Recruitment: Meaning, Factors, Objectives, Challenges

Definition of RecruitmentRecruitment means announcing job opportunities to the public and stimulating them in such a way so that a good number of suitable people will apply for them. Recruitment is the process of discovering the potential for actual or anticipated organizational vacancies.

It is a process of accumulation of human resources for the vacant positions of the organization.

Recruitment refers to the process of attracting, screening, and selecting qualified people for a job at an organization or firm.

Recruitment is a continuous process whereby the firm attempts to develop a pool of qualified applicants for future human resources needs even though specific vacancies do not exist.

Usually, the recruitment process starts when a manager initiates an employee requisition for a specific vacancy or an anticipated vacancy.

Meaning of Recruitment

Successful human resource planning should identify human resource needs. Once these needs are identified, HR managers can do something to meet them.

A company’s growth is measured according to its profits and losses. The cost of unnecessary hiring and/or hiring the wrong person can be detrimental to a company’s bottom line.

Before engaging in the recruitment process, management should clearly understand the company’s operational requirements, projected revenues, and business goals and then determine the types of skills and competencies required to meet those needs.

Successful human resource planning should identify human resource needs, as mentioned earlier.

The next step is the acquisition function of human resource management. Recruitment is the first stage of the acquisition function.

According to Keith Davis, “Recruitment is the process of finding and attracting capable applicants for employment. The process begins when recruits are sought and ends when their applications are submitted.”

According to Edwin B. Flippo, “Recruitment is the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in the organization.”

According to Mart and T. Telsang, “Recruitment is the generating of applications or applicants for a specific position.”

Prof. R. W. Griffin said, “Recruitment is the process of attracting individuals to apply for jobs that are open.”

Decenzo and S. P. Robbins have defined, “Recruitment is the process discovering the potential for actual or anticipated organizational vacancies.”

The result is a pool of qualified applicants from which new employees are selected. The purpose of recruitment is to locate sources of the workforce to meet job requirements and job specifications.

Recruitment is a two-way street. Both the recruiter and the recruiter have a right to choose each other.

Recruitment Functions

Recruitment is the process by which companies find and hire new employees.

The HR department is usually responsible for recruitment. This department works to find and attract capable applicants. Job descriptions and specifications provide the needed information upon which the recruitment process rests,

The HR manager who recruits and initially screens for the vacant job is seldom responsible for supervising its performance.

So he needs the help of line HR. Both line and HR staff work together.

Recruitment Functions

  • Assessing recruitment,
  • Job design and development,
  • Fixing standards,
  • Advertisement and publicity,
  • Making initial contact with prospective candidates,
  • Identification and seeking applicants,
  • Preliminary examination and assessment of applications,
  • Shortlisting of probable candidates for selection,
  • Calling the shortlisted candidates for interview,
  • A selection process like interviewing or testing,
  • Hiring the best candidates,
  • Recording and documentation,
  • Fixing pay packages to the selected candidates.

Factors of Recruitment

The recruitment function of the organizations is affected and governed by a mix of various internal and external forces. The internal forces are the factors that the organization can control.

And the external factors are those factors that the organization cannot control. The internal and external forces affecting the recruitment function of an organization are:

Internal Factors of Recruitment

For the internal mechanism of the organization, some of the internal factors that affect recruitment are as follows:

Size of the organization

The recruitment process is affected by the size of the organization to a large extent. Experience suggests that larger organizations recruit more candidates than small ones.

Large organizations find recruitment less problematic than small organizations.

Recruiting Policy

The recruitment policy of the firm also affects the recruitment process. This policy concerns candidates from outside the organization, whereas others want to recruit from internal sources.

Image of the organization

The image or goodwill of the organization also affects recruitment. Organizations having a good image can attract potential and competent candidates to a large extent.

Good public relations, rendering public services, etc., help enhance the organization’s image and reputation.

Image of job

Jobs had a good image in terms of better remuneration, working conditions, promotion, career development opportunities, etc. can attract potential and qualified candidates to a large extent.

External Factors of Recruitment

External factors are concerned with the environmental changes that will occur in the organization’s external environment.

