results. If you are creating your own 'tests', particularly ability tests, you will need to have the tests validated to ensure they are a robust assessment method that produces reliable results that can stand the test of scrutiny. It's advised that you use third party assessments that have been professionally validated and had their reliability established.

If you are going to do any psychometric tests it is important that these tests are administered and interpreted by a trained professional. Applicants should also be given feedback about their psychometric tests in a formal debriefing session.

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