Question: Imagine that you are the chairperson of the personnel selection committee for your organization (school, office or department). Your committee is required to interview a number of candidates for the position of leader / manager/ principal of your organization. Reflecting on the stages of the selection process discussed in unit 4, which of the stages would you encourage your committee to use? Using relevant literature and references substantiate your rationale for the choice of preferred stages.
Anderson (1991) defined selection as “the process of discovering the qualifications and characteristics of job applicants in order to establish their suitability for the position,” (p. 8). Elmore & Burney (2000) noted that “choosing a leader who possesses the right attributes and skills can propel a school forward in meeting its goals and laying a foundation for excellence” (p. 108). It is evident that choosing the best school leader is one of the most important decisions the selection committee can make.
To this end, as chairperson of the personnel selection committee for the Basser High School the following stages of the selection process will be proposed: the screening interview, selection tests, employment interview, reference and background analysis and job offer. Utilizing the proposed stages will ensure that the right person is selected in the most cost effective and timely and professional manner. Dessler (2005) indicated “preliminary sifting ensures only the best candidates with the right skills and characteristics move forward,” (p. 194).
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The screening interview seeks to establish a short list of candidates who best meet the job specification criteria. This preliminary interview seeks to ascertain whether an applicant has the basic requisite skills and qualifications such as good interpersonal skills, the zeal to lead and the right credentials. Such scrutiny which is based on the organizations needs will save valuable resources in the subsequent stages of the selection process. Time and resources will not be wasted on unsuitable applicants but can be utilized to strengthen the selection process.
The necessary selection tests should be administered after preliminary screening. Armstrong (2010) concluded that “selection tests are used to provide more valid and reliable evidence of levels of intelligence, personality characteristics, abilities, aptitudes and attainments than can be obtained from an interview”, (p. 462). Selection tests such as personality tests and psychological tests are very important since “the personal qualities of a good leader, more than any other factors, determine the success or failure of an organisation”, (Weller 2003, p. 17).
A candidate being interviewed can influence the interviewer into thinking he or she possesses the necessary personal skills or the potential to meet the specifications of the job but in reality this is not the case. This is referred to as the Halo effect and can in this instance,negatively influence the selection process. To overcome this barrier and maintain objectivity, the suggested selection tests should be utilised. Traits such as helpfulness, conscientiousness, independence, vision, or how well an individual can use his knowledge to enhance the quality of life, (Personnel Selection, 2012), are difficult to evaluate using an interview.
It is therefore best to professionally administer, a valid and reliable standardised personality and psychological test. Dessler (2005) described a reliable test as one that yields consistent scores when a person takes two alternative forms of the test or when he or she takes the test on two different occasions. Ebel and Frisbee (1991) stressed that a valid test fulfils the function it was designed to fill. If valid and reliable tests are correctly administered, the requisite qualities would be evaluated objectively, hence increasing the probability that the best candidates will be selected.
Fisher, Schoefeldt and Shaw (1996) emphasize that the most important screening method is the employment interview. It is designed to predict future job performances and provide committee members with a more holistic view of applicants on the basis of their oral responses to oral inquiries. Requisite leadership qualities such as excellent communication skills can be evaluated. Additionally, applicants can seize the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the company and to ask relevant questions.
Whaley (2002), highlighted that “when administered properly the interview can be a good indicator of performance in comparison to other selection techniques,” (p. 76). The structured interviews should be utilised to ensure that the chosen candidate is selected solely on merit and suitability, (Personnel Selection, 2012). This interview consist of questions planned in advance and are asked of each candidate in the same way. The only difference is in the probing questions.
Research shows conclusively that the highest reliability and validity are realised in the structured interview using trained interviewers, thus increasing objectivity and reducing stereotyping and perception, Yeung (2008). Reference and background analysis play an integral part in the selection process. They help to ensure good hiring decisions by verifying factual information provided by the candidate and seek to uncover damaging information such as criminal records. It would be a tragedy if the selection committee hires a candidate and later discovered he or she is a criminal and therefore a potential treat to students and teachers.
This scenario can be avoided if criminal background checks are carried out as part of the selection process. It is vital that school safety be a pivotal concern of the selection committee thus all shortlisted candidates should be subjected to a vigorous criminal background check to ensure that they have an untainted background and is fit to lead the institution. Reference and background checks are often inexpensive and are straight forward methods of verifying applicants’ information. At the end of the aforementioned stages, it is imperative that the successful applicant be informed of the job offer via telephone followed by a written letter.
This correspondence should entail information such as “the names of employer and employee, job title, job specifications and salary”. Other relevant information such as “termination periods and start date of employment”, (Personnel Selection, 2012, p. 73) should also be included. This stage will prevent misunderstandings and confirms any previously mentioned specifics. Moreover, it would help to introduce the successful applicant to the organisation and ensures a smooth job transition. Choosing a leader is a costly task and the current demands of learning institutions make selection even more challenging.
If the committee is to select a high quality principal, who possesses the necessary skills and attributes, it is imperative to carefully follow a systematic process. The possible cost and time arguments are substantive but the aforementioned stages are necessary to ensure the selection of the best candidate. Ultimately, employing the right selection stages is a more efficient use of time and resources than dealing with the consequences of poor personnel selection, such as early recruitment, compensation and poor leadership. References Armstrong, M. 2006). A Handbook of human resource management practice. 10th edition. London: Kogan Page Limited. Anderson, M. E. (1991). Principals: How to train, recruit, select, induct and evaluate leaders for America’s schools. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. Retrieved March 10, 2012, from http://eric. uoregon. edu/pdf/ books/principal. pdf Dessler, G. ( 2005). Human resource management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Prentice Hall. Ebel, R. L. , & Frisbie, D. A. Essentials of educational measurement. (5th Edition).
Eaglewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. EDLM 2001 Unit 4 (Personnel Selection) (2012). Retrieved from UWI Open Campus: http://courses. open. uwi. edu/course/view. php? id=250 Elmore, R. , & Burney, D. (2000). Leadership and learning: Principal recruitment, induction, and instructional leadership in Community School District #2, New York City. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, Learning and Research Development Center Fisher, C. , Schoefeldt, L. , & Shaw, J. (1996). Human resource management. (3rd Edition). Princeton, NJ: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Weller ,L. D. ( 2003). Quality middle school leadership: Eleven central skills area. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Education. Whaley, J. (Ed. ) (2002). Developing the effective principal: Hiring, evaluation and retention practices for the superintendent. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, Inc. Whitaker, K. (2002). Principal role changes and influence on principal recruitment and selection: An international perspective. Journal of Educational Administration, 41(1), 37–54. Yeung, R. (2011). Successful Interviewing and Recruitment. London: Kogan Page Limited.
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