Some of the external factors that affect recruitment policy are as follows:

Demographic factors

Demography is studying the human population in terms of age, sex, occupation, religion, composition, ethnicity, etc. The demographic factors have a profound influence on the recruitment process.

Labor market

The labor market constitutes the force of demand and supply of labor of particular importance.

For instance, if demand for a particular skill is high relative to its supply, the recruitment process evolves more. Contrary to it, if the supply is more than demand, the recruitment process will be easier.

Unemployment situations

The unemployment rate of a particular area is yet another influencing factor of the recruitment process. If the unemployment rate is high, the recruitment process will be simpler and vice versa.

The social and political environment

The forces of the social and political environment also influence recruitment policy.

For instance, the change in government can directly impact the company’s recruitment policy due to a change in government rules and regulations.

Legal considerations

Legal considerations concerning employment provision for underprivileged castes will positively impact the organization’s recruitment policy.

Objectives of Recruitment Policy

Recruitment policy asserts the recruitment objectives and provides a framework for the implementation of the recruitment program.

It may involve the organization system to be developed for implementing recruitment programs and procedures to be employed.

According to Memoria, a good recruitment policy must contain elements such as

  1. the organization’s objective (short term and long term),
  2. identification of the recruitment needs,
  3. the preferred source of recruitment,
  4. criteria of selection and preferences, and
  5. the cost of recruitment and its financial implications of the same. Objectives are targets and goals.

According to Yoder (1996), the following are the main objectives of recruitment policy:

  • To find and employ the best-qualified person for each job.
  • To minimize the cost of recruitment.
  • To offer promising careers and security.
  • To provide facilities for growth and development.
  • To retain the best and most promising ones.
  • To reduce the scope of favoritism and malpractice.

HR Challenges in Recruitment

Recruitment is a function that requires business perspective, expertise, ability to find and match the best potential candidate for the organization, diplomacy, marketing skills (as to sell the position to the candidate), and wisdom to align the recruitment processes for the benefit of the organization.

The HR professionals – handling the organization’s recruitment function- are constantly facing new challenges in Recruitment. The biggest HR challenge in Recruitment for such professionals is to source or recruit the best people or potential candidates for the organization.

In the last few years, the job market has undergone some fundamental changes in terms of technologies, recruitment sources, competition in the market, etc.

In an already saturated job market, where practices like poaching and raiding are gaining momentum. HR professionals are constantly facing new challenges in one of their most important functions- recruitment.

They have to face and conquer various challenges to find the best candidates for their organizations.

The major challenges faced by HR in recruitment are:

Adaptability to globalization

The HR professionals are expected and required to keep in tune with the changing times, i.e., the changes taking place across the globe. HR should maintain the timeliness of the process.

Lack of motivation

Recruitment is considered to be a thankless job. Even if the organization is achieving results, the HR department or professionals are not thanked for recruiting the right employees and performers.

Process analysis

The immediacy and speed of the recruitment process are the main concerns of HR in recruitment. The process should be flexible, adaptive, and responsive to the immediate requirements.

The recruitment process should also be cost-effective.

Strategic prioritization

The emerging new systems are both an opportunity as well as a challenge for the HR professionals.

Therefore, reviewing staffing needs and prioritizing the tasks to meet the changes in the market has become a challenge for recruitment professionals.

Technological changes

The decision to strategy development relates to the methods used in recruitment and selection. The available technology mainly influences this decision. The advent of computers has made it possible for employers to scan national and international applicant qualifications.

Although impersonal, computers have given employers and job seekers a wider scope of options in the internal screening’ stage.

Technological advancement has made it possible for job seekers to gain better access. They have begun sending C.V. about themselves to some organizations without wasting time and without spending money on travel.

Sources of recruitment

Two types of sources of recruitment are available such as;

  • internal sources (present employees, employee referrals, former employees, and previous applicants), and
  • external sources (trade associations, advertisements, employment exchanges, campus recruitment, walk-ins and write-ins, consultants, radio and television, competitors and E-recruiting, etc.).

Competition in the market

Rival firms can be a source of recruitment. Popularly called poaching or raiding, this method involves identifying the right people in the rival companies, offering them better terms, and luring them away. To reduce costs, organizations look into labor markets likely to offer the required job seekers.

