What is Recruitment? Definition, Recruitment Process, best practices

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Advertising vacancies. Hiring. Conducting job interviews. Performing background checks. Reviewing application documents and credentials. Screening.

These are simply several of the many words and phrases that we hear, all of them relating to choosing a person to do a job in an organization. All of the terms apply, and that is because they are part of one all-encompassing process in human resources management, and that is Recruitment.

In this guide, we explore 1) what is recruitment, 2) the factors incluencing recruitment, 3) the recruitment process, and 4) best practices in recruiting.


In human resource management, “recruitment” is the process of finding and hiring the best and most qualified candidate for a job opening, in a timely and cost-effective manner. It can also be defined as the “process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating and encouraging them to apply for jobs in an organization”.

It is one whole process, with a full life cycle, that begins with identification of the needs of the company with respect to the job, and ends with the introduction of the employee to the organization.

When we speak of the recruitment process, we immediately think of activities such as the analysis of the requirements of a specific job, attracting candidates to apply for that job, screening the applicants and selecting among them, hiring the chosen candidates to become new employees of the organization, and integrating them into the structure.

Obviously, the main reason why the recruitment process is implemented is to find the persons who are best qualified for the positions within the company, and who will help them towards attaining organizational goals. But there are other reasons why a recruitment process is important.

To ensure proper alignment of skill sets to organizational goals.

Through recruitment, organizations make sure that the skill sets of the staff or manpower of the company remains aligned to its initiatives and goals.

In the event that they notice some positions do not really contribute to the advancement of the organization towards its goals, then it can take the proper action to correct this, probably through job redesign, restructuring of the workforce, or conduct of job enrichment programs.

To ensure effective and efficient recruiting.

Effective recruiting means that the person employed for the job is the best possible candidate for it, with all the required skills, talents and qualifications of the job. Efficient recruiting, on the other hand, means that the process has been carried out without incurring a lot of costs on the part of the organization. By following the process, there is a greater chance that the human resources department can get the best possible person for the job.

Organizations may carry out their hiring processes their own way, but without a system or set guidelines in place for its conduct and implementation, there is a risk that the company may incur more expenses than necessary. Also, exploring the option of using video, HR teams can attract quality candidates and reduce recruitment costs.

The company will also end up wasting its resources if the wrong or unqualified person was actually hired. Not only will this create problems for the company in the long run, particularly in the attainment of its goals, but it would mean that the organization would also have wasted its resources in training an employee that is not right for the job after all.

To ensure compliance with policies and laws.

There are various rules, laws and regulations that organizations must adhere to when it comes to its human resources management. Equal opportunity employment and non-discrimination in hiring are two of them. By following a recruitment process, the chances of the organization violating these policies will be low.

This is how you can create your employer value proposition and convince talent to join your company.



Recruitment is affected by several factors. These factors play a big part on whether the recruitment process will be successful or not.

Size of the organization

A large organization is bound to have a higher demand for new employees. It is bound to look for more people, since the structure will require more manpower. On the other end of the spectrum, a small enterprise, like a new company just starting its operations, will require only a lean staff.

Comparing the two, it is clear that the smaller enterprise will have a simpler, more straightforward and shorter recruitment process, conducted by only one or two people. The larger organization, however, will have a lengthier and more complex recruitment process, one where several members of the organization will take part in.

Current employment conditions in the economy

Try comparing employment opportunities in a country with a developed economy with that of an underdeveloped one. An organization operating in an underdeveloped economy may have difficulty finding the candidates with the talents and skills it requires.

The availability of prospective talents is one huge issue with respect to the economy that an enterprise belongs to. The company will have to design and implement its recruitment process in a way that will address this issue.

Salary structure of the organization

Say one company is known to provide higher salaries and wages to its employees. Once it advertises its open position, candidates are likely to line up submitting their resumes. However, a company known to be quite stingy with its wages will have more difficulty recruiting top talents.

In addition, it may even have problems keeping or retaining its employees, since no employee would want to stay for a long time in a company that will not pay him enough for his services.

Working conditions within the organization

Maintaining employees’ job satisfaction is one way for organizations to keep its employees, and attract new ones.

Prospective candidates will first look for work in companies or organizations that are known to provide good working conditions and looks out for the health and well-being of their employees.

Growth rate of the organization

There are organizations that grow at a fast rate, which means that they will require new employees from time to time. However, there are also organizations that do not grow as much, or even at all. The only time that these organizations with low growth rates are likely to recruit new employees would be when the old ones retire or resign.

