What is Recruitment? Meaning, Definition, Process, Source, Techniques, Alternatives

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What is Recruitment?

Recruitment is the process of attracting and identifying a pool of candidates, from which some will be chosen for employment.

What is Recruitment
What is Recruitment

Recruitment Meaning

Human resources are the most important assets of an organization. The success or failure of an organization is largely dependent on the caliber of the people working therein. Without positive and creative contributions from people, organizations cannot progress and prosper.

In order to achieve the goals or perform the activities of an organization, therefore, we need to recruit people with requisite skills, qualifications and experience. While doing so, we have to keep the present as well as the future requirements of the organization in mind.

Organizations have to recruit people with requisite skills, qualifications and experience if they have to survive and flourish in a highly competitive environment.

Recruitment Definition

According to Edwin B Flippo, Recruitment is the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in the organization.

DeCenzo and Robbins define it as Recruitment is the process of discovering potential candidates for actual or anticipated organizational vacancies. Or from another perspective, it is a linking activity—bringing together those with jobs to fill and those seeking jobs.

According to Plumbley, Recruitment is a matching process and the capacities and inclinations of the candidates have to be matched against the demand and rewards inherent in a given job or career pattern.

Recruitment Process

The major steps of the recruitment process are stated as:

  1. Job Design
  2. Opening Job Position
  3. Collecting and Presenting Job Resumes
  4. Job Interviews
  5. Job Offer

Job Design

Job design is the most important part of the recruitment process. The job design is a phase about the design of the job profile and a clear agreement between the line manager and the HRM Function.

The Job Design is about the agreement about the profile of the ideal job candidate and the agreement about the skills and competencies, which are essential. The information gathered can be used during other steps of the recruitment process to speed it up.

Opening Job Position

The Opening of the Job Position is generally the job of the HR Recruiter. Skilled and experienced HR Recruiter should decide about the right mix of recruitment sources to find the best candidates for the job position. This is another key step in the recruitment process.

Collecting and Presenting Job Resumes

The next step is collecting of job resumes and their pre-selection. This step in the recruitment process is very important today as many organizations lose a lot of time in this step.

Today, the organization cannot wait with the pre-selection of the job resumes. Generally, this should be the last step done purely by the HRM Function.

Job Interviews

The job interviews are the main step in the recruitment process, which should be clearly designed and agreed between HRM and line management.

The job interview should discover the job candidate, who meets the requirements and fits best the corporate culture and the department.

Job Offer

The job offer is the last step of the recruitment process, which is done by the HRM Function, it finalizes all the other steps and the winner of the job interviews gets the offer from the organization to join.

Recruitment Techniques

Recruitment techniques are the means or media by which management contacts prospective employees or provide necessary information or exchange ideas or stimulate them to apply for jobs.

Recruitment techniques are:

  1. Internal Methods: They are for recruiting internal candidates. These include methods like:

    (a) Promotion & Transfers
    (b) Job Posting
    (c) Employee Referrals

  2. Direct Methods: These include sending travelling recruiters to educational and professional institutions and employees’ contacts with the public.

    (a) Campus Recruitment

Nature of Recruitment

Recruitment involves the following features:

  • Recruitment is the first step of appointment.
  • It is a continuous process.
  • It is a process of identifying sources of human force, attracting and motivating them to apply for jobs in organizations.
  • It is a development manpower or to work at the last stage.
  • It is a positive process.

  • It fulfills needs, both the present, and the future.

Purpose of Recruitment

  • Finding out and developing the source here required number and kind of employees will be available.

  • Developing suitable techniques to attract the desirable candidate.

  • Employing the technique to attract employees.

  • Stimulating as many candidates as possible and asking them to apply for jobs irrespective of the number of candidates required in order to increase the selection ratio (i.e., number of application per one job vacancy) due to lower yield ratio.

Difference Between Recruitment and Selection

  • Recruitment means searching for sources of labor and stimulating people to apply for jobs, whereas selection means selecting of right kind of people for various jobs.

