Complete Part 1 Matrix. I am only required to complete 2 of the 5.I have also attached the reading portion for assistance.
Recruitment Matrix Worksheet
HCS/341 Version 6
University of Phoenix Material
Recruitment Matrix Worksheet
Complete the following matrix.
In the matrix, you must identify five recruitment strategies or methods, including whether they are internally or externally focused, and describe
each in 100 to 200 words. In your description, include why the strategy is appropriate for health care.
Description and Appropriateness for Health Care
Copyright © 2017 by University of Phoenix. All rights reserved.
Recruitment Matrix Worksheet
HCS/341 Version 6
Copyright © 2017 by University of Phoenix. All rights reserved.
Recruitment Matrix Worksheet
HCS/341 Version 6
Create a graphic image identifying the different components of the selection process. Examples of a graphic image are flowcharts, Venn
diagrams, graphs, and slides.
Insert your image and description in the space below or attach it as a separate document along with this one.
Copyright © 2017 by University of Phoenix. All rights reserved.
Recruitment Matrix Worksheet
HCS/341 Version 6
Using the table below, explain the differences between job analysis, job description, and job specification
Copyright © 2017 by University of Phoenix. All rights reserved.
The recruitment process can be viewed as a sales activity. A qualified job candidate is your
customer when you are trying to sell the job to him or her. Some keys to approaching recruitment
from the perspective of applicants-as-customers are presented in the Manager’s Notebook,
“Taking an Applicant-Centered Approach to Recruitment.”
MANAGER’S NOTEBOOK Taking an Applicant-Centered
Approach to Recruitment
Finding employees with appropriate qualifications to fill job openings is, of course, a primary
purpose for recruitment. However, recruitment can be most effective when it is viewed from the
applicant’s perspective. Applicants are customers of the organization, and the organization hopes
that the applicants make a buy decision about the job openings. Recruitment is your opportunity
to sell the job, the organization, and maybe even the community to the job candidates.
• ■ Go to where the customers are Millions of users are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn,
and many people are now using these and other forms of social media to network and find
leads for jobs. Many potential applicants are on the Internet, and using social media can be
an effective way to connect with them.
• ■ What do they want and what do you have to offer? It’s about more than the job: People
are joining an organization when they take a job. Some of the characteristics that can be
important to prospective employees include:
o ■ working atmosphere (e.g., degree of formality, sense of teams, and fun)
o ■ career opportunities (opportunity for advancement)
o ■ work-life value (attractiveness of location, concern for employees)
o ■ job characteristics (degree to which work is challenging and interesting)
o ■ pay (level of wages and other benefits)
These organizational characteristics may not be equally important for all types of potential job
applicants. For example, candidates for a managerial-level job might be most interested in worklife value issues and in opportunities for career advancement. Potential applicants for a bluecollar job might focus on, for example, pay and working atmosphere considerations. As a
manager, it is important to have a sense of what organizational characteristics are most important
to your potential job applicants. Make sure that your recruitment efforts emphasize these
characteristics, because it is the potential candidates’ perceptions of what your organization can
offer on those dimensions that can determine whether they decide to apply.
Recruitment is your opportunity to attract qualified people to your organization and to provide a
picture of the benefits of being a member of your organization that will convince them to be
■ Treat applicants like customers Do your job applicants feel like they were treated as
customers? Applicants who feel they were treated positively are more likely to pursue
employment with an organization. If applicants view the hiring process as inconvenient or
overly intrusive, it could mean the loss of some great hires. To avoid this problem, try to
maintain a customer-oriented approach in the recruitment and selection process. Are
interviews and other assessments explained, particularly if some of them might seem to
delve into areas that don’t seem to be directly related to work? For example, providing
applicants with an explanation of why aspects of personality are being measured, or why
social media use is an issue, can assure applicants that they are dealing with a transparent
and fair employer. Likewise, making sure that interviews and other assessments are
scheduled as conveniently as possible can convey the message that this organization cares
for its employees and would be a good place to work.
If applicants are treated as customers, even those who are not hired are likely to have a positive
impression of the organization. As a result, they may become customers of the organization’s
products or services and recommend the organization to other potential customers and
Sources: Based on Baum, M., and Kabst, R. (2013). How to attract applicants in the Atlantic
versus the Asia-Pacific region? A cross-national analysis on China, India, Germany, and
Hungary. Journal of World Business, 48, 175–185; Bettencourt, L. A., Brown, S. W., and
Sirianni, N. J. (2013). The secret to true service innovation. Business Horizons, 56, 13–22;
Madera, J. M. (2012). Using social networking websites as a selection tool: The role of
selection process fairness and job pursuit intentions. International Journal of Hospitality
Management, 31, 1276–1282.
