Personnel selection techniques: how to perform them and examples

Personnel selection techniques are increasingly focused on the competencies and skills of candidates in a constant talent search. Companies seek...
18 August 2022

Table of contents

Personnel selection techniques: how to perform them and examples

Personnel selection techniques are increasingly focused on the competencies and skills of candidates in a constant talent search.

Companies seek to develop and ensure workers’ behaviors that guarantee success in the performance of their tasks. Choosing suitable candidates is the first step.

In this article, we will talk about the traditional technical tests for personnel selection, the new methods being incorporated, and how they are carried out.

Personnel selection techniques: preliminary considerations

Personnel selection is a decision-making procedure that makes it possible to evaluate the suitability of candidates for a given job.

To be successful, three requirements must be met:

  • Use of objective evaluation instruments.
  • The subsequent analysis allows a decision on the suitability of the candidates for the job.
  • Participation in the process of qualified professionals and specialists in the methodology used.

Assuming that the candidate must meet the technical competencies, if these three basic requirements are not met, the selection process will be a failure.

Conventional personnel selection methods

Conventional methodologies are those that have been used in traditional personnel selection, such as:

  • The resume.
  • The interview.
  • Knowledge tests.
  • The psycho-technical tests.
  • References.

We will expand the information in the following sections to clarify the concepts.

Personnel selection techniques

The curriculum vitae

The resume or curriculum vitae -CV- is one of the main selection tools, not because of the information it contains since it is usually very schematic, but because it is one of the first points of contact between the candidate and the person in charge of personnel selection.

It works as a first filter, although recruit bots and chatbots are gradually taking over in this regard.

The interview

The interview is the most widely used personnel selection method.

To be successful, it must be structured and allow subjectivity to be controlled through standardized methodologies. Where possible, it is advisable to have multiple interviewers.

Knowledge tests

Knowledge tests are techniques oriented to evaluate a candidate’s specific and necessary knowledge with respect to the offered position.

The questions can be open-ended or multiple choice, and the answers must provide sufficient information for the evaluation.

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Psychotechnical tests

Psychometric tests facilitate evaluating and assessing aptitudes, i.e., psychological factors such as intelligence, personality, interests, and motivation.

They are based on aspects of the human mind such as verbal comprehension, reasoning, and quantitative ability.


References are essential in that they are shown as the only way for the employer to verify that what appears on the CV is accurate regarding experiences, achievements, projects, etc.

In this sense, some social networks and other networking platforms provide data that can also be evaluated.

With the irruption of new technologies fueled by new psychological approaches, recruitment techniques have benefited from an evolution that makes them increasingly accurate methods.

Conventional personnel selection methods

Modern personnel selection methods and how they are applied

Undoubtedly, human value is a natural source of wealth in organizations and companies.

Currently, the procedures focus on observing the attitudes and aptitudes of the applicant towards the position and the organization itself.

The aim is to foresee their commitment and examine a possible long-term horizon within the company.

Let’s discover some of these personnel selection techniques.

Critical Incidents -CTIs-

Critical incidents are unexpected events that require a rapid – and therefore instinctive – response that is often innovative.

It integrates various procedures that allow the collection of results from direct observation of human behavior in extreme contexts capable of generating positive- or negative -failure- results.

Assessment centers

This assessment is carried out through the design and application of various types of situational tests or simulations -management exercises, role-playing games, group dynamics, business games, etc.-.

Participants are observed by a team of professionals specialized in human resources and by company experts who analyze the potential of individuals.

Gamification, role-playing games

The incorporation of games in the selection process points out aspects of the interviewees’ personalities that are not revealed by more traditional methods.

In role-playing games, interviewers will ask candidates to put themselves in the shoes of a specific profile to analyze how they perform, which allows them to learn about the candidate’s skills and aptitudes in the professional field.

Modern personnel selection methods and how they are applied

In-basket exercises

They are usually part of the previously mentioned Assessment Center, although they can constitute a personnel selection test.

Faced with a simulation of an accumulation of work due to having been absent from the office, candidates must establish a plan in a very limited time, having to prioritize and solve pending issues under a situation of pressing pressure.

In these circumstances, the candidate demonstrates their mastery of skills, professionalism, and seriousness in resolving complex situations.

Simulation techniques or group dynamics

Group dynamics can be similar to role-playing. In this case, the evaluation focuses on the candidate’s willingness to work in a team, cooperation, creativity, leadership, and attitude towards the group.


Graphology is a discipline that studies the personality of individuals through handwriting.

Although it is not a new technique, its use is developing to the extent that it can be valued as a projective test for studying personality.

Neuroscience and neurotechnology

Some companies have begun introducing facial emotion recognition techniques to find the profiles they need and complete the Benziger, Herrman, or PAPI tests -Personality and Preference Inventory-among other tests.

At Smowltech, we want to be part of the digitalization of your company or your educational project, so we have developed a series of proctoring products that will make your selection processes respectful of the candidates and effective and safe, and objective.

Request your free demo and boost your recruitment techniques with SMOWL.

Download now!

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