Following the internal job advert that was posted, we have conducted an assessment to find out which candidate best fit in the position. One of the mistakes that most interviews do is review the resumes of applicants before having the knowledge of the job requirements. Knowing what kind of candidate Capra Tek requires is the most important; the number of working years, individuals personality, skills and attributes are very necessary to the panel.
As a panel, we reviewed and familiarized ourselves with the job requirements. This position required someone with very sharp communication skills, an individual with strong leadership skills who can handle clients and a team. This is the position of a senior sales representative where one must possess at least 5 year working experience, have the ability to travel up to 50% of clients sites, proven track records of high profits and meeting targets as well as strong consultative sales approach. The basic requirements for the applicants were:
Keeping customers registers and utilizing mechanized frameworks
Arranging terms of offer and costs
Taking a tour to foundations to evaluate wants or to improve administration deals
Monitoring competition by collecting current marketplace data on pricing, new products and delivery schedules.
Recommending change in products, service and proposing adoption of competitive developments
Resolving customer complaints by finding the root cause of the problem; preparing reports, and making proposals to management
Excellent skills in computer technology. This is because the position required tools such as laptop PCs, Tablet PCs and Scratch Pad Pcs.
Capra Tek has a reputation of employing the right candidates, who meet the right qualifications and the best skills. Capra Tek believes in preparing its candidates for higher positions, in instances such as retirement and succession plan. To make sure that the right candidates were selected, the HR team conducted background checks on the applicants, despite the fact that they are already our employees. We do not take chances when it comes to recruitment because the financial implication of hiring the wrong person is higher compared to cost incurred in conducting background checks.
The background checks were conducted in a number of ways. The first background check was on;
Background check on Authorization and release of DMV records; this is where we wanted to find out whether the applicants had any bad driving records. This was to show the applicants driving history and their driving license certifications. This background check is to provide the company with information of traffic tickets and convictions, whether your license has ever been suspended, revoked or cancelled. Due to the nature of the position, the company has to issue an employee with a company vehicle in order to access clients at ease.
Background check: Authorization to obtain a consumer credit report and FCRA release. A consumer report background was conducted to give a clear and valid statement of the applicants character, general reputation mode of living and personal characteristics. Before requesting for the report, the HR team had to certify that to the agency that the company had followed all disclosure and authorization. Capra Tek HR team also had to verify that the information obtained was not to be used in violation of any state equal opportunity law and that the information was to be used for employment purpose only. We conducted a fair credit report background to make sure that all the applicants had a good credit report. We invited a third party who was financial agents to investigate the applicants credit report.
Education Background Verification; this is an important step in vetting applicants, because education history of applicants is often incomplete or inaccurate. This background confirmed our applicants credentials by verifying that a certificate, diploma or degree was received. We obtained the applicants information from direct institutions in which they have stated in their resumes. All of the applicants education history was true.
Medical records; Capra Tek respects employees confidentiality; Medical records are confidential and this is why the HR team only requested for general medical record to know how they can treat an employee if they have fall ill at the workplace.
All the applicants qualified for all the background checks, and therefore the panel decided to interview them all since they were only 6. Interviewing them all was a chance to show how much the company values its employees. It would also be a learning opportunity for them since Capra Tek HR team believes in correcting the mistakes they notice on the spot but not waiting until it escalates. The panel decided to use KSA- Based assessments and Task- Based assessments to select the applicants. In KSA-Based assessment, the HR team used personality test where they assessed whether the applicant had traits relevant to job performance in sales. The team assessed conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experience and emotional stability. Conscientiousness is the most important predictor in performance in sales position. They assessment consisted of several true/false items which measured each personality factor. The test was administered in a paper and pencil format.
Structured interviews were also used as part of KSA- Based assessment. The structured interview consisted of a set of questions that are designed to assess critical KSAs that are needed for the job. This interview was developed to assess the soft skills such as interpersonal skills, leadership, planning, organizing among others which are very crucial to the senior sales representative position. This method was chosen as it could give the panel standardized criteria to judge the quality and effectiveness of answers given the interviewee. In regards to task- based assessments, the panel used situational judgment tests which provided candidates with situations that they would encounter in the sales position and options of how they would handle the situation. Applicants were requested to give the most effective and least effective way of handling a situation. The response given gave the panel to judge the applicants responsiveness to critical situations and their problem solving skills. Through these assessments, the panel was able to shortlist who met the job requirements.
These assessments were used as they are less expensive compared to tests such as work sample assessments which require candidates to spend a full day competing actual tasks and activities required to perform the task effectively. This assessment is expensive as it requires involving job experts to design exercise and scoring protocols. It involves setting up equipment and paying trained evaluators to observe and exercise. The assessment tests chosen by the HR team involved pen and pencil and did not need experts to determine the score of candidates.
There was a rate code that the HR team developed to rate the applicants. The ratings were assigned using a scale of 1-5:
1- Do not meet qualification
2- Displays less than average qualification
3- Exhibits average level of qualification
4- Exhibits above average level of qualification
5- Exceed required level of qualification
After keen and deep review of job requirements, the panel shortlisted 3 candidates among the 6 who had applied. Only three met the criteria requirements. One applicant was an intern who had been training at Capra Tek in the sales department for only three months and the panel felt that he still needed to learn and become more conversant with the sales operations. The second applicant did not qualify because they lacked people skills which are needed to identify and communicate effectively with the customers. Without these interpersonal skills she would not be build trusting relationship with her clients. She did not tackle sales questions from an original with an edge to keep customers interested. The panel decided that she still needed to learn more in regards to sales.
Among the 6 applicants, the HR team selected top 3 candidates who displayed strong internal skills which was the strongest skill needed. They were all fluent in speech with clear words. When given the situational test, all were able to confront and tackle the questions giving the most and least effective solutions. Despite the fact that 3 applicants did not qualify for the job, Capra Tek ensured that they were informed and told where they went wrong and what they can do to improve their chances future. Capra Tek believes in internal growth and that is why the company promotes internally.
Edenborough, R. (2007). Assessment methods in recruitment, selection & performance: A manager's guide to psychometric testing, interviews and assessment centres. London: Kogan Page Ltd.
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