Sources of Recruiting
A great number of recruitment sources are available to organizations.15 The most prominent are:
• ■ Current employees Many companies have a policy of informing current employees about
job openings before trying to recruit from other sources. Internal job postings give current
employees the opportunity to move into the firm’s more desirable jobs. However, an
internal promotion automatically creates another job opening that has to be filled.
• ■ Referrals from current employees Studies have shown that employees who were hired
through referrals from current employees tended to stay with the organization longer and
displayed greater loyalty and job satisfaction than employees who were recruited by
other means.16 Some organizations offer incentives to their employees for successful
referrals. For example, the Container Store pays employees between $200 and $500 for
successful referrals, after the new hire has completed a probationary period. REI, the
outdoor outfitter, found that employee referrals increased by 850 percent after it doubled
its referral bonus to $100 per hire.17 Employee referrals can be an effective recruitment tool,
because employees have a good sense of what it takes to be a successful worker and
member of the organization. However, to the extent current employees tend to refer people
who are demographically similar to themselves, it can create equal employment opportunity
• ■ Former employees A firm may decide to recruit employees who previously worked for
the organization. Typically, these are people who were laid off, although they may also have
worked seasonally (during summer vacations or tax season, for example). Forming an
online alumni network could be a simple and cost-effective way to maintain a hiring pool of
competitive candidates.18Furthermore, a network of former employees can be a source of
employee referrals because they are familiar with the company, its culture, and its values.
■ Former military Since the war on terror began, employers have had the option to hire
discharged soldiers. This is more than patriotism. Some organizations recruit former
military in the belief that military experience will result in better and more consistent job
performance. In some situations, the link between military experience and the job that
needs to be filled is direct. The U.S. Border Patrol, for example, has been hiring thousands of
new border patrol agents. The job involves protecting the U.S. border from illegal
immigration and illegal contraband, as well as from infiltration by terrorists. The job
requirements of a border patrol agent line up well with the basic experience of many
military, and it is little wonder that the U.S. Border Patrol is targeting former military as a
source of new agents.19
■ Customers Customers can be a convenient and cost-effective source of employees.
Customers are already familiar with the organization’s products or services. Recruiting
customers can capitalize on this familiarity, as well as on enthusiasm and alignment with the
brand that often goes along with being a committed customer.20
■ Print and radio advertisements Advertisements can be used both for local recruitment
efforts (newspapers) and for targeted regional, national, or international searches (trade or
■ Internet advertising, career sites, and social media Employers are increasingly turning
to the Web as a recruitment tool because online ads are relatively cheap, are more dynamic,
and can often produce faster results than newspaper help-wanted ads. The Web is not only
an economical, efficient means to recruit, but it is also a convenient tool for job seekers.
Thousands of career Web sites exist, and almost all are free to people searching for jobs. One
of the best known sites is Monster.com. Job seekers can search for jobs by industry,
geographic location, and, in some cases, by job description. Social media sites such as
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are also being used by applicants and employers as a way
to connect with each other. The Manager’s Notebook, “Don’t Get Screened Out in a Social
Media Screen,” points out, however, that employers may also use these sites to evaluate you
as a potential employee.
MANAGER’S NOTEBOOK Don’t Get Screened Out in a Social
The popularity of social networking sites has made social media an attractive recruitment tool for
employers. Having an online presence to promote the business and to recruit new employees
makes sense when the increasing number of people using social media is considered. For
example, Facebook was founded in 2004a and now has over one billion users. If Facebook were a
country, it would have a population greater than the United States. It’s no wonder that many
employers have recognized social media as an important marketing and communication tool.
Social media has permeated our culture, and it has become increasingly common for employers
to use social media in their recruitment efforts.
An increasing number of employers are going beyond the use of social media as a recruitment
tool and are using social media to screen applicants. Some companies, such as Microsoft, openly
state that the use of social medial to screen applicants is typical.b Surveys indicate that over a
third of employers report using social networking sites to screen applicants, and the actual
percentage is probably higher. Further, a third of those employers who do social media screening
report that they have found content that led them to not hire job candidates.c
You might believe that someone’s pictures and their postings on social networking sites should
not influence an employment decision. You might be right! Nonetheless, the reality is that
employers are increasingly using social media not only to recruit but also to screen applicants.
