Implementing a Valid Personnel Selection Process

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The next few Tips will take a closer look at various aspects of human resources management (HRM). Human resources are obviously not on a balance sheet but remain a pharmacy organization’s most important asset. While we have examined hiring from the standpoint of the pharmacy student, or junior pharmacist creating value for themselves to become hired, it is likewise important that we highlight from a manager’s perspective the importance in making the best hires.

A review of hiring practices (personnel selection) was undertaken in the year 2000 by Hough and Oswald.1 While that review is nearly 2 decades old, many of the same issues hold true today. The review is wide-ranging and covers characteristics viewed with increasing favor, such as organizational citizenship and leadership. It also covers “measurement” issues like validity and reliability; that is, the need to review the tools and mechanisms used to make personnel selection decisions to ensure that they have worked in the organization’s favor. It distinguished job knowledge into various components such as general cognitive ability, knowledge about the specific job, academic achievement, and language proficiency. It describes the need for performance monitoring among current employees for considering potential behaviors of future employees and the extent to which various traits such as emotional intelligence and conscientiousness can be used as a surrogate or reliable means of predicting future behavior and performance.  It also describes best practices in assessing the characteristics and attributes desired in the candidates, be it through structured interview, objective tests, letters of reference, and/or performance observations as part of a “realistic job preview”. The review concludes with other notable trends such as selecting persons with regard to team dynamics, cross-cultural selection issues, affirmative action considerations, and ethical frameworks for making selections.

Ineffective personnel selection, be it pharmacists, technicians, or other support staff, can result in enormous problems for the pharmacy organization, ranging from turnover, inefficiency, lack of productivity, peer hostility, resentment, poor culture, and legal problems to name a few. And these have resultant implications for the pharmacy’s financial performance and its record on patient safety. Pharmacy managers must ensure a valid and reliable personnel selection process.

Additional information about Human Resources Management Functions can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1Hough LM, Oswald FL. Personnel selection: Looking toward the future—remembering the past. Annu  Rev Psychol 2000;51:631-634.

Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California


Go to the profile of Shane Desselle
almost 2 years ago

What might have changed and what remained the same in hiring practices since 200?