‘From a human resource management perspective, recruitment processes derive from effective job design and description, and form the basis for subsequent human resource management functions such as selection, human resource development, career planning and rewards systems’ (Compton et al, 2009, p16). At a strategic level, recruitment and selection is thus seen as an integrated part of the overall HRM strategy, as well as integrated into the business strategy.
The role of HR managers in constructing an effective and efficient recruitment and selection strategy is vital to the performance of its existing and future employees, as well as for the overall business performance. According to Hutchinson and Wood’s research (1995) as cited by Armstrong (2006, p96), line managers are ‘more heavily involved in recruitment, selection and training decisions’; nonetheless, human resource managers are ‘still largely responsible for such matters as analysing training needs, running internal courses and pay and benefits’.
The main HRM theory is that the workforce is a very important resource and thus must be managed efficiently and effectively, whilst conferring them a high level of importance. On a strategic level, recruitment and selection shifts from its traditional approach to a processual approach, being considered the main HR activity able to ‘secure strategic leverage’ (Millmore et al, 2007, p279).
As Boxall et al (2003) suggest, cited by Armstrong (2009, p54), ‘HR planning should aim to meet the needs of the key stakeholder groups involved in people management of the firm’. Thus, human resource managers need to take in account the line managers and their set objectives and strategies, as well as the workforce. In planning for recruitment and selection procedures, HR managers need to ensure that they work towards an integration of overall strategy in the company.
Additionally, they must determine what are the ‘performance drivers’ (Armstrong, 2009, p55) of the line manager’s objectives and how these are influenced by the workforce’s competences, while being aware of the influence the HR strategies have on ‘the skills, motivation and structure of the workforce’ (ibid). In order to create and develop an effective and efficient recruitment and selection plan, HR managers need to ensure they ‘achieve vertical fit’ (Armstrong, 2009, p56) between their strategy and the overall business strategy.
Porter (1985) evaluates the ways in which the vertical integration can be fulfilled. Armstrong (ibid) cites Porter’s competitive strategies in a table found in Appendix 3a. According to the table, resourcing strategies created by HR managers need to take into account the competitive strategies imposed throughout the company and advise line managers towards achieving these competitive objectives through recruitment and retention of ‘high quality people with innovative skills’.
Additionally they need to devise ‘sophisticated selection procedures’ to be implemented by line managers in order to recruit people who show the capability to ‘deliver quality… customer service’, as well as plan in order to ‘recruit people who are likely to add value’ or take the approach of ‘downsizing humanely’ (ibid). Additionally, HR managers need to ensure the recruitment and selection strategy is horizontally integrated within the bundle of their strategies in order to be effective and efficient.
Thus, strategies dealing with labour turnover can be linked with strategies of recruitment and selection in order to achieve lower rates of turnover in the future, while at the same time recruiting future employees with adequate competences that will add competitive advantage. Retention of staff is a very important part of the recruitment and selection process and HR managers need to advise line managers on the importance of it relating to the overall performance of the business.
From a processual approach, recruitment and selection doesn’t stop when the fit candidate is found, but continues with strategic retention plans which, amongst other things, help reduce labour turnover. Line Managers’ Involvement in the Recruitment and Selection Process ‘When considering a new hire it is appropriate [for line managers] to refer to the human resources plan to ensure that the decision to recruit is in line with the short, medium and long-term requirements of the organization in terms of skills, competencies and diversity mix’ (Compton et al, 2009, p17).
Line managers have the role of implementing the policies and procedures of the recruitment and selection process conducted by HR managers. Armstrong (2009, p97) cites Purcell et al (2003) to state that ‘the way line managers implement and enact policies’ is crucial in achieving greater competitive advantage. This process spans from gathering the potential candidates for a job position to short listing and in the final stages, selection.
This is done at the lowest managerial level but where the span of control is wide, thus managing many subordinates, it requires demanding competencies to carry out this job. The line manager therefore is the closest of management to its employees and would likely know the more specific qualities needed for various job vacancies in their department than other management (Haywood, 2009, p. 375). They may have this knowledge of suitable candidates; however it is the ability to recruit the ‘right’ people for the ‘right’ job through, essentially, a systematic and fair, procedural process.
Furthermore, they may have benefited from direct feedback from their resigning subordinates on reasons why they are leaving, in order to tackle labour turnover and improve retention, highlighting the importance of giving ‘careful attention’ to the recruitment process. Interviewing prospective employees and supporting the HR manager in writing up job descriptions, along with updating department reports and liaising with HR managers are a few of the key functions of the line manager.
Job descriptions or person specifications provide the information for drafting advertisements, posting vacancies on the internet, briefing agencies or recruitment consultants and then assess the candidates by interviews and selection tests. (Armstrong, 2009, p537). If a job-fit is calculated incorrectly by the line manager, the employee would likely be dissatisfied at work and leave soon after, costing the business time and money from the whole recruitment process for that individual, so careful attention is crucial.
‘The selection stage is equally essential in the whole process, as it attempts to capture the most suitable of candidates by predicting the extent to which they will be able to carry out a specific role successfully’. (Armstrong, 2009, p538). A fair procedural process will work effectively if the line manager is kept informed and supported by the HR manager, especially in relation to Employment Law.
When carrying out the activities of the recruitment and selection process, every precaution should be taken to ensure no kind of discrimination will be made. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 particularly need to be taken into consideration, where candidates may be refused a job on the grounds of their sex or race, as this would be unfair, and illegal, unless on the exception that it is a job only males or females can do, such as in leisure facilities, females may teach and work with the women and men with the men.
If these procedures are carried out fairly, the corporate image will be enhanced, and more people will want to work for that particular company, giving a larger pool for future job posts, as it shows that the company is in line with its social responsibility to its job applicants.