Best Practices for Recruitment and Criteria for Selection

Recruitment and selection are the major functions of the Human Resources department and it is the first step towards attracting competitive strength which can further assist in gaining competitive advantage over the other organizations.Recruitment and Selection
The general method of recruitment followed by most companies is
1. Identifying a vacancy
2. Preparing job description and job specification
3. Reviewing CV data base (If you find right people for the right position then its fine otherwise you will have to post an add to get to the suitable candidates for the jobs)
4. Short listing applicants, who possess the right blend of competences and competencies for the vacant position
5. Scheduling interviews
6. Conducting interviews
7. Selection
The last step of hiring an applicant is equally important. The general criteria of selection is
1. Evaluating technical expertise
2. Motivation and enthusiasm
3. Compatibility
4. Communication and interpersonal skills
5. Leadership/management qualities
6. Reliability
7. Etiquette
8. General knowledge
9. Cost effectiveness (value for money)
10. Any other trait(s)
Kindly share innovative ideas on how the conventional recruitment cycle can be improved further. Moreover, If you were to finalize a prospect from a list of 10 applicants , all equally sound in their technical expertise, which trait(s) would be most important to you and why?
As an example, I would rather opt for a person who is compatible, reliable and motivated. This is because the person should fit in the organizational hierarchy, shouldn’t have an irresponsible attitude and finally should be motivated to perform tasks assigned to them without any reservations.


  • I think that motivation, reliability en communication skills are the most important.
    Motivation: the person has to be motivated in the first place. If he/she isn’t, he/she wouldn’t perform the job as well as someone who is.
    Reliability: a very important skill too. Speaks for itself I think.
    communication skills: In my line of work(Recruitment) its important that a person can communicate. Otherwise we can’t hire him. Because we are an outsourcing company the person has to sell him/herself.

  • Hi, in my experience the one common theme that runs through companies that are good at resourcing is the development of a competency based framework. You would be suprised at how many companies have a set of values on the wall of head office along side a mission statement that they have no way of understanding if new hires live and breath what you are trying to achieve. The key is to look beyond the technical and look at what is actually needed for the organisation and then the role. Do they need to display critical thinking? do they demonstrate leadership? etc. Once you can break down what is key to the successes of your organisation you can then look at the specific competencies for the job, e.g. Management experience. This is not to say someone’s technical experience is not important you couldn’t have a Doctor who has displayed all the right competencies without the technical training! For me its a combination of the two that bring together real power in researching and you can support this with numerous psychometric or assessment tools to help you in the job. Relying on gut feel is the quickest way to help your organisation fail.

  • Hi Salima,
    i have always thought that HR practices should learn something from marketing and advertising, for example that “something” may be crucial for employer branding…
    Now, focusing on innovation in recr/selec activities, i think that for some jobs recruiting could be done in some unconventional locations: are you searching for tech/programming/gaming, why can’t we use a kiosk in a commercial centre? viral adv tecniques may be used too?
    In other words to raise the probability to get in touch with the right candidates you should think to their average habits.. baseball’s scouting is not web-based!
    Obviously this is not applicable on 100% of job positions, but, “thinking marketing”, could be part of a more complex policy…
    In the selection phase maybe reference checking should be considered.. ok this is not an innovation, but exploring the social media space something could be more “web 2.0” automated…
    Finally, answering your last question, i think that in these years the organization environments are getting more complex, “fluid”, so you should think also if the candidates have the capabilities that can generate other capabilities for tomorrow…
    These “generative capabilities” can be:
    – Personal Energy (as an index of result focused approach, self initiated, decision making)
    – Emotional Stability (as an index of orientation to managing complexity)
    – Self-awareness (is indicative of activation, including autonomy, self-development / professional development processes)
    – Generate alternatives (indicates innovation orientation)
    – Influence and Impact (is indicative of leadership qualities (ability to mobilize energies, to coaching, ability to lead the team for the excellence) and results orientation.
    I hope this can help.

