Achieving the perfect fit


INTRODUCTION/ definition of recruitment and selection

The aim of most organisations is 'to produce goods or provide services at a profit, or at least to break even' (Evan, D. 2001). Therefore, the people who work in those organisations need to be very efficient with their jobs. Obviously, it is very important if the organisations choose 'the right people in the right position' (Boulter, N, etc. 2008) from the first stage of human resource plan that is recruitment and selection.

Many people are often misused in the term of recruitment and selection. They are confused between the similar meaning of recruitment and selection and 'cover the whole process of engaging staff' (Evan, D. 2001).

Scholars have their own view about recruitment and selection; hence they have different ways to define recruitment and selection:

  1. Grimshaw, E. (2009) defined: 'Recruitment is the process of bringing a person or persons into the organisation. It starts with the decision to recruit and continues through to the induction and settlement of the new employees'. While selection is the process of deciding which candidates is 'the most suitable for a particular role of organisational profile. Besides 'it also extends from the screening process up to deciding which successful candidates to make an offer of employment'.
  2. Evans, D. (2001) described that: 'Recruitment is properly used to cover the first stages of engaging staff, namely: 1. The clarification of the exact nature of the job to be filled; 2. The sorting out of the skills, aptitudes and abilities required to do the job in question; 3.The drawing up of a profile or 'pen portrait' of the 'ideal' candidate; 4. The attracting of a field of candidates by advertising or other means'.
  3. Whereas 'selection is properly used to cover the latter stages of engaging staff, namely: 1. The sorting out of total field of applicants into a sufficiently small 'short list' for interview (and possibly intelligence/ personality tests); 2. The selection interview stage, which leads to the ultimate decision to engage a particular candidate; 3.The induction process which turns a successful candidate into a useful and cooperative worker'

  4. Bach, S & Sission, K. (2000) suggested that: 'Jobs are defined in terms of their tasks (job description) and the characteristics of the person who might be able successful to carry out these tasks (person specification). Recruitment is a process of attracting individuals who might meet this specification. And selection is the process of measuring differences between these candidates to find the person who had the profile which best matches the person specification as indicated by the job profile or description'.
  5. According to Bratton, J & Gold, J. 2007: 'Recruitment is the process of generating a pool of capable people to apply to an organisation for employment. Selection is the process by which managers and others use specific instruments to choose from a pool of applicants the person or persons most likely to succeed in the job/ jobs, given management goals and legal requirements.'
  6. Dzimbiri, B, L. (2009) said: 'Recruitment involves creating a pool of available human resources from which the organisation can draw when it needs additional employees. Thus before one decides who to select and appoint for a position in an organisation, organisation needs to make the vacancy known to potential candidates so they can apply'. When 'a pool of candidates has been secured, the next task is to scrutinise the various characteristics of the applicants in relations to the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to perform the job well. The process of identifying a good match between the candidate and the job is what is usually called selection'.
  7. Similar with the view of Dzimbiri, B, L. (2009), Taylor, S. (2009) illustrated that: 'The term recruitment and selection are often considered together, but they are in fact distinct human resource management activities. While recruitment involves actively soliciting applications from potential employees, selection techniques are used to decide which of the applicants is best suited to fill the vacancy in question. So it has been said that characterise recruitment as a positive activity that requires employers to sell themselves in the relevant labour markets so as to maximise the pool of well-qualified candidates from which future employees can be chosen. By contrast, selection can be seen as negative activity, in so far as it involves picking out the best of the bunch and turning down the rest'.
  8. Another definition of recruitment and selection is that: 'A useful definition of recruitment is searching for and obtaining potential job candidates in sufficient numbers and quality so that the organisation can select the most appropriate people to fill its job needs' (Dowling and Schuler, 1990); where as selection is concerned more with predicting which candidates will make the most appropriate contribution to the organisation now and in the future (Hackett, 1991)', (Quoted from Beardwell, J & Claydon, T. 2007).
  9. 'Recruitment was the process of attracting a group of individuals to an organisation. Selection began after recruitment was completed and was the process of reducing this group down to those suitable for employment. ' (Gatewood, R, D. et al, 2007)
  10. Recruitment can be defined as 'the process of seeking and attracting a pool of qualified candidates for a job vacancy, and is said to be a major cause of strategic changes in firms today' (Li, Liao & Chu 2006). Selection: 'selecting people who are the best able to perform the jobs which include internal movement of people and external hiring into the organisation' (Fombrun et al. 1984 p.41). It also 'entails defining the organisation's human needs for particular position and assessing the available pool of people to determine the best fit' (Tichy et al. 1992).
  11. Mathis, R, L & Jackson, H, J. (2007) said defined that: 'Recruiting is the process of generating a pool of qualified applicants for organisational jobs through a series of activities'. Besides 'Selection is the process of choosing individuals with qualifications needed to fill jobs in an organisation. Without these qualified employees, an organisation is far less likely to succeed.'

