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Defining Your Requirements

Mon, 29 July 2002

Recruitment and selection must be considered as two separate processes, otherwise one or both may fail.
Recruitment and selection can be seen as a two-stage process:
  1. Recruitment attracts the optimum number of suitably qualified candidates to apply for the post; and,
  2. Selection filters this potentially large group through a variety of criteria in order to determine their suitability to match the needs of the job and the business.
Recruitment and selection must be considered as two separate processes, otherwise one or both may fail. If you filter wrongly at recruitment, you may end up with a pool of poor candidates. If you attract wrongly at selection, you may end up with a poor fit between the job and the job-holder.
The first rule of effective selection is that you should know what you want. If more than one person is involved in the selection process then this information should be shared with everyone concerned. It is essential that you have a written statement of what it is that you are looking for which includes the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to do the job.
Businesses recruit people to carry out specific tasks. These tasks may have been previously defined and the recruitment carried out only for replacement, or the business may be expanding and require additional people to carry out new tasks in which case you will need to define tasks from scratch. What are the ‘jobs’ or tasks that need to be undertaken?
The objective of the selection process is to match as closely as possible each person you recruit to your requirements. All jobs consist of activities and responsibilities that must be performed in a particular way; these are tasks. Once you have identified those tasks, you will need to consider the knowledge, skills, aptitudes and attitudes required. The tasks and duties of a job holder can then be set out in a systematic way: a Job Description.
This can be used to determine what the job will demand of the jobholder in terms of physical and mental abilities, attitudes and personal circumstances. The required abilities and attitudes can then also be set out in a systematic form: a Personnel Specification.
The matching process takes place successfully when you can match the abilities and attitudes of a candidate to the demands made by the job.
Do you really need to hire someone new?
Once you have considered the your requirements, you can then decide if it is necessary to take on another full-time member of staff. It may be that there is an alternative to this. Ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Can you redistribute the tasks to your current workforce?
    Take into account the welfare of your employees; will they be taking on too much? Remember, using this method may still mean extra cost in terms of overtime and may take away time from other projects.
  2. Do you have an existing employee who may be suitable for the job?
    Promoting staff from within has its advantages; the employee is already familiar with the firm and will most likely need less training. You too will be familiar with the employee and therefore will know their skills and qualities. Keep in mind that you may ignore strong candidates in favour of existing employees and that staff morale may be affected by your choice of existing employee to fill the role.
  3. Could you outsource the tasks?
    Hiring an external business to carry out the work could be more expensive but is ideal for work on a project-by-project basis.
  4. Could you manage with temporary or part-time staff?
    Bear in mind that although part-time staff are less expensive they will most likely need the same training as full-time employees. When taking on temporary staff, ensure their contracts state the length of employment (if fixed), any extensions and the possibility of the position becoming permanent. 
  5. Could the job be shared between two or more employees?
    Consider the workload and changes in employment costs. The benefit of incorporating job share is having available cover for employee sickness or holiday leave.

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