Human Resource Management

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Other Selection Methods

Based on Human Resource Management (4th Edition) by Alan Price - published by Cengage

Work samples

Interviews suffer from a basic problem: (...) When asked what they would do in a particular situation ... candidates give the answer which they feel the interviewer wants to hear. (...)

The work sample technique attempts to overcome this problem by asking candidates to take on mini-jobs in a selection situation. ... properly designed work samples capture key elements of a real job. (...) Work samples have shown some of the highest validity scores compared to other selection methods. (...) even the smallest companies could employ the simpler forms, such as the following:

  • a typing test for keyboard skills
  • role-playing
  • group decisions
  • presentations
  • reports

The most sophisticated of work-sample procedures include 'in-basket tests', sometimes called 'in-tray exercises'. (...) Candidates are given a typical in-tray containing a selection of material such as letters to be answered, reports to be analysed, items to be prioritized, etc. They are given instructions on what to do and a time limit. Standard scoring methods are available.

Assessment centres

(...) Assessment centres are procedures and not necessarily places. They function on the principle that no individual method of selection is particularly good and no individual assessor is infallible. ... they use multiple methods and several assessors in structured programmes which attempt to minimize the inadequacies of each method and cancel out the prejudices of individual selectors. Inevitably, assessment centres are a very expensive method of selection. (...) ... they are focused on potential. (...)

Problems with assessment centres

... the impact on management time is considerable. Managers may appreciate the value of high-quality selection procedures, but will be reluctant to devote so much time. Additionally, the traditional process is group-based and is unusable in situations where only one or two candidates are being considered.

The effectiveness of an assessment centre depends upon its design and the anticipation of problems. Additionally, the traditional process is group-based and is unusable in situations where only one or two candidates are being considered. Common design faults have been well documented


Graphology or handwriting analysis has a long history on the mainland of Europe. It originated in Italy in the early seventeenth century and was further refined in France and Germany, where it is used widely. The essence of graphology is that analysts claim to be able to describe an individual's personality from a sample of their handwriting. Their theoretical basis is that of trait psychology, which holds that personality has a number of fixed dimensions which are relatively unchangeable and do not depend on the situation.

In the UK there has been a marked resistance to its use, especially among psychologists. The evidence is very much against graphology's effectiveness (see Human Resource Management [Price, 2011] for review.

Why is graphology apparently so popular in continental Europe and supposed to be increasingly used in the USA and the UK (Ellin, 2004)? Thomas and Vaught (2001) speculate that one reason may be that it has an apparent face validity that people can relate to: it looks like it ‘should’ work as a method. However, in studies on selection techniques in a number of countries (Anderson and Witvliet, 2008, Anderson et al., 2010), graphology was one of the least favoured by candidates. Finally, Bangerter et al. (2009) found that graphology is not as popular in continental Europe as claimed, that few job advertisements asked for handwritten letters and the handwritten letters that were received by employers were rarely analyzed by graphologists. They concluded that the popularity of graphology is a self-perpetuating myth.

  Psychometric Testing

 Employee Selection



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