Before we fully launch into the recruitment process, let us address one question first: who conducts the recruitment process?

The answer is largely dependent on the size of the organization, as well as its culture and practices. Large companies have their own human resource departments, where they have in-house hiring managers. They may also acquire the services of third-party and independent human resource professionals and recruitment agencies.

Follow this recruiting tips for startups and SMEs.

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Organizations, depending on their structure and specific needs, may have special procedures that they integrate into their recruitment process. For purposes of discussion, however, we will take a look at the general approach of a recruitment process, one that is used by most organizations or companies across various industries.

Many say that recruitment begins when the job description is already in place and the hiring managers begin the process of actually looking for candidates. However, if we are looking at it more holistically, the process begins way earlier than that.

Prior to the recruitment process, the organization must first identify the vacancy and evaluate the need for that position. Will the organization suffer if that vacancy is not filled up? Is there really a need for that open position to be occupied by someone? If the answer is affirmative, then you can proceed to the recruitment.

Step 1: Conduct of a job analysis

Basically, this step will allow the human resources manager, hiring manager, and other members of management on what the new employee will be required to do in the position that is currently open for filling up. This has to be done in a systematic manner, which is what the job analysis is for.

According to human resource managers, the position or job description is the “core of a successful recruitment process”. After all, it is the main tool used in developing assessment tests and interview questions for the applicants.

What does this stage entail?

a. Build a job description.

Before anything else, the organization must first know exactly what it needs. Or who it needs. It could be that the organization deemed a need for a job that is not included in the current roster of jobs. Hence, the need to create a new one.

Job analysis involves identification of the activities of the job, and the attributes that are needed for it. These are the main parts that will make up the job description. This part has to be done right, since the job description will also be used in the job advertisement when it is time to source out talents.

The job description generally includes the following:

  • Title and other general information about the position
  • Purpose of the position in the unit, department, and organization as whole
  • Essential functions of the job or position
  • Minimum requirements or basic qualifications

b. Review the job description.

Once the job description has been created, it is a good idea to review it for accuracy, and to assess whether it is current or not. Also, in cases where job descriptions are already in place, there is a need to revisit them and check their accuracy and applicability with respect to the status quo. What if the job description is already outdated? A review will reveal the need to update the job description, for current applicability.

There are three positive outcomes from conducting a review of the job description:

  • To ensure continuous improvement of the organizational structure. This can be an efficient way of conducting organizational audit, to determine which jobs are redundant and thus no longer needed, and which ones are needed.
  • To evaluate competencies for each position. Jobs evolve. In as much as circumstances and work conditions change, so will the requirements for the job. It is possible that a job may require a new competency from the worker that it did not need before. By evaluating the competencies, the impact of the job within the organizational structure is ensured.
  • To evaluate the wages or compensation for each position. Without management knowing it, the worker or employee performing a specific job may be undercompensated, leading to dissatisfaction. By reviewing the job description, management can assess whether the job is getting paid an amount that is commensurate to the skills and competencies required.

Finally, you should then have an effective job description ready for attracting talent.

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c. Set minimum qualifications for the employee who will do the job.

These are the basic requirements that applicants are required to have in order to be considered for the position. These are required for the employee to be able to accomplish the essential functions of the job. Therefore, they should be relevant and directly relate to the identified duties and responsibilities of the position.

The organization may also opt to include other preferred qualifications that they are looking for, on top of the minimum or basic qualifications.

d. Define a salary range.

The job must belong to a salary range that is deemed commensurate to the duties and responsibilities that come with the position. Aside from complying with legislation (such as laws on minimum wages and other compensation required by law), the organization should also base this on prevailing industry rates.

For example, if the position is that of a computer programmer, then the salary range should be within the same range that other companies within the same industry offer.

Step 2: Sourcing of talent

This is the stage where the organization will let it be known to everyone that there is an open position, and that they are looking for someone to fill it up.

Before advertising, however, the organization must first know where to look for potential candidates. They should search out the sources where the persons that can potentially fill the job are going to be available for recruitment. That way, they will know where to direct their advertising efforts.

Various methods are employed by organizations in order to advertise the open position.