  • Dear Salima,
    Your all points are good and valid in ideal situation. It’s better to put it on paper to get it approved as policy for company by management. But I have not heard a single company who follow all such points practically while hiring or after hiring…or I can say % wise it may be just 5% (just guess). More big size company, thicker the file size in terms of best practice policy, blah blah blah..but in practical, you know better than me…its just on paper. You may argue for your company…but that’s not the end of the world.
    I can give you example of big company, where they just waste the money on full page ad or half page ad on paper and no possibility of outcome as attracting best candidate….because best practice is on paper inside the company only, locked in file. Let me give example….world famous bank recently gave half page ad on prominent news paper and asked interested candidate to apply online on company website. But they forgot to provide job ref. number. When candidate went to company website to apply, not able to search the opening by “Designation published on paper”…there is no information to whom candidate should contact in such case….large size company people don’t know sitting next to each other, because they work in different department. So all best practice and half page ad money is waste. So many time I also came across company using the news paper ad’ just because budget/funds has been approved and HR department has to use it otherwise it will be laps. So over all company will consider that ad money has been used to get brand image rather than hiring right candidate….How do you ever think that candidate will ever apply again to such brand image company ? Because that news paper ad’s shows that no one cares!
    So to sum up — You may come up with longer list from 1 to 100, but it’s useless if you can’t use it practically on each hiring as best practice.
    Other funniest thing — Always candidate requirement is from other department than HR and all policy, process, compensation etc…etc… is decided by HR….so don’t you think that company as policy need to involve all department heads as hiring manager to get inputs as what best candidate they need it ? and add it in best practice ?
    Anyway…just shared what I thought to improve by considering ground reality. I know your intensions are good to improve on quality but make sure to come up with idea to maintain it consistently. If you feel this is good and best to attract best candidate to make company best choice…just go ahead and do it based on your confidence and trust.
    If you asked hiring manager and read so many survey reports. Hiring is always on gut feeing, not based one 1-100 points and best practice policies on papers.
    Best Regards
    Learner & Helper
    Ravi Sharma

  • Salima,
    The Recruitment process from yore have been more or less as the process demands. As you have rightly indicated the compatibility to the organisational culture is also very important.
    I would but suggest an inclusion of behavioral competencies and KRA based interviews so that you have a metric scale to work on.

  • These are all good traits to have on paper, but I definately would be more concerned for the actual fit to the people the person will be working with.
    All of the items on the list are definately items to look for on a resume and during phone interviews, but you really need to find out how the person(s) will interact with the team he or she will be working with.
    It has always been a great practice in the past to actually have the people that the person will work with be part of the interview process.
    Everyone has their list of items that they look and want from a potential candidate and the chances are, the list(s) will not look the same.
    Personally I look for enthusiam, professionalism, confidence, presentation and speaking characteristics.
    David Jacobs
    Top 125 Training and Development

  • Salima,
    I would look at the applicants past track record regarding the following in regards to improvement:
    1.) Increased responsibility
    2.) Promotions
    3.) Wage
    4.) Length of service
    5.) Continued education
    These items tell me if a person gets along with others, is a team player and is serious about continued improvement in him/herself as well as the company. Although the lack of any or some of these does not in itself mean the individual is not competent or able in these areas; evidence of continued improvement in all of them usually means they are a good prospect and will most likely be able to adapt and help move the company forward.

  • Your questions are both conventional and appropriate. I have long thought, however, that there is one question that could have a strong and positive influence on the hiring process: what does it take to fail in this job?
    All too often the new hire turns out to be the “anti-previous employee” — either the department’s or management’s visceral response to someone who has been either fired or who has left leaving the department with a collective sigh of relief. While many of the new employees are quite successful, a significant number are bad fits because the unspoken focus of the search was on the previous employee and not on the new hire.
    The responsible parties should clear the air with a forthright discussion of “what does it take to fail in this job?” The results could:
    1. Excise the ghost of the previous employee; and
    2. Focus on otherwise overlooked characteristics, traits, talents and skills which might sharpen up the hiring criteria and the questions posed to candidates.

