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Case study: An aircraft maintenance organisation intends to select Line Maintenance Aircraft Technicians (who undertake line maintenance and checks on aircraft on the ramp/airfield) based on the following competencies and skills:
• Appropriate professional qualifications
• Experience of working within the field
• High levels of cognitive ability
• Good mechanical reasoning skills
• Effective oral and written communication skills
• Ability to completed multiple tasks in a time pressured environment
• Ability to remain calm and emotionally stable
• Ability to be well organised and disciplined
• Ability to make appropriate judgements within the work environment

• Stage one – application form and references
• Stage two - one to one unstructured interview and trait ‘Big Five’ personality instrument
• Stage three – a cognitive ability test measuring ‘g’ and a specific cognitive test assessing numerical ability

Question: Using the information in the case study and drawing on the scientific literature write a report, providing:

• A critical analysis of the proposed selection process to address the competences and skills identified for selecting the applicants most likely to perform well in the role

• Your recommendations (which may be the same or different) on the process/methods for selecting the applicants most likely to perform well in the role

Marks breakdown
• Critique of proposal and recommended selection approach and methods (45% of the mark).
• Justification for your critique, decisions and recommendations (30% of the mark).
• General context-relevance information in report (10% of the mark).
• Structure, style, sources and referencing (15% of the mark).
Whilst information about the selection method(s) you are proposing is required, you are not required to fully design all components of the individual methods. For example, if you select and justify the use of an interview or a psychometric instrument, giving the reader an appreciation of the types of questions to be asked or areas that would be covered will suffice, you do not need to design all the individual questions/items.

Benefits of Unstructured Interviews

The human resources in a given organization play a significant role in both its short-term and long-term success. With increased competition in the corporate world, organizations have become more focused on ensuring that they hire the right kind of people to perform various roles (Siavelis and Morgenstern,2008). To meet the demands of modern workplace organizations have shifted their focus on the processes of recruitment and selection to attract people with the desired skills and attributes.Recruitment is the process through which organizations attract potential candidates possessing the desired attributes, skills, experience and knowledge to fill vacant positions(Avey, Luthans and Jensen,2009).To successfully meet, the objectives of recruitment, organizations must apply the appropriate recruitment methods for various positions. While some positions might require the use of multiple selection methods, for others, a candidate can be identified through a single method.This report focuses on the selection process for an Aircraft maintenance organization.

A critical analysis of the proposed selection process

The organization intends to use multiple criteria for selecting the most qualified applicants for the 200 vacant positions. The proposed methods are the selection of candidates through the use of application forms and, followed by an unstructured interview and the use of cognitive ability test. The selection criteria used plays a significant role in

A better understanding of candidates

One of the significant benefits of unstructured interviews is the fact that it gives the interviewer an opportunity to understand better various candidates shortlisted for the vacant position. Through the various questions asked, the selection panel can have an understanding of how knowledgeable various candidates are (Brewster, 2017). With the large pool of applicants, The use of unstructured interviews by the organization will give it a chance to understand various candidates better so that only the most qualified are picked for the vacant positions.

It’s a practical method of analyzing candidates

Because of the spontaneous nature of unstructured interviews, they have proved to be quite practical and realistic. Through unstructured interviews,  the real knowledge levels and intentions of a candidate can be identified which will enable informed choices on the suitable candidates for the company (Brewster, 2017)

It's more comfortable than structured interviews

Unstructured interviews take the form of a normal conversation which makes an interviewee more comfortable during the interview process. It also allows the candidate to explain all concepts in a very informal way which makes it possible for them to explain pure knowledge. It will, therefore, make it possible to identify the most knowledgeable candidates from the pool of applicants (Jackson, Schuler and Werner, 2009)

Disadvantages of Unstructured Interviews

Cons of Unstructured interviews 

Unstructured interviews are known to consume a lot of time especially due to the fact that they lack any particular guidelines or format (Gagné, 2009)This makes them an unreliable method of screening candidate where a large number of applicants are involved. With the organization expected to screen approximately 2000 applicants, the use of this method will mean that they will need so much time. It means therefore that the method is not quite appropriate for the organization’s selection process (Kumari, 2012).

Comparison of results will be difficult

The lack of standardized interview question means that each unstructured interview is unique. Screening interviews are meant to access the attributes of an individual applicant, which are then compared with those of other applicants (Ofori and Aryeetey, 2011).  The uniqueness of the interviews means that it might be quite difficult to compare the results of different candidates, which might lead to the choice of the wrong candidates or qualified candidates (Guest, 2011). This, therefore, makes it a less effective method for the selection process of the organization.  

Personality test advantages

In a situation where a big number of applicants are involved personality tests can enable the selection panel to narrow down the number of applicants. Therefore if the organization applies personality tests before main interviews, it will be able to minimize the number of applicants (Cabellero and Walker, 2010).

Assessment of candidate’s abilities and skills

With the nature of the interview involved, the assessment of the candidate’s skills may not be carried out well. The use of personality tests will facilitate the identification of requisite skills and attributes (Cascio, 2018).

Disadvantages of personality tests


Personality tests might be costly. The test process might involve hiring someone to score the test. With a large number of applicants involved in the recruitment drive for the company, the process might be quite expensive (Lievens and Chapman, 2009).

The tests might not be reliable

In most cases, the tests are answered by candidates as a way of pleasing the test administrator or the organization and not as a true reflection of their personality (Wright and McMahan, 2011). While the organization needs specific attributes and skills, the method might not be appropriate in the identification of the best candidates.

