Recruitment refers to the process of attracting, screening, and selecting qualified people for a job. For some components of the recruitment process, mid- and large-size organizations often retain professional recruiters or outsource some of the process to recruitment agencies.
The recruitment industry has four main types of agencies: employment agencies, recruitment websites and job search engines, “headhunters” for executive and professional recruitment, and niche agencies which specialize in a particular area of staffing. Some organizations use employer branding strategy and in-house recruitment instead of agencies. Recruitment-related functions are generally carried out by an organization’s human resources staff.
The stages in recruitment include sourcing candidates by advertising or other methods, screening potential candidates using tests and/or interviews, selecting candidates based on the results of the tests and/or interviews, and on-boarding to ensure the candidate is able to fulfill their new role effectively.
A “headhunter” is an industry term for a third-party recruiter who seeks out candidates often when normal recruitment efforts have failed. Headhunters are generally considered more aggressive than in-house recruiters or may have pre-existing industry experience and contacts. They may use advanced sales techniques such as initially posing as clients to gather employee contacts as well as visiting candidate offices. They may also purchase expensive lists of names and job titles but more often will generate their own lists. They may arrange a meeting or a formal interview between their client and the candidate and will usually prepare the candidate for the interview, help negotiate the salary and conduct closure to the search. They are frequently members in good standing of industry trade groups and associations. Headhunters will often attend trade shows and other meetings nationally or even internationally that may be attended by potential candidates and hiring managers.
Headhunters are typically small operations that make high margins on candidate placements (sometimes more than 30% of the candidate’s annual compensation). Due to their higher costs, headhunters are usually employed to fill senior management and executive level roles. Headhunters are also used to recruit very specialized individuals; for example, in some fields, such as emerging scientific research areas, there may only be a handful of top-level professionals who are active in the field. In this case, since there are so few qualified candidates, it makes more sense to directly recruit them one-by-one, rather than advertise internationally for candidates. While in-house recruiters tend to attract candidates for specific jobs, headhunters will attract both candidates and actively seek them out as well. To do so, they may network, cultivate relationships with various companies, maintain large databases, purchase company directories or candidate lists and cold call prospective recruits.
Headhunters are increasingly using social media to find and research candidates. This approach is often called social recruiting.
Specialized recruiters exist to seek staff with a very narrow specialty. Because of their focus, these firms can very often produce superior results due to their ability to channel all of their resources into networking for a very specific skill set. This specialization in staffing allows them to offer more jobs for their specific demographic which in turn attracts more specialized candidates from that specific demographic over time building large proprietary databases. These niche firms tend to be more focused on building ongoing relationships with their candidates as is very common the same candidates are placed many times throughout their careers. Niche firms also develop knowledge on specific employment trends within their industry of focus (e.g. The energy industry) and are able to identify demographic shifts such as aging and its impact on the industry.
For more details on this topic, see Social recruiting.
Social recruiting is the use of social media for recruiting
A employee referral program is a system where existing employees recommend prospective candidates for the job offered, and if the suggested candidate is hired, the employee who referred receives a cash bonus.
In some cases the Organization provides the Employee referral bonus only if the referred employee stays with the organization for stipulated time duration (most cases 3 – 6 months). Referral bonus depends on the grade of the referred employee, higher the grade higher the bonus however the method is not used for senior level hiring.
Under pressure to reduce costs, both large- and medium-sized employers tend to undertake their own in-house recruitment, using their human resources department, front-line hiring managers and recruitment personnel who handle targeted functions and populations. In addition to coordinating with the agencies mentioned above, in-house recruiters may advertise job vacancies on their own websites, coordinate internal employee referrals, work with external associations, trade groups and/or focus on campus graduate recruitment. Some large employers choose to outsource all or some of their recruitment process (recruitment process outsourcing) however a much more common approach is for employers to introduce referral schemes where employees are encouraged to source new staff from within their own network.
Executive Research Firms and Sourcing Firms
These firms are the new hybrid firms in the recruitment world able to combine the research aspects (discovering passive candidates) of recruiting and combine them with the ability to make hires for their clients. These firms provide competitive passive candidate intelligence to support companies’ recruiting efforts. Normally they will generate varying degrees of candidate information from those people currently engaged in the position a company is looking to fill. These firms usually charge a daily rate or fixed rate. Many times this uncovers names that cannot be found with other methods and will allow internal recruiters the ability to focus their efforts solely on recruiting.
