Many organizations – whether they may be new to or leaders of the market – make mistakes when hiring professionals into their businesses. It would be helpful to ensure that HR professionals and entrepreneurs have the recruitment fundamentals mastered to run their business successfully.

Recruitment Fundamentals for HR Professionals and Entrepreneurs

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This article discusses some of the main recruitment fundamentals, focusing on the recruitment plan, sourcing and approaching candidates, conducting effective interviews, and choosing the right employees.


No matter what type of business you have, recruiting is most efficient when it is driven by a plan that has been proven to work and is practical. This is how you do exactly that!

Analyzing Job Responsibilities and Tasks

If you have an existing business, start by intensely looking at your employees that perform the very best. On the other hand, if you are a start-up company, think of the kind of employees you would like have in your roster. Ponder over their effectiveness and efficiency in their would-be-responsibilities and -tasks.

If it is helpful, peruse through previous resumes of current or potential employees. In addition, you can observe and perform follow-up interviews with experts who perform their jobs well. Identify the typical activities that they perform well.

Identifying Required Skills and Competencies

Based on the previous analysis, list down the crucial skills that you would need for employees in your business. They could be communication skills, organizational skills, analytical skills, computer skills, and the like. If you have a new company and have no idea of the typical standard, attempt to perform benchmarking with similar companies.

Learn from mamagers of Apple and Google what they think are required job skills.

Describing the Performance Needed

Consider the behavior and competency you would like your ideal employee to have. The typical competencies are adaptability, positive attitudes, cooperation and teamwork, and self-reliance. There are many companies that can aid you in identifying what these are and that can design for you a type of hiring tool that could increase your employee retention rate.

Developing the Job Description

As soon as you know the kind of employees you are looking for, you may indicate the kind of performance you would need and then compose the job description. In this instance, prioritize the required and desired competencies and skills. Also, describe the work environment wherein the employees will be and indicate the range and scope of the job position.

Moreover, at this stage you should indicate the pay structure of the employees. We suggest that you include two important groups in this portion – senior leadership and human resources. Senior leadership can aid you in identifying your pay strategy, while human resources can help in evaluating the compensation of the outside market.

This also supports you in the pricing of the jobs compared to other jobs in the company. You have to think if you want to be a choice employer due to your high salary range or pay within the market average.

Identifying Sources and Creating the Recruitment Plan

Each staff selection strategy includes recruitment sources and a selection plan. It is important to find your sources and evaluate their success through time. For employees that you hire, make sure that you evaluate and record their source, their performance, their attendance, and their length of stay.

With this method, you can identify the success of every source. If a source results in employees that perform well consistently, use it all the time. However, if the results come from a pool that usually have employees that immediately leave, cease hiring from that particular source.

Defining and Executing the Selection Procedures

The most typical hiring hazard that recruiting managers make in the final selection is putting too much emphasis on one part of the interview or screening process.

For example, a candidate could be stressed out during the job interview yet still have a wonderful background, excellent references, performed well on behavior, and the like. Go through all the parts of the selection process, including the significance of each, prior to making your final decision.


Sourcing Channels for Recruitment

To lend credence to the recruitment procedures, there are a couple of sources you can utilize to form a candidate pool.

  • Current Employees. If you already have current employees on your roster, you can let them know you are hiring for positions in an internal system that has job postings.
  • Current Employee Referrals. In general, the newly hired who come from current employee referrals have more loyalty, stay longer, and have higher job satisfaction than other sources.
  • Previous Employees. Of course, these are not employees that were terminated due to bad performance and/or conduct. Previous employees may be temporaries, laid off employees, those who resigned but would like to return, or contractual staff.
  • Clients/Customers. You can hire clients or customers who know the services and products and typically can give insight on how you can improve your product or service.
  • Competitors. If you accept a hire from competitors, they can lend their experience to your business. But there are things you should know before hiring an employee from a competitor.
  • Schools/Universities. There are a lot of schools and universities that have intern programs that allows them to get experience and at the same time gives businesses their contribution, giving them the possibility of recruitments in the future.
  • Staff Sharing. There is such a thing as staff-sharing when similar businesses have the same busy periods, providing them the ability to form a staff alliance that would assist each business to manage workload in a cost-efficient manner.
  • Employment Agencies. Many businesses tap into external resources like employment agencies for recruitment.

