In this paper, it will be argued that Zibarras and woods’ (2010) research of selection practices is a meaningful but problematic piece of research. The argument will be developed by a critical review of Zibarras and woods’ research, discussing in turn its background, methods, results, discussions and implications. The paper of Zibarras and Woods reports a study examining the selection methods in 579 UK organizations representing a range of different industry sectors and organization sizes. In this paper, Zibarras and Woods aim to discuss the differences across these organizations and indicate the relation to their implications, both in terms of practice and future research. Zibarras and Woods are critical of the established literature on the prevalence of different selection methods. A problem identified by Zibarras and Woods is the increase of small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which caused by the significant growth up before the recent global economic downturn. This study differentiates between two kinds of selection method: unstructured or informal methods and formalized methods which have a clear methodological underpinning in the way candidates are assessed.
In order to show that the prevalence of selection method, Zibarras and Woods cited Robertson and Makin (1986) along with Shackleton and Newell (1994)’ found that only a small percentage of organizations used formalized selection method but there was an increase in the use of formalized methods. From Keenan (1995), Hodgkinson and Payne’s (1998) survey, it seems like that interview is a prevalent used selection method. However, it’s no clear whether Zibarras and Woods refer to formal selection method as studies did not clarify whether the interview was structured or unstructured. By cited Barber, Wesson and Rpberson and Taylor, (1999) Zibarras and Woods suggest that large firms and SMEs might differ when it comes to employee selection. They believe large organizations have greater brand recognition in the market and attract lot of applications. What’s more, large firms have more money for recruitment. Also, large organizations have more vacancies and may use formalized method to filter large numbers of candidates. In terms of organizational sector, Zibarras and Woods reviewed Bartram(1995), which compared the use of recruitment methods across different sector.
The research indicated that in the financial sector, interviews were used more frequently but in the service sector, firms made more use of formalized selection methods. Another citation, Boyne (2002) reported there were differences between private and public sectors which relate to structure and management practices. Zibarras and Woods found this difference could feasibly promote the use of formal selection method more strongly in the public sector and highlights the need fordata on the use of recruitment methods in different sectors to compare. Based on the present study, Zibarras and Woods try to update the literature on the use of selection approach in UK organizations in order to make an important empirical contribution. The survey design was cited by studies of the use of selection approach in organization (Bartram, 1995; Heneman and Berkley,1999; Hornsby and Kuratko,1990; McEvoy, 1984; Robertson and Makin,1986). The survey includes employee demographics, company demographics and employee selection methods used. Zibarras and Woods contacted all the respondents by invited to complete the survey and e-mail.
They informed the respondents that they could complete the survey through paper-based version with pre-paid envelope (0.3%), MS word e-mail attachment (15.7%) and mainly by on-line via a web link (84.0%). There were three alternative sampling frames. First, Personnel Manager’s Yearbook (PMY), it is a directory of organisation that have individual responsible for HR function or HR department, which contains a total of 11,000 organizations. However, as PMY only contains large enough organizations which have a HR department, just 1,000 samples of them were randomly selected and contact. Secondly, over 10,000 members of the Chambers of Commerce sere identified using Chambers of Commerce membership website. 5,000 samples selected from them. The third sampling frame was the Saros database, which compiled by an independent research company. The company work with researchers to identify samples for social research. 3,000 organizations were compiled for the purposes of this study. The variety of sample contributed to the reliability of this study and reported a clear prevalence of selection methods.
Zibarras and Woods contacted the HR managers, directors, managers, owners and CEOs by e-mail which included information about the survey, details of how to complete the survey and told them the participation was voluntary. In total 9,000 emails sent, 3,036 were returned undelivered and left 3,964 samples. The response rate was 9.8%, which Zibarras and Woods thought is lower than ideal. Even though they thought the absolute number of responses compares favourably to other studies published in the field, the result seems like not reliable enough. As Zibarras and Woods conclude form the sample, CV appear to be the most prevalent selection approach. What’s more, reference, application form and interview remain a popular choice of selection method in the samples. However, Zibarras and Woods did not refer some special examples. For instance, they didn’t mentioned why structured interview and references have significant different rate across difference organization size. Zibarras and Woods classified the organization into micro, medium, large and very large categories.
Also, the organizations are classified by public and voluntary sector, business services sector, manufacturing sector and other services sector. Zibarras and Woods’ finding indicated that there were no significant associations between the use of specific selection methods and size of organization. What’s more, they found that a higher proportion of large organization used Group Exercise compared to other organizations in smaller size. In terms of industry sector, it significantly associated with CV; applications forms; unstructured interview; structured interview; criminal background check; medical check and reference. It seems like that a smaller proportion of organizations in the public and voluntary sector used the CV and unstructured interview. In this sector, references, allocation forms, medical checks, criminal background and structured interviews are more frequently used by organizations. In the discussion section, Zibarras and Woods gave a general conclusion and discussion. They cited the studies of Cook (1991) which indicate the most commonly used selection approach was the CV, followed by application form, interview.
Then reported that a smaller proportion of the companies use formalized selection method compare with informal method, meanwhile, a greater proportion of companies used structured interviews compared with unstructured one. Unfortunately, there was no significant sample in this paper to prove the second results. In terms of the reason why the proportions of organizations using formalized selection approach were lower in their sample than in previous studies, Zibarras and Woods found that is due to the samples used in previous research. As previous research commonly used sampling frame in the Times 1,000 index, which are more likely to be able to invest in keeping up-to-data with new HR practices. In conclusion, Zibarras and Woods, has attempted to explore the different selection practices across different organization size and industry sectors. This research found some new evidence based on the previous studies. Unfortunately, some unclear point still needs to perfect in further research.