Now that you have watched the mini lecture, you can learn more in the Essential readings for this topic:


Pilbeam, S. and M. Corbridge People resourcing and talent planning: HRM in

practice. (Harlow: Pearson, 2010) 4th edition. Chapter 6 Recruitment: attracting the right people. Chapter 7 Selection: Choosing the right people.

Remember that all the Essential reading for this programme is provided for you. Click ‘next’ to go to the next page and start reading.


Stephen Pilbeam and Marjorie Corbridge, People resourcing and talent planning: HRM in practice (Pearson, 2010; 4th edition)


RECRUITMENT AND SELECTIONEffective 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.

The extent to which the functional elements of recruitment and selection are distributed between line managers and HR practitioners will be contingent upon organisational circumstances. The division of recruitment and selection responsibilities will be determined by factors such as organisational size, administrative resources, locus of professional expertise and the HR strategy on HR devolution to line managers. A strategy to devolve recruitment and selection responsibility to line managers will invariably be a question of the degree of devolution and rarely results in absolute decentralisation of recruitment and selection functions. Whether increased devolution is perceived by line managers as liberating or merely an abdication by HR specialists, and extra unsolicited work, is subject to continuing debate although the argument that line managers should be responsible for their human as well as other resources is compelling. Regardless of the division of responsibilities, a manager who is not closely involved in the recruitment process and the selection decision is less likely to be committed to the outcome or accept full responsibility for the performance of the recruit. All involved in recruitment and selection, whether as a direct participant or as an adviser, will benefit from a knowledge and understanding of the range of options and also from an exposure to effective practice and professional principles. While there may be effective practice and professional principles in recruitment and selection, there is no one best way and prescriptions are to be avoided. These recruitment and selection chapters adopt a systems approach, emphasise choice and flexibility, identify and discuss the functional elements in recruitment and selection, and stress the importance of critical review and evaluation of the business-focused recruitment and selection processes in the pursuit of continuous improvement.

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 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.

  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 remainder of this chapter is concerned with attraction, while Chapter 7 focuses on the activities associated with reduction, selection and transition.

Induction and appraisal

Organisational constraints and influences on choice in recruitment and selection activities, methods and techniques include the:

  • 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.

The pre-recruitment process combines the three interdependent elements of establishing a prima facie case for recruitment, job analysis and labour market assessment (Figure 6.2).


Establishing a prima facie case for recruitment

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.

  • Do the workload predictions justify recruitment?
  • Does the filling of the vacancy integrate with the human resource plan?
  • How does the recruitment proposal fit with diversity objectives?

Job analysis

For a newly created position the job analysis is a predictive activity. Job analysis is the systematic process of collecting information about the tasks, responsibilities and contexts of a job. The outputs of the

The sources of information include the line manager, the supervisor, the existing job-holder and other members of the team. A triangulation of these sources will generate the most balanced data, as different perspectives will be provided by each of the contributors. Informal and formal job analysis methods are available and include questionnaires, interviews, observation, critical incident techniques, the use of standard checklists and the keeping of work logs and diaries. In addition to recruitment and selection, job analysis information is fundamental to many other HR management activities, including establishing the job requirements for appraising performance and identifying development needs; making reward comparisons between jobs; considering the implications of legislation relating to health and safety, unfair discrimination and the Working Time Directive; and contributing to a common understanding of the job in grievances, disciplinary matters or the negotiation of job changes.

  • data which identifies the job and locates it within the organisational structure
  • job objectives and performance measures
  • accountabilities, responsibilities and organisational relationships
  • job duties and content
  • terms of employment and work conditions
  • skills, knowledge and competencies required
  • other distinctive job characteristics.

EXHIBIT 6.2    Template headings for a job description

  1. Job title, department, location
  2. Job level and pay rate
  3. Responsible to . . .
  4. Key relationships, responsibilities and accountabilities
  5. Job purpose and objectives
  6. Specific tasks and responsibilities











1 Step 1