In business, our companies are as good as the people we hire and work with day in and day out. An effective recruitment selection process clearly identifies your company's needs and matches them with the right candidate, who will fit into your organization both on paper and in practice. When you build your team with top caliber people who are serious about your company and the job, as well as gifted in working with others, your overall organization is better set up for success in the marketplace.
What is Recruitment?
Recruitment is the process of searching for candidates to interview and hire for open positions within your organization. Think of the importance of recruitment in terms of completing a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. You categorize all the puzzle pieces by pattern and then begin assembling the puzzle.
Only that last puzzle piece put into place will fully complete the puzzle. Some puzzle pieces might look promising, but only finding the right fit completes the puzzle.
What is the Recruiting Process?
The recruiting process is about finding the right puzzle pieces for your organization through efforts like online web posting, opportunity events, networking, word of mouth and more. Sometimes recruiting happens outside of the organization, but it can also happen within the organization. For instance, the new head of engineering could be hired from a pool of top performing engineers, rather than from outside applicants, thereby reducing cost and time necessary to fill an important position.
What is Selection?
The selection process is included under the umbrella of recruiting, but is more specific than something like head hunting. The selection process involves specifics like:
- Sorting through resumes and setting aside the most qualified candidates.
- Screening candidates over the phone to determine who to screen in person.
- Conducting skill examinations of qualified candidates to narrow down the candidate pool.
- Interviewing potential candidates for the position.
- Deliberating on candidates with others on the hiring team, including department-specific managers.
- Considering company and team culture when selecting the final hire.
When a large stack of resumes hit the human resources department due to advertised job openings, it would take too much time and cost too much money to interview every candidate. The importance of selection to our companies cannot be understated because having an efficient selection process helps you rule out those not suited for your position, like:
- Those who lack proper training and education.
- Those who lack professionalism.
- Those who do not mesh with company culture or procedures.
- Those who need more experience in order to be ready for employment.
The screening process also helps you identify those who are the ideal for your organization because they have caught the vision, enjoy the work, are fun to be around, work efficiently and demonstrate polished professionalism.
Why Recruitment Matters
Since our companies are as good as the people we hire, our recruiting can literally make or break our businesses. It costs money to find employees, screen them, hire them, keep them on payroll and offer them benefits. If we find the wrong match for the position or our company, there are additional expenses incurred in the form of severance pay and repeating the hiring process.
The importance of recruitment in your company lies in the reality that how you recruit will influence who you attract to apply, which results in either a good hire or a bunch of wrong fits. So, what you are looking for should influence where and how you recruit. For instance, if you are looking for product innovation in a tech company, set up a booth at tech and design school job fairs. Or, to find a psychologist with 20 years of experience, network at the next American Psychological Association conference.
Why Selection Matters
Without a good selection process in place, hiring managers might be tempted to hire the first qualified person who comes along, or to hire the people they like the best. The importance of selection is not just about finding someone to do the job, but about finding the person who is the best possible fit for the open position. This person often stands out because:
- They are qualified for the job in terms of training and education.
- They are personable and easy to get along with.
- They are experienced and ready to start work.
- They are knowledgeable in their area of expertise and ready to contribute to your organization.
These are traits that we cannot always see by merely looking at a resume. As the selection process progresses, certain candidates connect well on the phone, pass exams with flying colors, mesh well with hiring managers or excel during a mock day-on-the-job. These standout superstars help us to eliminate those in the candidate pool who are good candidates but who don't shine quite as brightly.
In other words, the importance of selection to your company is the fact that it:
- Saves you money in the long haul by finding dependable permanent employees.
- Connects the right people to your open positions.
- Identifies candidates who click with you and your other employees.
- Looks for the best person for the job, rather than merely a qualified person.
When to Recruit and Hire
Just because the workload is too heavy or you are introducing a new product or service in your company, doesn't mean that it is the right time to hire a new employee. You might be able to lighten the workload and achieve your goals by hiring freelancers or services to complete jobs like:
- Scheduling appointments
- Providing basic customer service
- Managing social media and website maintenance
- Designing advertising campaigns
- Filling temporary job openings
These professionals help your organization run more efficiently without being someone you need to recruit and put on your payroll.
Because of the importance of recruitment to your organization's long-term success, it is important not to rush into it. Here are some reasons for recruitment in a business:
- You have enough work for a full- or part-time employee to do on a permanent basis.
- You have a clear written job description for the potential new employee.
- You have the cash flow to dedicate to hiring and selecting the right candidate.
