What is Involved in Personnel Selection?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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Personnel selection is a process that attempts to fit the right people with the positions that best suit them. This is beneficial to individuals and to companies. Individuals benefit because it is generally held that people are happier and find more enjoyment in jobs that suit them. Companies benefit because qualified and well-suited employees tend to be more productive. Personnel selection can therefore involve a variety of things, including assessments of personality, physical ability, and work history.

In some cases, personnel selection is a simple matter decided by reviewing an application or resume and then conducting an interview. The application process allows a person the opportunity to present information he believes makes him seem the best fit for a position. A potential employer is given the opportunity to evaluate that person and compare his potential against that of other applicants.

Application processes are sometimes more complex. Instead of having a single person assess an applicant, the applicant may have interviews with several people whose goal is to find the best person for a position. The process may also include tests that are scored and thereby suggestive of the applicant’s suitability for a job.


Personality tests are often used for jobs that require a great deal of involvement with other people, such as customer service or public relations positions. Many personality tests have a variety of questions. These may ask how a person views himself. They also tend to ask what a person would do in certain situations. The potential employer will generally use the results to determine what type of personality an applicant has and then judge whether that is an asset to the vacant position.

Some jobs require a certain level of intelligence or specialized knowledge. A person who applies for such a position may be required to take an aptitude test. In some instances, a standardized version developed by third party may be issued. It is also likely that a special test may be developed by potential employers for each available position.

Physical fitness may be a personnel selection criterion for jobs that require physical labor. This may involve being assessed by a physician. It can also involve physical tests such as those administered by militaries. In many cases, however, it simply involves people stating that they can perform certain tasks such as lifting items that weigh a certain amount.

Some methods of personnel selection tend to be prohibited. Many governments deem it unlawful for organizations to decide that people are unsuitable for positions for certain reasons. When a person is deemed unsuitable for a position because of his race, ethnicity, or religion, that is widely regarded as discrimination.


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Post 2

@julies - I have heard of several companies giving that type of test for part time positions. Because there is so much employee theft, it is worth their time and money to eliminate hiring those who may steal from them.

Companies use a lot of different personnel selection methods that are beneficial for them and you. It can be quite frustrating to be in a job that you are not very qualified for - nobody is usually happy!

Post 1

When I was in college I applied for a part time job at a retail store. I remember taking a personality test and I was so nervous that I would fail! I think they were trying to figure out if I would steal from the store. I did pass!

I understand why companies would want that information for certain positions, but I was surprised they gave the test for a part time job.

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