There is some disagreement in the recent literature on how similar or different are the methods used to select employees in different European countries. The confusion comes about in part because different samples and questions have been used in different countries to investigate this issue, making comparison between countries very difficult. This study investigates managerial selection methods in three members of the European Community, Belgium, Germany and Italy, using the same questionnaire and sample characteristics previously used in Britain and France. This allows a direct comparison between the five countries. The samples comprised 250 companies randomly drawn from the top 1,000 in each country. Questionnaires sent to the companies asked a range of questions concerning the frequency of use of selection methods and attitudes towards their use. Results show major differences in frequency of use of different methods. Some of these differences are: British and German companies tend to use assessment centres much more often than other countries, while Germany and Italy are relatively infrequent users of psychological tests. Companies in the Flemish (Dutch speaking) part of Belgium are the most likely to use biodata, while their French speaking compatriots are similar to the French in their liking for graphology. Both Belgium and France make much less use of references than do Britain, Germany and Italy. Results suggest that harmonization of selection practice in Europe is a long way off. Habit, tradition and culture determine the choice of selection method much more than do the relative predictive validities of the techniques.
International Journal of Selection and Assessment – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1994