Consideration of Internal and External Recruitment

Businesses should examine carefully the possible effects of hiring internally and externally. This decision depends on the case or the position. Although, many businesses have general guidelines for the hiring process.

The question of hiring either internally or externally is significant, in order to guarantee that the best and right person is hired, that fair hiring has been accomplished, and that business objectives are achieved.

In general, businesses opt to fill most of its positions internally as it supports their career path principles and knowledge management. Moreover, this would have a good impact on employee morale. However, if you choose to hire externally, the new employees can bring in fresh new ideas and perspectives.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring Internally

  • Exhibits the business’s purpose to improve career opportunities for its employees
  • Could reveal and put weight on existing employees’ untapped skills, knowledge, and abilities
  • Creates a positive impact on the morale of employees
  • Helps initiatives on knowledge management through tenure
  • Stays true to human resource directives to post positions internally first before looking for candidates outside of the organization
  • Could be less expensive to hire because of the lowered costs in advertising jobs
  • May be more productive and faster due to their familiarity with the business’s culture, network, and processes
  • Could be able to forge alliances with other groups and departments according to former relationships
  • Lack of experience away from the business
  • Could create employee resentment to those that disagree with the selection
  • Promoted people could face difficulties or resistance when managing peers
  • Could require more training (in a few cases) for skills that are specific for the job

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring Externally

  • Flow of new perspectives and ideas coming from experiences outside of the business and capability to view the business and their tasks with new viewpoints
  • Intensity and range of exposure to the industry could exceed internal candidates’
  • Not bound by typical standard practices
  • In hiring for particular skill sets, there may be less training for the job
  • Could assist in establishing a more diverse pool of employees
  • External hire could not be automatically accepted by existing employees
  • More time may be needed for familiarity with the business’s network, culture, and processes
  • There could be resentment coming from existing employees that would like the position to be internally filled
  • Could send a disappointing message that there are limited career paths
  • Outside candidates are unknown and it would be challenging to peg if they can fit with the business’s interactions and cultural approaches
  • Could be costlier with high recruiting and screening expenses


A conversation between you and a job candidate, an interview offers you data on determining whether someone should continue on the selection process and eliminate those who are not a suitable fit. The objective is to identify candidates that are unsuitable earlier on so as to save on time and to lower recruiting expenses for your business, as well as the applicants.

Tools for Screening Applicants

There are many different tools for screening job applicants. Some are simple, others are complicated; some involve low technology, others more advanced technology.

  • The Application Form. The application form determines if an applicant can meet the job requirements at the minimum. You need to have an application checklist for the significant portions of the job and establish the selection criteria according to the checklist.
  • Cover Letters and Resumes. These could be used in the screening process, as well as the application form. Cover letters and resumes could be less revealing than the application form because an employer cannot require what information is included in the documents.
  • Tests. Short tests may evaluate job knowledge and ability. The tests should be according to the analysis of the job and should be accurate predictors of job performance.
  • Recommendations. Written or verbal recommendations can offer insight into the strengths of an applicant. They can also give you the ability to evaluate the candidate from a different viewpoint.
  • Reference Checks. For general reference checks, employment dates, job positions, and rehire possibilities are what you can usually gather. This data is customarily given by human resources, which could be limited in the qualitative information that they can reveal.

Structure of Interviews

Unstructured. Unstructured interviews have random questions that were created to gain viewpoints into the suitability of a candidate for a position. These are questions that are not in a typical interview guide. The questions are chosen by the interviewer spontaneously. This is actually a typical way to select employees, yet has low validity and effectiveness.

