Selection Systems and Resources

Help develop organizational capabilities to recruit employees who meet organizational expectations in current and future roles.

Business Imperative

Across sectors, business pressures are demanding greater productivity. This calls for more effective selection processes that enable managers to hire competent employees more reliably.

Typical Intervention Process

Employee selection involves making enormous judgments with information typically drawn out from two sources: a candidate’s resume, and the here-an-now experience of the interviewers.

Frequent instances where people do not perform on the job as estimated by the interviewers indicate that selection systems are typically short on being reliable.

This intervention aims to enhance the reliability of selection processes of large organizations, with large numbers of managers involved in it. This is achieved firstly by increasing uniformity of criteria, and their interpretation by the multiple decision makers participating in the selection process using behavioral competency and functional competence frameworks. Secondly, the methodology of assessment as per the criteria is standardized through the creation of banks of standardized assessment tools. Finally, the interviewers are trained to follow the methodology skillfully.


The hiring system of the client business is transformed, with a set of quality assessment materials at hand for positions to be hired for, and hiring managers trained to utilise them. This enables the business to hire competent professionals reliably. Candidates, whether selected or otherwise, go back with the impression of having visited a professionally run organisation.

In a European IT services multi-national, this helped them feel comfortable ramping up hiring from 500 per year to 5000.


Reliable job-specific selection calls for the testing of role-specific knowledge and skills, and for the assessment of role-relevant behavioural competencies. The two areas can be assessed competently by following separate methodologies. The former calls for quality role-specific assessment materials that have to be administered to candidates in a standardised way. The latter calls for interviewer skill to assess based on a combination of here-and-now data as well as responses to specific, carefully framed questions, primarily around critical incidents.

Implicit in all this is that interviewers are trained to draw value from all this careful thinking. This step needs to be paid attention to for the new practice to take root and bear fruit.

Case Studies

In a European IT services multinational seeking to ramp up hiring from 500 per year to 5000, we started by studying the competency framework used in the organisation, examining which parts of the overall framework was applicable to which of the frequently hired for roles. We then designed brief case materials to be used by interviewers to check for understanding of the salient areas by candidates for the most hired for roles – application development, testing, database design, etc. Technology-specific tools and frameworks were listed as alternative ways to approach each case study, so that interviewers stayed open to listening to valid solutions different from their favoured approaches. The industry has a peculiar pattern of candidates helping one another ‘crack’ interviews by posting questions posed in interviews in online forums, minutes after emerging from interviews. We therefore developed multiple sets of case studies with similar levels of challenge contained in them, so that even if a candidate were to attempt to ‘crack’ the interview, he/she would have to master multiple case situations. We would not mind having such diligent candidates, anyway! We then trained the 50-odd managers who were at that stage heavily involved in the hiring process, on the selection interview, so that they used the materials developed in a uniform way. The consequence was a selection system that settled the anxiety of Headquarters on hire quality when ramping up rate of hire tenfold.

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