Understanding Recruitment and Selection

The organisation’s role in recruitment and selection

In the ideal situation:

  • The organisation regards a positive work environment as key to a productive and cohesive workplace.
  • The organisation recognises that a positive work environment is critical to its long-term strategy of attracting and retaining the best staff.
  • The organisation uses its positive reputation in the community to increase the size and quality of its applicant pool, improve staff morale, and minimise complaints, disruptions and legal disputes.
  • The organisation has fair selection processes.

The manager’s role in recruitment and selection

In the ideal situation:

  • Managers are selected on their people-management capabilities as well as their task- related skills.
  • Managers draft job descriptions for their vacancies that accurately represent the skills and experience required for the job.
  • Managers encourage and genuinely consider applicants from diverse backgrounds.
  • Managers enable all short listed applicants to demonstrate their skills and experience, and provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful applicants upon request.
  • Managers comply with and exceed the minimum requirements of equal opportunity law.
  • Managers assist staff to overcome any career barriers and monitor promotion trends within their business unit.

The individual’s role in recruitment and selection

In the ideal situation:

  • Individuals choose to apply for jobs in the organisation because of its reputation for having a positive work environment.
  • Individuals act as ‘ambassadors’ for the organisation. They feel they understand and match the core tenets of the organisation.
  • Individuals are aware of their rights and responsibilities with respect to equal opportunity and diversity in the workplace.
  • Individuals are confident that selection decisions are fair and merit based.

The litmus test for recruitment and selection

Some important questions to ask about your organisation:

  • Do the recruitment materials feature images demonstrating the organisation’s openness to recruiting people from diverse backgrounds?
  • Do recruitment consultants understand the organisation’s positive work environment employment strategy?
  • Have the people who are involved in recruitment been trained in how to avoid bias in the selection process?
  • Is a range of recruitment techniques used to reach a diverse audience?
  • Are job applicants monitored to check that the organisation is attracting those interested in the organisation’s positive work environment?
  • Does the organisation give equal weight to skills and personal attributes?
  • Would the organisation consider recruiting for the right personal attributes and providing skills training at work?


Measures that may be useful for confirming the quick check tool results or monitoring cultural change could include:

  • New hire performance satisfaction
  • New hire failure factor

Source: A Dictionary of People Metrics

Case Study: Positive Recruitment

Owen is HR director of the Council of Community Education. His challenge is to simultaneously nurture relationships with business and maintain superior customer service in an upbeat, professional and positive work environment. He must achieve this within a tight labour market and even tighter cost constraints.

How to recruit quality staff and, even more difficult, retain them?

His solution has been to talk to staff about what makes the Council a positive place to work and what would make it even more attractive. He has used this information to develop a positive work environment vision and values, one that everyone can identify with and support. He has then incorporated the values in the Council’s recruitment and selection processes.

The Council has lost few staff since adopting Owen’s strategy and in fact has attracted very strong applicant fields for any jobs that are advertised. Owen attributes much of this to ‘our employees knowing we care about them and their career paths. We now provide access to resources to help them develop professionally and advance in their career. They don’t feel as though the Council is a ‘nowhere to grow place, and we enjoy a steady supply of evolving talent ready to accept greater challenges and responsibilities. How do you put a figure on employee satisfaction?

‘Changing the focus of our recruitment and selection strategy did not cost much in time or energy but has had remarkable results.’

Further Resources for Recruitment and Selection