Being aware that what is publically accessible could be viewed by potential employers is a basic
starting point for making sure that your use of social media doesn’t cause you difficulty in being
recruited for job openings.
Here are some additional tips for building an online image that will be positive to employers.
• ■ No inappropriate or provocative information About half of employers who didn’t offer a
job to a candidate due to information on social networking sites said it was due to pictures
or information that were inappropriate. Make sure this type of material is not something
you post, or at least that it is not something publically available.
• ■ Build strong social networks Building a positive online image means more than avoiding
or eliminating inappropriate content. Building connections with people who can post or
provide positive references can be very helpful. How do you build these connections? It
takes being active and stepping in where you can. For example, can you direct someone to a
helpful online source or article? Did you follow up when someone in your field asked for
• ■ Present a professional image Make sure that the information you post in a profile is
accurate and consistent across social networking sites. Take time to make sure that your
profile and postings are well stated and free of typos.
Sources: Based on Brown, V. R., and Vaughn, E. D. (2011). The writing on the (Facebook)
wall: The use of social networking sites in hiring decisions. Journal of Business &
Psychology, 26, 219–225; Ebnet, N. J. (2012). It can do more than protect your credit score:
Regulating social media pre-employment screening with the Fair Credit Reporting
Act. Minnesota Law Review, 97, 306–336; Smith, J. (2013). How social media can help (or
hurt) you in your job search. Forbes, online posting on April 16, 2013, accessed on May 31,
2013 at www.forbes.com.
• ■ Employment agencies Many organizations use external contractors to recruit and screen
applicants for a position. Typically, the employment agency is paid a fee based on the salary
offered to the new employee. Agencies can be particularly effective when the firm is looking
for an employee with a specialized skill.
• ■ Temporary workers Temporary workers provide employers the flexibility to quickly
meet fluctuating demands. Bringing in temporary workers enables employers to bypass the
time-consuming hiring process of job interviews and background checks. Temporary
workers also provide a buffer between the changing business environment and the
permanent workforce. For example, a decrease in demand for the product or service
provided by a business could be balanced with a layoff of temporary workers. The
temporary workers may have been hired with the hope they would become permanent, but
the presence of temporary workers can mean that permanent workers aren’t affected by a
The demand for temporary workers can increase in times of economic uncertainty. In difficult
and uncertain times, firms may be reluctant to hire permanent staff, preferring instead to bring in
temporary workers who can be dismissed more easily than permanent employees.21 In addition to
providing flexibility, the increase in the demand for temporary workers may also be due to
employers using temporary workers as a way to avoid paying benefits. However, this practice
can lead to abuse, unfair treatment, and, as we saw in Chapter 3, potential legal liability.
A fun social posting could screen you out of a job.
Source: Daniel Berehulak/Getty.
• ■ College recruiting Your school probably has a job placement office that helps students
make contacts with employers. Students whose majors are in accounting, engineering,
computer programming, and information systems at the undergraduate level and those with
graduate degrees in business and law are often considered the most desirable candidates
because of the applied training they have received.
You might think that college recruiting may change in its nature and shift from face-to-face
meetings to Web-based interactions. For example, Hewlett-Packard has a Web site
specifically focused on college recruiting at www.jobs.hp.com. However, savvy
organizations recognize that the Internet cannot do the entire recruiting job.22 There is value
in interacting with college students, developing relationships, and generating interest in the
college pool of candidates. Company visits to college campuses, job fairs, and various
relationships such as internships are likely to continue for the long term.
Finding qualified and motivated employees is a key concern for small businesses. Bad hires can
be catastrophic for small businesses, which do not have the luxury of reassigning workers who
are not well suited for their positions.23
How do employers evaluate the effectiveness of different recruitment sources? One way is to
look at how long employees recruited from different sources stay with the company. Studies
show that employees who know more about the organization and have realistic expectations
about the job tend to stay longer than other applicants.24 Current employees, employee referrals,
and former employees are likely to turn up applicants with realistic expectations of the job.
Another way of evaluating recruitment sources is by their cost. There are substantial cost
differences between advertising and using cash awards to encourage employee referrals, and
between hiring locally and hiring beyond the local area (which entails relocating the new
Comparing the effectiveness of various recruiting sources is easier with the use of a simple
spreadsheet. As shown in Figure 5.5, the spreadsheet could have recruiting sources in the rows
and effectiveness measures (say, on a scale of 1 to 10) in the columns. The columns might track
various outcomes from each of the recruitment sources, such as number of employment offers,
number of acceptances, turnover at one year, and employee performance ratings at one year.
