Effective human resource planning can predict HR gaps and promote a focus on recruiting the right people to deliver business objectives. The recruitment and selection process is a matching activity between applicant and job, which is dependent, first, on the organisation clearly defining and specifying a need; second, on utilising appropriate recruitment methods and selection techniques effectively; and, third, on reviewing, evaluating and modifying the recruitment and selection system in the light of experience. Recruitment and selection, while being systematic, need not be inflexible and as well as the candidate fitting the job, the job may need to fit the candidate to some extent− a degree of job malleability and person malleability will lubricate the matching process. The recruitment and selection of workers is fundamental to the functioning of an organisation and there are compelling reasons for getting it right. Inappropriate selection decisions reduce organisational effectiveness, invalidate reward and development strategies, are frequently unfair on the individual recruit and can be distressing for managers who have to deal with unsuitable employees. Inappropriate recruitment is also expensive. If the overall costs of leaving, including payroll and administration, recruitment and selection time and fees, induction, training, unproductive time and any indirect loss of business or customer satisfaction, are taken into account, the estimated cost per leaver can be around £4000, and £10 000 for managers and professionals (CIPD, 2009b). Recruitment is addressed in this chapter and selection in the next chapter.
Good recruitment and selection is important because well-thought-out, agreed and communicated policies, procedures and practices can significantly contribute to effective organisational performance, to good employee relations and to a positive public image. Ineffectiveness in recruitment and selection may lead to poor work performance, unacceptable conduct, internal conflict, low morale and job satisfaction and dysfunctional labour turnover. Good recruitment is more than just filling vacancies and human resource planning is the route to forecasting HR requirements and ensuring that the recruitment and selection activity is directed at getting the right people, in the right place, at the right time with the right skills to achieve the business objectives. Recruitment and selection is therefore an essential part of HR strategy. Recruitment and selection processes should be effective, efficient and fair − effective in generating candidates of appropriate quality and quantity and distinguishing between the suitable and the unsuitable; efficient in being timely and resource effective; fair by dealing equitably, honestly and courteously with all applicants and providing a positive framework within which diverse candidates can demonstrate their abilities (ACAS, 2006). A contingent approach to recruitment and selection is advocated, while recognising that this may be constrained in practice by standard (self-imposed) organisational procedures. Standard procedures may contribute to fairness and consistency, but some flexibility is also desirable to ensure a business-focused recruitment process. Recruiters should be aware of the range, strengths and limitations of recruitment methods and selection techniques, as this will enable informed choices to be made.
It is useful for analytical purposes to distinguish between recruitment and selection.
• Recruitment is a process which aims to attract appropriately qualified candidates for a particular position from which it is possible and practical to select and appoint a competent person or persons.
• Selection is a process which involves the application of appropriate techniques and methods with the aim of selecting, appointing and inducting a competent person or persons.
Recruitment and selection are components of the same system or process and can be considered separately, but they are not mutually exclusive functions. A systems approach to recruitment and selection (Figure 6.1) is based on the idea that a system has inputs, a processing unit and outputs. The processing unit contains the recruitment and selection sub-systems. The inputs are the candidates, the processing unit consists of various methods and techniques, and the outputs are either effective employees or candidates who return to the labour market. The candidates who return to the labour market are either rejected by the organisation or choose to exit from the recruitment and selection process. The system is subject to considerable external influence − the legal framework, the economic situation, social and demographic change, competitor activity and labour market characteristics. The systems approach provides a convenient analytical framework and permits the penetration of the recruitment and selection sub-systems
It is also possible to recognise the interdependence of the sub-systems with the changes in one sub-system having implications for another and also for the quality of the outputs. For example, the most sophisticated selection methods will be rendered impotent by recruitment activity which fails to attract qualified candidates, and highly effective recruitment activity which generates appropriate candidates will be neutered by selection methods which fail to predict performance in the job.
The sub-systems can be categorised as:
1. Attraction: attracting suitable candidates.
2. Reduction: eliminating unsuitable candidates.
3. Selection: assessing, choosing and appointing a suitable candidate.
4. Transition: converting the successful candidate to an effective employee. The components and activities of each sub-system are exposed in Exhibit 6.1.The activities within each sub-system can be scrutinised to assess the contribution that each makes to the overall recruitment and selection process. The remainder of
• Pre-engagement process
• Induction and appraisal
In advocating a contingency approach to recruitment and selection activities it is recognised that rarely does the recruiter have a free hand. Organisational constraints and influences on choice in recruitment and selection activities, methods and techniques include the:
• degree of flexibility within organisational recruitment and selection procedures and the potential for conflict with procedural standardisation perceived to be necessary to achieve diversity objectives
• previous experience of organisational recruiters, and whether it is positive or negative, in relation to different methods and techniques
• physical and human resources available, together with time scale and time constraints
• skill and expertise of the recruiters
• relative costs of recruitment and selection techniques and methods
• nature of the employment contract, hours of work and relative importance of the vacancy.
Some commentators argue that the recruitment and selection philosophy should be ‘select for attitude and train for skill’. What this means is focusing the recruitment and selection process on behavioural competencies such as customer focus, teamworking skills, responsiveness to change, willingness to conform with dominant corporate values and so on. Any deficiencies in technical skill can then be remedied through training needs analysis and the provision of learning opportunities. This philosophy in no way undermines the validity of a systematic recruitment and selection process; it merely refocuses it.
When a vacancy occurs, whether through resignation, dismissal, increased workload or reorganisation, there is only the opportunity for recruitment and a prima facie case should be established before proceeding (ACAS, 2006). Each vacancy presents management with an opportunity to rethink the structure of the organisation and the allocation of duties. There are alternatives to recruitment when a vacancy occurs, and several questions can usefully be addressed.
• Is there actually a job to be done or can elements be distributed, eliminated or achieved through alternative means, for example by utilising technology or contracting it out?
• Does the filling of the vacancy integrate with the human resource plan?
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