Advantages of Cognitive Ability tests     

Reliable results

Cognitive ability tests have the major benefit of producing valid and reliable results because it is standardized. This means that the organization will be able to accurately compare results for various candidates which will result in a more informed decision (Keep and James,2010.

Advantages of Personality Tests

Training need assessment

As new employees join an organization, they may require training to acquire specific task related skills. The tests will, therefore, be appropriate for the identification of skill gaps among the new employees for to facilitate effective training.

Disadvantages of Cognitive ability tests

They may not result in good performance.

The performance of a candidate in a cognitive test might not be reflected in their job performance (Subramony, 2009). In order to effectively determine the ability of a candidate, many other factors should be considered. This therefore means that, cognitive texts might not lead to the selection of the most qualified candidates

Text anxiety

Such texts involve a psychological effect, likely to have a negative impact on the candidate's performance. Anxiety may come in the form of stress and other emotional effects. Text anxiety may, therefore, affect the performance of candidates, hence denying potential candidates an opportunity to be selected. It may therefore not be the most appropriate selection method for the organization.

Limited knowledge

The referee may have very little knowledge about the candidate being referenced. For example, he or she might be aware of only a few aspects of the applicants such their past job responsibilities but not the actual performance especially if they were not directly responsible for overseeing the employee or if there are a big number of employees who have held the same position over time. This makes the method less appropriate for the organization’s recruitment process (Bratton and Gold, 2017).

Most referees rely on their memory

It is certain that most referees only rely on their memory while giving an account of their former employees. There is no effort made by the referees to check an employee’s past records including past performance appraisals before giving their account.Reliance on memory instead of documented records makes the method less reliable. The organization may therefore not get the best candidates through this method.  

Past performance may not be a guarantee for future performance

The performance of an employee is to a large extent determined by the environment in which they operate. With this being the case, therefore, it may not be possible to accurately determine the future performance of an employee with their past performance in a different environment (Boxall and Macky, 2009).Through this method, therefore, the organization might not be able to determine the potential of various applicants accurately.

While the selected methods may be appropriate to some extent, their numerous disadvantages are also quite evident (Anyim, Ekwoaba and Anthony, 2012).  The organization can, therefore, improve the effectiveness of their selection process through the following recommendations.

Disadvantages of Personality Tests

Situational judgment tests

With the practical nature of the vacant positions, situational judgments will be quite effective in accessing the ability of various candidates to deal with job-related situations. This will determine not only the level of job-related experience but also their ability to creatively deal with situations at work (Jiang et al., 2012).

Work-related sample tests

In a practical task such as the ones advertised by the organization, task-related skills are much more important. The use of work sample tests will be an effective tool in the identification of the skills, abilities, and level of knowledge for various candidates (Lengnick-Hall., 2009) Task-related knowledge, skills, and abilities are more important in determining the performance of an employee.


In conclusion, the organization’s selection method has both its merits and demerits. The merits and demerits might either lead to the selection of appropriate or inappropriate for the vacant positions. The reliability of some methods such as the use of referees is not quite effective for identifying potential candidates to join the organization. However, the organization can make their selection process more effective by the adoption of work-related sample tests and Situational judgment tests in their selection process. The two selection methods will facilitate the identification of candidates whose skills and job-related knowledge match with the requirements of the organization.


Anyim, F.C., Ekwoaba, J.O. and Anthony, I.D., 2012. The role of human resource planning in recruitment and selection process. British Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(2), pp.68-78.

Avey, J.B., Luthans, F., and Jensen, S.M., 2009. Psychological capital: A positive resource for combating employee stress and turnover. Human resource management, 48(5), pp.677-693.

Brewster, C., 2017. The integration of human resource management and corporate strategy. In Policy and practice in European human resource management (pp. 22-35). Routledge.

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Bratton, J. and Gold, J., 2017. Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave.

Boxall, P. and Macky, K., 2009. Research and theory on high?performance work systems: progressing the high?involvement stream. Human Resource Management Journal, 19(1), pp.3-23.

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Guest, D.E., 2011. Human resource management and performance: still searching for some answers. Human resource management journal, 21(1), pp.3-13.

Jackson, S.E., Schuler, R.S. and Werner, S., 2009. Managing human resources (p. 358). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Jiang, K., Lepak, D.P., Hu, J. and Baer, J.C., 2012. How does human resource management influence organizational outcomes? A meta-analytic investigation of mediating mechanisms. Academy of Management Journal, 55(6), pp.1264-1294.

Keep, E. and James, S., 2010. Recruitment and selection-the great neglected topic.

Kumari, N., 2012. A Study of the Recruitment and Selection process: SMC Global. Industrial Engineering Letters, 2(1), pp.34-43.

Lengnick-Hall, M.L., Lengnick-Hall, C.A., Andrade, L.S. and Drake, B., 2009. Strategic human resource management: The evolution of the field. Human resource management review, 19(2), pp.64-85.

Lievens, F. and Chapman, D., 2009. Recruitment and selection. In The SAGE handbook of human resources management (pp. 133-154). Sage.

Ofori, D. and Aryeetey, M., 2011. Recruitment and selection practices in small and medium enterprises: Perspectives from Ghana. International Journal of Business Administration, 2(3), p.45.

Siavelis, P.M. and Morgenstern, S., 2008. Candidate recruitment and selection in Latin America: a framework for analysis. Latin American Politics and Society, 50(4), pp.27-58.

Subramony, M., 2009. A meta?analytic investigation of the relationship between HRM bundles and firm performance. Human resource management, 48(5), pp.745-768.

Wright, P.M. and McMahan, G.C., 2011. Exploring human capital: putting ‘human back into strategic human resource management. Human Resource Management Journal, 21(2), pp.93-104.

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