  • Networking. Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising, and when it takes the form of networking, it becomes more effective. In recruitment, this is often done through representatives of the company attending college and career fairs, letting them know about the opening in their organization. This is a tactic employed by large software and tech companies that want to hire fresh, young and brilliant minds into their organization. They personally visit colleges, targeting the top students. They also use their connections within the industry to attract the attention of talents with the highest potential.
  • Posting. Recruitment often involves the application of candidates both from within and outside the company. Thus, in order to attract the best possible talents, it is recommended that the posting of the open positions be made internally and externally. Internal posting usually takes the form of the vacancy announcement being displayed in bulletin boards and other areas within the business premises where the employees and visitors to the company are likely to see it. Posting externally may be in the form of flyers being distributed, or vacancy notices being displayed in other areas outside of the business premises. Companies with websites often post open positions on their company site, while some also use job boards.
  • Print and media advertising. One classic example of this would be the Classifieds section of the local daily or weekly newspaper. Companies looking for people to fill up open positions make the announcement in the newspapers, providing the qualifications and the contact details where prospective applicants may submit their application documents. When trying to attract the attention of suitable candidates, the organization makes use of various tools and techniques. If it wants to get the best candidates, then it should not be haphazard about things.
  • Developing and using proper techniques. The company may include various offerings in order to attract the best candidates. Examples are attractive salaries, bonus and incentive packages, additional perks and opportunities that come with the job, proper facilities at work, and various programs for development.
  • Using the reputation of the company. Perhaps the best publicity that the company can use to attract candidates is its own reputation in the market. If the company is known for being a good employer – one that aids in its employees’ personal and professional growth and development – then it is a good point for the company to capitalize on in advertising its open positions.

Step 3: Screening of applicants

This is most probably the part of the recruitment process that requires the most amount of work. This is where the applicants’ skills and personalities are going to be tested and evaluated, to ascertain whether they are a good fit for the job and its description.

  • Preliminary screening. It is often the case, especially in large organizations, where one open position will receive hundreds to thousands of applications from candidates. In an ideal world, it would be good for the hiring managers to be able to interview each and every single one of them. However, that is also impractical, and very tedious. Not really advisable, especially if the organization is in need of manpower in the soonest possible time. Thus, there is a need to shorten the list of candidates, and that is done through a preliminary screening. Usually, this is conducted by going through the submitted resumes and choosing only those that are able to meet the minimum qualifications. It is possible that this would shorten the list of applicants, leaving a more manageable number.
  • Initial interview. The candidates who were able to pass the preliminary screening will now undergo the initial interview. In most cases, the initial interview is done through phone. There are those who also conduct interviews through videos using their internet connection. Often a basic interview, this may involve the candidates being asked questions to evaluate or assess their basic skills and various personal characteristics that are relevant to the open position.
  • Conduct of various tests for recruitment. The hiring managers may conduct tests on the skills of the candidates and how they use these skills and talents. Other tests that are often employed are behavioral tests and personality assessment tests.
  • Final interview. Usually depending on the number of candidates for the job, and the preference of the hiring managers and senior management, a series of interviews may be conducted, gradually narrowing down the list of candidates. This may go on until the company has finally come up with a shortlist of candidates that will undergo a final interview. Often, the final interview requires a face-to-face meeting between the candidate and the hiring managers, as well as other members of the organization. Top management may even be involved during the final interview, depending on the job or position that will be filled up.
  • Selection. In this stage, the hiring managers, human resources representatives, and other members of the organization who participated in the process meet together to finally make a selection among the candidates who underwent the final interview. During the discussion, the matters considered are:
    • Qualifications of the candidates who were able to reach the last stage of the screening process
    • Results of the assessments and interviews that the final pool of candidates were subjected to

There will be no problem if they have a unanimous decision on the candidate that the job will be offered to. In case of varying opinions, the majority will prevail.

If they do not arrive at a decision, there may be a need to restart the recruiting process, until such time that they are able to reach a decision that everyone will be satisfied with.


Step 4: Finalization of the job offer

The last step of the previous phase involves the selection of the best candidate out of the pool of applicants. It is now time for the organization to offer the job to the selected applicant.

  • Making the offer: To make things more formal, a representative of the company or of the human resources department will contact the candidate and inform him that he has been selected for the job. In this stage, complete details of the compensation package will also be made known to the applicant.
  • Acceptance of the offer by the applicant: The applicant should also communicate his acceptance of the offer for it to be final. Take note that, if the selected applicant does not accept the job offer and declines it, the recruitment process will have to start all over again.

Step 5: Introduction and induction of the new employee

The moment that the applicant accepted the job offer, he has officially gone from being an applicant to an employee of the organization. The induction process will now begin.

