Selecting Employees


Ability test – is a test, usually of the paper-and-pencil type, used to assess mental, mechanical, physical, or clerical ability. They measure the potential to perform the job

Assessment center – a expensive procedure for managerial level or higher employees positions measuring job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities for selection or promotion. (Not often used in government due to expense) Usually assessment centers last several days and includes in-depth role playing and problem analysis.

Compensatory approach – A method of selection in which high levels in some qualifications may offset or compensate for the lack of other qualifications. (Applicants are evaluated on a composite score where low scores in some areas can be offset by high scores in other areas.) This method provides a more statistically sound evaluation of the total applicant. The primary strategy in the compensatory approach is:

Multiple-linear regression – is a statistical procedure used in the compensatory selection approach that uses the total of weighted scores to predict job performance

Drug testing – screening the applicant (or employee) for drug use

Honesty test – tests used to identify and eliminate potentially dishonest people from consideration

Negligent hiring – is a situation in which an employer does not investigate the background of a potential employee and exposed coworkers or others to the risk of harm

Noncompensatory approach – is a method of selection in which there are minimum qualifications that cannot be compensated for by high qualifications in other areas. (Higher levels of education can not offset lack of experience.) There are two ways to implement:

Multiple-gate – is a variety of the noncompensatory approach to selection in which a candidate faces selection procedures all at once.

Multiple-hurdle is a variety of the noncompensatory approach to selection in which a candidate faces selection procedures one after the other.

Paper-and-pencil tests – are written tests for employee assessment that are inexpensive and easy to administer

Personality tests – tests used to identify employee characteristics or traits that may be associated with job performance

Polygraph tests – are a method of assessing honesty by using the polygraph machine. Are illegal in most cases

Selection – is the process whereby job-related information is collected from applicants and offers of employment are given to those applicants who are most likely to be successful.

Work-sample test – is a test in which applicants perform duties that closely approximate those of the actual work situation



  • Most widely used preselection device

  • Profile of the applicant

  • Identification to contact the individual

  • Employment status items relate to the applicant’s work objective and availability

  • Employment record showing types of jobs held and duration of employment

  • Specialized training and skills

  • Military record

  • References who can attest to the applicant’s character, work habits, and abilities

  • Often include a statement that references will be checked

  • Must be signed by applicant stating all information is correct and giving permission to check references and do a background investigation


  • Gathering of general information to be used for identification, classification, and record keeping

  • Information relates to the suitability of the applicant for a particular job

  • Must meet standards outlined by the EEOC


  • An appropriate work-sample test should address a representative sample of a set of skills necessary to perform a critical work behavior

  • Should closely approximate an observable work product

  • Replicate the actual work situation

  • Developed from job analysis data


  • A method of selecting the best-suited applicant for the position given the selection criteria

  • They help to assess the applicant’s suitability for the position given the individuals knowledge, skills, and abilities

  • Interview questions often center around job interests, career goals, location desired, salary expectations, and availability for work

  • A structured interview is more reliable and valid for selection


  • Involve collecting and using information concerning the applicant’s past performance, credit, health, character, driving record, work habits, personality traits, personal activities, and education.

  • Background investigations used extensively by local governments

  • Important in reducing exposure to charges of negligent hiring

  • Reference checking only one type of selection test


  • Expensive and complex selection tool

  • Required for many governmental positions (examples: police officers, firefighters, or other positions where physical exertion and stamina are job related.)

  • Scheduled after the provisional job offer is made and accepted

  • If physical reveals a disability that prevents the employee from doing the job, the employer must then attempt to make a reasonable accommodation. (Best to document attempts)

  • If employment is denied due to exam findings, the denial must be job related and the employer must state why reasonable accommodations are not possible


  • Employment or hiring register of applicants prepared and ranked by results

  • Decision rule determines the number of applicants certified as eligible

  • All selection criteria must be job related

  • Many local governments selection systems follow the “rule of three” which permits selection from the three highest scoring applicants which are “certified” as eligible

  • Keep in mind affirmative action requirements may expand the qualified list

  • The “rule of one” certifies the one highest ranking applicant

  • Category rating” established by the Hoover Commission in 1949 groups applicants into categories such as outstanding, well qualified, qualified, and unqualified. All candidates in each category are considered in descending order (except unqualified) until the required number of applicants are appointed.