Recruiting new workers is a central concern for managers in U.S. organizations when
unemployment rates are low. Regardless of current conditions, a long-term perspective leads to
the expectation of a labor shortage because the baby boomer generation is nearing retirement and
relatively fewer young people are entering the workforce.25 Furthermore, even in times of high
employment and a general labor surplus, there can be shortages of workers with particular skills
or in particular areas.
When faced with a labor shortage, companies spend more to advertise job openings via radio, the
Web, billboards, television, and print media and at job fairs. Many firms also use employment
agencies and employee leasing firms to recruit and select new hires. In addition, many
companies recruit from nontraditional labor pools and use innovative methods to attract new
FIGURE 5.5 Example Criteria for Assessing Effectiveness of
Nontraditional labor pools can include prisoners, welfare recipients, senior citizens, and workers
from foreign countries. An innovative and inspiring example of an organization that embraces a
nontraditional labor pool is Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York
(see www.greystonbakery.com). Greyston, a gourmet bakery, has supplied cakes and tarts to the
White House and bakes the brownies and blondies used in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and yogurt.
Greyston produces all these products with employees who had been chronically unemployed.
Greyston Bakery is committed to giving people opportunities—people who may be homeless or
drug addicts. Its choice of a nontraditional labor pool helps people get off the streets and into the
workforce. Greyston’s CEO and president states, “We don’t hire people to make brownies, we
make brownies to hire people.”26
EXTERNAL VERSUS INTERNAL CANDIDATES
Hiring externally gives the firm the advantage of fresh perspectives and different approaches.
Sometimes it also makes economic sense to search for external specialists rather than bear the
expense of training current workers in a new process or technology.
On the downside, current employees may see externally recruited workers as “rookies” and,
therefore, discount their ideas and perspectives, limiting their impact. Another disadvantage is
that it may take weeks before a new recruit has learned the job. Bringing in someone from the
outside can also cause difficulties if current workers resent the recruit for filling a job they feel
should have gone to a qualified internal worker.
Internal recruiting, usually in the form of promotions and transfers, also has its advantages and
disadvantages. On the positive side, it is usually less costly than external recruiting. It provides a
clear signal to the current workforce that the organization offers opportunities for advancement.
And internal recruits are already familiar with the organization’s policies, procedures, and
One drawback of internal recruiting is that it reduces the likelihood of introducing innovation
and new perspectives. Another is that workers being promoted into higher-level jobs may be
undercut in their authority if, for example, former coworkers expect special treatment from a
supervisor or manager who used to be a colleague.
RECRUITING PROTECTED CLASSES
An integral part of many organizations’ recruitment efforts, both externally and internally, is
attracting women, minorities, people with disabilities, and other employees in the protected
classes. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines stipulate only that
government employers and government contractors must have written affirmative action
policies, many private sector employers believe that such policies make good business sense for
them. It stands to reason, for instance, that newspapers with diverse readerships would want to
increase the diversity of their editorial and reporting staffs.
A good rule of thumb is to target potential recruits through media or recruitment methods that
focus on minorities. For example, recruitment efforts could include black colleges and Hispanic
organizations.27When a company puts too much emphasis on hiring of minorities in ads,
candidates may feel resentful or believe they are being hired simply to fill a quota. Recruitment
experts say that minority candidates should be addressed the same way all candidates are.28
PLANNING THE RECRUITMENT EFFORT
To be effective, recruitment should be tied to HRP.29 As we saw earlier in this chapter, HRP
compares present workforce capabilities with future demands. The analysis might indicate, for
example, a need for 10 more staff personnel given the firm’s expansion plans and anticipated
market conditions. This information should play a key role in determining the level of the
How many candidates should the recruitment effort attempt to attract for each job opening? The
answer depends on yield ratios, which relate recruiting input to recruiting output. For example, if
the firm finds that it has to make two job offers to get one acceptance, this offer-to-acceptance
ratio indicates that approximately 200 offers will have to be extended to have 100 accepted.
Perhaps the interview-to-offer ratio has been 3:1. This ratio indicates that the firm will have to
conduct at least 600 interviews to make 200 offers. Other ratios to consider are the number of
invitations-to-interview ratio and the number of advertisements or contacts-to-applicant ratio.
