Employee Recruitment Planning

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Employee Recruitment Planning


Ideally, organizations should attempt to identify job openings well in advance of an announced resignation. The human resource (HR) department should plan for future openings in both the short and long term. The projection of future openings provides organizations with the time needed to plan and implement recruitment strategies so that they do not fall prey to the must-hire-by-last-week syndrome. The HR plan should answer at least the following questions:

  • Are any newly budgeted positions opening soon?
  • Is a contract under negotiation that may result in the need for additional hires?
  • What is the amount of expected turnover in the next several months?


The first question to ask after determining that an opening exists is Do we need to find a new person to fill the vacant position? Sometimes it is unnecessary to staff a vacant position because the firm can rely on other alternatives. For instance, it may be more prudent to provide overtime opportunities to current workers to complete the needed work. Other alternatives include job elimination and job redesign (i.e., incorporating the tasks of the vacant position into currently existing positions). If the firm chooses to fill the vacancy, it must address two issues: (1) whether to outsource, and (2) in the absence of outsourcing, whether to recruit candidates internally or externally.


Now the organization must determine what types of individuals it is looking for to fill the vacant positions. To address this question, an organization must define its target population. Two issues arise here: (1) specifying worker requirements and (2) deciding whether to target a certain segment of the applicant population.

An organization must identify specific requirements of the job: the duties, reporting relationships, salary range for hiring, and competencies required of a new worker (e.g., education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities). Ideally, much of this information will have been gathered during a job analysis and thus will be contained in the job description. If not, the recruiter should gather it from the hiring manager. An organization must also decide at this point whether to target all qualified applicants or to focus its recruitment efforts on certain segments of the qualified applicant population.

When recruiting internally, the issue is this: Should the company post the job so that all qualified employees can be considered? Or should the company select certain high-potential employees and groom them for the position? When recruiting externally, the company must decide whether to inform all potential applicants or target certain types. Companies may reap advantages when they target members of certain groups. Another strategy is to target graduates of specific schools that have exceptionally strong programs in the functional areas of concern. Additionally, some companies target top-performing employees working for other companies. Recruitment of such individuals poses some unique problems, however; these individuals may be difficult to reach because they are not actively seeking a new job. Moreover, the practice of pirating employees from other firms raises some serious ethical questions.


Once an applicant population has been targeted, the company must determine how to notify these individuals of the vacant position. A variety of recruitment methods may be used for communicating vacancies. A firm can benefit from both low-involvement and high-involvement strategies at this stage of the recruitment process. Low-involvement strategies are things such as corporate sponsorship or advertisements of the company's product or service may influence applicants' positive perceptions of that firm and therefore increase applicant attraction, but do not specifically identify a job opening. High-involvement recruitment strategies involve things such as detailed recruitment advertisements or employee endorsements, which occur when potential applicants meet with current employees to hear more about their experiences with that company. Both low-involvement and high-involvement strategies have a positive effect on the number of applicants who apply for jobs with an organization and on the quality of the applicants who apply.

When choosing a specific way to notify the target population, different recruitment methods may be used. Some popular options are internal job postings; newspaper, radio, and television advertisements; trade magazine advertisements; Internet job sites; college campus interviews; and current employee referrals. The choice of which to use depends on the number of positions to be filled, the cost of each recruitment method, the characteristics of the target audience, and economic conditions.

The more positions to be filled, the more widely the firm may choose to advertise, perhaps using a newspaper or radio advertisement. Costs differ for recruitment methods and a firm may be willing to invest more in recruitment when suitable applicants are difficult to find or when poor hiring decisions may be costly. The characteristics of the target audience influence recruitment method; for example, using an Internet posting would be fruitless if most of the applicant pool is unlikely to have access to a computer. Poor economic conditions, where unemployment is high, will result in higher numbers of job applicants and possibly a lower average level of quality of applicants. In this situation, to avoid spending an inordinate amount of time weeding through applications, firms must discourage all but the best applicants from applying.


Finally, the most qualified candidates are brought in for interviews and other assessment procedures. These serve both selection and recruitment purposes. From a selection perspective, they give the firm a chance to further assess the candidates' qualifications. From a recruitment perspective, they provide the candidates with an opportunity to learn more about the employment opportunity.

Candidates should be provided with information about the company and the job. Failure to provide a sufficient amount of information could be detrimental to the recruiting process. For example, it may be interpreted by the candidates as an attempt to evade discussion of unattractive job attributes, or it may be viewed as an indication of the recruiter's disinterest in them. Without specific information, applicants might accept a job offer without knowing about aspects of it that might affect their long-term job satisfaction, or they may refuse an offer without knowing about some of the job's attractive attributes.


Bea Quirk, in a 2008 article for the Charlotte Business Journal, spotlights a system of recruitment called KASH, which stands for knowledge, attitudes, skills, and habits. These are four of the most important qualities to know about potential employees before hiring. Recruitment policies, according to Quirk, should focus on discovering the KASH qualities of potential employees. Résumés often help to identity the knowledge and skills job seekers have in the form of experience. Attitudes and habits are

harder to define, but employers should seek for those in interviews, using in-depth questions to help find the more ingrained practices of employees.