  • Hi Salima,
    I think this is an interesting and timely question, and you have already elicited a number of good responses. My consultancy works with the HR functions in many of our client companies to revamp their development, recruitment and selection processes as part of organization change/transformation process. We have helped many companies to significantly improve their employee retention and success — (as measured over time through appraisals and career progression) — rates.
    One observation I have is that in our experience most companies focus too intensively on the ‘hard’ areas — technical and business proficiencies and relevant past experience. Whilst these are all important, there are some equally important areas that are not given attention, as well as career and competency development infrastructure that is often not in place to provide a visible internal flow of talent.
    Beginning with the latter point, we encourage our clients to create or clarify a ‘sharp purpose’ –(whether they want to call it a Vision, Mission, Charter or whatever)– that identifies how they will be uniquely different from competitors. Along with current and emerging market and competitor analyses, this drives identification of existing Core Competencies and what it appears will be needed in the future. These, in turn, form the basis for formal employee develop processes. Additionally, many of our clients create functional and cross-functional panels or committees at different organisation levels (including the relevant HR partners) who keep track of and discuss performance/developmental progression, and recommend short lists (often called ‘next up’ lists) of candidates for openings.(I don’t have enough space to describe how it usually works, and in some states and countries there are limitations on what/how much employee data can be shared in this way).
    Secondly, in terms of position requirements/job specs, we work with the HR function and the hiring managers to develop a list of technical/professional/managerial competencies and experience which are required, but also — starting with reviewing the company’s vision/sharp purpose/branding and values, and then looking what is needed specifically for the position — identifying personal traits and attributes required, and agreeing concretely ‘what those look like’. These, again, are very specific to the company and position, not generic. A few examples from a recent position list:
    “Ability to stand with courage”
    “Ability to think creatively”
    “High integrity”
    “understanding of group/team dynamics — how to form and support high performing teams’
    Prior to the interview stage, we again work with HR and hiring managers to develop a behaviourally anchored interview format. Hence for the above traits, we develop questions framed as, “Tell us about a time when you….” or “Describe a situation when you….”

  • Dear Salima,
    I am a bit late in responding and have read the response of all others and all views provided are excellent.
    There is just a little bit more that we have been practicing at PKC that I would like to share with you.
    A) Recruiting is a very important decision both for the candidate and organization so the process has to be handled very professionally, remember whether you hire a candidate or not if the selection process is good you are going to have one more brand ambassador out there who appreciates the way the process was handled and how S/he was treated, we often forget this bit and might become casual especially when you know that the candidate is not going to make it.
    B)It is very important to be honest with the role expectations to the prospective candidate and give them an opportunity to think and then take a final decision, talk and guide the candidate beyond the published job description – lay down the key expectations from the role holder and the way forward – this reduces the disillusionment that most new joinees face right after induction and this can be only achieved if the HR department is tuned in to the business requirements is an equal stake holder in deciding which candidate has to be selected.
    Hope this helps
    Best regards,

  • Salima
    First, don’t identify a vacancy. Recruiting should be focused on anticipating future business needs. What will we need when….profiles should not be tied to ‘the hole we have’ but to ‘the opportunity we will have’. Even a replacement role should be tied to future needs.
    Your second question (how to pick your hire from 10 seemingly comparable candidates) falls to 3 things:
    – Who do you like? Managers should not trivialize the impact of affinity.
    -If you’ve focused on future needs/business trends there is a greater likelihood of campartive strength.
    -Corporate culture fit. Sometimes you are hiring to re-sahep, while at other times you need to maintain. What impact will thsi individual have on the team/client/company?

  • Salima
    I have been involved in recruiting employees in my group and can offer some suggestions in response to your second question. The most important traits that I would see in a candidate apart from technical expertise are given below.
    1. What motivates him/her: The reasons that motivate a person are very important because you want to ensure that job offers those to the employee. for e.g if money motivate the candidate and the position involves capacity to earn high variable pay (like a sales position), its a good match. Similarly, different profiles have different requirements. In case the motivation factors do not match the experience candidate will receive in the job, the performance is likely to dip after the initial honeymonn period is over.
    2. Long term career objective: This is important to see if it matches the kind of growth you offer in your organisation structure. The growth prospects offered in the organisation and career objective of candidate should match atleast for a 3-5 year horizon to keep the employee engaged.
    3. Flexibility: In todays environment this is the key to gel in any workplace. Rigid attitudes or general lack of interest in working together in a team are traits that should be avoided.
    4. Initiative: This is one of the most important traits for any profile at all levels in any department. At the end of the day you want to recruit someone who is always thinking of ways to do more and do the same things in a better and more efficient way.
    Hope my inputs have been of help to you.
    Deepak Bhatia

  • Have you heard of targeted selection? Instead of general criteria, you develop specific criteria for the position. These three to five “competencies” are then used to develop open ended questions that are used during candidate interviews to evaluate whether or not the candidate has the competencies. A rating scale is used for each candidate, and the candidate with the highest “score” is given the position.
    For the traits, reliability and communication/interpersonal skills are most important to me.

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