In today's knowledge-based workforce, organizations are increasingly trying to fill specialized positions that require unique skill sets. Recruitment no longer consists of collecting resumes at a job fair and calling everyone who appears to meet the basic job requirements. For this reason, human resources departments are becoming more proactive through the use of selective recruitment.


Selective recruitment is the act of hiring candidates from a specific group, such as those with a specific skill set or those from an under-represented ethnicity.

Selective Recruitment Definition

Selective, or targeted, recruitment involves developing recruitment strategies that are more proactive in their approach to attract well-qualified candidates with specific skill sets. Recruiting selectively requires more work to be done up front before meeting with any potential candidates. Organizations should start by conducting a thorough job analysis of the positions they are trying to fill. The recruiter should always involve the hiring manager in this process to fully understand the job and any specific knowledge, skills or abilities that are required.

Once the major tasks of the position are identified, the type of candidates needed will become clear. An organization should not underestimate the power of its current staff. Employee referrals, training and conferences, and networks of former employees can be useful tools to incorporate into the selective recruitment strategy.

Look at the Data

Labor force data is publicly available and is useful when developing a selective recruitment strategy. For example, it is easy to determine what percentage of residents in a certain ZIP code hold advanced degrees. Based on the results of your job analysis, you will be able to target recruit accordingly, using the vast amounts of data available online. Doing your research will also prove beneficial when working on a marketing plan or tracking success of past recruitment initiatives.

Research the competition to determine how their benefits stack up to those offered by your organization. Keep in mind that employees value health benefits, a work-life balance and competitive pay greatly, especially in tough economic times. Perks and employee benefits should be included as part of the overall recruitment strategy.

Benchmark Best Practices

Researching the selective recruitment strategies of other organizations will be useful when developing your strategy. For example, many budget-friendly states target candidates from areas with high costs of living.

Selective Hiring Outcomes

Done correctly, selective recruitment will produce candidates that are well-qualified and suited for the position with the least amount of effort. Both the candidate and the organization will benefit from these efforts. Although developing a selective recruitment strategy will initially be labor-intensive, the results will be useful for filling future positions, as well as for developing a pipeline of candidates. By linking recruitment strategies to specific positions, organizations will get the most bang from their often limited budgets.

Benefits to an Organization

Organizations that utilize selective recruitment will see a significant cost savings over time. Less time and money will be wasted recruiting and interviewing candidates who ultimately aren't the right fit for the position. Turnover will decrease as well, since so much time and money was spent up front to ensure the perfect match. Selective recruitment should be seen as a win-win for the organization and candidates.

Selective recruitment should also serve as a means of diversity recruitment. According to the Society for Human Resource Management's website, " Diversity recruitment is an important step toward creating an inclusive and multitalented workplace that is reflective of the customers it serves and best prepared to compete in a changing economy and marketplace."