In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Selection

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Journals
  • History, Trends, and Context

Management Selection
Jennifer R. Rineer, Donald M. Truxillo, Talya Bauer
  • LAST REVIEWED: 08 January 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0011


Selection (also referred to as “personnel selection” or “employee selection”) refers to the process of hiring (and also promoting) individuals for employment. According to the standards of the field of industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology, selection systems must be based on job analysis, which ensures that criteria used to select employees are job related. The basis of selection is an understanding of the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) or competencies necessary for a particular job or group of jobs. A variety of different selection procedures are available to measure characteristics of the job applicant that are deemed to be important to the job. These selection procedures (or “predictors”) include, but are not limited to, interviews, work sample tests, cognitive ability tests, and personality tests; these predictors are then used to make inferences regarding whether an individual is right for the job. These procedures are often most effective when used in combination, and each aims to predict future performance. Selection is often conducted in-house by companies’ human resource departments but can also be done by outside consultants or firms. The aim of the study of selection in I/O psychology is to build upon the understanding of selection procedures and issues in order to increase the ability of selection methods to predict future performance and to increase knowledge of the effects of selection procedures on both individuals and organizations.


Most textbooks on the topic of selection are divided into subsections, follow a similar format, and cover the following topics: job analysis; defining and measuring job performance; selection models and strategies; an overview of different selection procedures and tests; a review of current selection research; real-world examples; and a discussion of best practices and future directions of the field. Especially in the context of globalization and changes in technology, the field of selection research and practice is developing rapidly. Because of this, selection textbooks are generally revised and published as new editions every few years. Ployhart, et al. 2006 shows readers how to select, develop, and administer staffing procedures. Heneman, et al. 2011 presents a comprehensive staffing model based on theory and explained through applications (cases and exercises), while Hunt 2007 provides a practical and informative guide for improving selection decisions. Gatewood, et al. 2010 is a comprehensive overview of selection that is appropriate for both students and advanced researchers and practitioners. Guion 2011 is an updated version of a classic reference, while Cascio and Aguinis 2011 presents a forward-thinking view of personnel issues in HR, addressing recent changes that are relevant to the field.

  • Cascio, W. F., and H. Aguinis. Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2011.

    This interdisciplinary, research-based HR text presents current issues in personnel psychology, which represents the overlap between I/O psychology and HR management. The goal of the book is to help students and professionals effectively translate theory into practice in areas such as job analysis, selection, performance management, and training. Chapters 12 and 13 cover selection methods in detail.

  • Gatewood, R., H. S. Feild, and M. Barrick. Human Resource Selection. 7th ed. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning, 2010.

    Covers the technical issues involved in developing and implementing selection programs in organizations. The authors emphasize current research and applications for those already working in selection. This textbook covers legal, global, and ethical concerns; psychometric measurement concepts; job analysis; predictors of job performance; and criterion measures.

  • Guion, R. M. Assessment, Measurement, and Prediction for Personnel Decisions. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2011.

    This comprehensive textbook, which offers a practical view of assessment-based personnel decisions, is a contemporary version of a classic. Guion, who has contributed to the field of I/O psychology for more than sixty years, wrote the original version of this book in 1965.

  • Heneman, H. G., T. A. Judge, and J. Kammeyer-Mueller. Staffing Organizations. 7th ed. Madison, WI: Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 2011.

    Staffing Organizations is based on a comprehensive staffing model, which includes hiring models and strategies; staffing support systems (legal compliance, planning, and job analysis and rewards); core staffing systems (recruitment, selection, and employment); and staffing systems and retention management.

  • Hunt, S. Hiring Success: The Art and Science of Staffing Assessment and Employee Selection. 2d ed. San Francisco: Pfeiffer and the Society for Human Resource Management, 2007.

    A how-to guide for using staffing assessments to hire the best employees. It is research-based but is written in a way that is easy to understand for both academics and practitioners.

  • Ployhart, R. E., B. Schneider, and N. Schmitt. Staffing Organizations: Contemporary Practice and Theory. 3d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006.

    This textbook shows how organizations can use effective selection procedures as a competitive advantage. The authors make recommendations for researchers and practitioners based on their professional experiences throughout the text, which include contemporary issues in selection, such as multilevel staffing models; consideration of diversity; the challenges of using technology in selection; and the legal, professional, and ethical challenges facing selection practitioners.

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