  • Recruitment is a positive process whereas selection is a negative process.

  • It creates a large pool of applicants whereas selection leads to a screening of unsuitable candidates.

  • Recruitment is a simple process, it involves contracting the various sources of labor whereas selection is a complex and time-consuming process. The candidate has to clear a number of hurdles before they are selected for a job.

Sources of Recruitment

A source from where candidates are identified, attracted and selected can be classified into two: Internal Sources and External Sources.

Modes of Recruitment are:

  1. Transfers
  2. Promotions
  3. Retired and Retrenched Employees
  4. Employee Referrals
  5. Job Postings
  6. Deceased and Disabled Employees
  7. Campus Recruitments
  8. Management Consultants
  9. Advertisements
  10. Trade Associations
  11. Walk in Interview
  12. Job Fairs

Internal Sources

This approach includes recruiting, developing and promoting the employees from within the organization. Internal recruitments are cost-effective, more reliable as the organization is aware of the candidate’s skillset and knowledge and it also motivates the employees and increases their commitment towards the organization. Internal sourcing can be done in the following ways:


An employee may be shifted from one job to another internally generally of the same level. The roles and responsibilities of the employees might change but not necessarily the salary. This helps the employees to get motivated and try something new, helps them break the monotony of the old job and encourages them to grow by gaining more knowledge.


As recognition of their efficiency and experience the employees are moved from a position to a higher position. There is a change in their duties and responsibilities accompanied with a change in salary and status. It helps the employee to grow vertically in the organization. It refrains him from leaving the company for greener pastures.

Retired and Retrenched Employees

Retired and retrenched employees may also be recruited back in case there is high demand and shortage of supply in the industry or there is sudden increase in work load. These employees are already aware of the processes, procedures and culture of the organization hence they prove to be cost effective.

Employee Referrals

In this case each employee of the company acts as a recruiter. The employees are encouraged to recommend the names of their friends or relatives working in other organizations. For this they are even rewarded monetarily.

The benefit of employee referral is that the potential candidate gets first hand information about the job and organization culture from the already working employee. Since he knows what he is getting into he is expected to stay longer in the organization. Also since the credibility of those who recommend is at stake, they tend to recommend those who are highly motivated and competent.

Job Postings

The Company posts the current and expected vacancy on bulletin boards, electronic media and similar common portals. This gives an opportunity to the employees to undertake career shift and help them grow within the company.

Deceased and Disabled Employees

In order to make the families of the deceased and disabled employees self-sufficient their relatives or dependents may be offered a job in case of any vacancy.

Advantage of Internal Sourcing

  • Internal recruitment is less time consuming and economical.

  • It is reliable as the organization is aware of the employee’s knowledge and skill set.

  • There is no need of induction and training as the employee is already aware of the processes, procedures and culture of the organization.

  • It increases the motivation level of the employees as they look forward to getting a higher job in the organization instead of looking for greener pastures outside.

  • It boosts the morale of the employees, improves their relations with the organization and reduces employee turnover.

  • It develops the spirit of loyalty in the employees, ensures continuity of employment and organizational stability.

Disadvantage of Internal Sourcing

  • Internal sourcing prevents new blood, originality and innovative ideas from entering the organization.

  • The scope is limited as not all the vacancies can be filled by the limited pool of talent available in the organization.

  • The position of the person who is transferred or promoted falls vacant.

  • It can create dissatisfaction amongst the rest of the employees as there can be bias or partiality in promoting an employee in the organization.

External Sources

New candidates are recruited from outside the organization by different means and methods. It is more commonly used than internal sources. External recruitments are helpful in acquiring skills that are not possessed by the current employees; it also helps to bring onboard employees from different backgrounds that get a diversity of ideas on the table.

Campus Recruitments

When companies are in search of fresh talents and are focusing on knowledge, communication skill and talent than experience, they approach management colleges, technical institutes etc. The company makes a presentation about its organization in order to attract the students.

