The people are the pivot on every other organizational activities revolve – they are the lifeblood of every organization, the most vital asset of all the production factors. The survival or otherwise of an organisation depends largely on the calibre of the workforce it possesses. Therefore managing the HR recruitment and selection processes is of the essence.
Strategic business plans give rise to human resource planning and it is supported by a recruitment programme, which could be based on the policy to recruit externally or promote within – these have their merits and demerits. The major aim of recruitment process is to obtain the quantity and quality of employees the organization requires to fulfil its objectives. The recruitment effort assembles job-seekers/ finds applicants and the selection exercise screens, evaluates and decides through interview/ tests whom to engage. Recruitment provides opportunities to organizations/ departments to align staff skill-sets to initiatives and goals, and for group and individual growth.
Recruitment is not just an attempt to fill in vacant positions in an organization (more especially at the top) but a deliberate plan to match the needs of the organization with the requisite skills and aspirations of individual applicant in an optimal form.
Recruitment may occur as a result of transfer of job incumbent, resignation or, death of the job holder, strategy implementation and redirection, organizational expansion, advancement in technology or otherwise. It is a positive action by management – assessing the job, going into the labour market (internal/ external) to attract a field of candidates by communicating job opportunities and information and generating interest, assessing the candidates, placing them on the job and subsequent follow-up.
Proper planning and evaluation of the need will lead to hiring the right person for the role and team. This involves writing out the job description, developing job specifications, analyzing sources of potential employees and attracting same. Thus, recruitment is only one of the steps involved in selection.
Selection is determining among the so-recruited, the best hands for the positions advertised. It is an aspect that involves choosing/ screening, evaluating applicants for jobs and deciding through interviews/ tests whom to engage. It is largely a negative process as it involves weeding out people who are unsuitable for the job or the organization and or whom the job or organisation might be unsuitable for.
It is aimed at:
- measuring the ability, mental alertness or intelligence of the job candidate;
- reducing the costs of training new employees through the selection of applicants who can learn to work;
- also reduces favouritism in hiring and places the opportunity of securing a job on an objective basis rather than sentiment.
Selection is a rigorous exercise involving a number of steps. The process goes beyond the actual attraction of people, picking among them and placing them on the job. It includes job analysis, recruitment and the steps below:
- application blank
- Second interview
- Psychological testing
- Work history
- Referencing checks
- Medical examination
- Offer etc
It is a process that should be handled objectively so as not to get it all wrong.
In selection, the ratio of applicants to available job position (selection ratio) is crucial.
Selection ratio = No of vacant position . No of applicants
This ratio determines the possibility of selection error which can occur in two ways:
a). rejecting those who have potentials for the job
b). accepting or employing those who will not perform well on the job.
It is better therefore to draw as many job applicants as possible to ensure that the ratio tends away from unity i.e ratio= 1 (no selection has taken place).
Ratio < I (probability of mistake reduced).
A selection ratio of 1/10 is better than 1/5
My experiences as a recruiter over the years have taught me that there is need to take into cognizance the relevance of selection ratio as it minimizes the incidence of selection errors. We also must beware of undue biases and irrelevant sentiments and adhere to the dictates of the recruitment requirements. Objectivity is the keyword and must be taken seriously.
Selection test is most times used to recruit lower cadre persons in organisations (secretaries, clerical officers, cleaners, sales etc).
The Job Interview
The job interview is part of the selection process. It is a deliberately patterned interaction with a specific purpose, planned carefully in advance. The Recruiter approaches it systematically and should understand what the organisational requirements are so as to be able to measure each potentially suitable job candidate against those requirements. He/she does not need to waste time with candidates who are a misfit for the job on offer.
The job interview types are very many but we may confine ourselves to a few of them. Interview type to be adopted may be informed by several factors:
- the position on offer (senior, middle or junior level)
- the urgency to fill the position on offer
- the size of the Company recruiting or being recruited for
- the importance of the interview
- proximity of the job candidate (if far away, the telephone interview may be right for a start) etc
Types of Job Interview:
Traditional Job Interview
The traditional job interview is the most common of all the interview types. It is the interview you face most often – you sit opposite an interviewer; he/she asks the candidates series of questions designed to enable him/ her make a proper assessment of who the candidate is – a great candidate for the job or not?
