Form a Selection Panel or Develop a Selection Matrix

If you want to ensure objectivity throughout the hiring process, you may want to consider forming a selection panel or using selection matrixes.

Selection Panels

A selection panel is a team of members committed to interviewing and selecting a person for a position, and 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 who you want to serve on the panel—it's best to do this as soon as possible so the panel can be involved in posting the position and choosing interviewees. 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 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 SWS representative from HR to serve on the panel. For assistance with the development, organization, training, and facilitation of selection panels, call a SWS representative at 512-471-4772 or 1-800-687-4178.

Responsibilities of Panel Members

All panel members will review all applicant packets, gain consensus on who should be interviewed, compose the interview questions, conduct all interviews as a team, and recommend the top applicant(s) 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. As you form a selection panel, you should also consider that participants will be responsible for fulfilling the following roles:

  • Selection panel chair—provides leadership to panel members and manages the process so that it is efficient and effective; is responsible for setting up panel meetings, arranging for interviews, contacting applicants, etc.; and is an equal member of the panel
  • Panel members—commit the time needed to study applicant materials, fully participate in all meetings and interviews, meet established deadlines, and each are equal members of the panel
  • Section, unit, or department head—monitors the entire process and is responsible for signing and certifying the recruiting summary; if he/she is also a member of the panel, he/she is an equal member and works with the panel to reach consensus on the best qualified applicant

How to Keep Your Selection Panel on Track

Selection panel tasks vary depending on whether the panel forms before, during or after the initial recruitment process, but there are certain steps that every selection panel needs to 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 people's roles within the panel
  • Review the position description being used for recruitment, which includes things such as required qualifications, preferred qualifications, functions, and working conditions
  • Develop a selection matrix if you want to use one
  • Develop job-related interview questions to ask each candidate
  • Review applicant materials
  • 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 applicant
  • Check references
  • Make an offer of hire
  • Complete recruiting summary
  • Send out regret letters

Selection Matrixes

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 employment opportunities to all applicants and upholds the integrity of the university by ensuring that selection decisions are made only 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 thoroughly 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 which technical and performance job skills you want to evaluate through the selection matrix
  • Identify which qualifications you can see on an application, and organize them into general categories on the matrix, such as education, technical job skills, and supervisory experience
  • Determine which 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 can’t 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 numeric rating system for the matrix:
    • Assign a range of rating points (normally 1-3 or 1-5) to each qualification and interview question
    • 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

How to Use a Selection Matrix

Because applicants must meet all of the position's required qualifications in order to be considered, you'll probably want to start by screening each applicant's materials to determine if they meet the requirements. You can then eliminate any applicants who don’t 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'll 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)
  • 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, handle them through consensus of the selection panel or have the hiring supervisor resolve them
  • Based on the total point score, decide who to recommend for final interviews