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A comparison of the validity of different selection methods

At every stage of undergraduate and postgraduate training in the UK, selection involves some form of interview. However, for non-training posts, relatively unstructured interviewing may still be employed (i.e. there may be no systematic mapping of the interview questions to a person specification which has in turn been derived through thorough job analysis, and different candidates may be asked different questions). Furthermore, in some specialties (e.g. General Practice) which now use a selection centre methodology, although there are trained assessors reviewing each of the different selection tasks there is no station where applicants’ CVs are reviewed. In other words, it is possible to have an interview without including questions based on a given applicant’s CV.

When comparing different selection methodologies there are a range of criteria that can be used. One important criterion is that of criterion validity – i.e. the extent to which the method predicts future performance on the job. A second criterion is applicant response.

In specialties which consistently have a high competition ratio (i.e. the number of applicants far exceeds the number of training places; see Table B), it can be tempting to overlook the way in which it is important to give adequate consideration to how applicants respond to the particular selection methodology. In contrast in those specialties that may fail to fill all the available places (e.g. in histopathology) it is already apparent that applicant response is of critical importance. In reality however, whatever the degree of competitiveness, good recruitment practice demands that applicant response is given sufficient attention (Hill, 2008).

Table B: 2013 – CT1/ST1 Competition Ratios

Specialty

Applications

Posts

Competition Ratio

Fill Rate

ACCS – Emergency Medicine

534

203

2.6

100%

Anaesthetics

1189

478

2.5

100%

Broad Based Training (Pilot)

429

52

8.3

82%

Cardiothoracic Surgery (Pilot)

68

6

11.3

100%

Clinical Radiology

751

185

4.1

100%

Core Medical Training`

3088

1209

2.6

100%

Core Psychiatric Training

650

437

1.5

89%

Core Surgical Training

1296

676

1.9

99%

General Practice

6447

2787

2.3

99%

Histopathology

154

120

1.3

61%

Medical Microbiology & Virology

108

21

5.1

90%

Neurosurgery

183

37

4.9

89%

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

591

204

2.9

100%

Ophthalmology

323

71

4.5

100%

Paediatrics and Child Health

793

360

2.2

100%

Public Health

602

70

8.6

97%

Total

17206

6916

 

 

1 - Applications and posts are for Round 1 only and do not count any re-advertisements

2- Fill rate is final for the specialty and may include additional rounds of recruitment to fill outstanding vacancies.

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