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A Recipe for a Beautiful Employee Selection System

February 11, 2020

Employee Selection SystemI was recently watching one of my favorite shows, “The Great British Baking Show,” and as I got lost in the world of biscuits, Victoria sponges, and pork pies, I  wondered what it was that I love so much about that show. Could it be the British accents? The tasty-looking pastries and treats? Those reasons are certainly tops on the list! But I think it also may be because that it is a genuine showcase of creative, custom design work mixed with something really scientific. It is rather like the employee selection systems organizations use in their hiring processes. Like any of the baked goods featured in the challenges on the show, these employee selection systems are often crafted to be custom to an organization’s specific needs and – hopefully – also are very scientific. If this is not the case in your organization, I thought providing a recipe of sorts might help. Follow the recipe below and you will get a beautiful and scientific selection system. Warning – skipping steps may result in a bad bake!

Gather,  Combine, and Bake Your Employee Selection System Ingredients

  1. Conduct a job analysis. Conducting a thorough job analysis is a great way to understand the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are important for success on the job. It's very much like gathering all the ingredients you need before you begin your baking project. A typical job analysis will consist of facility tours, job observations, focus groups, and some type of quantitative survey. The main goal of the job analysis is to make sure whatever you measure in your selection process is job relevant. This will likely lead to a more efficient, fair, and predictive selection system.

  2. Select appropriate assessments. Next, you'll need to combine those ingredients – i.e., use the job analysis information to target key competencies that will be important for successful job performance and select an assessment that measures as many of those competencies as possible. Don’t forget to add scientific scoring procedures. No matter the kind of assessment (online assessment vs interview), it is possible to get quantitative values from those assessments. This helps steer people away from using their "gut feeling" when bringing someone on board.

  3. Validate assessments. Examine the relationship between an individual’s assessment scores and their performance scores on the job. If there is a significant relationship between these scores, you have gathered and combined your ingredients correctly and your bake comes out of the oven just right. If not, maybe you burned the system. Just kidding. Sometimes small adjustments to your system can help improve the relationship between the assessments and the performance scores. 

    You might also like: Employee Assessments: What Is Validation?

The Icing on Top

No cake or hot cross buns are complete without the icing! You need to be sure to monitor your pass rates to confirm that your assessments are not causing adverse impact. Also, it is important to keep a close eye on how positions within your company change. If they change significantly, you may want to "bake" a new system. Meaning, you should conduct another job analysis and ensure you are still appropriately assessing candidates.

After you've gathered, combined, and baked your ingredients and then added your icing on top (close monitoring of your systems), you will have an employee selection system that suits your organization's needs. One that Paul Hollywood, if he were an IO Psychologist, would examine carefully and then declare, "That's a good bake!"

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Christa Bupp, PhD Christa Bupp, PhD is a Consultant based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. She provides client support across many different industries with a primary focus on manufacturing. Christa is passionate about making clients happy through the implementation of various selection tools. She has expertise in the areas of research and development, assessment design, data analysis, and validation.