Structured. Structured interviews are according to the position’s job description. Questions that are consistent are created according to the competencies and responsibilities of the job. Typical criteria are used to rate and rank the candidates.

Media of Interviews

You can conduct your interviews via phone or in person.

Telephone. If you have a position that involves using the phone a lot (especially for call centers), this is important. You can conduct an initial interview through the phone that can allow you to assess their communication skills before the interview face to face. This makes it efficient both in cost and in time.

Face-to-Face. Face-to-face interview is the most common interview medium. This offers you with the opportunity to assess further, the applicant’s knowledge, skills, and experience.

Interview Preparation

Before you begin the interview process, it would need thorough preparation on your part. In order to prepare, a typical recruiting manager must:

  • Go through the job description.
  • Read the job competencies to see the appropriateness between the qualifications and the questions.
  • Review the application materials of the candidate, like the resume, application form, test scores, etc.
  • Get a date for the interview usually through phone and in a place in your office where you will not be heard or interrupted.
  • Decide on who else will be in the interview.
  • Set the expectations of the applicant for the interview—who will be there, if there will be a test, and other important data.
  • While the interview is ongoing, ask the applicant for more details or ask further questions, if needed.
  • By the end of the interview, discuss what the next steps will be and the possible period for the decision.


Screening Applications

Use the screening tools as previously mentioned, such as the application forms, resumes, and tests, to find candidates that meet the job requirements. The data collected from the screening can help in evaluating an application in the evaluation stages.

Here is what to include in an application form.

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Interviewing Applicants

As just discussed, phone and face-to-face interviews show more possibilities of learning more about the candidates. You should be open with the candidates concerning the position, responsibilities, work environment, supervisor/s, and the business’ overall objectives and goals.

It is significant that candidates should know the monitoring practices and policies of the company. This must include a summary of the kinds, objectives, and purposes of the monitoring programs and how the information is utilized.

Exposing Applicants to the Work Culture

Having some time to sit and observe business operations while sitting by different people in the office, would help the candidate gain knowledge of what is in store for the job day-to-day. It also helps that the existing staff participate in the process of selection because they feel some kind of ownership in the recruitment process.

Evaluating Candidacies

In the phase of evaluation, it is significant to refer to criteria that are merely job related, which are skills, knowledge, and abilities. If you have established evaluation criteria, this removes the guesswork needed to compare applicants when using a ranking or rating system or other methods that are objective, to assess candidates.

Formulating the Decision

Deciding whom to hire must be according to who is the most qualified for the position and who would fit best, not just in the job, but also with your overall team and business. By documenting the complete selection process, you can make a good decision. A ranking system that is weighted can also be helpful in guaranteeing that the candidate that receives the offer is the most qualified.

Extending the Job Offer

Communicate your job offer to the applicant verbally. You should ask the applicant if he or she is interested in the job, requires more information, or needs more time for consideration. If the applicant offers you a verbal yes, follow-up with an offer letter immediately.

This letter must include the job title and responsibilities, benefits, compensation, start date, and the signature of your business’ authorized representative.

Negotiating with the Chosen Applicant

The recruitment manager that coordinates the offer needs to know the policies of the organization on how much wiggle room he or she has for negotiation, as candidates could make counter-offers. Next are some of the potential negotiation areas.

  • Starting Salary. Some businesses have the policy that new employees begin at the salary grade base. However, others allow for the first quartile negotiation, the middle, or other limits. This depends on the experience and qualifications of the candidate.
  • Signing Bonus. For a specifically competitive or tight labor market, you may have to negotiate the terms and amount of the signing bonus. Some businesses do not give the payment until the employees reach a particular tenure, for example, 6 months.
  • Starting Date. It is expected that candidates give their employer two weeks’ notice before they leave. In addition, they may wish to wait longer to have the benefits of financial incentives, to finish an assignment or contract, or to have some kind of personal leave before beginning new work.
  • Benefits. Negotiations typically concentrate on benefits like vacation leaves, since other benefits cannot be negotiated anymore because of state or federal regulations.

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