Meeting the challenges of recruitment, selection

Denton C. Hartman

The strength of the local economy will affect an organization’s ability to attract qualified employees. In a strong economy, with low unemployment, businesses compete with each other for skilled employees. Many organizations believe that incentives will attract quality applicants. Signing bonuses and other special perks appear as hiring qualified people becomes more challenging. 

The reverse is true in a soft economy when unemployment is high. The problem then is not a shortage of qualified applicants; instead, the problem is managing the huge number of applications that must be reviewed to find a few good hires.

In either a strong or soft economy, the goals of recruitment and selection are the same. Recruitment is a process that includes:

• Analyzing the requirements of a job

• Attracting employees to that job

• Screening and selecting applicants

• Hiring and integrating the new employee to the organization

But perhaps the real challenge of recruiting lies in the answer to the question: “Who is responsible for recruitment?”

Most organizations can improve their hiring practices. A well-designed process is the foundation of solid recruitment and can actually reduce costs. The strategic elements of a well-designed hiring process varies among different businesses. However, what follows are basic elements that, when adopted, will increase the consistency and quality of hiring outcomes.

Begin by reviewing the job description for a position before conducting any interviews. Become familiar with the specifications of the job including the duties, responsibilities, and intangibles such as attitude or temperament. Make sure the job description is accurate and up-to-date.

Next, review applications with attention to work history, education, salary needs, gaps in employment, and completeness. If the application is incomplete or indicates a problem, further pre-screening is not necessary. There is no need to pursue unqualified candidates.

The interview is the tool most often used to make hiring decisions. It is a type of predictor and must meet standards of job relatedness and non-discrimination. The interviewer relies on questions and observations to match each candidate’s qualifications to the position. Recognize that interviewers may fail to select the most qualified candidate if they wrongly trust their intuition, or ask questions that don’t help them objectively assess job-related skills and abilities.

There are many types of questions that are relevant in a job interview, however all questions should be job related and provide the interviewer insight into how a candidate will fit into the organization and perform the job. Learn about a candidate’s past performance as it is one of the strongest predictors of future behavior. Questions should provide each candidate an opportunity to share how he/she has handled situations in the past that relate to the current job opening.

The same questions should be asked of every candidate and their answers should be rated. A simple three or four point scale can be used with the highest rating given to the answer that is best suited to the context of the organization. Select the most qualified candidate based on his/her answers, demeanor, and comfort with the company culture. Consider not only each candidate’s ability to perform the job duties but where he/she will be working and with whom.

Who is responsible for recruitment? Multiple surveys report that the best recruiters in any organization are the people who work there. Meeting the challenges of recruitment and selection requires an organization to take deliberate care of current employees and implement a strategic hiring process to select new employees. When employees talk positively about their coworkers and managers, others want to join in the experience.

Denton C. Hartman is a continuing education adjunct instructor at Hagerstown  Community College.