Recruitment is a set of techniques that aims to attract people with good skills and high potential to work in your business. The more often you recruit, the richer and more focused the process becomes. Selection goes hand in hand with recruitment and represents the final stage of the recruiting life cycle. This is where you choose a preferred candidate or candidates from the applicant pool.

Recruitment and Selection Concept for Small Businesses

What does recruitment and selection mean to your small business? It sounds obvious, right? Essentially, it's the process of searching for (and hopefully finding) the best and most-qualified candidate for a job opening and persuading him to join the organization. Activities like writing job descriptions, posting job ads, screening applicants and interviewing may immediately spring to mind since all of these tasks fall within the purview of recruitment and selection.

What may be less clear is why your business is recruiting and selecting candidates beyond the need to inject human capital into the organization.

Importance of the Recruitment and Selection Process

There are many reasons a business may need a formalized definition of recruitment and selection instead of just posting a job ad and praying that the right candidate comes along.

  • To align human talent with the company's goals: Through strategic recruitment and selection, companies can make sure they have the right set of skills to support the business both now and in the future. Recruitment is not just about putting bodies in chairs. It's about identifying the skills, expertise and leadership that the business needs to grow and outperform the competition. 
  • To recruit efficiently: Efficiently does not always mean at the lowest cost, but obviously, a business will not want to spend more on recruitment and hiring than it has to. Efficient recruiting means placing the right job advertisement in the right place to attract the right candidates at the right time. It involves creating application processes that encourage candidates rather than deter them so you're not wasting dollars on pay-per-click advertising that doesn't convert to job applications. By establishing a process, there's a much greater chance you'll get the best person for the job as cost effectively as possible. 
  • To ensure legal compliance: Human resources management is a minefield of laws and regulations that aim to support workers and stop employers from abusing their power. Anti-discrimination laws and equal opportunity employment are just two of them. Following a formalized recruitment process cuts the risk of violations and supports the business in staying fair and transparent in its hiring. 

    Read More: The Recruitment and Selection Process of HR

What Are the Types of Recruitment?

Most businesses break down recruitment into two areas: internal recruitment and external recruitment. These definitions are self-explanatory. With internal recruiting, you attempt to fill vacancies from your own staff. With external recruiting, you look for talent outside the company.

If that sounds simple, understand that if either type of recruitment does not go as planned, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money. Internal recruitment only works if you already have a body of people who are well-attuned to the needs of the organization, an end-to-end job description that captures the skills you need and up-to-the-minute evaluations of your staff so you can connect the right people to the role. It does not work if you have no clue about who in your company will best fit the role.

External recruitment is necessary for high-growth organizations that need to expand their talent pool and for companies that need to bring in specialized skills. As your organization starts to grow or branch out in different directions, you need to search for professionals who can take you where you want to go. This type of recruitment typically is much harder than internal recruitment since the candidates are coming to you "cold." This means you have no track record with them and must ultimately make a best guess about how they will fit in your organization.

How to Recruit: Recruitment in Human Resource Management

How you go about recruiting depends on myriad factors, including the size of the organization, the number of posts you need to fill, the state of the labor market, what salary and benefits you're offering, the company's growth rate, its reputation (or otherwise) as a good company for which to work and how much you're willing to invest. Looking at the process holistically, virtually every recruitment process will contain the following steps.

Step One: Job Analysis

This step is a systematic review to ascertain why you are recruiting. What skills do you need that are missing from your current roster of jobs? Who do you need in terms of personal characteristics? What are the essential functions of the job? What are the minimum competencies required to complete it?

Next, take a look at comparable jobs in the market. What's the going rate for this position? Is it an easy-to-fill job role, or are there few job seekers with the niche skills for which you're looking? Use this information to write a comprehensive job description and to define a salary and compensation package for the position.

Step Two: Sourcing Talent

Armed with the job specification, the human resources/recruiting team should develop a targeted plan for reaching the candidates with the required skills. There are multiple options here, including networking, word-of-mouth advertising, reaching out on social media and contacting the "near miss" candidates who previously applied for a job in your organization. For graduate positions, attending college and career fairs is a good tactic for hiring bright young minds.

