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An Effective Hiring Process: 4 Key Elements

September 27, 2012

When I was a teenager looking for a part-time summer job, I would start my search by going to each prospective business and asking for a paper application.  If I was lucky, the manager would look at my application and decide to talk to me on the spot, or I might get a call a few days later – or never.  Typically, the next step was an in-person interview of unstructured questions where I was left wondering if I did well or not.

What is wrong with this process?  I was able to become employed every summer, and I personally think that I was a good hire.  So, could my past summer employers have done better?  The short answer is “yes.”  They may have found some good employees, but I bet they found some bad ones too.  And, they very likely could have done it cheaper and faster.  First of all, paper applications are a big time and resource sucker.  Phone screens and in-person interviews can be very helpful and accurate, when done right.  However, most organizations do not provide the structure needed for them to be as accurate as they can be.

Additionally, unstructured processes allow personal biases and other ways of being unfair to creep in.  To get the most out of a hiring process, it is should be efficient, accurate and fair.  At Select International, our experience working with both large and small companies has led us to a four-step hiring funnel that can help any company find the right hires - quickly and fairly.


  • Use an automated application tool.

  • Build screen-out questions into this tool and ask for the information you want.

  • The system will automatically determine who passes and fails this stage and can even have candidates automatically schedule themselves for the next phase.


  • The application stage provides information about experience and technical knowledge or skills.

  • However, there are some interpersonal competencies that are also important to have in a good worker, such as work ethic and teamwork.

  • There are some short assessments available that can easily screen out the candidates who do not have acceptable levels of these competencies.


  • Candidates who have made it through the previous stages of the hiring process have the potential to have what it takes to make a great employee.

  • Give an in-depth competency-based assessment to these individuals to see who rises to the top.


  • Until this point, most, if not all, of the hiring process has happened without human contact.  Now, HR resources can spend their time interviewing the best of the candidate pool. I can’t tell you how many clients have told us the number of wasted hours they have spent interviewing clearly unqualified individuals.

  • Be sure to receive training on the use structured behavioral interviewing questions to maximize your accuracy at this stage of the process.

Remember to ensure that any decision-making criteria used in the process are job-related and documented.  Treat every candidate equally, and they ALL must follow the exact same process and be held to the same standards.  If you follow this four-step process, you’ll maximize your company’s workforce while minimizing your effort and legal risk.


5 Steps to Getting Started with Manufacturing Employee Assessment

Amie Lawrence, Ph.D. Amie Lawrence, Ph.D. is the Director of Global Innovation at PSI and an expert in the design, development, and validation of psychological assessment tools. She runs an innovation lab that is responsible for establishing PSI’s assessment technology roadmap and strategy. An integral member of PSI since 2000, Amie has led the development of numerous global assessments, including personality, situational judgment, cognitive, and interactive work simulations.