  • “Selective certification” – appointed authorities may impose special qualifications that applicants would not normally meet

  • Veterans’ Preference – some local governments give preference to veterans


  • Job analysis, job descriptions and related specifications (if developed separately)

  • Description and examples of selection procedures

  • Adverse impact information on each selection “test”

  • Description of method used to arrive at the numerical ranking of candidates on the hiring register

  • Description of the decision rule used to refer eligible applicants to appointing authorities

  • Documented summary of actions taken, reason for selection or nonselection maintained in separate case file


Type of Record

Retention Requirement

To Whom It Applies

Payroll records, time cards, hours worked, wage rates, and deduction information

3 years

Employers with at least 20 employees

Personnel files:

salary and benefit enrollments and changes

3 years

Employers with at least 20 employees

Applications for employment

1 years

Employers with at least 20 employees

Family & Medical Leave Act, dates taken, copies of notices and documents, etc.

3 years

Employers with at least 50 employees


  • Employee’s application, resume, and transcripts (if applicable)

  • Test documents used to make employment decisions

  • Records relating to hiring, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, rates of pay, other forms of compensation

  • Education and training records

  • Letters of recognition

  • Disciplinary notices and documents

  • Performance evaluations

  • Termination records

  • Exit interviews


  • All medical records-regardless if relates to employment physicals, medical leaves, on-the-job injury, workers’ compensation, drug screening, etc.

  • Form I-9 to verify citizenship and eligibility for employment as required by the Department of Immigration and Naturalization. Recommended these by kept chronologically by year.



  1. Appropriate work experience, knowledge, and/or skills

  2. Appropriate educational background

  3. Ability to assume responsibility

  4. Leadership ability and potential

  5. Diligence (hard worker)

  6. Ability to plan ahead

  7. Maturity

  8. Ability to interact with others

  9. Ability to handle job stress

  10. Oral communication skills – assess these in the interview process, is the candidate articulate? Persuasive?

  11. Relocation and/or travel flexibility


Work and Military Experience

  1. How did you originally get your job with the company?

  2. Would you describe your duties and responsibilities in the job?

  3. Would you describe a typical work day?

  4. What were some things you particularly enjoyed in your last job?

  5. What was less enjoyable?

  6. What were some of your major accomplishments in the job?

  7. What were some of the problems or setbacks you experienced in the job? How did you attempt to handle these?

  8. How would you describe your boss? What were his major strengths and limitations?

  9. What do you feel you gained from your experience in this job?

  10. Why did you leave this job?


  1. Why did you select the college you attended?

  2. What was your major field of study? Why did you select it?

  3. What courses did you like best? Why?

  4. What courses did you like least? Why?

  5. In what course did you make your best grades? Worst grades?

  6. How much effort did you devote to your studies?

  7. Did you participate in any extracurricular activities? Why or why not? Did you hold any positions in them?

  8. How did you spend your summers while in college?

  9. How was your education financed?

  10. Do you have any plans for further education?

Background Information

  1. How do you spend your spare time? (reading, social activities, sports, community affairs, etc.)

  2. Do you or your family have a geographical preference? Are there any areas to which you or your family would not particularly care to relocate?

  3. What is your attitude toward job-related travel? How much would you be willing to do?

  4. Which aspects of our community appeal to you as a place to live? Which are less appealing?

Job-Related Topics

  1. What type of relationship do you feel should exist between a manager and his/her subordinates?

  2. IN what type of work environment are you most comfortable?

  3. What is your reaction to working under pressure?

  4. What do you consider to be your strong points?

  5. In which areas do you feel you could perhaps use some improvement?

  6. What factors in a job are most important to your job satisfaction?

  7. What motivates you to put forth your maximum effort?

  8. Why did you decide to seek a position with our company?

  9. In what ways do you feel you can make a contribution to our company?

  10. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

  11. What are your long-range career goals? How do you plan to achieve them?

  12. If you joined our company, what training or experience do you feel you would need in order to make a maximum contribution?

  13. Looking into the future, what changes and developments do you anticipate in your field.?

  14. Are there any additional aspects of your qualifications for the job opening which you would like to discuss?

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