The most well-known method of sourcing is advertising by using print media or, more typically, online job boards. The majority of job seekers start their search on the internet, so posting your advertisement online is more or less essential if you wish to reach a large pool of qualified candidates. Well-known job boards like Indeed offer pay-per-click advertising, so you pay only when a job seeker clicks on the job ad.

Some providers take this payment approach to the next level with cost-per-application models, which allow you to pay only when a job seeker actually applies to your job ad. Both approaches tend to offer a greater return on investment than duration-based advertising, where you pay a fixed amount to run an ad for a certain length of time with no guarantee that you'll get any applications.

Step Three: Optimizing the Apply Process

You'll need a place to capture job applications as they come in, and these days, organizations are more likely to receive applications online than a pile of paper resumes through the mail. If you do a lot of hiring, then investing in an applicant tracking system can streamline the process. ATS software lets you capture applicants' details, send them automated messages to let them know their application has been received and give online screening tests.

ATS software also tracks from where your candidates are coming – for example, a job board, LinkedIn or directly through the company's website – so you can focus your recruiting efforts the next time you have a position to fill.

The recruitment part of the process ends when you've received enough applicants for each of the positions you need to fill.

How to Choose? The Selection Concept and Process

If recruitment is the search process, then selection is the process of passing the candidates through a sieve until the right candidate pops out on the other side. The two processes must work in synergy. A well-executed recruitment process will significantly reduce the time you spend on the selection process, as the candidates you've found will already match the organization's needs.

In many ways, selection requires the most amount of work. Here, you have to design a series of tests to evaluate the candidates' skills and personalities, weed out those who are clearly unsuitable and keep sieving until you get the person you want. There are multiple ways to screen candidates.

Preliminary Screening of Candidates

Some jobs attract hundreds or even thousands of applicants, and obviously, you are not going to interview every person. The selection process starts with a resume screen to weed out candidates who do not meet the minimum qualifications.

Those who are left receive a short telephone or video interview to assess their basic skills, personal characteristics and motivation level. After the preliminary screening, you should be left with a much shorter list of candidates.

Skills Tests and Assessment Days

Depending on the role, you could put the shortlisted candidates through a series of technical tests to evaluate their logic, writing skills, coding skills and so on. Some employers put candidates through personality tests to assess their suitability for a specific job role or to determine how well they will fit with the team.

Another option is an assessment day that brings a group of candidates together to complete a series of group exercises and interviews that are designed to evaluate their energy, teamwork and communication. These tests provide additional information about a candidate's work style that may not be obvious from a resume.

Interviews With the Finalists

Finally, you meet the short list of candidates face to face in an interview with hiring managers and/or the person's future boss. One interview may be enough, or you may hold many rounds of interviews. It depends on the number of candidates and the seniority of the position for which you're hiring.

Some organizations perform peer interviews, where a panel of colleagues interview the candidate. Peer interviews tend to be much less formal and can be a great way to sell the candidate on the company's culture and people.

Making the Choice

After a rigorous recruitment and selection process, the business is ready to make its decision. Hopefully, the decision will be unanimous, but if it is not, the business will have to again look at the candidates' qualifications, test results and interview feedback. The selection process is complete when a job offer goes out and is accepted by the candidate.

If there's any doubt about selection, then the safest course may be to not hire at all. Bad hires are notoriously expensive. Employees who are not matched to the business tend to quit early, which means you need to make another hire, and adding the wrong person to the workplace can negatively impact the productivity and morale of the rest of the team. It's hard to put a number on the cost of a bad hire, but a majority of companies say it's well over $25,000.

At the other end of the scale, you may have two or even three great candidates, and you're finding it impossible to make a decision. The motto here is "Who first, then what," a phrase coined by Jim Collins in the book "Good to Great." The concept means getting the right people on the bus before you think about what they will do or where they will do it. The idea is to fill the organization with people who can perform brilliantly with whatever you throw at them because these people have the power to build a great company.