Self-selection systems aid staff retention

Less than 10% of employers use self-selection to improve recruitment according to Personnel Today’s sister publication Employment Review.

Self-selection is the process where a jobseeker is given information about the negative aspects of a vacancy and employer as well as the good points, to better enable them to make an informed decision about whether to apply for a job.

Also known as ‘self-assessment in selection’ or the provision of ‘realistic job previews’, information can include any negative issues that employers most often highlight to job applicants – for example, that the work could be dirty or performed in cold conditions, or the job might be based in a crime-ridden location.

Effective self-selection has been found to help reduce recruits’ resignation rates and improve their performance and motivation. Staff retention expert Stephen Taylor, in his book the Employee Retention Handbook, said there is compelling evidence to suggest self-selection reduces staff turnover, discourages unsuitable candidates from applying for jobs and improves the performance and job satisfaction of new recruits in a cost-effective manner.

However, a survey of 130 companies, employing a total of more than 500,000 ­people, found that just 9% use the technique. This could be down to:

  • internal politics – those providing jobseekers with negative information may be seen as disloyal to the company
  • devolved recruitment – line managers may not promote self-selection
  • skills shortages or competition – employers may be reluctant to provide information that might deter people from applying.

Of the 9% of employers that did use self-selection systems, 92% said their efforts had led to the loss of some potential candidates, 72% withdrawn applications, and 71% said applicants had refused to participate. Yet 61% reported improved performance by new recruits. There was greater job satisfaction among new recruits (58%) and lower resignation rates (39%).

Workplace visits (where individuals can perform parts of the job), meetings with managers, and briefings from employment agencies or at interview are the preferred methods for conveying negative information, according to jobseekers.

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