Strategic Recruitment

Recruitment is a key HRM activity. Organizations to survive and grow need to attract candidates who are qualified to help them achieve their objectives.  Effective recruitment does this by locating and attracting potential candidates to job openings within the organization. Such applicants form a pool from which candidates who most closely meet the job specifications can be offered employment. Recruitment begins with the identification of human resource requirements and ends with the receipt of an application. It immediately precedes the selection process and involves attracting qualified and interested candidates from either inside or outside the organization. It is a two way process. Information is given and received by the applicants and the organization.  Recruitment is concerned with both meeting the organizations HR requirements and in helping potential candidates decide whether they meet the job requirements, are interested in the position and want to join the organization. Unfortunately, many HR managers forget this. Organizations that are the most satisfying to work for are also the organizations that have the least trouble getting good candidates.

Strategic Recruitment

It is important that recruitment be viewed strategically and that it reflect the organization’s business objectives and culture. The core purpose of Nike, for example, is ‘To experience the emotion of competition, winning and crushing competitors’.  Consequently, this creates a need to recruit people who are stimulated by the competitive spirit and the urge to be ferocious. Other organizations have other objectives and values.  Thus, recruitment is a means of delivering behaviors seen as necessary to support the organization culture and strategies.  The current emphasis on employee competencies illustrates this role. Organizational strategies and culture determine whether the focus is on technical skills and formal qualifications or personality, the ability to ‘fit in’ and the potential for development.  Toyota, for example, seeks people who can work as a team, who have ideas for improvement and who can demonstrate an ability to learn.  A consequence of this emphasis on employee characteristics has been an increasing use of psychological tests (to specifically assess behavioral and attitudinal characteristics) in employee selection.  This has aroused some criticism because it results in the recruitment ‘of a young green labor force, without years of acculturation in traditional manufacturing methods in heavily unionized plants and marginalized unions’.  Townley, for example, criticizes such strategies because they dehumanize applicants and promote management control by producing a compliant non-unionized work force.  Recruiting is also affected when organizations make fundamental strategic changes as a result of asking questions such as: What is our core business? What business should we be in? What is it we want to achieve?. Clearly, the organization now requires people with different know-how, skills and abilities. Consequently, an organization can destroy its unique competitive advantage if it ignores its strategic mission, objectives and culture in recruiting personnel.  In addition, it places at risk the careers of those applicants who do not match the organization strategic requirements.  Attracting such candidates is simply a costly waste of time for all involved.

Strategic recruitment avoids this by locating and attracting the ‘right’ potential candidates to the ‘right’ job openings within an organization. Such applicants form a pool from which those who most closely match the job specifications can be offered employment. Recruitment begins with identifying HR requirements and ends with receiving applications. It involves determining where qualified applicants can be found (recruitment sources) and choosing a specific means of attracting potential employees to the organization (recruitment methods). It immediately precedes the selection process and involves attracting qualified and interested candidates (from either inside or outside) who have the capacity to generate a sustainable competitive advantage for the organization. Recruitment is a two-way process: information is given and received by both the applicants and the organization. It is concerned both with satisfying the organization’s strategic HR requirements and with helping potential candidates decide whether they meet the job requirements, are interested in the position and want to join the organization. Unfortunately, many HR managers forget this. Organizations that are the most satisfying to work for are also those that have the least trouble getting good candidates.

Successful recruiting means clearly outlining each job, which involves job analysis.  Products of the job analysis process are the job description (which highlights duties and responsibilities, relationships, required know-how, accountability, authority and special circumstances) and the job or person specification (which identifies the job’s human requirements in terms of qualifications, experience, skills, abilities and knowledge, and personal and special requirements).

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