Employee Motivation, the Organizational Environment and Productivity

Human resource management functions and strategy

Human Resource Management

Function 2: Recruitment and selection of employees

Recruitment of staff should be preceded by:

An analysis of the job to be done (i.e. an analytical study of the tasks to be performed to determine their essential factors) written into a job description so that the selectors know what physical and mental characteristics applicants must possess, what qualities and attitudes are desirable and what characteristics are a decided disadvantage;

  • In the case of replacement staff a critical questioning of the need to recruit at all (replacement should rarely be an automatic process).
  • Effectively, selection is 'buying' an employee (the price being the wage or salary multiplied by probable years of service) hence bad buys can be very expensive. For that reason some firms (and some firms for particular jobs) use external expert consultants for recruitment and selection.
  • Equally some small organizations exist to 'head hunt', i.e. to attract staff with high reputations from existing employers to the recruiting employer. However, the 'cost' of poor selection is such that, even for the mundane day-to-day jobs, those who recruit and select should be well trained to judge the suitability of applicants.

The main sources of recruitment are:

  • Internal promotion and internal introductions (at times desirable for morale purposes)
  • Careers officers (and careers masters at schools)
  • University appointment boards
  • Agencies for the unemployed
  • Advertising (often via agents for specialist posts) or the use of other local media (e.g. commercial radio)

Where the organization does its own printed advertising it is useful if it has some identifying logo as its trade mark for rapid attraction and it must take care not to offend the sex, race, etc. antidiscrimination legislation either directly or indirectly. The form on which the applicant is to apply (personal appearance, letter of application, completion of a form) will vary according to the posts vacant and numbers to be recruited.

It is very desirable in many jobs that claim about experience and statements about qualifications are thoroughly checked and that applicants unfailingly complete a health questionnaire (the latter is not necessarily injurious to the applicants chance of being appointed as firms are required to employ a percentage of disabled people).

Before letters of appointment are sent any doubts about medical fitness or capacity (in employments where hygiene considerations are dominant) should be resolved by requiring applicants to attend a medical examination. This is especially so where, as for example in the case of apprentices, the recruitment is for a contractual period or involves the firm in training costs.

Interviewing can be carried out by individuals (e.g. supervisor or departmental manager), by panels of interviewers or in the form of sequential interviews by different experts and can vary from a five minute 'chat' to a process of several days. Ultimately personal skills in judgment are probably the most important, but techniques to aid judgment include selection testing for:

  • Aptitudes (particularly useful for school leavers)
  • Attainments
  • General intelligence

(All of these need skilled testing and assessment.) In more senior posts other techniques are:

  • Leaderless groups
  • Command exercises
  • Group problem solving

(These are some common techniques - professional selection organizations often use other techniques to aid in selection.)

Training in interviewing and in appraising candidates is clearly essential to good recruitment. Largely the former consists of teaching interviewers how to draw out the interviewee and the latter how to xratex the candidates. For consistency (and as an aid to checking that) rating often consists of scoring candidates for experience, knowledge, physical/mental capabilities, intellectual levels, motivation, prospective potential, leadership abilities etc. (according to the needs of the post). Application of the normal curve of distribution to scoring eliminates freak judgments.

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