Whoever finds it matching with their career plans applies for the job. These applicants are then made to go through series of selection processes like analytical and psychological tests, group discussions, interviews etc before the final selection is done.

Management Consultants

Management consultants act as representatives of the employer. They perform the recruitment function on behalf of the client company by charging them fees or commissions. These consultants are able to tailor their services according to the specific needs of the clients thus relieving the line managers from their recruitment function.


This media of recruitment is very popular and commonly used as it reaches out a wide range of people. It can also be targeted at a specific group or a particular geographic area by choosing a specific newspaper, radio channel etc. e.g Business journal.

In certain advertisements company name, job description and salary packages are mentioned. There are blind advertisements as well where no identification of the firm is given. These advertisements are published mostly when the organization wants to fill an internal vacancy or planning to displace an existing employee.

Trade Associations

There are associations that create a database of job seekers and provide it to its members during regional or national conventions. They also publish classified advertisements for employers interested in recruiting their members.

Walk in Interview

Another upcoming method of recruitment is walk-in interviews. There is no time and meeting schedule for each individual. An advertisement regarding the time and the location of the interview is given in the newspaper. The candidates are required to carry their CVs and directly appear for the interview. It is a very common mode of recruitment amongst BPOs and call centres.

Job Fairs

Job fairs are an effective way of getting in touch with potential employees and candidates. There are HR hiring managers of various companies under one roof. Information and business cards can be exchanged and resumes can be submitted by the candidates.

Employers can spot the right applicants, similarly the applicants can apply in many organizations together, wherever they feel the offer is best and suits their interest.

Advantage of External Sourcing

  • New and young blood enters the organization, which have innovative ideas, new approaches that can help to stir up the existing employees.

  • It offers a wider pool for selection. Companies can pick up candidates with requisite qualification.

  • It creates a competitive environment as it helps the existing employees to work harder in order to match the standard that the new employees bring in.

  • It leads to long term benefits to the organization. Talented pools of people bring along with them new methods of working and new approaches to situations that helps the organization to stay abreast with the competitive world outside.

Disadvantage of External Sourcing

  • It is a time consuming process as it involves attracting the right candidates, screening them, going through a series of tests and interviews etc. When suitable candidates are not available this process has to be repeated again and again.

  • This process proves to be very expensive for the organization as the companies have to resort to advertisements, hiring consultants etc for attracting the right pool of talent.

  • It can lower the morale and demotivate the existing employees as they can feel that their services have not been recognized.

  • It is less reliable than internal sourcing. Since the organizations hire candidates on the basis of their resumes, tests, interviews etc they may not turn out to be as expected. It may end up hiring someone who ends up being a misfit and may not be able to adjust in the new set up.

Alternatives to Recruitment

Recruitment and selection is a costly and time-consuming process. Moreover, it gets onboard permanent employees which are hard to be separated in case they do not perform as per the requirement or if there is overstaffing due to less work due to market demand fluctuations.

Hence to fight back the temporary phases of high market demand for firm’s products, companies might resort to alternatives to recruitment that are stated below:

  1. Overtime
  2. Temporary Employees
  3. Sub-contracting
  4. Employee Leasing
  5. Outsourcing


In order to fulfill the extra demand of the firm’s products which lead to excess work load, some employees are asked to work overtime under some terms and conditions. Overtime is the amount of time that someone works beyond the working hours.

In such a case employee gets extra wages as per the contract signed between the employee and the employer. The disadvantage is that the employee might not work to his full potential during the day in order to earn overtime.

Temporary Employees

A temporary employee is appointed for a period that does not last for long. It is to fill a short term position which is scheduled to be terminated within one or more years for reasons as the completion of a specific project or peak workload.

This helps the company in avoiding expenses of recruitment, saves time involved, and help avoid the negative impact of labor turnover etc. However temporary employees might not be very loyal to the company, their inexperience may affect the work output and they tend to take time to adjust.