Generally, companies look into the national market for managerial and professional employees, regional or local markets for technical employees, and local markets for clerical and blue-collar employees.

Sources of Recruitment

There are basically two sources of supply from where potential employees can be drawn. These are internal sources and external sources. Internal sources indicate recruiting qualified people from within the organization itself (from the present working force).

When reference is made to the number of employees already employed by the organization, we speak of the internal supply.

Whenever any vacancy occurs, someone from within the organization is upgraded, promoted, or transferred to another department also goes into the category of an internal source of recruitment.

External recruitment is concerned with generating a pool of qualified candidates through external sources of employment.

The external sources of recruitment include – employment at the factory gate, advertisements, employment exchanges, employment agencies, educational institutes, labor contractors, recommendations, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages are associated with promoting from within the organization and hiring outside the organization to fill openings.

Advantages of internal recruiting

  • The people responsible for selecting internal candidates for vacant positions have access to more comprehensive information about their abilities, track record, and potential achievement than they would have if selecting people originating from an external source.
  • It is motivating to employees, as they are preferred over outsiders when the vacancies occur. Employees tend to be committed to firms under the circumstances.
  • It provides an opportunity for advancement.
  • It is economical in terms of time and money.
  • It improves employee morale.
  • It improves the image of the organization.
  • It improves the probability of better performance as the candidate is in a better position to know the objectives and expectations of the organization.

The demerits of the internal source

  • The promotion may be biased in nature and may be based on seniority rather than merit.
  • Possible moral problems emerged for those who have not been promoted.
  • Political infighting for promotions.
  • An option may be limited in locating the right talents.
  • This channel of recruitment discourages new blood from entering the organization.
  • Inhibits innovation and creativity.
  • Establishes subjectivity in the promotion.

Promotion from within should be aided by careful employee selection. The employment process should favor those applicants who have the potentials for promotion.

Effective promotion from within also depends on other HR actions. It depends on providing the education and training needed to help employees identify and develop their promotion potential. It also requires a career-oriented appraisal.

Advantages of external sources

Recruiting from outside the organization is known as an external source.

All firms more or less rely on external sources. Advantages of external sources are: o It offers the organization the opportunity to inject new ideas into its operations by utilizing the skills of external candidates.

  • Improves the knowledge and skill of the organization by recruiting from outside sources.
  • Improves and helps in sustaining competitive advantage.
  • Brings the economy in the long run.

Disadvantages of external sources

  • It is costly.
  • It causes brain drain due to fear of lack of growth potential.
  • It contributes to a higher probability of employee turnover.
  • Demoralization of existing employee for alleged double standard and favor shown towards new recruitment from outside by offering better position and pay.

Purpose and Importance of Recruitment

The Purpose and Importance of Recruitment are given below:

  • Attract and encourage more and more candidates to apply to the organization.
  • Create a talent pool of candidates to enable the selection of the best candidates for the organization.
  • Determine present and future requirements of the organization in conjunction with its personnel planning and job analysis activities.
  • Recruitment is the process that links the employers with the employees.
  • Increase the pool of job candidates at minimum cost.
  • Help increase the success rate of the selection process by decreasing the number of visibly underqualified or overqualified job applicants.
  • Help reduce the probability that job applicants, once recruited and selected, will leave the organization only after a short period of time.
  • Meet the organization’s legal and social obligations regarding the composition of its workforce.
  • Begin identifying and preparing potential job applicants who will be appropriate candidates.
  • Increase organization and individual effectiveness of various recruiting techniques and sources for all types of job applicants.

Methods of Recruitment

The HR department can use different methods for recruiting. These are as follows:

Walks-ins and write-ins

Walk-ins are job seekers who arrive at the HR department in search of a job.

Write-ins are those who send a written inquiry. Both groups are asked to complete an application blank to determine their interests and abilities.

Employee referrals

Employees may refer job seekers to the HR department.


It is the most widely used method as it can reach a wider candidate pool. It describes the jobs and the benefits, identifies the employer, and tells those who are interested in how to apply.

