Recruitment basics – Part One

In today’s competitive market, most employers recognise that the success of an organisation can hinge on its people (aka the human resources). Good employees can be difficult to find and to retain, and the skill involved in this element of human resources is often overlooked.

Recruitment actually provides opportunities for management to align staff skill sets to initiatives and goals, and for department and individual growth. When a vacancy arises in an organisation, tempting though it is to find a ‘quick fix’ solution, an employer can very easily end up with a ‘square peg in a round hole’, which only serves for a problematic and fraught probationary period for all parties concerned. If a recruitment process is rushed and/or lacks careful planning, this can result in a waste of financial resources and a frustrated employer as well as an unproductive and a demoralised employee, which can also have a detrimental effect on the team.

There is a common misconception that you need to ‘replace’ a leaver ‘like for like’, however, a vacancy can effectively open up opportunities for the employer to re-visit the role with a view to making changes for the betterment of the business. It is imperative that proper planning and evaluation of the need is undertaken, together with an objective and systematic recruitment exercise to ensure that the respective person has the right qualifications, skills, experience and attributes to meet the demands of the role in question.

In addition, all employers must be mindful of fair employment responsibilities, therefore such an approach can also go some considerable way towards meeting such obligations and indeed in defending any litigation which may arise through a Fair Employment Tribunal in respect of a discrimination claim.

Prior to hurriedly placing an advertisement before a media deadline expires, an employer should firstly carefully evaluate any changes which may be required, such as:

  • Tasks carried out by the previous employee
  • Tasks to be removed or added
  • Supervisory or lead responsibility
  • Budget responsibility
  • Working hours
  • Is there still a requirement for the job at all?

It is therefore most useful to conduct a JOB ANALYSIS in order to tailor the position to what is currently required within the business. This is an objective process used to collate information about the duties, responsibilities, requisite skills, competencies, outcomes and work environment of a particular job.

This can be done by reviewing the responsibilities of current employees – put simply: ask the team member what he/she does. In addition, analyse the work duties, tasks and responsibilities that the employee filling the position needs to accomplish. It is often helpful to research similar jobs on line for ideas.

Such objective information is necessary to enable a JOB DESCRIPTION to be compiled. A Job Description is an integral part of the recruitment and selection process. It is a communication tool to advise employees (and applicants) where their job fits within the department and overall business.

The Job Description focuses the manager and any other employees already performing the job to agree on the responsibilities and scope of the position. Candidates are also informed about the duties and responsibilities of the position for which they are applying.

It clearly identifies the responsibilities of a specific job and assists the organisation in knowing the knowledge, skills, education, experience and capabilities sought in the employee, to enable an effective recruitment plan to be implemented. A job description may also help to protect an employer seeking to demonstrate why the candidate selected for the position was the most qualified (from a legal perspective).

The components of a Job Description are as follows:

  • Overall position description with general areas of responsibility listed
  • Essential functions of the job
  • Required knowledge, skills and abilities
  • Required education and experience
  • Description of the physical demands
  • Description of the work environment

A Job Description must be flexible enough so that employees become involved in cross-training, can help other colleagues complete a work task and are confident enough to make appropriate decisions (i.e. to avoid the “that’s not my job” syndrome). It is also important that it is reviewed periodically to ensure accurate reflection of what an employee is doing as well as the expectations of results of the employee.


Should you require any further information in relation to the above or would like a member of the team to talk to you about a possible recruitment exercise please contact us on 028 2564 4110.