The recruitment and selection process is the means by which a company recognizes that a position is available, analyzes the duties required for the job, sources applicants to apply for the job and then searches for the most-qualified person in the applicant pool. While the main objective of the process is to fill a vacancy with the best-possible candidate, each step of the process has its own individual objectives.

Recruitment and Selection Definition

When a company needs to hire a new employee, the recruitment and selection process makes that possible. Recruitment is the process of recognizing that a vacancy needs to be filled and then doing the research necessary to understand the duties of the position and what traits a person needs to have in order to properly perform the job. The recruitment process also involves using these analyses to determine where and how to source new recruits and then going about the process of sourcing them.

Whereas recruitment aims to attract a large pool of candidates to apply for a job, the main objective of the selection process is to strategically sift through all of these prospects until you find the ideal person for the vacancy. This is achieved through reviewing resumes, scheduling and performing interviews, performing any prehiring tests and eventually choosing the best candidate.

Objectives of Recruitment and Selection

The main objective of recruitment and selection is fairly obvious: to hire the most-qualified candidate to fill an available position. Additional objectives include:

  • Creating a large talent pool of candidates to ensure the organization can hire the best employee.
  • Finding people who will fit in with the company culture and contribute to the organization's goals.
  • Reducing the likelihood that a candidate will leave after a brief time by finding the right employee for the position the first time around.
  • Meeting the organization's diversity and social commitments by selecting candidates based solely on their merits and the way they fit in with the company values, goals and culture.
  • Improving the company's reputation through fair, unbiased and effective hiring practices.
    Expediting the future recruitment and selection process and reducing costs by gathering a large pool of talented candidates who may be interested in future vacancies.
  • Improving and streamlining the recruitment and selection process, including expediting future job analyses for similar positions.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of different recruiting and sourcing techniques and sources for job applicants.

Beyond the main objectives of the overall process, each step of recruitment and selection has its own objectives, which is why the overall process can be so time consuming. For example, the main objective of the job analysis is to understand what tasks the vacancy encompasses, which is necessary to create a list of specifications or ideal qualifications for the new employee. To better understand the full scope of objectives for the recruitment and selection process, it's beneficial to look at the objectives for each individual step.

Defining Recruitment and Selection Policies

Before you actually start the recruitment and selection process, you should create a set of recruitment and selection policies that will outline how your organization should conduct the process.

The main objective of a recruitment policy is to ensure that the recruitment and selection process is unbiased and transparent, ensuring that you appoint the best candidate based only on the individual's merit and compatibility with your organization's values, goals and culture. Aside from this, creating a clear recruitment and selection policy is necessary to:

  • Ensure the job description and hiring process meet your company requirements.
  • Verify that the job description and hiring process never run afoul of the law.
  • Guarantee that at every stage of the selection process, all candidates are assessed against the same consistent selection criteria.

Recognizing Position Vacancies

Since the recruitment and selection policies should be created before the actual process begins, recognizing that there is a position to be filled is the first step of the process, whether a new position is to be created or a vacancy opens up for an existing position.

Usually, this starts with the department head sending a request to HR, where the sourcing manager determines if the position is required and whether it should be full time or part time and permanent or temporary. The objective of this step is to recognize whether or not a position should be filled at all and if so, what kind of position it should be.

Conducting a Job Analysis

If a new employee must be hired, an analysis must be performed in order to determine everything an employee must do in the role, what the work environment is like and what the employee must know to complete his duties.

The objective of the job analysis is to further the recruitment process, as it must be completed in order to create a job description, a personnel specification and a pay and benefits evaluation. Additionally, the job analysis helps determine:

  • The recruitment methods and sources that will be most effective for the position.
  • The best interview questions for potential candidates.
  • The training the new employee will require.
  • The benchmarks that should be set for performance appraisals.

Conducting Job Evaluations

Once the analysis has been completed, this information can be used for the job evaluation, description and personnel specification, all of which will be necessary to create job listings. The technique for performing an evaluation will vary from company to company, but it ultimately determines a fair pay range for the position.

The objective here is to ensure the business has a set pay range and an idea of what benefits it would like to offer a prospective employee. This can be used both for job listings during the later part of the recruiting process and as a starting point for compensation negotiations once the selection process has commenced.

Job Descriptions and Specifications

The job description is a list of all details of a job of which a candidate should be aware before applying for a position. This may include:

  • The title of the job.
  • The location of the job.
  • What the job entails.
  • A list of job duties.
  • To whom the employee reports.
  • Machines, materials or equipment with which the employee might work.
  • Notable health hazards or work conditions.