According to a 2008 NORAS report, online job seekers in the United Kingdom have grown by 50 percent within the last year alone. In America, many companies are looking to change the way they use online job boards, giving more attention to using the Internet as a chief recruitment tool. Companies are seeking to cut costs and increase the effectiveness of their recruiting efforts, which means the increase in seeking employees online will continue to grow as a cheap, efficient way to contact a skilled workforce. With online job ads producing quick results at very little cost, companies are seeking new ways to use online tools for recruitment purposes.

Job boards are the most common way to advertise for positions online, whether a company chooses to use a specialty job board to fill a particular position, or a general job board to attract a wide range of job seekers. There are other electronic recruitment methods as well; many companies are using their corporate Web sites as an outreach to job seekers, while others are making use of mass emailing and intranet, in-company recruitment. Companies can also use online recruitment techniques to spread their name and improve their brand-every internet post for job seekers is an ability for companies to advertise themselves.

Social networks are also becoming an important recruitment tool for businesses. Sites such as MySpace and Facebook draw a great number of job seekers, many with newly developed skills. This is a new market for recruitment endeavors, and businesses are still exploring how to use social networks effectively. Employers can set up personalized recruitment pages on MySpace to communicate their messages and seek to fill specific positions. Other applications for networks such as Facebook allow for the creation of résumés and job-seeking profiles. Some companies use social networks as a tool to review potential employees before hiring.


A 2008 article by Penelope Trunk, Advantage, Employees, suggests that the new wave of recruitment tools, including online advertising and social networking, will make more traditional methods, such as résumés, increasingly obsolete. Job listings, currently overloaded with information, may eventually become inefficient, background noise to the talented job seekers who are looking for more than a detailed report on job functions. As Trunk advises, there may be other ways to appeal to the most skilled employees, different recruiting methods that focus more on value-propositions and personal advancement than time-consuming lists of job qualifications and necessary experience.

Encouraging employee advancementboth within and outside of the companyis an excellent way to attract ambitious and talented job seekers. For instance, when an employee leaves the company, their manager can send out a public notice thanking them for a job well done. If they are moving to a different organization or a better position, the note can include congratulations for the employee's success as well as appreciation for the mark they left on the company. Employers can also use the opportunity for advancement and experience as a company advantage, advertising themselves as a stepping stone to reach higher positions or more prestigious businesses.

Many potential employees are concerned with who they will be working with and for. A thoughtful manager can put in a good word for the employee when they move on, give them important and necessary skills for their jobs, and coach them into better emotional intelligence and stronger values. Employees will be looking for these sorts of opportunities, so Trunk suggests companies advertise the qualities of their managers and employees as well the functions of the job. Outlining the advantages of working under a particular supervisor or executive is a great way to attract serious and skilled workers who are looking for a strong relationship with their company.

Recruiters also play a large role in the employment process, often working closely with job seekers to find them the best positions available. Job seekers will even spend a large amount of time working with recruitment agencies or online boards looking for suitable jobs. Because of this time spent with recruiters, employees will often have loyalty to their connectors. In the rapid transitions common today among workers, employees can be more comfortable with their recruiters than with the companies they currently work for. For this reason, employers should be sure to have an equally friendly relationship with recruiters. If recruiters know and respect organizations, they will be more likely to recommend suitable employees for the right positions.

Job seekers also belong to many communities outside of the business world. Companies can capitalize on these small communities by advertising opportunities and services meant specifically for them. For instance, managers and recruitment officers can become parts of blog networks specializing in computer software or engineering, where they can keep up on technological advancements and find the talent they need for their positions. Other communities with blogs and activities that companies can become a part of include working mothers, sports enthusiasts, and environmental activists.


There are a number of methods companies should avoid when putting their recruitment plans into practice. For

instance, many businesses have the necessary talent within their organizations, but are too busy looking outside to recruit the skilled employees they already have. Others try to look for a mirror-replacement to the employee they have lost, duplicates with the same attitudes and skills, when companies can benefit more from employees with new experience and outlooks on the position. Some employers forget to include their employees in the recruitment process, or attempt to find the perfect employee without noticing the talents of the job seekers they interview.

SEE ALSO Employee Screening and Selection; Human Resource Management


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Collins, C.J., and J. Han. Exploring Applicant Pool Quantity and Quality: The Effects of Early Recruitment Practice Strategies, Corporate Advertising, and Firm Reputation. Personnel Psychology 57 (2004): 684717.

Kleiman, L.S. Human Resource Management: A Tool for Competitive Advantage. Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing, 2000.

Online Recruitment Is Best Money Saver. Personneltoday, 2008. Available from: http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2008/02/29/44652/online-recruitment-is-best-money-saver.html.

Procedure for Online Recruitment and Selection. Silicon Valley Resources, 2008. Available from: http://www.siliconvalleyresources.com/recruitment/the-procedure-for-online-recruitment-and-selection.

Quirk, Bea. Create an Employment Recruitment Strategy. Charlotte Business Journal. 18, April 2008.

Santonocito, Paula. Online Social Networking: What It Really Means for Employees. Online Recruitment Magazine. Beyond.com, 2008.

Top 10 Employee Recruitment Methods. SmallBiz, 2008. Available from: http://www.smsmallbiz.com/benefits/Top_10_Employee_Recruitment_Mistakes.html.

Trunk, Penelope. Advantages, Employees. Boston.com. 2008. Available from: http://www.boston.com/jobs/news/articles/2008/02/17/advantage_employees/

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