Panel Job Interview:
This is a type of job interview where a group of Managers interview the applicant at the same time as against only one representative interviewing the applicant. It takes the form of conference with one of the panellists acting as the chairman.
The questions at the panel interview do not follow any defined pattern; questions are asked spontaneously by the panellists and there is a follow-up on the answers by them.
The major disadvantage of this type of interview is that some applicants feel intimidated and they may not perform well. Secondly, a member of the panel may high-jack or dominate the interview.
Sequential Job Interview:
In a sequential job interview, applicants are screened by a lower ranking officer of the company and if considered worthy for further consideration, the applicant is passed on to the next senior ranking officer who interviews and decides to recommend him/ her for further consideration or to hire them.
The advantage of the sequential job interview type is that many managers are involved in the process and thereby they have inputs/ contributions in the recruitment processes; it is seen and felt to be neutral and transparent and it eliminates unqualified candidates before they take senior Manager’s time.
Telephone Job Interview
This is an interview conducted over the telephone. Questions are asked by the interviewer and the candidate provides the answers at the other end. It is typically used as a first-round screening, to see if a candidate is fit to come in for a full interview. It ends if the candidate is not good enough. Here as the applicant, you prepare normally as if you were going for an in-person formal interview. Although, the applicant makes certain adjustments because it is a phone interview.
This telephone interview type is most common in recent time. The advantage to the Recruiter is that it saves time but the major disadvantage is that the interviewee may be misunderstood by the interviewer; the interviewer may not be able to get a clear information about the candidates dress-sense and may make some un-objective decisions.
Structured Job Interview:
The structured interview is used by interviewers who wish to cover every important aspect about the job – they gouge information. The questions are structured but if the answer to one is not clear or leads to other questions that is not included in the quide, you put it aside and proceed to get the information you need.
In effecting the structured job interview type, you must be flexible as it is not easy to ask every applicant every question.
The main advantage is that it allows you to ask the same basic questions and allows you to weight the candidates’ performances.
Serialised Job Interview:
In this type of interview the Human Resources or Admin. Department or the recruiting department (depending on the organization) screens out the unsuitable candidates based on the specified guidelines/ requirements and recommends those who meet the basic qualifications for further consideration by two or more other company representatives. In this system, no one interviewer rejects any candidate as each interviewer completes a score-sheet of the applicants. At the completion of the interview, the interviewers meet, compare summary sheets and notes and decide which candidate(s) to recommend to the department needing their services for final decision.
The merit of the serialized interview is that it enables the Manager whom the new employee would work with have an input in the recruitment and selection processes and also base his decisions on the perspectives and evaluations of several other managers.
The disadvantage is that it is time-consuming, expensive and depends largely on the availability of those designated to carry out the interview – it is difficult to schedule.
Placement, Medical Examination and Induction
After the final interview, the onus then lies on the Human Resources or Admin Department to decide on who to hire. This is done to agree on who to employ for which an appointment letter is given. The efficient recruitment/ selection and placement procedures are a pre-requisite for the development of an effective workforce as a wrongly placed employee may be unable to hit the expected standard of performance as he/ she may work under physical or psychological strain.
It is basic good management to provide a new employee with appointment letter aside being statutory, so as to know the duties he/ she has to perform and the terms and conditions under which it is to be performed.
Lest I forget, there should be a pre-employment medical examination for the ready-to-be-employed candidate to confirm his/ her medical status and fitness. This is better done before handing over the appointment letter.
Finally, induction. This is when information about the Company is given to the new employee. The employee is introduced to other staff by the Human Resource Department, given the Company’s Handbook, introduced to the Supervisor and shown around the compound too so that he/ she knows where the canteen, medical centre and other sundry related places are. Here, he/ she is armed with basic information about the Company.
I wish to state here again that, objectivity is the keyword for managing the HR recruitment and selection processes.
Contributed by Agolo Uzorka, Vice President Eugene+George Consulting