The personnel specifications are similar to the job description except that instead of listing what the candidate should know about the job, they list what qualities the candidate should ideally possess in order to fill the vacancy. The list may specify what qualifications are necessary and what would be preferred. This may include skills, abilities, training, experience and education as well as emotional or behavioral traits that are a good match for the job or company culture.

The objective of both the job description and personnel specifications is to create a full list of what the employee needs to do in the role and what skills the candidate should possess in order to create job listings and understand what criteria to seek when looking through the applicant pool.

Objectives of Internal Recruitment

Once you have everything you need to create a job listing, you need to create a strategy determining where and how to source candidates to fill the position. The first step is to decide whether you want to hire internally, externally or both.

Internal recruitment means hiring people connected to the company, usually through current or past employees, previous applicants or employee referrals. Objectives commonly tied in with recruiting internally include:

  • Motivating employees to work harder to obtain promotions.
  • Reducing boredom and monotony for employees looking for a change in their current duties.
  • Increasing loyalty toward the organization by offering opportunities for upward mobility, which will in turn reduce turnover, increase job security and improve job satisfaction.
  • Filling a role with someone already familiar with company procedures and culture.
  • Reducing recruitment and training cost and efforts.
  • Speeding up the selection process, as the company is already familiar with the achievements and abilities of employees.
  • Decreasing the likelihood that a new hire won't work out.

Objectives of External Recruitment

External recruitment has its benefits as well, and the majority of vacancies are hired through external recruitment sources, which can include advertisements, word of mouth, employment agencies, direct recruitment, campus activities, job fairs, professional associations and employment exchanges. The most common objectives of those who choose to hire externally are:

  • Gathering the largest possible applicant pool from a wide array of sources.
  • Ensuring you are able to choose the absolutely most-qualified candidate and are not limited by only those tied in with the company.
  • Attracting new talent from people with a wide variety of backgrounds who may have new perspectives.
  • Increasing diversity or other social commitments.
  • Adding new employees to a growing company.

Screening Resumes and Cover Letters

Once you start collecting resumes, the recruitment phase is over, and selection has begun. The first step is to screen resumes and cover letters, which you can do either manually or with a software that scans for keywords, ensuring candidates have the minimum required qualifications. At this point, your objective is to start eliminating the least-qualified candidates, and then you will want to further review the applications to select the candidates who best meet your requirements.

Conduct Initial Interviews and Tests

Once you have selected the top group of candidates based solely on their resumes and cover letters, you should conduct an initial interview, which can be done over the phone or via webcam in order to minimize inconvenience to prospective applicants. The objective of the selection interview at this point isn't to find the best person just yet but to further reduce the number of candidates you're considering. Other objectives here include:

  • Making sure the candidate is still available.
  • Verifying that the information on the applicant's resume is correct.
  • Seeing if the prospective employee has the right attitude for the position.
  • Ensuring the candidate can answer basic questions about the job on the spot.
  • Checking that the applicant has suitable communication skills.

After the phone interview, you can also request that applicants who will be moving on through the selection process take any pre-employment screening tests you administer. Again, the objective here is to slim down the number of prospects by verifying your applicants are qualified. Skills tests, such as an editing test for a copy editor or a typing test for a transcriptionist, can help you do just that quickly and efficiently.

The Final Interview

At this point, you can likely reduce your number of candidates to about five to 10 people, whom you should then invite to in-person interviews with the hiring manager, the manager to whom the new employee will report and anyone else who may be working closely with the employee or supervising the employee.

The objective of this final interview is to gather information to help choose the candidate who seems best suited to the position. Since anyone on this short list of candidates will probably be well-qualified, at this point, your interview can help you find someone who:

  • Knows the ins and outs of the role and can answer any questions about the duties required.
  • Has the right attitude for the company and the position.
  • Gets along well with supervisors and/or co-workers.
  • Is professional, courteous and punctual.

The Hiring Process

Once the employee has been selected, the candidate's references should be checked and he should be asked to perform any necessary medical or drug tests. These procedures can ensure the applicant is physically and mentally prepared for the position and that he did not lie or exaggerate on his resume. The compensation negotiations can also begin to help the employee and employer agree on fair pay for the position.

If any snags occur during this final stage of the selection process, and the candidate is disqualified for employment, the applicant who performed second best during the interview process can be hired in his place.

Evaluating the Process

The last stage of the recruitment and selection process is known as evaluation and control. Like the recruitment and selection policies stage, this does not actually involve hiring a new employee but improving the hiring process.

Evaluation and control requires looking at the hiring process to see if it could have been done in a more effective, less-expensive or less time-consuming manner. The objective here is to look for ways to improve the process, which could result in a revision of the current recruitment and selection policies.