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How to Create An Effective Employee Selection Process

Getting the best candidates to apply for your job is only one step in hiring the right talent. You still need to go through the employee selection process. But what is the right process for your company? How can you ensure consistent results? Learn more about why implementing procedures from the very start can potentially create more favorable hiring outcomes.

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What Is An Employee Selection Process?

The employee selection process is a series of steps that companies use to hire the best workers. Matching the right skills to the open roles is key, and effective selection can result in hiring the kind of employees that will boost company morale, add to your corporate culture, and keep turnover low.

It’s important to note that employee selection is different from recruitment. Each is a distinctly separate phase. Recruitment happens first, and selection takes place after you have a suitable pool of applicants. Think of selection as the part of hiring where the funnel narrows significantly, and the most promising hires are found.

Not every company will approach the employee selection process in quite the same way. However, every company should try to document their process before hiring. By writing down the necessary steps and providing a consistent and pleasant hiring experience for your candidates, you get better employees and you also bolster your brand within the community.

A solid employee selection process is a component of earning a sterling reputation as a fair employer. Having a no-nonsense, professional selection process may make job seekers come to you first over other businesses in the same industry.

How Many Steps Are Included In An Employee Selection Process?

There are approximately five to seven steps in a typical employee selection process. The exact steps will vary by company, but the basics include announcing the job, reviewing applications, screening candidates, interviewing, final selection, testing, and making an offer. Depending on how many roles you are filling and the size of your hiring teams, some of these steps may be combined or repeated.

How to Create An Employee Selection Process?

1. Announcing The Job

Once it is decided that an empty position needs to be filled or after a new position is created, the management team should list out the desired qualifications for the job. Candidates may need a degree or certification, a specific number of years of work experience, or a background in a particular industry. When these have been established, the human resources team can pick where to advertise the job.

Common placements include Facebook or LinkedIn. Entry-level positions may be shared to Craigslist as well. Online job boards are also common. Don’t forget to share it with your community newspapers or job fairs. For positions where you want to consider existing employees, use best practices for announcing internal hires. Companies may also enlist the help of a staffing agency or recruiters for the initial outreach phase. 

2. Reviewing Candidate Applications

Next, go through all the applications, resumes, and cover letters to narrow down the candidate pool. Discard any that stray significantly outside the desired qualifications listed in step 1. When unemployment is low, you may find that less qualified candidates are applying, so adjust your expectations accordingly on those skills or experiences that aren’t absolutely necessary.

When many workers are looking for jobs, you can be more particular about those qualifications. Compile a list of a suitable number of potential employees, as established by your HR teams. Since many candidates will be eliminated in the next step, and some will lose interest over time, identify more potential hires than you think you’ll need. 

Another benefit to having more candidates get through this step is that you may have another unexpected opening in the very near future. If the qualifications are similar, you can save yourself the time of going all the way back to steps one and two. You’ll have a full candidate pool for this separate posting that you can use again.

3. Conducting Initial Candidate Screening

To keep your interview time to a minimum and free up management and HR resources, use phone interviews to further narrow down the pool. This can be useful for screening out-of-town candidates, and it can tell you a bit about how they communicate. While phone interviews shouldn’t be used as the only way to judge personality or professionalism, it can give you insight into the potential candidate’s suitability.

Your interview questions during this part of the process may include:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • What about our company interests you?
  • How do you think this company will help you grow in your career?

The point of this brief interview is to ensure that they are genuinely committed to moving forward, as well as for the interviewer to catch any glaring red flags. It also helps the candidate learn more about the job or ask questions that they can use to remove themselves from the running if they don’t think it’s a good fit. This is especially useful for out-of-town candidates who may be hesitant to drive or fly in without knowing more about the job.

4. Conducting In-person Interviews

Now that you have fewer candidates in the pool, you can start setting up in-person interviews to better assess their qualifications. Whether you choose a panel or group interview, or stick to one-on-one sessions, your interactions with the candidate will focus on their ability to communicate and their compatibility with company culture.

Companies have been known to schedule their interviews all on one day, so managers only have to take time away from their duties once. You can choose to conduct structured interviews, unstructured interviews, or a mix of both, but be consistent in your approach to avoid discrimination or bias. This is where an applicant tracking system (ATS) may be useful for keeping tabs on your efforts. 

Don’t forget to include anyone who will be working directly with the candidate in the interview process, if possible. You will want to ensure a good personality fit, in addition to checking all of the qualification boxes. 

5. Making Final Candidate Selection

Once everyone has been interviewed and you’ve received feedback from the interviewers, the hiring manager will narrow the pool down to the best fit for the job. Sometimes, a second candidate will be identified as a runner-up in case the first pick declines the job offer. Since the next phase involves testing, having a second candidate in mind is helpful if the first choice doesn’t pass. 

6. Testing The Candidate

Before an applicant is brought on board as a proper new employee, the employer may make an offer of employment conditional upon passing tests or a background check. This communicates that, if all goes well, the job is theirs. Drug tests are common, as well as criminal background history checks. 

Be sure you’re aware of the legality of such tests and checks. States have their own rules about what you can use as a condition of employment. If you are drug testing, for example, give the candidate an opportunity to disclose any legally-prescribed drugs they are taking that may interfere with the testing or cause a false positive. Character or personality tests could be used in this phase of the hiring process as well. 

Why Creating An Employee Selection Process Matters

If you don’t have a documented employee selection process, take notes the next time you hire. See what works well in hiring, and what doesn’t. Use any metrics gained from your ATS to add to your assessment. If a step shows value, make sure it’s included in your final, formalized assessment plan. 

Working off a mental selection process is inferior to having a well-formed checklist that all hiring team members can follow. It also minimizes the chance that you won’t treat each applicant the same. Having an employee selection process can create better hiring outcomes, and it’s an important legal strategy that can protect your company down the road as well. Working with a recruitment partner that can help you build a structure, and assist with talent acquisition can also be a time and cost savings for smaller companies and start-ups looking to scale quickly. 

Don’t forget the important role a Recruiting partner or ATS like Comeet can play in quickly narrowing down candidates. Using the technology in today’s systems, you can save time and keep your HR teams doing more important work. Learn how to switch to the best ATS for your company with our free guide.


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