Recruitment basics

recruitment basics - man with sign saying hiring

In today’s competitive market, most employers recognise that the success of an organisation can hinge on its people (aka the human resources), getting the recruitment basics correct is essential. 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 as part of recruitment basics, 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, making it a part of recruitment basics for attracting the right candidate. 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).

Recruitment Basics – Job Description

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.

Recruitment basics – Job Advertising

To ensure that your recruitment exercise is cost effective and attracts a high calibre of applicants, it is important to think carefully about your job advertisement and the contents of same. Firstly, the objective of the job advertisement is to market your company and attract interest by clearly stipulating the purpose of the position and the criteria to be met. Secondly, it should provide clear guidance on how to apply and the method of application.

The language that you use and the criteria that you detail is very important. Below is a list of the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to compiling a job advertisement.


Make the job advert headline relevant and clear.

· Use short sentences, simple language and be specific.

· Keep the text clear (i.e. use a suitable font, size and colour).

· Ensure that the selection criteria is consistent with the Job Description.

· Specify the essential criteria (i.e. criteria the applicant must satisfy in order to do the job).

· Specify the desirable criteria (i.e. criteria that will help the applicant to do the job).

· Stipulate the qualifications that the applicant must have attained.


· Use jargon that is specific to the Company as external applicants may not understand.

· Overload the layout of the job advertisement. Use the space effectively.

· Use job titles and photographs that are associated with one or other of the sexes and have a distinctly male or female connotation e.g. Salesman or Saleswoman

· Use language that targets a particular type of applicant with a particular protected characteristic.

· Publish job advertisements in locations or publications where they are likely to be read only by persons who share a particular community background, or sex, or race, or disability, or sexual orientation, or age.

It is important to remember that anti-discrimination law prohibits discrimination based on the 9 protected characteristics (gender, race, religion or belief, disability, age, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation, gender reassignment) so the wording of your advertisement needs careful consideration.

Recruitment Basics Essential and Desirable Selection Criteria

Your selection criteria must be consistent with the job description and contain details about the qualifications, skills and experiences that will be required to carry out the duties of the job.Your job advertisement should include the essential criteria (those that the person must satisfy to be able to do the job) and the desirable criteria (those that will help to do the job). Attributes that are not identified as either essential or desirable should not be taken into consideration in the selection process. Having these criteria agreed at the beginning of the process is vital and will save time during the shortlisting and subsequent interview process.

Where and how to advertise a job

It is advisable to use a variety of different mediums to advertise your job. Advertising widely, may increase the number of eligible and suitably qualified candidates. Some of the different ways to advertise a job include;

  1. Newspapers and magazines
  2. Online job and recruitment sites
  3. Your website and social media channels
  4. Jobs and Benefits office and Job Centre network
  5. Employers Online NI
  6. Employment agencies

Before you decide, it is important to think about, how quickly you would like a response, how long do you want to advertise your job for and how much can you afford to pay.

When and how to apply

Decide what method best suits your business needs. For example you may want applicants to call and request an application pack from you or you may prefer for applicants to apply directly online. Either way, it is important to clearly state the application closing date, where the application must be sent and provide suitable contact details should the applicant have any queries about the job.

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

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