Staff selection in pivotal areas shouldn’t focus only on qualifications, experience

Dear Editor,

The local media has recently been inundated with controversial debate/discussion on the pros and cons of the selection processes for the position of Deputy Chief Election Officer. My professional interest in human resources management has naturally been piqued especially as it seems to me that the concern has been too narrowly focused on just two criteria, namely; formal/academic qualifications and prior work experience. Effective staff selection, especially for positions at the professional and supervisory or managerial levels typically requires attention to several additional criteria and processes. For example:

Competencies and Skills in written & oral communications, interpersonal relationships, motivation, supervision & management of staff, acquisition and oversight of financial & material resources etc.

Objective assessment and comparative/relative evaluation of these criteria often require ‘third party’ interventions such as in-house and/or external selectors facilitated by recruitment professionals and reference-checks. Some organizations/employers ‘outsource’ the ‘shortlisting and/or selection processes’ to independent professional recruitment firms or individuals who employ various selection methods such as Assessment Centres with Simulation Exercises, Oral & Written Tests and practical Presentation Exercises.  I am amazed to see, for example, how often people are selected for positions which require them to make public presentations and/or written submissions/reports without them being actually screened on their competencies in these activities by first asking them to do ‘mock’ written and oral presentations.(These days when CV’s and Applications are written for candidates by paid professional writers, it is foolhardy to depend on the  submitted applications/CV’s as examples of the analytical and writing competency of candidates).

The use of ‘independent’, professional recruiters appears even more necessary for ‘politically-sensitive’ appointments. 

Yours faithfully,

Nowrang Persaud

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