To complete a specific project or fulfill a sudden temporary increase in the demand of the company’s products, the company might resort to subcontracting. It is the practice of assigning part of the obligations, tasks and responsibilities to another party under a contract known as subcontractor.

Hiring an outside specialist agency to undertake part of the work leads to mutual advantages in such cases as the company would like to expand on its own only when the increased demand lasts for a specified period of time.

Employee Leasing

An employee leasing firm specializes in recruitment, training, human resource management, payroll accounting and risk administration. The leasing firm also takes care of the work supervision, daily duties and other routine aspects of work.

For example a nursing services firm hires many nurses and provides them to hospitals on a contract basis. It provides an advantage to the organization to change its employees without actual layoffs.


Under outsourcing a business process is contracted out to a third party, the reason behind outsourcing are many. It reduces the need to hire and train specialized staff as it is sourced out to someone specializing in that area possessing the resources and expertise that leads to competitive superiority over time.

It also helps to reduce capital and operating expenses and helps avoid burdensome regulations, high taxes, labour union contracts etc.

Role Profiles for Recruitment Purposes

Role profiles, define the overall purpose of the role, its reporting relationships and key result areas. They may also include the list of competencies required. They may be technical (skills and knowledge required to do a specific job) and behavioral competencies attached to the role.

The profile also includes the terms and conditions (pay, benefits, hours of work, mobility, travelling, transfers, training, development and career opportunities). The recruitment role provides the basis for person specification.

Person Specifications

A person specification also known as recruitment, job or personnel specification is the essential element on which the selection procedure is based. It is the sum total of education, training, experience, qualification a person has to perform the job assigned to him.

When the job requirement have been specified, they should be categories under suitable heads. The basic categories include qualification, technical and behavioural competencies.

There are also a number of traditional schemes. The most popular include the seven-point plan developed by Alec Rodgers in 1952 and the five-point grading system developed by Munro Fraser in 1954. These give certain headings under which attributes of an ideal candidate can be classified.

Seven Point Plan

  • Physical make up: Health, physique, appearance, bearing and speech
  • Attainments: Education, qualifications, experience
  • General intelligence: Fundamental intellectual capacity
  • Special aptitudes: Mechanical, manual dexterity, facility in use of words or figures
  • Interest: Social, intellectual, physically active, constructional
  • Disposition: Acceptability, influence over others, steadiness, dependability, selfreliance
  • Circumstances: Domestic circumstances, occupations of family.

Five-fold Grading System

  • Impact on others: Physical make-up, appearance, speech and manner
  • Acquired knowledge or qualification: Education, vocational training, work experience
  • Innate abilities: Natural quickness of comprehension and aptitude for learning
  • Motivation: The kind of goals set by the individual, his or her consistency and determination in following them up, and success in achieving them
  • Adjustment: Emotional stability, ability to stand up stress and ability to get on with people.

Attracting Candidates

Attracting candidates is primarily a matter of identifying, evaluating and using the most appropriate sources of applicants. However, where suitable sources of recruitment are not there, then the analysis of factors contributing to the recruitment in an organization need to be analyzed. Various factors to be taken under consideration are as follows:

Internal Factors

  • Company’s pay package
  • Quality of Work Life
  • Organizational culture
  • Career planning & growth
  • Company’s size
  • Company’s products/services
  • Company’s growth rate
  • Role of trade union
  • Cost of recruitment
  • Company’s name & fame

External Factors

  1. Socio-economic factors
  2. Supply and demand factors
  3. Employment rate
  4. Labour market condition
  5. Political, Legal & Govt. factors
  6. Information System

Effective Recruiting

Recruitment must be speedy, but a cautious process. A wrong move can have a disastrous impact on the undertaking. A few measures can be taken to reduce the negative impact. They are:

  1. Brand Image Creation
  2. Stating clear Definition of Employee Requirements
  3. Applications Receiving Sources
  4. Screening of Applications
  5. Selection Process
  6. Maintain a Candidate Pool
  7. Recruitment Policy
  8. Internal and External Sources

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