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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 3 (July 1, 1930)

The Selection of Workers and What it Involves

The Selection of Workers and What it Involves

To-Day, more than ever, the question in industry is how the business can be run most effectively. That we are realising the necessity for some form of selection in workers is demonstrated in our schools. When the child leaves, he takes with him a card upon which, in addition to a summary of his attainments, there appears a space for his aptitudes. This is a guide—possibly a crude one—for the employer. It ought to be the preliminary basis for selection. Of course the employer and the potential employee will regard it from different points of view, but, in the main, it is an impartial statement given after lengthy observation. The average worker will admit that selection on a basis of fitness for the job must effect no small saving in human energy, at the same time the employer thinks of the saving of material and cognate subjects.

Think, for a moment, of the haphazard way in which men find their work, it is determined more often by opportunity than by fitness. A boy leaves school in order to earn his living. In most cases there is little method in seeking his aptitudes, he takes anything that comes along. Economic pressure demands almost immediate employment, and so he finds himself working with a smith, a plumber, a carpenter—he does anything, so long as it is work. Often he is influenced by rates of wages. So he settles down, perhaps, as a carpenter. But it may be that he has no aptitude for the work, it is impossible for him to do first-class work, and so he remains a mediocre workman, earning a fair wage. It might be that his aptitude lay in poster designing. In this field he might have risen to the top of the profession, and there have done better work than some other man who just as “accidentally” started poster work with only fair results. Thus two men are compelled to work at a trade other than that for which they are most fitted. Our industrial life is full of these square pegs in round holes. The possibility of placing each man (or woman) where they are best fitted is termed “Selection on Natural Fitness.”