Who’s Selecting Who?

Selecting a new employee is often viewed solely from the perspective of the organization. However, such a position fails to adequately acknowledge the role of the candidate, who is a key decision maker and stakeholder in the recruitment and selection process.

Impacts of the selection process

In recent years there has been a noticeable shift towards exploring the selection process from the candidate’s perspective, with research identifying how negative experiences and perceptions have implications throughout the selection process and even throughout a successful applicant’s tenure. For example, when a candidate perceives the selection process to be inappropriate, attraction to the organization is reduced to the point where some of the best candidates either withdraw or do not apply to the organization at all.

Compared to those who perceive the process to be fair and valid, successful applicants with negative perceptions of the recruitment process potentially develop less satisfactory work attitudes, work behavior and performance after being hired. Furthermore, candidates who perceive the selection process to be unfair may be more likely to file complaints or initiate legal proceedings.

Consequently, there are an increasing number of compelling economic, legal and psychological reasons for organizations to acknowledge and understand candidate experiences of selection processes.

Despite this, it appears that organizations still have a way to go in improving their recruitment processes. Recent research estimates that up to one in four employees have negative experiences during the recruitment process, yet it is often quite difficult for employers to address candidates’ negative recruiting experiences because most candidates are not asked to provide such feedback.

Creating a positive candidate experience

So what can organizations actually do to maximize the features and benefits of their selection processes?

A number of key and consistent themes have emerged from the research (Anderson, Salgado & Hülsheger 2010; Hausknecht, Day & Thomas 2004) into candidate experiences of selection, many of which can be addressed in the design stage of the recruitment process:

  • Ensure that selection processes are job relevant – one of the strongest predictors of candidate perceptions of selection is job-relatedness. If candidates can’t clearly see how a selection method is related to the job they have applied for, they are more likely to view the process negatively
  • Give candidates sufficient opportunity to perform and demonstrate their ability – in any selection context, we would generally recommend using activities such as structured interviews, cognitive ability tests, personality assessments or simulation activities
  • Ensure consistent administration and interpretation of all selection processes and procedures across all candidates – while we’d generally advise organizations to apply the same benchmarking criteria across all candidates, applicants sometimes feel that a highly standardized process does not allow them the opportunity to differentiate themselves. This can lead to frustration and ultimately a negative experience
  • Provide timely communication – with increased reliance on online delivery methods for selection assessment, candidates now expect more frequent and efficient feedback from organizations. Timely communication serves as a signal to candidates regarding how they might be treated if employed

Start a conversation with us

For support with developing effective talent assessment solutions to help your organization select and retain the right people, get in touch with us today.

Dr. Jeff Brown
Senior Consultant,
Talent, Rewards & Performance,
Aon Hewitt Australia

For more information, please write to us at talentscapes@aonhewitt.com
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