Usually, the beginning of the induction process is marked by the signing of the employment contract, along with a welcome package given to the new employee. The date for the first day that the employee will have to report for work and start working in the company will be determined and communicated to the newly hired employee.

However, it doesn’t end there. The employee will still have to undergo pre-employment screening, which often includes background and reference checks. When all these pre-employment information have been verified, the employee will now be introduced to the organization.


Establish a well-planned recruitment process…and follow it

A process, no matter how well-planned and well-documented, will only be successful if it is actually followed. After all, it is just like any other business process. In fact, the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA) compared the recruitment function to a “sales function”, saying that the two are similar, except for the fact that what is being sold is not a product or a service, but the idea of a position or a job.

  • Invest in highly-skilled recruiters and keep training them: If the organization has its own human resources team put in charge of the recruitment process, then it is important that the best people are chosen to carry out the tasks and functions. Make sure that the recruiters made as part of the team possess the skills and talents required. The organization should also ensure the continuous development of these recruiters by training them and providing opportunities to grow and hone their skills.
  • Establish a strong relationship with hiring managers and recruitment specialists: If you acquire the services of hiring managers and recruitment specialists and consultants in your recruitment, then make sure that you build and maintain a solid and positive relationship with them. This will motivate them to carry out your recruitment process effectively and efficiently, ensuring the quality of hire.


Set up a Careers Website

These days, most business transactions are conducted using the Internet. Thus, it will be to the organization’s advantage to have its own careers website, where all recruiting processes will be conducted from. For starters, it is a good place to post vacancies or job openings. It is also an excellent platform for the company to establish its reputation as a potentially good organization to work for.

Oracle named five benefits to having a careers website:

  • Savings on the conduct of staffing processes, particularly on labor and time
  • Savings on sourcing since the candidates will be the ones to approach the company
  • Enhancement of company brand and reputation
  • Improved candidate quality, thereby improving the quality of hired employees
  • Savings on opportunity costs, thanks to the streamlining of the recruiting process

Use smart sourcing tools and technologies

Companies spend a lot of money on talent acquisition, particularly on sourcing and attracting top candidates. By using smart sourcing technologies and other tools, the costs can be cut down, and small businesses can be competitive in its recruitment process, even with the threat of larger companies looming over them.

The general perception is that the larger companies have greater chances of attracting the best talents, precisely because they have more resources at their disposal, and have access to more (and better) tools. However, the introduction of smart sourcing technologies leveled the playing field a bit, so that small businesses may also have the same opportunities.

Examples of smart sourcing is the automation of job board and recruitment processes, building of a talent pool instead of relying on the databases of third-party recruitment agencies and specialists, and using social media and social networks in the recruitment process. The third one is of particular note, considering how many people now look for jobs using social media. In fact, in a study published by Meisha Rouser, it appears that, in 2012, more than 36.6 million workers or employees found their jobs through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Implement good candidate relationship management

Once the organization makes its intention to hire employees known, and applicants express their interest in the position, a relationship has been developed between them. As all relationships in business go, it must be managed properly.

The short-term objective here is to ensure that the candidates will have a good experience with the company, even if, in the end, they are not selected for the job. The long-term goal, on the other hand, is to sustain enduring relationships with the candidates so that, in the future, they will still be interested in applying for a position in your company. This will also put your organization in a favorable light for other, future, applicants.

  • Establish a communications process where the candidates, the employees and the organization may interact freely and directly.
  • Allow the candidates to be the one to create and manage their own profiles in your database or manpower pool.
  • Provide status updates regularly to the candidates about the hiring process.

Practice compliance management

Not only does the company have to automate and streamline its recruitment process, it should also see to it that everything is documented and archived properly. This is because the organization will still be required to comply with certain rules and regulations set forth by different government and regulatory agencies regarding recruitment and human resource management.

  • Automation of reporting procedures. To easily comply with reporting requirements about the activities involved in the recruitment processes, it would be a good idea to automate how the information is recorded, maintained, and distributed.
  • Practice increased transparency. Organizations may be required to properly notify about and advertise its open positions.
  • Ensure proper certifications and qualifications. There are positions where the basic qualifications involve the possession of specific certifications, accreditations or licenses. By conducting thorough background checks, compliance with these requirements will be facilitated.

Involve employees and other members of the organization

The organization should encourage involvement of employees in the recruitment process, and one way to do that is to establish and maintain a strong employee referral program. Instead of focusing solely on external.

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