Selection Meaning, Definition, Importance, Process

Table of Contents:-

  • Meaning of Selection
  • Definition of Selection
  • Factors Affecting Selection
  • Importance of Selection
  • Stages in Selection Process
  • Barriers to Effective Selection

Meaning of Selection

Selection refers to a process in which individuals are selected from the pool of job applicants possessing the required knowledge and skills to perform the job in an organization. Selection is a process which includes various phases, such as exploring the applicants to check whether they are suitable for the job, picking up the right ones from the pool of applicants & eliminating the rest. Therefore, selection can be regarded as a harmful process in its application, as its main aim is to reject unsuitable individuals as much as possible to get suitable and appropriate candidates for the organisation.

Selection Meaning in hrm

Selection in HRM refers to choosing an appropriate candidate from the received applications to match the job requirements. It involves checking the qualifications of applicants against the job requirements, eliminating unsuitable candidates, and ultimately identifying the most suitable candidates.

Definition of Selection

According to Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn, “Selection is a series of steps from initial applicant screening to final hiring of the new employee”.

As per Terrie Nolinske, “Selection is the process of making a hire or no-hire decision regarding each applicant for a job”.

According to Dale Yoder, “Selection is the process by which candidates for employment are divided into two classes those who will be offered employment and those who will not”.

According to Steven P. Robbins and Mary Coulter, “Selection is the process of screening job applications to ensure that the most appropriate candidates are hired”.

Selection Definition in HRM

Aswathappa (2015, page 221) defined selection as “ the process of differentiating between applicants in order to identify and hire those with a greater likelihood of success in a job”.

Bohlander and Snell (2013) defined selection as a process that involves choosing individuals who possess relevant and necessary qualifications so that the present or projected job openings can be filled.

DeNisi et al (2014, page 107) stated that selection “is concerned with identifying the best candidate or candidates for a job from among the pool of qualified applicants developed during the recruiting process.

From the above definition of selection in HRM, it is evident that selection is the process of choosing the most suitable candidates from a pool of candidates for current or future positions. For example, the skills and abilities expected of an office assistant differ from those required of a project manager. Candidates vary in knowledge, skills, abilities, experience, age, and education. Therefore, the assessment aims to identify which candidate is ideally suited for a particular position.

Factors Affecting Selection

Various internal and external environmental factors affecting selection are as follows:

1) Internal Environmental Factors

Internal environmental factors that affect the selection process include:

i) Size of the Organization: The selection process is influenced by the organisation’s size. For example, small organizations often use a more informal selection process than larger ones, which typically rely on formal and systematic selection processes.

ii) Type of the Organization: Organizations with complex structures often require a refined working structure. Most organizations have three basic types of organizational structures. One type is a line structure where specific duties are set from top to bottom. In a line and staff structure, duties are defined by both staff and line, with staff departments supporting line managers. A functional departmental structure operates with specialized departments such as human resources, marketing, engineering, and finance. The selection process varies based on the type of organizational structure.

iii) Nature of Social Pressure: The selection process is influenced by social pressure as well because legislation, executive orders, court decisions, etc, significantly impact the selection of human resources. Every organization must operate within society under specific social and legislative terms and conditions.

iv) Applicant Pool: The selection process is affected by the pool of applicants. It can be effective only if the large applicant pool comprises competent applicants for a specific job position. The selection ratio is determined by comparing the number of applicants selected for a particular position with the total number of applicants.

v) Speed of Decision-Making: The selection process is affected by the time provided for making the selection decision. Organizations can mitigate legal problems by strictly adhering to selection policies and procedures.

2) External Environmental Factors

External environmental factors that influence the selection process include:

i) Nature of the Labour Market: The selection process is also affected by the nature of the labour market. For example, if there are very few applicants with the required knowledge and skill set, the selection process may be short and simple, whereas if there is a large pool of qualified candidates, the process may be more extensive.

ii) Trade Unions: Trade unions can influence an organization’s selection procedure. For instance, they may recommend certain applicants for a job and even demand their selection.

iii) Government Regulations: Organizations must adhere to selection norms defined by government regulations. Therefore, government rules and regulations also impact the execution of selection procedures in an organization.

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Importance of Selection

The importance of selection can be described as follows:

1) Selecting Suitable Candidates

The selection process aims to choose the most appropriate candidate who meets all the position requirements. The best candidate is selected after rejecting all unfit applicants through a systematic selection method.

2) Verifying Applicant’s Capabilities

The selection process helps match job requirements with the applicant’s profile to choose the best candidate.

3) Placing the Right Candidate in the Right Job

The selection process assists in selecting the right candidate for the right job so they can contribute their best efforts toward achieving organizational goals by delivering standard performance as desired.

4) Gathering Information about the Candidate

Selection also helps extract information about the candidate to compare them with others and make a correct decision.