Ratios and other measures of effectiveness can vary across sources of recruitment. Investing in
the best ways to recruit employees requires a comparison of the effectiveness of the various
recruitment sources used by your company. Figure 5.5 provides a listing of basic recruitment
sources and criteria that can be important in assessing effectiveness.
PLANNING YOUR JOB SEARCH
The flip side of recruitment is the job search process in which people search for the right
employer. Are you looking for your first job or a change in your career? In addition to the
sources listed in Figure 5.5another place to start your job search is the local library. In addition
to online sources, libraries offer print resources that can be useful to job seekers.30 For
example, The Dictionary of Occupational Titles describes job responsibilities and requirements
for a wide array of jobs. However, the Occupational Information Network, or O*NET, is an
online database that is replacing the book system used in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
You can access this online resource at onetonline.org.
Selection determines the overall quality of an organization’s human resources. Consider what
happens when the wrong person is hired or promoted. How do you, as a customer, like being
served by someone who is slow and inept? How would you, as a line supervisor, like to deal with
the problems caused by a worker who cannot perform necessary tasks on a production line?
Hiring the wrong person can also cause friction among staff as other workers become resentful
of having to pick up the slack for inept employees. Inappropriate hires may even lead better
employees to seek employment elsewhere. We’ve seen that all these effects have economic
In fact, the economic value of good selection procedures is higher than most people realize. For
example, an academic study in 1984 estimated that the federal government’s use of ability
testing for entry-level jobs saved the government over $15 billion per year.31 This amazing
figure, which can only be larger in today’s dollars, is derived from the cumulative effects of
modest job performance increases by people hired because they scored better than average on the
selection test. Continually hiring people who perform, say, 20 percent above average can make a
tremendous difference to an organization that hires many workers.
A variety of tools can be used in the selection process. Before we consider these techniques,
though, you should be aware of two concepts important for selection tools: reliability and
Reliability and Validity
Reliability refers to consistency of measurement, usually across time but also across judges. If a
measure produces perfectly consistent results, that measure is perfectly reliable. For example, if
you take a math test every week for five weeks and always obtain the same score, then that
measure of your mathematical skill level would be considered to be perfectly reliable. Likewise,
if five different interviewers all judged you to have the same level of social skill, the interjudge
reliability would be perfect.
Consistency of measurement, usually across time but also across judges.
However, perfect reliability is rarely if ever achieved. Measurement almost always involves
some error and that error is “noise,” or unreliability. The greater the amount of noise in a
measure, the harder it is to determine the true signal that the measure is trying to detect.
Reliability is an index of how much error has influenced the measures.
The error with which something is measured can be broken down into two types: deficiency
error and contamination error.32 Deficiency error occurs when a component of the domain being
measured is not included in the measure. Not including subtraction questions in a test of basic
math skills would yield a deficient measure: one that does not capture the true level of basic
Contamination error occurs when a measure includes unwanted influences. For example, an
interviewer may be under undue time pressure from other job duties and not take the time to
accurately assess a job candidate. Or, an interviewer might rate an average job candidate lower
than average because of the contrast with an outstanding candidate who preceded him.
Validity is the extent to which the technique measures the intended knowledge, skill, or ability.
In the selection context, this means that validity is the extent to which scores on a test or
interview correspond to actual job performance. A technique that is not valid is useless and may
even present legal problems. When discrimination in hiring practices is charged, the critical
evidence will be the job relatedness (validity) of the selection technique.33 Documentation of
validity is critical.
The extent to which the technique measures the intended knowledge, skill, or ability. In the
selection context, it is the extent to which scores on a test or interview correspond to actual job
There are typically two basic strategies for demonstrating the validity of selection methods:
content and empirical. A content validity strategy assesses the degree to which the content of the
selection method (say, an interview or a test) is representative of job content. For instance,
applicants for the job of commercial airline pilot are required to take a series of exams
administered by the Federal Aviation Administration. These exams assess whether the candidates
have the necessary knowledge to pilot safely and effectively. However, passing these tests does
not guarantee that the applicant has the other abilities necessary to perform well in the cockpit.
An empirical validity strategy demonstrates the relationship between the selection method and
job performance. Scores on the selection method (say, interview judgments or test scores) are
compared to ratings of job performance. If applicants who receive higher scores on the selection
method also turn out to be better job performers, then empirical validity has been established.
