Recruitment and selection: Two pillars of human resource management

What is recruitment and selection

Behind every successful company, there are employees who work relentlessly to achieve company goals. The human resources department is often the first gateway to finding candidates who become these employees. This is done through the process of recruitment and selection.

What is recruitment and selection?

Recruitment and selection is the process of attracting and hiring the right candidates to fill vacancies in a company; these vacancies may need to be filled immediately or in the long term. For example, large companies such as Wipro and Infosys often hire several employees in advance for future projects. On the other hand, there may be an existing need for a cybersecurity expert which needs to be fulfilled as soon as possible. 

What is the difference between recruitment and selection?

Recruitment involves informing, attracting, screening, and interviewing candidates. Informing and attracting candidates can be done in the form of posting jobs or getting in touch with the candidates directly. The next step is selecting the right candidates from this pool of qualified candidates and hiring them.

Who is responsible for recruitment and selection?

Large organisations tend to have a team of recruiters consisting of technical recruiters, non-technical recruiters, recruiters for leadership roles, etc. In startups, there may be a smaller team that takes care of different kinds of recruitment. The task of recruitment can also be outsourced to agencies or external recruiters.

Besides recruiters, other team members who are involved in the hiring process include managers, leaders, or any team members who may work with the new hire.

What are the steps in recruitment and selection?

Although each company has a unique recruitment and selection process, there are a few steps that most organisations have in common.

1. Identifying the vacancy

The process of recruitment and selection begins with identifying the position that needs to be filled in the organisation. This can be done in many ways:

I) When an existing employee is leaving and a vacancy is created

A future vacancy is a clear indicator of where you need to direct your recruiting efforts. However, even in this case, you need to evaluate whether the position needs to be filled. While the role may have previously served the objectives of the company, this may no longer be the case, and you may not need to fill the vacancy.

II) There is an increase in the workload of existing team members

If the business is growing, then the existing members may be stepping up to meet the demands. This can be a sign that you need to create a new role.

III) Skill gap in the present team

While a skill gap may have been manageable in the past, the company may need niche employees to efficiently manage projects. 

2. Writing the job description

The crucial process of writing a job description can be divided into the following steps:

I) Conducting a job analysis

A job analysis consists of understanding the responsibilities of the job and the qualifications needed to perform them. 

You can do this by getting in touch with the person who has held the position before or the hiring manager. If it’s a new role and no one occupied the post before, you can get in touch with professionals from the industry through LinkedIn or email. This could also be good practice for roles that evolve according to industry trends. For example, a technical role today may need a different programming language than the one used a few years back.

II) Writing the job description in an understandable language

Once you know what to include, you can start writing the job description in a language that doesn’t make the candidate feel like they are reading a Shakespearean play.

III) Mentioning key details other than tasks

Besides mentioning what the candidate’s daily grind would consist of, include the compensation, benefits, and location.

To learn more, read how to write a job description that attracts the right candidates. 

3. Sourcing the candidates

The next step in the process includes attracting the candidates for the job, which can be done through the following means:

I) job advertisements
II) posts on job portals
III) passive recruitment
IV) college campus recruitment
V) employee referrals
VI) career pages
VII) social media
VIII) industry-specific websites
IX) college placements
X) internal hiring
XI) networking at industry-specific events

4. Preliminary screening

Once the candidates start applying for the job, the process of screening begins. Preliminary screening is done to ascertain that only candidates who meet the essential criteria move onto the interview stage. This helps both the recruiter and candidate in saving time.

Preliminary screening can consist of shortlisting resumes, brief telephonic/video interviews, and/or assessment tests.

Interviews typically consist of the following questions:

Tell me about yourself (if there was an award for the favourite recruiter question, then this would win by a huge margin) 

Why do you want to work for this company?

What are your salary expectations?

When can you begin working if you are hired for the role?

Why are you interested in this position?

What makes you a good fit for this role?

Assessments tests can be used to evaluate skills and aptitude. This could be in the form of direct skill-based questions or behavioral questions. Assessments are increasingly becoming a part of the recruiting process as they help avoid bias in the process.

Other than assessment tests, some profiles may benefit from assignments as a form of screening. For example, many employers assign writing topics to candidates for the position of content writer. 

5. Interviewing and selecting


Interviewing and selection

Once you are certain that the candidate meets the basic requirements for the job, you can shortlist the candidate for the interview process, which can take different forms:

I) one-on-one interviews
II) panel interviews
III) group interviews

Depending on the number of candidates and the role, the interview process can take place in 2 – 3 rounds.

The final interview is followed by the process of selection wherein the recruiting team discusses whether the candidate is the right fit based on their skills, work experience, working style, etc.

6. Background and reference check

Once the recruiting team has selected the candidate, the next step in the recruitment process is making sure that there are no red flags in their background. For example, some employers check for criminal records. While organisations are increasingly hiring ex-convicts to give them a new start, background checks can help the companies in gauging the risks involved. Other things that employers generally verify include employment history, education credentials, and so on.

