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What are employers looking for?

Most employers say that they wish to employ the right person for the right job. A recent report by Britain's independent Institute of Manpower Studies, however, disagrees with this. The report states that most employers wish to avoid employing the wrong person. Rather than looking for the right person, they are looking for applicants to turn down.

The report also suggests that in Britain and in many other parts of the world, the selection methods used to identify the right person for the job certainly do not match up to those used to evaluate a piece of new equipment. Recruiters used three main selection methods: interviewing, checking curriculum vitae or application forms against predecided criteria, and examining references. Most of the recruiters consulted in this survey stated that these selection methods were used more for "weeding out" unsuitable candidates rather than for finding suitable ones.

Interviews were considered to be more reliable than either curriculum checks or references from past employers. Research, however, proves otherwise. Interviewers' decisions are often strongly influenced by their previous assessment of the written application. Also, different recruiters interpret facts differently. One may consider candidates who have frequently changed jobs as people with broad and useful experience. Another will view such candidates as unreliable and unlikely to stay for long in the new job.

Some employers place great importance on academic qualifications whereas the link between this and success in management is not necessarily strong. Some recruiters use handwriting as a criterion. The report states that there is little evidence to support the validity of the latter for assessing working ability. References, also, are sometime unreliable as they are rarely critical, whereas checks on credit and security records and applicants' political leanings are often the opposite.

The report is more favourable towards trainability tests and those which test personality and personal and mental skills. The report concludes by suggesting that interviewing could become more reliable if the questions were more structured and focused on the needs of the employing organisation.

Reading for meaning

When you read an article, you can often guess the words you do not know from the context.

Find words or expressions in the above article which have the following meanings:

a. reject
b. a written account of a person's education and work experience
c. standards or principles upon which judgements are based
d. eliminating people or things or unacceptable quality
e. place a particular meaning on something
f. slight tendency to favour one thing rather than the other



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