Recruitment is a process crucial to the success of any modern organization. Sourcing top talent has become a priority with many companies, eager to attract the best possible candidates to their jobs. At the time when business increasingly relies on the ability of its people, it is of greatest importance to structure the recruitment process in such a way as to harness the potential of the applicant pool and steer it in the right direction. This paper will review the basic principles of recruitment, as well as current trends and special aspects of recruitment, such as head-hunting and E-recruitment.
1. Recruitment: Definition
Recruitment is a process of finding suitable candidates to fill certain positions in an organization. Eligible candidates have to be matched against the company’s criteria on many issues, including demographic data, personal characteristics, relevant work experience, and educational background. A business has to match candidates against its own specific requirements and seek out the people able to fill those needs.
The recruitment process can be different and take many forms. Those firms seeking for candidates with a solid working knowledge of a certain subject may have to advertise positions in various media. The ones targeting recent graduates can conduct on-campus search, looking for good candidates among current students. The recruitment works differently targeting more or less experienced professionals and varies according to the professional qualification the company targets. The search can also be performed by internal recruiters working for the company that looks for candidates or specialized external recruitment agencies.
2. In-House Recruitment and Third-Party Recruitment Agencies
The choice of external versus internal sources of recruitment depends heavily upon the organization’s strategy and overall human resource policy. Most organizations will have internal recruiters, sometimes even people who do not have specific task of recruiting, but will combine this job with many others, such as overall human resource management or even other functions. The usage of in-house recruiters has distinct advantages since it in many cases reduces expenses associated with recruitment, due to the fact that responsibilities in small organizations can be shared across different divisions. Besides, recruiters working for a specific company will often be more prepared to evaluate critically the candidate and see how she or he fits into the overall structure and culture of an organization. An in-depth understanding of a company’s recruitment needs can be a great advantage for the recruitment process.
External recruitment agencies will perform services of advertising positions and screening prospective candidates on many dimensions for a pre-determined fee. Their process is often more sophisticated than that of in-house recruiters since they will apply a variety of tests, including computerized ones to evaluate the potential candidates on specific skills, such as quantitative skills, ability to work with the computer, knowledge of specific software package, or typing skills. In many cases, recruiters will develop specialization in a certain area that will permit them to screen candidates more effectively since they have familiarity with requirements in a certain field. The fees of external recruitment parties can be structured in different ways. Sometimes, they will be imposed based on the placement fee that is paid when the suitable candidate received an offer and accepted the job. This fee can “range from a straight contingency fee to a fully retained service which is similar to placing an attorney on retainer”.
In any case, an external recruitment agency has to work closely with members of the internal team. Recruiters at a specific agency have to find out the nature of specifications for required candidates, the organization’s vision of who is their ideal candidate, and seek out more insights into wishes of their client. An in-depth understanding of the company’s internal situation will also help the recruitment agency develop a good reputation with applicants, placing them in jobs that meet their expectations. In most cases, people who use the services of in-house recruitment teams have more realistic expectations of their future jobs; however, external recruiters can also be a good aide in helping the company find candidates that it would not have reached but for recruiters’ expertise and solid reputation.
Internal recruiting is another viable way to source good candidates. This procedure involves recruiting for jobs among people who are already working at the company. Usage of internal recruiting permits to find people who are familiar with culture and nature of the business and are confident that they work in a place that offers them attractive opportunities for progress and development. A more thorough evaluation of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses is also possible in the environment where many different opinions can be obtained from supervisors and subordinates concerning the candidate’s abilities.
3. Stages of the Recruitment Process
3.1. Advertising Job Vacancies
The advertising strategy in recruitment should be carefully aligned with the company’s objectives and the profile of eligible candidates. On-campus recruiting for recent graduates typically targets schools with proven academic capabilities in related areas and level of students corresponding to the company’s demands. Placement of job advertisements in specialized media, including online publications, well as regular, general-purpose media is another way to source candidates. For executive positions, word-of-mouth advertising is an appropriate way due to confidential nature of the information.
In addition to posted ads, the company can also advertise its positions through special recruiting events. On-campus recruiting will involve company presentations, question-and-answer sessions with representatives of firms, and dinners or happy hours for selected candidates. These events help companies evaluate candidates in more or less formal settings and form their opinion of the candidate’s potential to contribute to the organization. Career fair are another chance to give candidates a chance of more or less informal interaction with company representatives and provide another source of talent. Educational events for both employers and candidates organized by recruiting agencies can help them find the right type of client and make the public aware of existing opportunities. These events can be combined with recruiting events such as career fairs.
3.2. Screening Candidates
The process of identifying eligible candidates takes a good deal of the recruiter’s time. The initial screening is typically performed based on the resume review, with the purpose of identifying whether the candidate possesses relevant experience. The short-listed subset of candidates will often undergo a lot of interaction with recruiters that will attempt to determine the level of technical skills, professional expertise, and cultural fit with the organization. Technical skills are often assessed in standardized tests, many of them computer-based.
