Literature Review of Selection Methods

Table of contents

Application forms

Application forms are one of the most common selection and assessment methods in practice, used almost as much as the CV; most particularly in the public and voluntary sectors (Zibarras and Woods, 2010). Shackleton and Newell (1994) found that out of seventy-three British organisations they surveyed, 93. 2% of them used application forms. Zibarras and Woods (2010) found in a survey they conducted that the use of application forms by organisations were highest in either micro-organisations or very large organisations.

The possible reasons for this could be that a very large organisation may receive a lot of applications therefore application forms may be used as a tool to refine the best applicants. In micro organisations the use of an application form could be to find out specific information about an applicant or to see whether they could cope working within such a small organisation. Another point that Zibarras and Woods (2010) recognize is that application forms along with structured interviews can be defined as standardized selection methods.

This could be interpreted as having a higher validity as in an application form an organisation can identify what they want to know about the applicant and then base the questions or the relevant information that is required, and add these into the application form. They also identify that application forms are more ‘legally defensible’. Application forms could be considered more formal, there are guidelines and everything is easy to monitor and pitted against a selection method such as a CV where the applicant has freedom to include what they want the employers to know.

Management exercises

Management or group exercises are an assessment method typically used within an assessment center. Blume, Dreher and Baldwin (2010) found that management and group exercises were able to assess the critical thinking and the oral communication of an applicant. However, they also found that these exercises like many other of the assessment center tasks involve high communication from the applicant and therefore may be deemed as stressful to some candidates.

They go on to identify the importance of show off other skills like organisation and planning when effective oral communication is being assessed. Sackett and Dreher (1982) that when doing any group exercise at an assessment centre the most common skills that are presented through the exercise are leadership, initiative, planning and organisation, problem analysis and decision making, with scores ranging from  67 and to 79, the highest with either leadership or initiative.

Also from this study, some key behaviours for a manager to possess are not tested very well using this assessment method, these include responsiveness; only scoring 46, sensitivity; scoring 47 and stress tolerance; with a score of  54.


  1. Blume, B. D, Dreher, G. F and Baldwin, T. T. (2010). Examining the effects of communication and apprehension within assessment centres.
  2. Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology (2010), 83, 663-671.
  3. The British Psychological Society. Sackett, P. R and Dreher. G. F. (1982).
  4. Constructs and Assessment Center Dimensions: Some Troubling Empirical Findings. Journal of Applied Psychology 1982, Vol. 67, No. 4, 401-410.
  5. Shackleton, V, & Newell, S. (1994). European management selection methods: A comparison of five countries. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2(2), 91-102
  6. Zibarras, L. D and Woods, S. A (2010). A survey of UK selection practices across different organisztion sizes and industry sectors. Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology 2010, 83, 499-511. The British Psychological Society

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