HR Best Practices in Recruitment

Published 20 Dec 2016


For the recruiting process to work effectively there must be a significant pool of candidates to choose from-and the more persity within that group the better. Achieving a satisfactory pool of candidates, however, may not be that easy, especially in a tight labor market. For example, CDI, the largest engineering services firm in the United States, was having difficulty filling such jobs as product designer and computer modelers. As an incentive to boost the number of applicants, the company offered a drawing for a multipurpose vehicle, or a Caribbean cruise for two, to those qualified inpiduals who sent resumes (Martin, 1994). The first goal of recruiting, then, is to communicate the position in such a way that job seekers respond. The more applications received, the better the recruiter’s chances for finding an inpidual who is best suited to the job requirements. In this paper we would be discussing about the best practices in recruitment.

Literature Review

The recruiter must provide enough information about the job that unqualified applicants can self-select themselves out of job candidacy. Typically when applications are received, the company acknowledges their receipt. That acknowledgment costs time and money. Then there are the application reviews and a second letter sent, this time rejecting the applications. Again, this incurs some costs. Accordingly, whenever possible, applications from those who are unqualified must be discouraged. A good recruiting program should attract the qualified, and not the unqualified. Meeting this dual objective will minimize the cost of processing unqualified candidates.

Although all organizations will, at one time or another engage in recruiting activities, some do so to a much larger extent than others. Obviously, size is one factor; an organization with 100,000 employees will find itself recruiting continually. So, too, will fast-food firms, smaller-service organizations, as well as firms that pay lower wages. Certain other variables will also influence the extent of recruiting. Employment conditions in the community where the organization is located will influence how much recruiting takes place. The effectiveness of past recruiting efforts will show itself in the organization’s historical ability to locate and keep people who perform well. Working conditions and salary and benefit packages offered by the organization will influence turnover and, therefore, the need for future recruiting. Organizations that are not growing, or those that are actually declining, may find little need to recruit. On the other hand, organizations that are growing rapidly, like Home Depot, Nucor, and U.S. Healthcare will find recruitment a major human resource activity (Zellner et al, 1995).

Recruitment efforts, even in these growing companies, are no easy task. Quality workers are becoming harder to locate. Therefore, HRM will have to develop new strategies to locate and hire those inpiduals possessing the skills the company needs (Bargerstock & Swanson, 1991). United Parcel Service (UPS), for example, found a creative way to locate talented people (Bargerstock & Swanson, 1991). Having problems finding workers in its three New Jersey facilities, UPS met with a local public employment agency that offered, among other services, employment counseling. By UPS describing the type of employee it was seeking, this agency sought to match its clients with UPS needs. This cooperation effort resulted in about 1,500 new employees for the company. While the ideal recruitment effort will bring in a satisfactory number of qualified applicants who will take the job if it is offered, the realities cannot be ignored. For example, the pool of qualified applicants may not include the “best” candidates; or the “best” candidate may not want to be employed by the organization. These and other constraints on recruiting efforts limit human resource recruiters’ freedom to recruit and select a candidate of their choice.

It was noted that the prospective candidate may not be interested in pursuing job opportunities in the particular organization. The image of the organization, therefore, should be considered a potential constraint. If that image is perceived to be low, the likelihood of attracting a large number of applicants is reduced (The Wall Street Journal, 1995). Many college graduates know, for example, that the inpiduals who occupy the top spots at Disney earn excellent salaries, are given excellent benefits, and are greatly respected in their communities. Among most college graduates, Disney has a positive image. The hope of having a shot at one of its top jobs, being in the spotlight, and having a position of power results in Disney having little trouble in attracting college graduates into entry-level positions.

Microsoft, too, enjoys a positive image to the point where the company receives more than 12,000 resumes a month (Fortune, 1996). But not all graduates hold a positive image of some large organizations. More specifically, their image of some organizations is pessimistic. In a number of communities, local firms have a reputation for being in a declining industry; engaging in practices that result in polluting the environment, poor-quality products, and unsafe working conditions; or being indifferent to employees’ needs. Such reputations can and do reduce these organizations’ abilities to attract the best personnel available (Turban & Greening, 1997).

Attractiveness of the Job if the position to be filled is an unattractive job, recruiting a large and qualified pool of applicants will be difficult. In recent years, for instance, many employers have been complaining about the difficulty of finding suitably qualified inpiduals for “manual labor” positions. In a job market where unemployment rates are low, and where a wide range of opportunities exists creating competition for these workers, a shortage results. Moreover, any job that is viewed as boring, hazardous, anxiety-creating, low-paying, or lacking in promotion potential seldom will attract a qualified pool of applicants. Even during economic slumps, people have refused to take many of these jobs (Holoviak & Decenzo, 1990).