- You have the cash flow to consistently pay your new employee without cutting corners.
Recruitment and Selection Process Considerations
In an effective recruitment selection process, an intentional system is put into place. Everything from the timing to job descriptions, interview processes and final selection is intentional and carefully laid out. To find the best possible candidate, it is important to allow enough time and money for hiring so that you are not stressed or in a rush.
In addition, when hiring is complex, you can hire headhunters to locate potential candidates for you. They will look over your job descriptions, head out to job fairs and reach out to qualified people with other companies or on professional networking websites like LinkedIn. Headhunters sometimes also have an extensive list of contacts in your field, so that it is faster and less costly for them to find potential candidates than for you to do it yourself.
Preparing Clear Job Descriptions
An effective recruitment selection process almost always begins with a clear understanding of your business needs, as well as clear job descriptions. Many jobs are not filled as well as they could be due to poor job descriptions or unrealistic expectations of the person filling the new position. Here are some things to consider as you craft job descriptions for your company:
- What is their job title? This might seem obvious, but be as specific in the job title as you possibly can. For an open board position, specify whether it's for finance, fundraising, industry expertise or another role. For an open engineering position, specify whether it is a planning position, customer-facing position or new construction position.
- Who are they reporting to? Once your new hire comes on board, who will they report to? While a customer service representative likely reports to a customer service supervisor, the supervisor might report to a regional manager. Let your candidates know who they are responsible to.
- What are the specifics? List the specifics of a day on the job for this person. How many hours per week will they spend designing, interacting with customers, in meetings or traveling? Paint a vivid picture for potential candidates in order to attract those who are the best possible fit for your organization.
- Vet your job descriptions before posting, especially if you have never personally worked the job. If you are expecting someone to do the work of two or three employees, you will need to cut down on job responsibilities. If you are leaving things out, you need an experienced professional to have your blind spots and suggest changes.
- Focus on what you can do for them. You want to attract people who are excited about where you are going as a company, people who have caught the vision and cannot wait to be part of it. Exciting hires tend to perform differently than those who are just desperate for a job and relieved to finally have an offer (any offer) on the table.
Choosing an Interview Process
Once you have a qualified pool of candidates to fill the positions outlined by your job descriptions, interviewing begins. The interview process will likely involve many different rounds of screening as you narrow down your candidates more and more. These rounds could include:
- Phone interviews: When you get a stack of qualified candidate resumes, try calling each applicant to talk with them for a few minutes to ask and answer questions, as well as get a better read on their qualifications.
- Group interviews: For positions that require a lot of teamwork, like call center positions, sometimes gather a pool of qualified candidates to see how they perform on a team working toward a common goal.
- Video conferencing interviews: When candidates live far away, first round interviews can be conducted via video conferencing, rather than in person to add in the eye contact we don't get from a regular phone interview.
- In-person interviews: These are traditional job interviews, where a candidate comes to your office to meet with you, a hiring team or their potential new manager. Sometimes, several rounds of in-person interviews are conducted before the final hire is selected.
When to Hire and When to Wait
Because it is so expensive to go through the recruiting and selection process, timing your hires is important. If you haven't found the perfect candidate but hiring funds are running low, you might find that one or two candidates are good-enough fits and can be trained in weaker areas. Conversely, you might be nervous that hiring the wrong person could cost you too much money later. In this instance, you can wait to hire or look for a freelancer instead. When everything goes well, at the end of your recruiting and selection process, you should actually have some money left over and have one or two excellent candidates to choose from who will grow your bottom line over the long haul, rather than stress it.
- Recruiterbox: How to Write Good Job Descriptions that Attract Great Candidates
- University of Pittsburgh: Job Description Writing Guide
- Entrepreneur: The Art of Knowing When to Hire and When to Contract
- Forbes: Three Signs It's Time To Hire Your First Employee
- Forbes: Landing The Right Hire: When It's Time To Walk Away
- Square: How to Hire Employees: A Checklist
- Wall Street Journal: How to Hire Your First Employees
- Business Dictionary: Recruitment
- Business Dictionary: Employee Selection
Anne Kinsey is an entrepreneur and business pioneer, who has ranked in the top 1% of the direct sales industry, growing a large team and earning the title of Senior Team Manager during her time with Jamberry. She is the nonprofit founder and executive director of Love Powered Life, as well as a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach, certified HRV biofeedback practitioner and freelance writer who has written for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle and Our Everyday Life. Anne works from her home office in rural North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three children.