Easily the most important job of human resources is recruitment and selection.

HR departments can even improve their employee retention rate if their recruitment and selection methods are performed efficiently since hiring the right employee for the right position can reduce the rate of employee turnover and improve morale by promoting from within when appropriate. There are many steps in the recruitment and selection process, but they're necessary for ensuring that the ideal candidate is hired for the position.

Recruitment and Selection Definition

When discussing the importance of the recruitment and selection process in human resource management, it's important to first establish what these processes actually mean to a business. The simplest recruitment and selection definition is the process of identifying and filling a position. But the process is a lot more complicated than it sounds.

In order to properly recruit candidates, you must recognize that a position is available, research and document what the job entails and determine what ideal qualifications a candidate should have. Then, decide where and how to recruit for the position and encourage people to apply.

Whereas recruiting involves trying to attract a large pool of qualified candidates, selection involves trying to filter out those applicants until you find the one person you actually want to fill the position. In order to do this, you need to go through the applications to find candidates who best meet your requirements.

You'll then conduct interviews with these prospects, short list the most qualified applicants and eventually narrow down the pool of applicants until you choose the right person.

Recruitment and Selection Objectives

It's important to recognize that the ultimate goal of the recruitment and selection process isn't just to hire someone to do the job but to hire the right person. That means not just finding someone with the abilities and knowledge to fill the vacancy but someone who can also do it with a good attitude and fit in with his coworkers and the overall company culture.

Failing to consider these important goals may leave you trying to fill the same position over and over until you actually find someone who has a good attitude and fits in.

If you have a super laid-back company culture where everyone is expected to leave at 5 p.m. and not take their work home with them, a highly motivated worker who wants to stay on the clock 24/7 will be miserable, just as an employee who wants a well-defined distinction between her work and private life will be unhappy working at a company that wants her to be available at all times.

Aside from helping you to find the right candidate, there are other things you may accomplish through a thorough recruitment and selection process as well. These may include:

  • Creating a large talent pool of potential employees that you may be able to pull from in the future.
  • Meeting your diversity objectives by hiring based solely on ability and how someone fits into the company culture.
  • Building a reputation for fair, unbiased hiring practices.
  • Making the recruitment and selection process faster and more efficient in the future.

Identify Your Hiring Needs

Before you go about hiring someone, you need to know that there's actually a position for them to fill. That's why the first step of recruitment is to recognize that there's either a vacant position at the company or you need to create a new position.

In large companies, this may begin with a requisition for recruitment being filed by a manager who needs a new employee.

This document will detail the required duties, responsibilities, qualifications and desired experience related to the position. The sourcing manager will then determine if the position is actually necessary and if it is, whether it should be full or part time and permanent or temporary. In smaller companies, the owner or department head may simply tell the HR manager that he'd like to hire for a position and if he has any specific requirements for the position or the potential job candidate.

Analyze the Position

While a requisition for recruitment may have some details about the position and the desired candidate, it's important to know the full extent of everything required for the job.

That's where the job analysis comes in. This process should look at similar positions at other companies, past job analysis for the business and information from former employee's exit interviews in order to know what work environment, duties, responsibilities, skills, abilities and experience are necessary for the position.

You'll need these details to create the job description, person specs, recruitment methods and interview questions, as well as to decide on the proper pay, benefits and training program for the employee. It can even be used for performance appraisals in the years to come.

Evaluation, Description and Person Specs

Once you have the job analysis, you can use this information for your evaluation, description and person specs, which are all necessary before you can create a job listing. The job evaluation requires looking at similar positions in your company and at similar local jobs in the area to come up with a fair pay range and benefits package.

The job description should cover everything a person needs to do and what tools they'll use to perform their duties.

This should include the job title, location, a simplified summary of the responsibilities and specific duties. You may also choose to include details about special machines, materials, working conditions, equipment or health hazards that are associated with the position as well as who the new recruit will be reporting to.

The person specs are to the new employee what the job description is to the vacancy. In other words, it lays out everything you hope to see in an ideal prospective applicant. This should include a candidate's qualifications, work experience, skills, education, training and even traits that could make them fit in well, such as a good personality, positive outlook, ability to handle stress, etc.

