Consistency in the application process means that all candidates go through the same process. It is about opportunity and not about the right to the same result. This may sound self-evident, but it does not have to. Consistency also includes the final assessment, such as personal interview guidelines, so that comparability is ensured.
Please no rotation!
Consistency is more jeopardised if procedures are rotated. This would be the case if some candidates perform either recorded video interviews and others telephone interviews. Or, at the final selection stage, only some applicants are invited to an in person meeting due to their geography, while another performs an interview via video.
Clear decision making rules, no exceptions!
Consistency also means clear decision making rules. Define who is involved in each stage of the decision making process. There should be no “exceptions”, so they do not eventually become the rule.
Principle of equality as a linchpin
The basic problem of inconsistent processes is the perceived undermining of equality, which represents one of the main fairness rules. In violation of this, candidates are less inclined to accept an offer, to recommend the potential employer or to apply again at a later date (Hausknecht et al., 2004).
Consistency through technology
In pre-recorded video interviews, comparability of the process is already realised through the workflow. However, comparability should also be available in the rest of the process. A particular challenge in this context, which also needs to be deal with is “positive” discrimination (favouring disadvantaged groups of applicants).
Dos und Don’ts
Processes should be consistent and comply with established decision-making rules. Reasoned exceptions must be documented and remain exceptions.
- Keep processes consistent
- “Exceptions” remain “exceptions” and the reasons must be documented
- Use haphazard processes
- Forget to document processes
Schuler, H., Hell, B., Trapmann, S., Schaar, H., & Boramir, I. (2007). Die Nutzung psychologischer Verfahren der externen Personalauswahl in deutschen Unternehmen. Ein Vergleich über 20 Jahre. [Use of personnel selection instruments in German organizations during the last 20 years]. Zeitschrift für Personalpsychologie, 6(2), 60-70. doi: 10.1026/1617-63184.108.40.206