To ensure objectivity throughout the hiring process, you may want to consider forming a selection panel and/or using a selection matrix.
A selection panel is a team of members committed to interviewing and selecting a person for a position. The selection panel process is beneficial because it provides varying perspectives, helps to eliminate biases, and benefits the department by involving employees and customers in the hiring decision.
How to Form a Selection Panel
You should start by choosing whom you want to serve on the panel—it is best to do this shortly on or after the position is posted. The panel should consist of a minimum of three members who represent external and internal customers, a cross-section of the department, and a variety of positions. At least one member of the panel should be thoroughly familiar with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the functions of the position and with the work environment of the position. You may also want to consider asking a Strategic Workforce Solutions (SWS) HR Consultant to serve on the panel. For assistance with the development, organization, and facilitation of selection panels, you may also call your SWS HR Consultant at 512-475-7200. The five qualities that describe the most effective search committees are Ownership, Engagement, Trust, Role Familiarity, and Diversity. The committee should openly and honestly discuss how to deal with bias during the hiring process, and practice empathy and open-mindedness.
Responsibilities of Panel Members
All panel members will conduct interviews as a team and recommend the top candidates for the position. Each panel member must make a commitment to understand and follow selection process policies and procedures and abide by Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action guidelines. Prior to interviews, you may also invite your panel members to review applications, gain consensus on who should be interviewed, and compose the interview questions.
How to Keep Your Selection Panel on Track
Selection panel tasks vary depending on whether the panel will be engaged before, during or after the initial recruitment and screening processes, but there are certain steps that every selection panel should take in order to ensure the hiring process is effective. Use the following list of tasks to help keep your selection panel on track:
- Decide upon participants’ roles within the panel
- Review the position description prior to interviewing to come to a common understanding of what attributes you are looking for; it includes information such as required qualifications, preferred qualifications, job functions, and working conditions
- Develop a selection matrix if desired
- Develop job-related interview questions to ask each candidate
- Review applicant materials, such as resume, letter of interest, and references
- Determine the most competitive applicants to interview
- Contact applicants to interview and let them know they will be interviewed by a panel
- Conduct interviews
- Review and compare interview notes
- Reach consensus on best qualified candidate
A selection matrix is a tool that lets you objectively compare an applicant's qualifications to a job vacancy's qualifications and functions, as well as compare applicants to one another based on established job-related criteria. It is a valuable hiring tool because it provides equal assessment opportunities to all applicants and upholds the integrity of the university by ensuring that selection decisions are made on lawful, job-related, and non-discriminatory criteria.
How to Develop a Selection Matrix
In order to develop a selection matrix, you and/or your selection panel will need to analyze the position’s required qualifications, preferred qualifications, and job functions. As you analyze these qualifications and functions, take the following steps to develop a selection matrix:
- Decide what technical and performance skills you want to evaluate through the selection matrix
- Review the job posting responsibilities and qualifications and organize them into general categories on the matrix, such as education, technical job skills, and supervisory experience
- Determine what qualifications/skills must be observed in an interview or discerned from responses to interview questions, and organize these into categories
- Develop interview questions about the technical job skills and performance job skills that you cannot see on applications—this will let you structure the interview in a way that helps you fill in these gaps of information on the selection matrix
Create a rating system for the matrix:
- Assign a range of rating points (normally 1-3 or 1-5) to each qualification and interview question, or
Use a “Pass/Fail” system to determine if a candidate meets the qualifications of the position, or
Use a more detailed scale to rate their experience, demonstrated skillset, or noted accomplishments, for example: Beginner, Intermediate, Professional, Expert, etc.
You may also give a numeric "weight factor" to each qualification and interview question based on their importance to the functions of the job. For example, if 50% of the position is performing one specific task, you might weigh that qualification as three times more important than other qualifications
A sample matrix is included here, but feel free to work with your committee on entries specific to your recruitment effort.
How to Use a Selection Matrix
Because applicants must meet all of the position's required qualifications in order to be considered, you will want to start by screening each applicant's materials to determine if they meet the requirements. You can then eliminate any applicants who do not meet all the required qualifications. This is an efficient way to avoid wasting time on selection matrixes for unqualified applicants.
Once you eliminate unqualified applicants, you can either proceed to interview the entire applicant pool, or you can use the matrix to help you select the top, most-competitive candidates for interviews. Whether you start using the matrix before or after the initial interview process, you will want to use the selection matrix in the following way:
- Calculate an individual's total points for each qualification and interview question by multiplying the rating points by the weight factor (i.e., if the rating points=3 and the weight factor=10, the total points an applicant gets for that question=30), or
- Identify the number of pass/fail entries, or
- Identify the experience and demonstrated skill level based on a more detailed scale, or
- Add the total technical job skill points and the total interview questions points together, and calculate a total point score for each applicant
- If there are any discrepancies or large deviations in scoring, address them through consensus of the selection panel, or have the hiring supervisor resolve them
- Based on the total score, decide who to recommend for final interviews