Evidence based on a survey of professional firms and in-depth interviews with decision-makers responsible for selection examines the most frequently used and valued methods for hiring qualified professional staff in a sample of Scottish accountancy, architecture, law, and surveying practices. The survey suggests an emphasis on personality, work experience and general attributes for senior posts, and that high value is placed on interviews and informal sources of information in assessing these qualities. Firm characteristics and context, particularly size of practice, the role of the partner in the selection process, labour supply, and perception of recruitment difficulties are shown to be related to the type of selection method used. Consistent with the view of selection as a social process, the case study evidence suggests that ‘informality’ may play an important role when partners responsible for selection have long tenure with their firm and when firms experience recruitment difficulties. More generally, informal networks and interview processes may act as effective information and communication vehicles for small and medium-sized professional practices.
- social process