Develop a Recruitment Strategy

Your recruitment strategy is how and where you plan to source applicants for the position, starting with whether you'd like to hire internally or externally.

Internal sourcing involves recruiting from former employees, applicants and employee referrals, or promoting or transferring current employees. The majority of positions are filled through external recruiting sources, such as job sites, employment agencies, headhunters, job fairs, professional associations, etc.

There are benefits to both internal and external recruiting, and which option is best will vary by situation. Internal recruitment can result in increased loyalty and morale among employees, as well as the knowledge that your new hire will already be familiar with company culture and policies.

Unfortunately, if you promote or transfer an existing employee, you'll also have to fill her former position, and by only looking at internal sources, you may be limiting your applicant pool and miss the opportunity to find a truly outstanding employee.

Public recruitment strategies can open you up to the largest candidate pool, but you may end up with far more unqualified applicants.

Therefore, you'll need to do more work to create an intriguing and interesting job listing that includes the information from your job description and person specs. It's critical that you have someone proofread your ads to make sure they're grammatically and factually correct as well as free from anything that could be interpreted as discriminatory, especially if you wrote your listing in a unique or fun way.

Whether you recruit publicly or privately, internally or externally, it's also of the utmost importance that your recruitment strategy is fair, professional and unbiased.

Go Through The Applications

Once you start getting applications, you need to start thinning out the pool of applicants, which means you've entered the selection phase of the process.

It can be very time consuming to manually review each application to see if they meet your mandatory skills, education and experience, or even just to briefly review that they meet the minimum requirements, which is why many companies use software that automatically reviews resumes for keywords associated with the vacancy.

If you just quickly scanned the resumes or used a keyword scanner, you'll then need to further review the resumes, cover letters and applications that made it through your first review. Be sure to look for disqualifying factors, such as unexplained gaps in employment history, insufficient qualifications, poor grammar or spelling, etc.

You may choose to verify your applicant's references at this point, or you may choose to wait until you have short-listed the candidates in order to call as few people as possible.

Conduct Interviews and Tests

When you've eliminated the majority of applications, it's time to schedule interviews with the remaining candidates.

The initial interviews should ideally be conducted over the phone or through a video chat service in order to minimize the impact on your applicants since this is only the first round. This interview should be quick and merely verify your prospect's credentials, ability to speak professionally and their continued availability.

You can also easily determine whether you like an applicant's attitude and his ability to answer questions about the position during the call.

While not all positions or companies require pre-employment skills tests, if you want to conduct such tests, you should wait until after the initial interview and only test those who passed.

Conduct a Final Interview

Once the initial interview and any pre-employment tests are complete, you should have the information you need to shortlist the top candidates for the position. This list should ideally have around five to 10 people, although it's OK if you have only two or three standout candidates you feel very confident in.

After you've finished your shortlist, schedule interviews with these top prospects. These should ideally be in person, although extenuating circumstances may require a video interview in some cases. The hiring manager, department manager and anyone the employee may work particularly closely with should be present.

Everyone involved should be able to ask questions and submit their notes and recommendations to the hiring manager after all interviews are completed.

Finish the Hiring Process

The hiring manager or department head should make the final choice on who to hire based on the prospect's resume, cover letter, application, initial interview, pre-employment tests, final interviews, references and any other relevant information.

Once the selection has been made, the new hire should be asked to perform any pre-employment clearance tests, such as drug tests or physicals. As long as everything works out, the candidate can be sent a job offer and he may accept and set a start date or begin salary negotiations. At this point, the new hire process begins, and the recruitment and selection process is nearly closed.

Evaluate the Process

Before recruitment and selection is fully complete, it's important to evaluate the effectiveness of your current process.

You should consider how long the position was open and the time and costs of filling the vacancy, including any payments you made to recruiters, agencies or advertising costs. It's critical you determine if the process could be made more effective or less expensive because recruitment is notably time consuming and costly, so your experience can help you when you need to hire another employee.