Various media are used for advertisement such as newspapers, journals, TV, Radio, etc. Proper design of the advertisement will have the following merits:

  • Encourage the right persons to apply.
  • Discourage unsuitable persons from applying.

However, the advertisement copy must contain such information as

Blind advertisement is another technique used by some organizations. The blind and does not identify the employer.

Interested applicants are told to send their resumes to a mailbox number at the post office or newspaper. Reputed and well-known organization seldom uses blind advertisement.

Blind ads have some severe limitations such as:

  • They may lead to thousands of job seekers for one job opening.
  • Many suitable candidates may not apply because they feel that the company may have a poor reputation in withholding their identification.
  • Many consider such advertisement as regularization action in which recruitment has already been made.
  • Very few may apply for less attractive jobs.

State employment agencies

Every government has a state employment agency. It is designed to help job seekers to find suitable employment. This agency matches job seekers with job openings.

When an employer has a job opening, the HR department voluntarily notifies the employment service of the job and its requirements.

Private placement agencies

Private employment agencies developed in the vacuum created by the poor image of the public employment service.

They do charge fees either from a potential employee, employers, or both for their services. Placement firms take an employer’s request for recruits and then solicit job seekers, usually through advertising or among walk-ins.

Candidates are matched with the employer’s request and then told to report to the employer’s HR department for an interview.

Some of the agencies become specialized in certain categories of employment like the following:

  • Security guards,
  • Clerical or computer operators
  • Engineers
  • Pharmacists
  • Bankers
  • Salesmen
  • Accountants

Professional or executive search firms

Professional search firms are much more specialized than placement agencies.

Certain firms have built up a good reputation for efficiency, productivity, and industrial peace. Many firms attempt to locate suitable candidates from such firms for filling up vacancies.

Search firms usually recruit only specific types of human resources for a fee paid by the employer. Search firms actively seek out recruits among the employees of other companies. These search firms are also called headhunters.

Educational institutions

Universities and vocational training institutes are other common sources of recruits for many organizations. Many universities, colleges, and vocational schools offer their current students and alumni placement assistance.

This assistance helps the employer and graduates to meet and discuss employment opportunities and the applicant’s qualifications. The placement cells of educational institutions collect data regarding potential vacancies and call for students who are interested in such positions.

Thereafter placement cells do preliminary screening and recommend those candidates who have done well in their studies. There are no charges or fees for such services in the majority of institutions.

Professional associations

Recruiters find that professional associations can also be a source of job seekers. Many associations conduct placement activities to help new and experienced professionals get jobs, especially at job fairs during meetings and conventions.

Labor unions

Labor unions are a source of certain types of workers.

When recruiters want people with trade skills such as construction, the recruiters can contact local labor organizations, maintaining rosters of members looking for employment.

The local union of plumbers, for example, keeps a list of plumbers who are seeking jobs.

Voluntary organization

Certain voluntary organizations can assist in recruitment. Examples are schools for handicaps like the deaf, dumb and blind.

Departing employees

Often-overlooked two sources of recruits are retirees and departing employees. In both cases, there is a time-saving advantage because something is already known about the potential employee.

Internet recruiting

Some employers are conducting online employment interviews. Employers often begin the Internet search process by establishing an organization’s website and listing jobs on it. The advantages of such internet recruiting by employers include:

  • Reaching more applicants.
  • Having lower costs and faster response time frames.
  • Tapping an applicant pool conversant with the net.

Open house

A relatively unusual technique of recruiting involves holding an open house. People in the adjacent community are invited to see the company facilities, have refreshments, and view a film about the company.

Thus, it is clear from the above discussion that there are mainly two sources of recruitment.

Both sources have merits and demerits. Criteria for adopting a given source depends on cost and effectiveness, and A source is effective if it can attract the maximum number of potential candidates.

In addition, it must involve a minimum cost—a recruitment policy.

  • It should be well defined,
  • Should have a proper organizational structure,
  • Should have a well-known procedure for locating potential candidates,


Recruitment is a process to discover the workforce sources to meet the recruitments of the staffing schedule and employ effective measures for attracting human resources in adequate numbers to facilitate the effective selection of an efficient working force.

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