An interview is now a must in almost every recruiting process, allowing recruiters to form an impression of the candidate’s professional as well as interpersonal skills. Interviews can take different forms in different firms. Investment banks, for instance, will often include in their interviews simple financial problems, aimed at evaluating the candidate’s knowledge of the area and quantitative skills. Consulting firms include case problems, in which candidates are asked to evaluate and solve a business problem that at one point occurred in the consultant’s work. Investment management firms will expect the candidate to prepare a stock pitch in which he or she identifies stocks to buy and grounds his or her recommendation in an in-depth analysis of financial markets and the company’s situation. A skilful interviewer in any case is someone with a lot of experience in the business who is able to identify good potential candidates and probe into the relevant areas to explore the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
3.3. Decision-Making in Recruitment
Selection of candidates is often a difficult process that can take time. In group interviews, interviewers are often asked to fill in a special checklist that evaluates the candidate’s ability on different dimensions. Discussions as to hiring specific candidates can be prolonged and heated. Overall, final decision-making should depend on the recruitment strategy that has to be developed in such a way as to fit into the overall strategy of the organization. A company committed to providing friendly and amiable service to customers should make the presence of these qualities in new recruits a top priority. A good example is the recruitment system at Southwest Airlines where prospective employees are evaluated based on their friendliness, sense of humor, and ability to deal with unexpected situation, all qualities on which the airline relies heavily for its success. The success of the recruiting process to a great degree depends on the successful identification of qualities the company is looking for and then delivering a process that incorporates these qualities in the selection.
4. Head-Hunting as a Special Form of Recruitment
Taking its name from an activity where the hunter killed another person, cutting off his head, head-hunting now came to mean the practice of looking for top executive talent to fill managerial positions in various organizations. Head-hunting companies can also be named executive search firms or employment agencies.
The art of head-hunting consists in identifying suitable candidates and then getting them to take interest in the position advertised. In practice, this can mean making tens of calls to fill a specific niche since individuals with impressive managerial record and skills are far and few between and are most of the time already employed in satisfying occupations. Therefore, headhunters take every action possible to locate suitable candidates. A lot of the time, they will go through connections accumulated through years of expertise in the field.
The job of the headhunter is also to give the candidate a comprehensive idea of the company and future position. In many cases, it is advisable to present “this year’s interim report, a full job description of the role, facts and insight into recent director changes and explain the reason behind ABC’s restructuring” . This preparation helps the agency find the candidates who can be truly interested in the position and ready to stay there for a long time. The recruitment agency should also be prepared to handle the sensitive issues of compensation and carefully present whatever negative information they possess about the company.
5. Modern trends: E-Recruitment
Given the increasing importance Internet gains in today’s world, it is not surprising that it is also delivering impressive changes in the arena of recruiting. E-recruitment is the process of finding suitable candidates with the help of various online media, including online advertising, various forums, and corporate website as tools for recruitment. While E-recruitment allows significant savings in the recruitment process and opens the position to more candidates, it also faces limitations identified in Kerrin & Ketley (2003): “the cultural approach of the organisation towards recruitment, the lack of knowledge of e-recruitment within the HR community, Internet usage by target candidates, and commitment of senior management”. Typical issues associated with online business such as security and data protection are also relevant.
In modern E-recruitment, the study shows, there is an increasing trend to involve line managers directly in the process, with HRs performing a more facilitative role than before. The introduction of an online recruitment system can cost a lot in introductory costs, thereby limiting this tool to wealthy organizations for which appropriate selection of candidates is a great priority.
Introduction of this technique also poses new challenges for the HR team involved in recruitment. There is typically an increased volume of applications to cope with, and processing online applications takes more time and new skills. E-recruitment can deliver a significant cultural change within an organization, broadening its openness to new candidates, and increasing the strategic role of HR by reducing purely administrative workload. Special tools like resume screening software enable HR professionals to effectively find necessary people.
Recruitment is a crucial part of the company’s human resource policy. Location and selection of suitable candidates allows the company to add new potential to its ranks and find people who will realize its mission and objectives. Today’s recruitment is a sophisticated process that relies on the usage of a number of technical and other tools. The constant evolution of the process enables companies to improve their chances of finding the right candidates and help applicants find jobs they will excel in.
Kerrin, M., and P. Kettley. E-Recruitment: Is it Delivering? IES Report 402. http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/summary/summary.php?id=402 (accessed December 12, 2006).
Kemp, Warren. 2006. Recruitment Matters. http://www.warrenkemp.com/free.php (accessed December 12, 2006).
Wikipedia. 2006. Recruitment. www.wikipedia.org (accessed December 12, 2006).
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