Internal Organizational Policies

Internal organizational policies, such as “promote from within wherever possible,” may give priority to inpiduals inside the organization. Such policies, when followed, typically ensure that all positions, other than the lowest-level entry positions, will be filled from within the ranks. Although this is promising once one is hired, it may reduce the number of applications (Jordan, 1997).

Government Influence

The government’s influence in the recruiting process should not be overlooked. An employer can no longer seek out preferred inpiduals based on non-job-related factors such as physical appearance, sex, or religious background. An airline wishing to staff all its flight attendant positions with attractive females will find itself breaking the law if comparably qualified male candidates are rejected on the basis of sex-or female candidates are rejected on the basis of age.

Recruiting Costs

The last constraint, but certainly not lowest in priority, is one that centers on recruiting costs. Recruiting efforts by an organization are expensive. Sometimes continuing a search for long periods of time is not possible because of budget restrictions. Accordingly, when an organization considers various recruiting sources, it does so with some sense of effectiveness in mind-like maximizing its recruiting travel budget by first interviewing employees over the phone or through videoconferencing.

Recruiting sources

Recruiting is more likely to achieve its objectives if recruiting sources reflect the type of position to be filled. Similarly, an interviewer who is seeking to fill a management training position and visits a two-year vocational school in search of a college graduate with undergraduate courses in engineering and a master’s degree in business administration is looking for “the right person in the wrong place.”

The Internal Search

Many large organizations will attempt to develop their own employees for positions beyond the lowest level. These can occur through an internal search of current employees, who have either bid for the job, been identified through the organization’s human resource management system, or even been referred by a fellow employee. The advantages of such searches-a “promote from within wherever possible” policy-are: (Stack, 1998)

  1. It is good public relations.
  2. It builds morale.
  3. It encourages good inpiduals who are ambitious.
  4. It improves the probability of a good selection, since information on the inpidual’s performance is readily available.
  5. It is less costly than going outside to recruit.
  6. Those chosen internally already know the organization.
  7. When carefully planned, promoting from within can also act as a training device for developing middle- and top-level managers.

Employee Referrals/Recommendations

One of the best sources for inpiduals who will perform effectively on the job is a recommendation from a current employee (Stewart, 1998). Because employees rarely recommend someone unless they believe that the inpidual can perform adequately. Such a recommendation reflects on the recommender, and when someone’s reputation is at stake, we can expect the recommendation to be based on considered judgment. Employee referrals also may have acquired more accurate information about their potential jobs. The recommender often gives the applicant more realistic information about the job than could be conveyed through employment agencies or newspaper advertisements. This information reduces unrealistic expectations and increases job survival. As a result of these pre-selection factors, employee referrals tend to be more acceptable applicants, to be more likely to accept an offer if one is made, and, once employed, to have a higher job survival rate.

In addition to looking internally for candidates, it is customary for organizations to open up recruiting efforts to the external community. These efforts include advertisements, employment agencies, schools, colleges and universities, professional organizations, and unsolicited applicants.

To conclude, recruitment is the discovering of potential applicants for actual or anticipated organizational vacancies. The two goals of recruiting are to generate a large pool of applicants from which to choose while simultaneously providing enough information for inpiduals to self-select out of the process. The principal sources of recruiting employees include internal search, advertisements, employee referral / recommendations, employment agencies, temporary rental services, schools, colleges, universities, professional organizations, the Internet and casual or unsolicited applicants.


  • Bargerstock, Andrew S & Swanson, Gerald. 1991. “Four Ways to Build Cooperative Recruitment Alliances,” HR Magazine, p.49.
  • Fortune. 1996. “Wired for Hiring: Microsoft’s Slick Recruiting Machine,” February, p.123.
  • Holoviak, Stephen J & Decenzo, David A.1990. “Service industry seeks Summer Help,” Audio Human Resource Report, Vol.1, No.9, p.5.
  • Jordan, Ken. 1997. “Play Fair and Square When Hiring from Within,” HR Magazine, pp.49-51.
  • Martin, Justin. 1994. “One Company’s Hiring Binge,” Fortune, p.14.
  • Stack, Jack. 1998. “The Next in Line,” Inc. p.43.
  • Stewart, Thomas A. 1998. “In Search of Elusive Tech Workers,” Fortune, p.171.
  • The Wall Street Journal. 1995. “Code Words,” September, p.A-1.
  • Turban, Daniel B & Greening, Daniel W. 1997. “Corporate Social Performance and Organizational Attractiveness to Prospective Employers,” Academy of Management Journal, Vol.40, No.3, pp.658-672.
  • Zellner, Hof, Brandt, Baker & Greising. 1995. “Go-Go Goliaths,” Business Week, pp.80-81.
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