The selection committee of any successful organization is essential for getting the most from your HR function. They must be an unbiased and objective collection of individuals who are interested in the job function, capable of expressing their opinions in an honest and straight forward manner, and able to make independent decisions regarding the hiring of each employee. Unfortunately, in some organizations the selection committees may not be entirely impartial. In fact, many times the selection committees themselves are the most powerful influence on the outcomes of any interviewing or selection process, because they decide who gets interviewed and who doesn’t.
The purpose of a selection committee must be to minimize the possibility that any one individual with an axe to grind will have an undue bias toward or against a specific candidate, and to ensure that there is an open dialogue regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each potential candidate. So, selection committee members must be as diverse as humanly possible, in order to accurately represent a wide range of perspectives regarding an opening. This includes members who might be politically motivated, religious, or have other non-traditional views about employment practices and employee benefits. Likewise, there must be a diversity of cultures and backgrounds represented, including members who might be very familiar with a particular field but have no experience in working in that particular field. Because of these inherent differences, a selection committee must be careful to avoid biases that might cause the committee to eliminate a perfectly good candidate simply because it does not agree with his/her perspective or point of view on a given issue.
It is also very important that selection committee members are aware of the potential for “glass ceiling” problems when they are considering the top candidates for a position. Each potential candidate is likely to come with different abilities and expertise, and the combination and synergies between all of the candidate’s skills and talents will bring forth even more exceptional candidates. If the selection committee does not have the right combination of skills, experience, and personalities to select the top performers, then the agency will have missed an opportunity to recruit the best. Such a missed opportunity can cost the company thousands of dollars.
In addition to considering an individual’s skills, the successful candidate selection process also requires the selection committee to look beyond that particular individual’s capabilities and achievements. In order for a firm to become successful, it must grow and develop and hire the best and the brightest. That means that in addition to looking at an individual’s skills, experience, and educational background, the successful candidate selection committee must also look at the skills, experiences, and educational background of any one prospective candidate. The committee must know that it will select the best and the brightest when all of the other necessary factors are considered.
Having reviewed the job opening, the firm needs to spend some time developing a list of questions that it wants the selection committee to answer. The list of questions will serve as the basis for the committee’s final interview and hiring decision. During the interview, the candidates will be asked to explain how their previous experiences and achievements to help them meet the firm’s specific job requirements. The committee members will be looking for people who have a solid knowledge of the firm’s strengths and weaknesses and who are well-equipped with relevant and pertinent job skills. Candidates will need to show the committee members that they understand how to match a person’s skills, experience, and achievements with the firm’s needs.
While a firm may select the best candidate available, without a selection committee, the organization will miss an opportunity to obtain not just the best candidate available, but the best one with the greatest potential for achieving success. Successful candidate selection committees do more than simply choose one candidate; they also select the best one based on other criteria, such as a candidate’s demonstrated abilities and accomplishments. A good selection committee makes full use of all of the information that a firm can collect and takes the time to interview and hire the best possible candidate. Candidates who are well-qualified and prepared always perform well in initial interviews. Selecting the best candidate at the beginning of the selection process ensures that the best candidates are retained and that those on the short list have an opportunity to be explored further.