Recruitment and selection essentials for companies and organisations (article)

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Derek Stockley explains some key points that guide team leaders and managers through the recruitment and selection process.

Derek Stockley provides training and performance management consulting services from his base in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Derek Stockley can conduct a one day recruitment and selection course in in-house as well as in-house training in job search and selection and interviewing.

I had an interesting discussion with the administration manager of a manufacturing company once. It exposed one simple step missing from the company’s selection process.

Recruitment and selection is a big topic, but I want to highlight what I believe are two critical elements in recruitment and selection processes for companies and organisations.


The use of career and job websites to advertise vacancies is growing. The availability of online recruitment advertising is encouraging companies to do it directly, bypassing the traditional recruitment agencies.

Online job sites are quick, easy to use and inexpensive.

Although these sites offer tools to assist in the shortlisting process, the key challenge still remains.

The important point is to structure the advertisement to attract the right number of qualified candidates - not too many, not too few.

This involves thinking about the employment market and the likely availability of suitable, interested candidates.

The greater the availability, the more specific you can be with the wording of the advert. If you know what you want in terms of attributes, experience and background, and you are confident that you can attract people, be specific. It saves you time and doesn’t unnecessarily raise the expectations of candidates.

The objective is to attract a manageable number of high quality candidates.


A job interview can be more than an interview. Skills can be tested just before or just after the actual interview, or even during the interview itself.

In most positions, the ability to read and write is critical. It only takes a few minutes to have someone complete a task that demonstrates that they have the ability to match the position requirements.

In the case of the manufacturing company mentioned above, they had to terminate a new employee’s employment. He could not do what he claimed he could.

He was employed in a trade, but with the specific intention of operating a particular machine. At his interview, he claimed he had experience in the use of that machine. As everything else was in order, he was hired.

It quickly became obvious that he did not have the necessary skills and experience and hence his services were terminated during the probationary period.

This costly mistake could have been avoided. The selection process could have included some form of practical assessment. The best test would have been to actually set up a job and run it on the machine. If that was not possible, standing next to the machine and asking specific questions about its operation would have quickly confirmed the level of existing knowledge. A number of "what if" questions would have shown his depth of understanding.

When employing staff with a customer service role, I recommend running a quick role play during the interview. The candidate can demonstrate their customer relations skills.

Recruitment and selection success

The 80/20 rule applies to recruitment and selection, that is, 20% of the effort produces 80% of the results.

Various management attitude surveys make the point well:

  • Question: Knowing what you now know, how many of your current employees would you re-employee?

  • Answer: About 60%

Poor employee performance costs Australian employers about $4.3 billion per year.*

In team leader and management training programs I conduct, poor performance is one of the most common issues raised by participants.

A lot of aggravation could be avoided if the effort is placed on getting recruitment and selection processes operating smoothly. It is better to avoid performance problems.

In summary, recruitment and selection success involves many critical elements, but two major ones are:

  • Attracting the right number of candidates through careful targeting of the recruitment advert.

  • Using a variety of methods in the selection process, including practical assessments and roleplays relevant to the position description.

Your personal review

  • If you are an employer, and knowing what you now know about your employee’s performance, how many of your existing staff would you rehire?

  • If you are an employee, and knowing what you now know about your colleagues’ abilities, how many of them would you hire?

  • Does your organisation attract quality candidates?

  • Do your selection methods include activities that enable candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities?

  • Are your processes superior to those achieved by your competitors?


* Quoted in "Getting the Edge in the New People Economy" - Future Foundation/SHL 2004 - from a study that estimated the cost of performance in a number of countries.

See also: Good employee selection practices makes a difference - discusses the difference good employee selection practices make. Many staff performance issues can be avoided if a little extra care is taken.

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