Designing a Quality Selection Strategy

A quality selection strategy and the associated processes are vital functions for all businesses, however, these are often overlooked or under-prioritised. If you do not have a clear selection strategy with the appropriate processes in place, you put your business at risk of:

- Not knowing who it is you need (their experience, KSAOs, education etc.,);
- Not being able to find suitable applicants or who it is you “think” you need;
- Hiring the wrong people with the wrong competencies rather than those necessary to be successful in the role.

There is a misconception that selection is just a simple process that involves advertising a role, interviewing the top three applicants, and filling the position with the “best available” candidate. Instead, selection should be one of the most important business functions you undertake, because when done correctly it supports business strategy, strengthens culture, and highlights role performance. When done poorly, it can instead cause disruption to culture, derail business strategy and hinder the achievement of specific role objectives and individual, team and business performance. This is even more critical at the vital senior leadership and executive levels.
A solid selection strategy starts well before the need to hire for a position. It starts with understanding the roles that are actually required within your business to achieve your specific strategic plan and goals. Selection strategy should be strongly linked to your business strategy. An analysis of your organisational structure, the current positions, and their incumbents should occur before you consider hiring for a position, in particular a leadership role or a newly created position.

What a quality selection strategy might include:

- Work analysis with the development of operational job descriptions if these do not exist already within the business;
- Competency modelling for key positions (e.g., Board/Council, Principal/Executives), teams, departments, or the whole business (learn more about Competency Modelling here);
- Advertisement templates developed using the necessary information to ensure you are attracting only suitable applicants (avoiding those who do not possess the necessary competencies) and providing an accurate job preview and role context;
- Development of selection criteria based on role and business requirements;
- Competency based interview design with standardised ratings;
- Selection assessments (e.g., competency-based personality assessment) and recommendation reports.
Why is this important in the education sector?
In the private education sector, it is imperative that you are using a quality selection strategy for the appointment of your Principal and Executives, Heads of Department and specialist roles at a minimum. You have a duty of care to your stakeholders (families, students, and other staff) that a high level of rigor is used in the appointment of these positions as they are directly related to the performance of the school in achieving their strategic goals, the distribution of school resources, and ultimately the quality of the education provided to students.

The development and implementation of a quality selection strategy in your school will ensure that:

- You know who and what specific roles are required to successfully achieve your strategic goals and desired outcomes;
- You will be able to clearly define the KSAO competencies required for these positions in the context of your school;
- You are making informed and evidence-based selection decisions based on the requirements of the role and the school;
- You will be demonstrating a high level of transparency for the selection decisions that have been made.
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