Recruitment is the process of finding, screening, hiring and eventually onboarding job candidates. The recruitment process can be relatively straightforward, but advances in technology, a tight labor market and a workforce pool that might span five generations can make the first step -- finding potential candidates -- particularly challenging. Recruitment is a key part of human resource management (HRM). Skilled recruitment efforts will make a company stand out and be more attractive to potential employees, a strategy that can directly impact a company's bottom line.

How recruitment works

Once a job description has been established, HR or external recruitment agencies post the position on a wide variety of job sites and social media platforms, as well as notify existing employees on the company's intranet or web portal.

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Resumes are submitted and screened. In some cases, recruiters will also solicit interest from people who have not submitted resumes but whose work experience may fit the open job's qualifications.

Next, potential candidates are interviewed and may be tested for drug and alcohol use. In addition, some companies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI)-powered screening tools to help more quickly identify potential candidates, assess strengths and weaknesses, and come up with questions that can speed the decision-making process. References are checked, and ultimately, the hiring manager or hiring team makes a choice. The new employee will then often go through an onboarding process to ensure an easy transition to the new role.

how recruitment works

Types of recruiting techniques

Although some companies still rely on a "We're Hiring" sign on the door, most companies tackle recruitment the way they do marketing -- with a multi-tiered approach. Recruitment marketing can include everything from promotion on social media to billboard ads, public relations (PR) campaigns and even bonuses to existing employees for successful candidate referrals.

Open positions are posted on more than job websites; Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are other popular choices. Ads on search engines that pop up in response to a query are another option. Large employers can also utilize other strategies, such as brand advertising, which showcases a company's benefits and perks and promotes the culture and work styles. A strong Net Promoter Score (NPS) can also be highlighted. To attract certain groups of employees, such as millennials, a company may stress the value or importance of the work being done.

Why recruitment is important

Employees are the lifeblood of companies, so finding and attracting the best candidates possible is of utmost importance. A poor recruitment effort can result in unfilled jobs and a loss of revenue, while successful recruitment will bring in the right candidates on a timely basis, ensuring a business is able to continue to move forward.

Also, in a competitive hiring market, employee retention can be tricky, but an effective recruitment strategy can minimize that risk by ensuring the right people are hired into the right roles.

Sources of recruitment

When looking to fill open roles, employers have two options: Look internally, or hire from the outside. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Internal candidates need little to no onboarding as they are familiar with the company, but moving an existing employee into a new role still leaves the old role to fill.

On the other hand, external candidates can bring fresh eyes, enthusiasm and skills to a company, but it is vital to ensure new employees will be a good fit in the company culture.

This was last updated in October 2018

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