For many organizations, the recruitment and selection process consists of several stages. An employment specialist or recruiter is responsible for the preliminary and intermediate stages, while department heads, hiring managers and other human resources staff are involved in intermediate to final stages of the process.
Employment specialists and recruiters use a variety of techniques to source candidates. Sourcing candidates refers to the initial stage in the recruitment process, in which an employer is actively seeking qualified applicants. Sourcing can be done via cold calling people in certain fields to ask whether they or their colleagues are interested in career opportunities with another firm, or it can be done through traditional means of recruiting by advertisement. One social networking site, LinkedIn, makes sourcing candidates much easier by allowing professionals to indicate whether they are seeking career opportunities. Tech-savvy recruiters use social networking sites, recruiting bulletin boards and job posting sites to source candidates. Word of mouth is another, sometimes more effective, means of sourcing candidates. Recruiters and employment specialists who put out the word that they're seeking people to fill job vacancies are often inundated with applicant inquiries.
The screening process can be an arduous one when recruiters for large organizations must sort through thousands of resumes, applications and letters of interest. There are two reasons why employers stress the importance of following directions during the application process: It streamlines the preliminary screening stages in recruitment. It also demonstrates an applicant's ability to follow directions, which is an important trait recruiters look for in qualified candidates. Organizations that utilize applicant tracking systems can conduct preliminary screening with the click of a mouse, using key word searches for resumes that indicate experience in certain areas. For instance, a preliminary screening for human resources candidates who have expertise filing position statements for employee complaints would include a search for key phrases such as "employee relations," "position statements" and "employee complaints."
For job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers, interviewing often ranks very low on the list of favorite job duties. Interviewers and interviewees approach face-to-face meetings with little, if any, preparation, although there are numerous online and print resources that can help minimize the awkwardness and uncertainty. Two major types of interview questions are behavioral and situational. Behavioral interview questions generally seek answers from candidates for management-level positions and above about how they handle employee and workplace issues. Situational interview questions demonstrate the candidate's functional or technical expertise and are usually reserved for job applicants looking for positions that require knowledge of processes and steps, such as applicants for clinical nursing positions.
The final stage in a recruitment and selection process is when candidates wind up their interviews with human resources staff, hiring managers, and if applicable, upper-level executives. The selection phase can include conferences between hiring managers and human resources staff to determine which candidates from the short list are qualified for the job. However, some hiring managers make a unilateral decision to extend an employment offer and request that human resources staff simply carry out the demand by handling the administrative and function tasks associated with the offer. Other steps in the selection stage include human resources tasks such as background checks, verification of worker eligibility, and other pre-employment testing processes.
- "Inc." magazine: Human Resource Spotlight: Sourcing Candidates; May 2001
- Workforce Management: Sourcing Disappears as Applications Pile Up for Overwhelmed Recruiters; Fay Hansen
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Recruitment and Selection: Candidate Development Programs
- Kansas University Medical Center: Recruitment and Selection
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she is a certified facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.