5) Cost Saving

The match between the right candidate and job requirement is crucial for enhancing employee work performance. Any mismatch can result in significant losses for the organization, including costs related to training, operations, etc. Continuous observation of the fit between the candidate’s abilities and the job requirements is necessary for an effective selection procedure to avoid dissatisfaction and potential negative repercussions for the organization in the long run.

Stages in Selection Process

The selection process consists of six stages. It aims to gather comprehensive information about candidates to determine their suitability for the job. The selection process varies from organization to organization and from job to job. Therefore, an ideal selection process includes the following steps, as depicted in the image.

1) Screening of Applicants (Application Forms)

Screening of applicants involves filling out application forms. These forms contain information about the applicants, such as personal biodata, achievements, experience, etc. This information is utilized to identify the suitable candidates eligible for the vacant position and maintain a permanent record of selected candidates. After screening all applicants, only those who meet the job requirements and organizational standards proceed to further selection. If the job requires more candidates than available positions, the organization selects only a few candidates for the next stage.

2) Selection Tests

Every organization has its own selection process rules to gather required information about the candidate or to reject unqualified candidates before the interview. Selection tests generally complement the information provided in the application forms. These tests provide helpful information regarding the candidate’s aptitude, hobbies, personality, etc., which may not be evident from the application form alone.

3) Selection Interviews

A personal interview with the candidate follows selection tests. The primary purpose of the interview is to comprehensively evaluate the candidate for the job and provide them with information about the organization. Occasionally, a preliminary interview takes place before conducting the tests.

4) Medical Examination

A medical examination evaluates the candidate’s endurance or tolerance level under pressure, as specific jobs require a lot of patience. It assesses whether the candidate possesses these traits and identifies any selective and qualitative placement deficiencies. The examination also indicates the candidate’s suitability for the job and prevents their transfer to unsuitable positions. Generally, it is conducted by the organization’s physician or an authorized medical officer.

5) Reference Check and Background Verification

This step involves conducting a reference check and background verification to gather additional information about the candidate. Organizations request references from whom they can obtain information regarding the candidate’s background, character, work, etc. These references may include former colleagues, educational institutions, or others familiar with the candidate’s attitude and skills. While references may not carry significant weight in India due to their subjectivity, they provide valuable information that cannot be obtained from other sources.

6) Approval of Hiring by Appropriate Authority

Based on the preceding steps, suitable candidates are recommended for selection by the personnel department or selection committee. However, the responsibility of finalizing candidates may rest with the personnel department, selection committee, or the organization’s staff. Different authorities within the organization may be assigned to approve the final selection of candidates. Once approved, selected candidates are informed about their choice and instructed to report to the appropriate personnel.

Barriers to Effective Selection

Some of the significant barriers to an effective selection process are discussed below.

1. Biases

Human resource managers must recognize their biases. Interviewers often prefer or select candidates they perceive to be similar in age, race, religion, gender, socio economic status, previous job experience, personal history, or other variables. As the workforce demographics evolve, interviewers need to be increasingly aware of similarity bias.

2. Horns or Halo Effect

Interviewers must avoid the halo effect, which occurs when a prominent characteristic overshadows other evidence. The halo effect is evident if an interviewer allows a candidate’s athletic accomplishments to outweigh other characteristics, leading to the candidate’s hiring solely based on the belief that “athletes make suitable medical sales representatives.” Conversely, the reverse halo effect, commonly called the devil’s horns, can influence an interviewer. Factors such as inappropriate attire or below-average academic performance can affect the interviewer’s perception.

3. Stereotypes

Stereotypes are prejudices or beliefs about the characteristics of individuals in a particular group who are assumed to share identical attributes. When an HR manager stereotypes an applicant, it can adversely affect the decision outcome for the candidate. For instance, individuals who are obese may unfairly be labelled as lazy, or those who are illiterate may be perceived as less intelligent than literate individuals. Alternatively, the interviewer may uphold a stereotyped image of the ideal candidate and assess all candidates against that image.

4. Projection Error

HR managers rate candidates more favourably if they share characteristics, expertise, or preferences similar to those of the HR manager or other team members. Conversely, the reverse is also true.

The selection of a candidate who falls below the requirements and the rejection of a candidate who meets the standards suggest that a selection decision may have been influenced by personal bias. An interviewer should honestly consider the reasons for choosing a particular candidate. The solution to the problem of bias lies not in asserting that a person is entirely without prejudice but in demonstrating that they can exercise control over it.


1. What is the meaning of selection in hrm?

Selection involves choosing an appropriate candidate from received applications to match the job requirements. The purpose of selection is to select the most suitable candidate who would fulfil the job requirements in the organization effectively. The main objective of selection is to hire individuals with both competence and commitment. The selection process includes reception, screening interview, application blank, selection test, selection interview, medical test, reference checks, and the hiring decision. Hired candidates are introduced to the job and the organization through induction.

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