Understanding Recruitment

The short version

Recruitment is the process of gaining an applicant pool for the vacancy.  Often people mistakenly combine the two related functions of recruitment and selection into the umbrella term of recruitment.  Recruitment, however, is concerned with gaining an applicant pool through advertising on job boards, specifically identifying people and inviting them to apply for the role, or communicating the vacancy through word of mouth.  Selection, on the other hand, is concerned with selecting the best applicant from the applicant pool which was formed during the recruitment process. Selection is often handled outside the HR Function, with the hiring manager potentially having some assistance from HR Practitioner, but ultimately the decision on who to select rests with the hiring manager.

The long version

The fundamentals of recruitment are actually pretty easy, to inform potential applicants of the vacancy, encouraging them to apply for the advertised role. So how is this done? Firstly you need to determine where your potential applicants are, is there an association, website or location where potential applicants frequent? For example if you were seeking an HR Professional, then look to the local professional bodies and inquire about advertising with them, examples depending on your geographical location might include: AHRI (Australian Human Resources Institute), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ), Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA), etc. The easy way to find these associations is to simply google the country, the professional and ‘association’. For example, googling ‘US Tax Accountants Association’ gives the result of the American Accounting Association (aaahq.org). In terms of websites, LinkedIn has many groups (and a great number of them geographically identified) which you can post an advertisement within for free often – there are also paid advertising options for LinkedIn.

Local training providers

Depending also on the level of experience or qualifications that you are after, consider too your local university or training provider. Often these providers are very happy to pass along job advertisements that are specific to their student’s studies. This process is simply a matter of doing a search on their website, finding the right area and sending them an email asking if they would be able to pass the attached advertisement along to their students. I’ve had success with this approach in the past advertising for Graduate Programs within HR, I simply emailed a Professor of Management, and also a Professor of Psychology at three universities and they were more than happy to pass the opportunity onto their students. Professional programs such as MBA’s offer really great opportunities to advertise directly to potential applications.

Leveraging your current staff

Too often employees find out about a vacancy from the local newspaper, employers are missing an important opportunity when this happens. On the day that the advertising for the vacancy starts, send out a company-wide email or if you have an internal job board use that, and ensure your employees know that a vacancy is being advertised. Even better, ask them to share the vacancy with their network (most employees use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or one of the various other social networks – as well as simply telling their friends about the vacancy). The important aspect with this is twofold, you’re current employees will be able to tell potential applicants relevant details about the wider workplace (i.e. it’s a good place to work, good benefits, etc) and the cost is very small for the potential number of people that are informed about the vacancy.

Job boards and newspapers

I’ve left these till almost last as they’re the most obvious and also something that should really be used in many cases as a last resort after exhausting the above methods. Job boards and newspapers are very general, even though job boards especially may have categories such as Legal Jobs, or Accounting Jobs, etc, they are still general. The more general the approach that you take with your advertising the larger the applicant pool will become – and often it’s not an increase in quality but one of quantity. As an example, if I want an experienced Tax Lawyer, that’s what I need – not a bookkeeper or Lawyer that did one tax paper at university five years ago. Hence my best bet is to advertise to specific markets. Job boards and newspapers do have their place most certainly, the more general or lower entry roles are what job boards and newspapers are designed for, if you want an Office Junior, entry-level salesperson, etc then they are your best bet. There are exceptions to this, however, when advertising for a role with very specific requirements (such as qualifications or membership to professional bodies (such as a registered Psychologist), use newspapers and job board advertising as a coverall or backup to the specific marketing you’re doing.

The job board exception…LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the exception in job boards, their membership (somewhere north of 200 million) coupled with the way the site encourages the formation of professional groups, means that they are very effective as a targeted advertising source for vacancies – from the very general to the very specific.

The tools are available for businesses big and small to carry out their own recruitment in a cost-effective manner. And the most important aspect of recruitment I’ve left-right to the end, for many people your recruitment activity will be their first interaction with your organization, make sure they have a fantastic experience – and they can have a fantastic experience regardless of whether they get the role or not. Building a fantastic experience is mostly about communication, ensure they know what’s happening.

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