In addition to a background check, you may also perform a reference check. This involves getting in touch with the references mentioned by the candidate which can give insights about their working style and performance.

 7. Job offer extension

Once the company has run all the background checks, the candidate receives a job offer letter through mail or email. The job offer contains details regarding starting date, compensation, benefits, office hours, etc. If the candidate accepts the job offer, then you need to inform the other candidates about rejection as this comprises a critical part of the candidate experience.

8. Employee onboarding

After the candidate shares their acceptance of the job offer, the last step in the recruitment process is onboarding. 

Onboarding refers to the process that introduces new hires to their workplace and helps them feel integrated. This could include filling out the relevant paperwork, setting up office email, giving them necessary equipment, introduction to team members, meetings about job-related responsibilities, training, and cultural activities. While some companies may have a short onboarding process wherein the employees are swiftly introduced to things they need to know to get started, a longer onboarding processes tend to be more effective. Furthermore, a good onboarding process can increase the productivity of the new employee and improve the retention rate.

An effective onboarding process goes beyond filling out paperwork, showing the new hire around, and giving them the necessary equipment. This can include reaching out to the candidate before their starting date to welcome them into the team, introducing them to various departments, holding regular one-on-one sessions with the mentor, assigning a workplace buddy, setting expectations, etc. Simply put, an onboarding process can begin as soon as the candidate accepts the job offer and can last till the employee becomes productive. 

What are the challenges in recruitment?

Although each company faces unique recruitment challenges, there are a few common pain points:

1. Attracting the right candidates

While a job opening might receive several applications, it can still be hard to find the candidate with the right skill set and experience. 

This can be helped by trying out different recruitment techniques such as: 

I) Passive recruitment – This is the process of reaching out to candidates who may not be actively applying to jobs. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 70% of the workforce is made up of passive candidates who would change jobs if a better offer came along. You can approach these candidates through LinkedIn, social media, conferences, etc.

II) Unique benefits and perks Your compensation package should not only include the salary but also show how candidates benefit from working at your organisation. For example, providing health insurance, unlimited time off, free meals, etc.

III) Employee referral program – In a good workplace, the employees tend to be the biggest brand ambassadors of the company. They are well aware of the company’s work style and culture and can recommend the right candidates to apply for jobs. You can leverage this by setting up an employee referral program. 

IV) Strong employer brandAn employer brand is worth investing your time in as it can attract the best candidates without you chasing them. Therefore, building a strong employer brand has become a key part of many recruiting strategies.

2. Hiring fast

There are various ways to reduce time to fill such as:

I) Building a talent pipeline

A talent pipeline consists of candidates who can fill a future position when the need arises. These candidates could be external passive candidates or internal team members who can be promoted.

You can create a talent pipeline by engaging with prospective candidates even before the company has an opening. These relationships can prove to be beneficial when there is a future job opening. 

II) Automating the process of resume screening

Resume screening can be a time-consuming process when there are a huge number of applications. To make this process simpler and quicker, you can use an applicant tracking system that allows you to filter candidates based on certain keywords.

This can also help you rediscover candidates who may not have got an offer letter before but can be a good match now.

3. Eliminating unconscious bias

While every recruiter strives to find the perfect candidate, their decision to select one candidate over another may be biased rather than objective. For example, a recruiter may select a candidate because they went to the same college and have a lot in common. This is called an unconscious bias that the recruiter may not be aware of. 

It can lead to unfair treatment of candidates and can create a homogenous work culture. To avoid this, the recruiters have started incorporating the following practices:

I) Conducting structured interviews

A structured interview consists of the same set of questions in the same order for each candidate. By asking the same questions, you can objectively evaluate each candidate.

II) Making the interviewers’ aware of their unconscious bias

The first step to correcting a bias is acknowledging that everyone has their biases. So to begin with, you can take the Implicit Association Test.

III) Preparing through mock interviews

Conducting mock interviews before diving into actual interviews will help you become aware of your biases beforehand and prepare you to eliminate them.

IV) Writing inclusive job descriptions

Although you may be an equal opportunity employer, your job descriptions may still be brimming with words that favor one group over another. For example, you may be using the job title ‘salesman’ instead of ‘salesperson’. Or, you may be using only binary pronouns such as he/she instead of ‘they’. Moreover, research has also shown that using certain words like ‘ninja’ can discourage women from applying. Therefore, you need to review your job descriptions to make sure they are bias-free. To ease the process, you can use tools like alex that provide you with suggestions for an inclusive language.

4. Skill gap between applicants and the job requirements

Many jobs today require skills that are in shortage. There is a huge imbalance in the supply and demand of candidates, which could pose challenges for the company. One way businesses are combating this is by providing learning and development opportunities to their employees. This will not only help you bridge the skill gap at your company but it will also show the candidate that you care about their growth.

This was an overview of recruitment and selection. If you want to dive deeper into the world of HRM, then check out Internshala’s HR Management course. Use BLOG10 to get a discount of 10%.

Image credits: <a href=’’>Business vector created by pikisuperstar –</a>

<a href=’’>People vector created by pch.vector –</a>

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