The Selection Process

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the selection process

Illustration of a person holding up 6 resumes.Whether your framework is personnel policies or software settings, the selection process involves moving candidates through the recruiting process and identifying the best candidates for the job. Along the way, screening and assessment techniques are used to eliminate candidates that either don’t meet the stated minimum requirements or aren’t a good fit for cultural or other (i.e., job requirements or salary expectations). The goal is to ensure that those candidates who are invited to participate in a face-to-face interview are, in fact, highly qualified and, ideally a promising fit from a cultural standpoint.

There are four primary techniques for evaluating potential candidates, that also represent phases in the selection process:

  1. Evaluation by Association. Use the posting location—i.e., an industry or professional association-specific job site—as an initial screen.
  2. Application. Conduct an initial assessment based on review of a candidate’s cover letter, resume and application. May also include review of a candidate’s business (i.e., LinkedIn) and/or social networking (i.e., Facebook or Twitter) profiles. To avoid investing time assessing a candidate that isn’t viable, incorporate pre-screening questions that require the candidate to attest that he or she meets the stated minimum criteria. In this phase, the objective is to eliminate candidates that don’t meet the basic requirements for the position based on fundamental factors including minimum experience and education, salary expectations and/or willingness to relocate or meet work schedule requirements, if applicable.
  3. Assessment. Conduct a preliminary assessment of skills. This can be done in conjunction with or subsequent to the application review process. Depending on position requirements, a more in-depth assessment of a candidate’s level of skill and aptitude may be appropriate.
  4. Screening Interview. An initial telephone interview is a second level of active screening that’s used to assess the candidate’s objective and motivation, relevant education and experience and to get a sense for the candidate as a person. In the course of approximately 20–30 minutes, an interviewer can confirm application and resume details and assess a range of soft skills—for example, active listening and communication—as well as engagement and overall level of poise and professionalism. The objective is to eliminate candidates that don’t warrant the time and cost of an in-person interview or in-depth skills assessment.
  5. External Verification. Verify stated educational qualifications and check references.

Practice Question

As mentioned in prior sections, many of these steps can be automated. HR infrastructure provider Ideal’s Head Data Scientist Ji-A Min notes that automating candidate screening can also solve the resume black hole or “ignore” problem, citing the statistic that, on average, 65% of resumes received for high-volume positions are never reviewed.[1] Given labor shortages and the cost of recruiting, that’s a critical break-down in the system. Min highlights the following benefits of automated candidate screening:

  • Reduced time to hire—which also reduces the likelihood of losing talent to faster-moving competitors
  • Higher candidate quality—based on review & ranking of all resumes received
  • Improved candidate experience—allows for rapid identification of and engagement with the most qualified candidates as well as timely feedback to those who are eliminated (but may be viable candidates for future opportunities)

As Workforce Management Principal Analyst Cliff Stevenson notes, the benefits of automation are not only time savings; human capital management systems “also allow for the type of data collection and analysis that is intrinsic to the legalities of modern HR.”[2]


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  1. Min, Ji-A. "How Automated Screening Solves the "Ignore" Problem." Ideal. December 7, 2016. Accessed July 26, 2019.
  2. Stevenson, Cliff. "Why is Automation So Important for Wage and Labor Law Compliance? Data Collection and Analysis." Brandon Hall Group. March 9, 2016. Accessed July 26, 2019.