Executive Research began as an extension of ‘headhunting’ or ‘executive search’ businesses. Initially used to support advertising strategies, executive research quickly overshadowed advertisements as a much more focused and successful alternative.
The ability of researchers to pinpoint top talent – passive or otherwise – gave the headhunting businesses a much higher success rate and quicker turnaround time, especially with the harder to fill vacancies.
Soon the gap in the market became apparent, and executive research moved away from ‘in-house’ to a more main stream market, although still remaining ‘behind the scenes’ in the recruitment industry.
More recently, the economic downturn has forced businesses to review their recruitment practices that have resulted in them working directly with the research firms. By removing the ‘middleman’ businesses have direct access to much more cost-effective solutions, and have been able to retain a firmer grasp on their recruitment drives and processes. Business also have access to full disclosure on market intelligence which has proven to be vital for more forward thinking businesses, especially with regards to succession planning.
The proper start to a recruitment effort is to perform a job analysis, to document the actual or intended requirement of the job to be performed. This information is captured in a job description and provides the recruitment effort with the boundaries and objectives of the search. Oftentimes a company will have job descriptions that represent a historical collection of tasks performed in the past. These job descriptions need to be reviewed or updated prior to a recruitment effort to reflect present day requirements. Starting a recruitment with an accurate job analysis and job description ensures the recruitment effort starts off on a proper track for success.
Sourcing involves 1) advertising, a common part of the recruiting process, often encompassing multiple media, such as the Internet, general newspapers, job ad newspapers, professional publications, window advertisements, job centers, and campus graduate recruitment programs; and 2) recruiting research, which is the proactive identification of relevant talent who may not respond to job postings and other recruitment advertising methods done in #1. This initial research for so-called passive prospects, also called name-generation, results in a list of prospects who can then be contacted to solicit interest, obtain a resume/CV, and be screened (see below).
Screening and Selection
Suitability for a job is typically assessed by looking for skills, e.g. communication, typing, and computer skills. Qualifications may be shown through résumés, job applications, interviews, educational or professional experience, the testimony of references, or in-house testing, such as for software knowledge, typing skills, numeracy, and literacy, through psychological tests or employment testing. Other resume screening criteria may include length of service, job titles and length of time at a job. In some countries, employers are legally mandated to provide equal opportunity in hiring. Business management software is used by many recruitment agencies to automate the testing process. Many recruiters and agencies are using an applicant tracking system to perform many of the filtering tasks, along with software tools for psychometric testing.
“Onboarding” is a term which describes the process of helping new employees become productive members of an organization. A well-planned introduction helps new employees become fully operational quickly and is often integrated with a new company and environment. Onboarding is included in the recruitment process for retention purposes. Many companies have onboarding campaigns in hopes to retain top talent that is new to the company; campaigns may last anywhere from 1 week to 6 months.
Internet Recruitment and Websites
Such sites have two main features: job boards and a résumé/curriculum vitae (CV) database. Job boards allow member companies to post job vacancies. Alternatively, candidates can upload a résumé to be included in searches by member companies. Fees are charged for job postings and access to search resumes. Since the late 1990s, the recruitment website has evolved to encompass end-to-end recruitment. Websites capture candidate details and then pool them in client accessed candidate management interfaces (also online). Key players in this sector provide e-recruitment software and services to organizations of all sizes and within numerous industry sectors, who want to e-enable entirely or partly their recruitment process in order to improve business performance.
The online software provided by those who specialize in online recruitment helps organizations attract, test, recruit, employ and retain quality staff with a minimal amount of administration. Online recruitment websites can be very helpful to find candidates that are very actively looking for work and post their resumes online, but they will not attract the “passive” candidates who might respond favorably to an opportunity that is presented to them through other means. Also, some candidates who are actively looking to change jobs are hesitant to put their resumes on the job boards, for fear that their companies, co-workers, customers or others might see their resumes.
Job Search Engines
The emergence of meta-search engines allows job-seekers to search across multiple websites. Some of these new search engines index and list the advertisements of traditional job boards. These sites tend to aim for providing a “one-stop shop” for job-seekers. However, there are many other job search engines which index solely from employers’ websites, choosing to bypass traditional job boards entirely. These vertical search engines allow job-seekers to find new positions that may not be advertised on traditional job boards, and online recruitment websites.