There are two types of empirical (also known as criterion-related) validity: concurrent and
predictive.34Concurrent validity indicates the extent to which scores on a selection measure are
related to job performance levels, when both are measured at roughly the same time. To
illustrate, say that a company develops a test to use for hiring additional workers. To see how
well the test might indicate job performance levels, the company gives the test to its current
workforce. The company then correlates the test scores with the performance appraisal scores
that supervisors just completed. The correlation between the test scores and job performance
scores indicates the concurrent validity of the test because both the test and job performance
scores were measured concurrently in time.
Extent of correlation between selection and performance scores, when measured at the same
Predictive validity indicates the extent to which scores on a selection measure correlate with
future job performance. For example, the company gives the test to all applicants and then
checks new hires’ job performance levels 12 months later. The correlation between the test
scores and job performance in this case indicates the predictive validity of the test because the
selection measure preceded the assessment of job performance.
Extent to which selection scores correlate with performance scores, when performance is
measured later in time.
Even if empirical validity is the goal when developing or choosing a selection measure, all
measures should have content validity.35 That is, what is being measured to assist in making the
hiring decision should be job related. The starting point for establishing job-related content is a
job analysis (see Chapter 2). However, content validity does not necessarily guarantee empirical
validity. For instance, a measure that is content valid but so difficult that no one can earn a
passing score will probably not be found to have empirical validity. Further, if empirical validity
is assessed, the two forms, concurrent and predictive, each have their advantages and
Concurrent validation can be done relatively quickly and easily. However, the validity found
with the concurrent approach may not be a good estimate of how valid a measure may be when
used for assessing job applicants. To illustrate, current workers may not be representative of job
applicants in that they may be older and tend to be white and male. We see, then, that concurrent
validity may not be a good estimate of how valid a selection measure might be in practice.
In contrast, predictive validation most closely matches the hiring problem of trying to predict
who will develop into the best performers for the organization. However, determining the
predictive validity of a measure requires a fairly large number of people, at least 30, for whom
both selection and job performance scores are available. Further predictive validity cannot be
determined until job performance is measured, perhaps 6 to 12 months later.
Selection methods can be reliable but not valid; however, selection methods that are not reliable
cannot be valid. This fact has a great deal of practical significance. Whether someone has an
M.B.A. or not can be measured with perfect reliability. But if having an M.B.A. is not associated
with improved job performance, attainment of an M.B.A. is not a valid selection criterion for that
job. It seems clear that more highly motivated applicants make better employees, but if the
selection method used to measure motivation is full of errors (not reliable), then it cannot be a
valid indicator of job performance.
Selection Tools as Predictors of Job Performance
In this section we look at the most commonly used methods of selection, in no particular order.
Each approach has its limitations as well as its advantages.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
In general, letters of recommendation are not highly related to job performance because most are
highly positive.36 This does not mean that all letters of recommendation are poor indicators of
performance, however. A poor letter of recommendation may be very predictive and should not
A QUESTION OF ETHICS
Suppose you are asked to write a recommendation letter for a friend whom you like but consider
unreliable. Would it be ethical for you to write a positive reference even though you anticipate
that your friend will not be a good employee? If not, would it be ethical for you to agree to write
the letter knowing that you will not be very positive in your assessment of your friend’s abilities?
A content approach to considering letters of recommendation can increase the validity of this
selection tool. This approach focuses on the content of the letters rather than on the extent of
their positivity.37Assessment is done in terms of the traits the letter writer attributes to the job
candidate.38 For example, two candidates may be given equally positive letters, but the first
candidate’s letter may describe a detail-oriented person, whereas the second candidate’s letter
describes someone who is outgoing and helpful. The job to be filled may require one type of
person rather than the other. For example, a job in customer relations requires an outgoing and
helpful person, whereas clerical work requires someone who is good at details.
A more proactive approach to increasing the validity and usefulness of letters as well as verbal
references (see “Reference Checks,” p. 170) is to focus the reference on key job competencies.
Rather than asking a reference broad questions, such as “Tell me what you think of this job
candidate?” ask the reference about the applicant’s specific skill in areas relevant to the job
Organizations often use application forms as screening devices to determine whether a candidate
satisfies minimum job specifications, particularly for entry-level jobs. The forms typically ask
for information regarding past jobs and present employment status.
A recent variation on the traditional application form is the biodata form.40 This is essentially a
more detailed version of the application form in which applicants respond to a series of questions
about their background, experiences, and preferences. Responses to these questions are then
scored. For instance, candidates might be asked how willing they are to travel on the job, what
leisure activities they prefer, and how much experience they have had with computers. As with
any selection tool, the biodata most relevant to the job should be identified through job analysis
before the application form is created. Biodata have moderate validity in predicting job
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