What are recruiting and selection?


Recruiting includes all the activities that allow you to attract and generate a pool of qualified candidates.


The selection process allows you to identify and choose the candidate(s) that best meet the requirements of the open positions and other business requirements [St-Onge, S. et al., 2013].

Orientation and onboarding

The third step in the staffing process concerns orientation and onboarding of employees (also known as “socialization”).

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Why should you invest in your recruiting and selection practices?

Limit bad hiring decisions, which lead to lost investments of time and money
Increase your company’s visibility with potential candidates
Attract the best talents in the industry
Have quicker access to one or more pools of candidates
Promote greater employee retention
Reinforce the organizational culture
Adopt recruiting methods that meet your needs.
Depending on its business strategy and operational needs (e.g., need to strengthen the company culture, need to promote new ideas, lack of skills internally, need for rapid growth, job positions abroad, etc.), an employer will opt for internal recruiting and/or external recruiting.

Internal recruiting targets potential candidates already working in the company, while external recruiting targets potential candidates that are unemployed or employed by other organizations.

It should also be noted that some recruiting sources are better suited for one-time hiring needs (e.g., job postings), while other methods allow you to maintain an active candidate database (e.g., a website that encourages spontaneous applications).

Internal recruiting methods
  • Traditional job postings: Job board, internal newsletter, memorandums, etc.
  • Job postings using IT: Intranet, e-mails, electronic bulletin boards, kiosks, etc.
  • Referral program
  • Internal networking
External recruiting methods
  • Postings in newspapers and other publications
  • Internet: Social media, external recruitment sites, company website, social media in which the company is present, cyberspace, text messages sent to potential candidates, online videos, electronic directories of associations and sites of interest
  • Public and private employment agencies
  • Executive recruiting advisers
  • Job fairs and career fairs, conferences, networking activities
  • Speed jobbing (speed interview sessions)
  • Educational establishments
  • Trade associations and trade unions
  • Word of mouth, contact networks
Write an attractive job posting that reflects the requirements.
Rule to follow
  • Make sure to highlight and clearly communicate your employer brand; emphasize the strengths, characteristics and benefits that are unique to the organization.
  • Confirm the accuracy of the information you are using to write your job posting. For example: are the job descriptions and skills requirements up-to-date and do they still reflect reality?
  • Describe the challenges, projects and opportunities for development related to the position.
  • Tailor the job posting to your target population (e.g., language proficiency, target generational profile).
  • Establish clear requirements based on the skills required to properly perform the job functions. For example: acquired knowledge, aptitudes, personal characteristics, other characteristics.
Pre-select potential candidates.
Start by analyzing job applications and resumes you have received, including those from candidates that are already in your candidate database. Using a human resources management system (HRMS) or incorporating a recruiting management module to your website are two ways you can more easily pre-select candidates. It may also be a good idea to allow your system to add basic questions related to the job (e.g., level of experience or education, availability, ability and willingness to travel, written and spoken languages).

A brief telephone interview will then allow you to make a first contact and clarify certain items with candidates selected thus far. Depending on the results of this interview, you will either want to learn more, or end the process with those candidates.
Conduct a professional and efficient selection interview.
Before the interview
  1. Prepare a structured interview grid or guide
    • With open-ended questions (that cannot be answered by yes or no).
    • With behavioural questions (on past experiences, such as “what did you do”) and role playing questions (on fictional situations, such as “what would you do”) personal characteristics, etc.
    • Whose questions allow you to verify whether the candidate meets the selection criteria (knowledge, abilities, personal characteristics, etc.)
    • Tailor the job posting to your target population (e.g. language proficiency, target generational profile.
    • Establish clear requirements based on the skills required to properly perform the job functions. For example: acquired knowledge, aptitudes, personal characteristics, other characteristics.
  2. Set a time and place for the interview.
  3. Review the skills profile or the job description and the candidate's resume
  4. During the interview
    1. Put the candidate at ease
    2. Explain how the interview will proceed
    3. Be professional (allocate the necessary time, be prepared, refrain from asking overly personal or illegal questions, etc.)
    4. Be attentive
    5. Observe non-verbal communication
    6. Take notes
    7. End by offering an opportunity to ask questions and describing the next steps
    8. Make sure to ask all candidates the same questions

    In some cases, a selection committee (2-3 people, e.g., senior executive, colleague) can be set up to assess the selection criteria and conduct interviews. Depending on the job level, a second and even third interview may be necessary. Finally, verifying the candidate's professional references (with their consent) will allow you to confirm the accuracy of the answers provided and obtain an additional opinion. You will be able to confirm, in part, their skills, dates of employment and reasons for leaving.
Confirm skills with tests.
There are four main categories of pre-employment tests: [St-Onge, S. et al., 2013]
  • Skills assessment tests
    Cognitive abilities, practical abilities (mechanical quickness)
  • Personality tests
  • Leadership test, personality inventory, professional interests inventory
  • Situational judgment tests
  • In-basket test, management simulation, role playing
  • Other tests
    Medical examinations, screening tests, other
  • Some tests may be done over the Internet, with or without the use of specialized firms. Make sure that the tests you use are related to the requirements of the position, that they are valid and that they are evaluated by competent people. Medical examinations and screening tests are subject to certain specific legal rules. For example, a medical examination can only be required after a job offer, with the candidate's consent, and must be limited to clarifying that the applicant is fit to perform the work.
    Evaluate and follow up on the hiring process.
    In order to continually improve the hiring process, the company must set up performance indicators related to, among other things, the quality of the hirings, the effectiveness of the methods used, and the cost/candidate ratio (direct and indirect costs). It can also track the steps in the recruiting and selection process to identify possible areas for improvement (e.g., time spent on a step, number of people involved, etc.).

    Sources and reference tools

    HRM Guide
    Information on emerging professionals
    New employee orientation and onboarding guide
    Meeting the challenges of human resources management

    St-Onge, S.; Guerrero, S.; Haines, V.; Brun, J.P. (2013). Chenelière Éducation, Montreal. 4th edition, 462 p

    Guide for immigrant IT professionals
    To optimize recruiting without turning everything upside down
    “À vos portails! Vive le recrutement efficace!”  

    Salmon, Michel (2011). “À vos portails! Vive le recrutement efficace!”, Le coin de l'expert, Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés website, [online] http://www.portailrh.org/expert/ficheSA.aspx?p=506364

    Performance in recruiting: key issues

    Thorens, X. (2013). Le coin de l'expert, Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés website, [online] http://www.portailrh.org/expert/ficheSA.aspx?p=627592

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