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Recruitment and selection

Applicant recruitment and employee selection form a major part of an organization’s overall resourcing strategies, which identify and secure people needed for the organization to survive and succeed in the short- to medium-term. Recruitment activities need to be responsive to the increasingly competitive market to secure suitably qualified and capable recruits at all levels. To be effective, these initiatives need to include how and when to source the best recruits, internally or externally. Common to the success of either are: well-defined organizational structures with sound job design, robust task and person specification and versatile selection processes, reward, employment relations and human resource policies, underpinned by a commitment for strong employer branding and employee engagement and onboarding strategies.

Internal recruitment can provide the most cost-effective source for recruits if the potential of the existing pool of employees has been enhanced through training, development and other performance-enhancing activities such as performance appraisal, succession planning and development centres to review performance and assess employee development needs and promotional potential.

Increasingly, securing the best quality candidates for almost all organizations relies, at least occasionally if not substantially, on external recruitment methods. Rapidly changing business models demand skill and experience that cannot be sourced or rapidly enough developed from the existing employee base. It would be unusual for an organization to undertake all aspects of the recruitment process without support from third-party dedicated recruitment firms. This may involve a range of support services, such as: provision of CVs or resumes, identifying recruitment media, advertisement design and media placement for job vacancies, candidate response handling, shortlisting, conducting aptitude testing, preliminary interviews or reference and qualification verification. Typically, small organizations may not have in-house resources or, in common with larger organizations, may not possess the particular skill-set required to undertake a specific recruitment assignment. Where requirements arise, these are referred on an ad hoc basis to government job centres or commercially-run employment agencies.

Except in sectors where high-volume recruitment is the norm, an organization faced with sudden, unexpected requirements for an unusually large number of new recruits often delegates the task to a specialist external recruiter. Sourcing executive-level and senior management as well as the acquisition of scarce or ‘high-potential’ recruits has been a long-established market serviced by a wide range of ‘search and selection’ or ‘headhunting’ consultancies, which typically form long-standing relationships with their client organizations. Finally, certain organizations with sophisticated HR practices have identified a strategic advantage in outsourcing complete responsibility for all workforce procurement to one or more third-party recruitment agencies or consultancies. In the most sophisticated of these arrangements the external recruitment services provider may not only physically locate, or ‘embed’, their resourcing team(s) in the client organization’s offices, but work in tandem with the senior human resource management team in developing the longer-term HR resourcing strategy and plan.