The staffing function of an organization includes all processes followed when recruiting staff, from setting the standards for prospective employees to keeping records and determining the application and interviewing process. Organizations with more than one unit, such as retail chains with stores throughout the country or media organizations with editorial, administrative and marketing sections, can either adopt a centralized staffing function or decentralize the process.

Centralized Staffing Function

Centralized staffing function refers to the accumulation of all responsibilities regarding recruitment of staff into a single unit. The unit, which is part of the organization's human resources function, is responsible for determining the desired educational and professional background of new recruits, setting a uniform process for advertising vacancies, accepting applications and conducting interviews. In a centralized staffing function, the unit has exclusive responsibility for overseeing the whole process and recruiting new staff.

Decentralized Staffing Function

In a decentralized staffing function, each manager is the only person responsible for making recruitment decisions within his section. For example, in a decentralized media organization, the recruitment manager of the editorial section can choose an applicant based on different criteria and follow a different process from that of the recruitment manager of the marketing section. Likewise, managers in different stores of the same decentralized chain are given the freedom to set their own recruitment strategies.

Benefits of Centralization

A single recruitment unit at the top of the organization's pyramid has the ability to set universal standards for the recruitment process and evaluate their implementation. It can also guarantee equal opportunities for prospective staff, as the same requirements apply for everyone, and all applicants have to follow the same process. In addition, a central unit can produce reliable statistics about the staffing process throughout the organization, like the total cost of the process and the total number of recruits.

Advantages of Decentralization

The recruitment managers of a unit high in the hierarchy of the organization cannot possibly know in detail what an employee has to do in specific sections or stores. However, the section's manager, who has firsthand knowledge of the environment, is better able to know how many new recruits he needs, what he requires from his subordinates and how to assess their skills. Recruitment also becomes a faster process when each section or store deals with its own applicants, instead of a single unit coping with the whole organization's recruitment workload.