The purpose of recruitment and selection

According to the research of Gatewood, R, D & Field, S, H. (2007), there are three main purposes of recruitment: '

  1. To increase the pool of job applicants with reasonable cost.
  2. To meet the organisation's legal and social obligations regarding the demographic composition of its workforce.
  3. To help increase the success rate of the selection process by reducing the percentage of applicants who are either poorly qualified or have the wrong skills.'

From this study, it described that recruitment's purpose is refer to the costs of selection. 'Processing applicants can be very expensive. Even the initial steps of the selection program require staff time, materials, and physical facilities. If the recruitment program produces applicants who do not match the requirements of the open positions, the result can be disastrous. The money spent on evaluating unsuitable candidates is totally wasted. Moreover, the extra time needed for looking further is an added cost to the organisation.'

It is true to said that the purpose of any organisation is to make sure that 'the organisation is adequately and attractively staff at all times' (by Compton. L. R & Nankervis. R. A, 2009). As this study showed that 'the purposes of recruitment is to attract suitable people to apply for employment vacancies by making them aware that such vacancies exist.' After gathering the suitable for the specific jobs, it will be processing for making selection decision.

In addition, the study of Lewthwaite, J. (2006) showed that:' the purpose of recruitment is to attract sufficiently large number of well-qualified candidates to fill the requirement of a job. The purpose of selection is to define accurately what those requirements are and to use effective processes to ensure that the candidates fit them.'

Continuing with the study above, authors describe that 'recruitment also has the function of 'selling' the organisation and projecting a favourable image to the applicants. In an increasingly competitive and sophisticated labour market, employers will need to demonstrate their comparative employment advantages. Advertisements will be interpreted by potential employees and customers as a reflection of the company. So if the organisation is sold badly, it may have a long-term adverse effect. Person with highly sought after talents will be seeking employers of choice.' (by Compton. L. R & Nankervis. R. A, 2009)

Besides 'the policy of recruitment should be prepared and coordinated with the organisation's other human resources policies as a positive contribution to the overall outcomes of the organisation. This policy will be influenced by the overall human resource management strategies, legislation, union or enterprise agreements and labour market conditions. It should include promotion and hiring guidelines.'

Furthermore, it is showed that 'the recruitment process normally commences with a formal written request or proposal for the additional person, that is, the formal advice that a new employee is required or a vacancy exists. The process is completed when suitable applicants are found and placed. It is essential that the requirements of the jobs are thoroughly understood through the process of jobs analysis, and that those recruiting for the position know as much about the job as practicable.' In the case, if any organisation does not taking this approach, it may become danger that 'the recruitment process may become vague and haphazard and it will ultimately be difficult to accurately match people and jobs.' Another issue may lead to litigation at work, for example, 'if equal opportunity legislation is breached or if the job turns out to be quite different from that advertised. '(by Compton. L. R & Nankervis. R. A, 2009)


Most of organisations nowadays must coordinate their functions within human resource programs (such as recruitment and selection, initial training, compensation, job performance measurement and so on) to survive and compete with their competitors in global market. Based on the examine of Gatewood, R, D & Field, S, H. 2007, there is an interaction of selection and other human resource management functions

In the figure above, recruitment and selection are more closed link together with human resource planning than other functions. Recruitment and selection is the first step to applicants get into the organisation as well as the organisation fill in vacancy positions. Besides, 'recruitment and subsequent selection are vital stages in the formation of the expectations that form such a contract, on the basis of which, with an emphasis on a two-way flow of communication, employees are attracted to and select an organisation and the work on offer as much as employers select employees' (by Bratton, J & Gold, J. 2007)

According to Marchington, M & Wilkinson, A. 2007 : 'Over the last two decades this area of human resource practice has become more sophisticated, involving the assistance of organisational psychologists or consultants to improve the reliability and validity of selection decisions. This is important because new recruits provide managers with an opportunity to acquire new skills as well as to amend organisational cultures. '

Besides, it is described that the poor selection decisions could lead to big negative issues. 'The implications of poor selection decisions for the business as a whole are potentially catastrophic. There may be expense in terms of the management required to deal with disciplinary cases, in retraining poor performers, and in having to recruit replacements for those individuals who have been wrongly selected and who choose to quit soon after starting. The likely effects on customer service and product quality are also significant, whether workers are employed on a supermarket checkout or in an engineering factory or a hotel. The problem is not just one of recruiting someone who is under-qualified, lacks of relevant skills or is uncooperative, even though that is what inevitably comes to mind. Equally serious problems may arise with employees who are over qualified or soon become bored with their work. Selecting the right person for the task and for the organisation is what matters'. (By Marchington, M & Wilkinson, A. 2007)

Furthermore, Compton, R, L & Alan R, N. (2009) demonstrated that: 'Nowhere is this more important than with an organisation's recruitment, selection and retention functions' in strategic human resource management. In the field of human resource planning, forecast recruitment has both negative and positive. ' The positive recruitment is the identified need for more or more highly qualified additional staff and negative recruitment may mean that the retrenchment of existing employees in redundant jobs, or the outsourcing or organisational functions no longer considered essential to the organisation's core business such as payroll administration, cleaning or cafeteria services, information technology support service, and so on.'

