HR Guide to the Internet:
Personnel Selection: Overview


Personnel Selection is the methodical placement of individuals into jobs. Its impact on the organization is realized when employees achieve years or decades of service to the employer. The process of selection follows a methodology to collect information about an individual in order to determine if that individual should be employed. The methodology used should not violate any laws regarding personnel selection.

Job Analysis

A selection procedure has "validity" if a clear relationship can be shown between the selection procedure itself and the job for which the individuals are being selected. Thus, an important part of selection is Job Analysis. A job analysis is usually conducted prior to, and is often used in, the development of the selection procedures. However, a selection procedure may be "validated" after it has been implemented by conducting a job analysis and showing the relationship between the selection procedure and the job.

The process of personnel selection involves collecting information about individuals for the purpose of determining suitability for employment in a particular job. This information is collected using one or more selection devices or methods which are categorized below:

Equal Employment Opportunity

Public concern over the treatment of minorities in this country led to the passage of the 1964 Civil rights Act. This Act prohibited employment practices (e.g., selection procedures) that would "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or provleges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

The passage of the 1964 Civil rights Act led the way for Personnel Selection procedures to be challenged in the Courts. Several landmark decisions were made by the Supreme court in the following cases:

  • Griggs v. Duke Power Commenting in this case on Title VII of the the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the court stated:
    • Nothing in the Act precludes the use of testing or measuring procedures; obviously they are useful. What Congress has forbidden is giving these devices and mechanisms controlling force unless they are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job performance...What Congress has commanded is that any tests used must measure the person for the job and not the person in the abstract
  • Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody
  • Connecticut v. Teal

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