The same view with those authors above, Roberts, G. 2006 confirmed the important role of recruitment and selection in human resource planning. 'In recent years, selection in the UK has been the focus of much improvement as organisations recognise pivotal role it plays in the overall human resources strategy. The role of recruitment plays in shaping people's expectations and conditioning their attitudes and contribution on entry, and in gathering a rich source of information on people's skills, values, motivates etc, which can play an essential part in providing the intelligence upon which other human resource policies can be shaped. ' Besides, 'the information on selection ratios at each stage of the process can help human resource planners to determine the viability of achieving increases or reductions in staff members through increased recruitment or natural wastage.'(By Roberts, G. 2006)

According to Rothwell, J, W & Kazanas, C, H. (2003), the role of recruitment and selection is significant role in human resource practice. 'Recruitment consists of activities intended to identify sources of talent to meet organisational needs, and then to attract the right numbers and types of people for the right jobs at the right time and the right places. Selection is the process of searching for and then identifying an appropriate match between the individual the job, the work group, and organisation. Recruitment is thus separate but related efforts.' Recruitment and selection is so important because it will affect the other human resource areas such as:

  1. 'Their knowledge, skills, and abilities upon entry will influence how much training they need.'
  2. 'Their self-concept and career objectives will influence what career planning and management programs are appropriate.'
  3. 'Their attitudes and personal skills will influence what organisational development efforts need to be made in order to improve work-group relations.'
  4. 'Their individual values and abilities will influence job design (the reason is that people will try to personalise their jobs, reshaping work requirements to fit their skills and perhaps even their interests).'
  5. 'Their individual abilities to deal with job-induced stress and personal problems can affect their need for the Employee Assistance Program.'
  6. 'Their perceptions about labour unions can influence potential for unionization.'
  7. 'Their individual desires and expectations can influence appropriate compensation needed to reward, retain and motivate them.'

According to Harrington (2000), 'Recruitment has become the focus of widespread attention in recent years. With record low unemployment and record high levels of turnover (averaging 14% nationally in 2000), some organisations and some regions have had to become innovative in their approaches to attracting and retaining talent'.

Recruitment also plays a: 'major tool for obtaining increasing numbers of appropriately qualified people in a relatively short time. Recruitment of different kinds of people might be the most important issue when the organisation plans to move into new and potentially more profitable businesses or seek closer associations with suppliers, competitors, or distributors. The reason is that new talents will be needed to manage new businesses or deal with concerns of suppliers and other organisations'. (By Rothwell, J, W & Kazanas, C, H. 2003)


Based on the research of Dale, M. (2004), he described that the poor decision or the wrong decision could have 'catastrophic consequences' for both the organisation and the individual manager. 'Even at the basic entry level, a poor trainee, not in tune with the organisation's ethos and aims, can damage production, relationship with suppliers, spoil relationships with customers, and affect the overall quality of service. The new appointee can adversely affect the morale and commitment of co-workers and negate efforts to foster team working. For managers, whose performance is frequently assessed on the basic of their staff, a poor selection decision can reflect very badly on their subsequent achievement.'

In the case, if the manager or the organisation corrects the decision it will be costly. 'Even if it is possible to dismiss the new member of staff quickly, appointment costs will have already been incurred. There is also the cost associated with the time needed to make another appointment. If a poor appointment decision cannot be remedied by ending the individual's contract, living with the consequences can have long-term repercussions.' (by Dale, M. (2004)


Poor decisions are not only affect on the organisation or individual manager but also effect on the individual. The research of Dale, M. (2004) showed that: 'For an individual appointed to the wrong job, there is no easy way out. Trying to be effective in the wrong job can rapidly lead to a loss of self-esteem. It is easy for individuals to blame themselves and assume that they are not up to the job, that their skills are not adequate or that they over-estimated their own level of capability when making the original application. It can be hard for individuals to attribute the cause of their difficulties, especially in the early days, to a badly constructed post, undefined selection criteria, or lack of clarity among members of the appointment panel.'

Another issue of poor decision is that it could be more difficult for individual than employer to find out a respectable way out. As the study of Dale, M. (2004), 'resignation soon after appointment can be risky even when levels of unemployment are low. When these levels are high, finding another job can take months. In any case, appointment mistakes are usually taken as a reflection of the individual's level of competence. Living with the situation can lead to a loss of morale and self-confidence, which in turn can lower future performance levels further, thus making it even harder for the individual to find another job.'


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