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Recruitment and Selection Practices

By Sheila M. Rioux, Ph.D., and Paul Bernthal, Ph.D.

Better recruitment and selection strategies result in improved

organizational outcomes. The more effectively organizations recruit
and select candidates, the more likely they are to hire and retain
satisfied employees.

The study, based on survey results from 162

members of the DDI HR Benchmark Group,
The objectives of this study were to: addresses the following issues:
r Identify general practices that organizations use r General recruitment and selection profiles.
to recruit and select employees.
r Recruitment strategies.
r Determine which recruitment and selection
r Organizational offerings and their impact on
practices are most effective.
prospective employees.
r Determine how the recruitment and selection
r Current and future selection practices.
practices affect organizational outcomes.
r Outsourcing recruitment and selection activities.
Recruitment is the process of identifying and
attracting potential candidates from within and r Barriers to effective recruitment and selection.
outside an organization to begin evaluating them for
future employment. Once candidates are identified,
an organization can begin the selection process. General Profile
This includes collecting, measuring, and evaluating
Findings Overview
information about candidates’ qualifications for
specified positions. Organizations use these r Although internal candidates typically stay in
processes to increase the likelihood of hiring positions and are more successful than external
individuals who possess the right skills and abilities candidates, organizations fill positions with
to be successful at their jobs. external candidates, on average, 13 percent more
often than internal candidates.

In the next two years: Organizational Offerings
− 75 percent of the organizations surveyed The quality of an organization’s offerings affects its
plan to increase spending on recruiting. ability to attract job candidates.
− 68 percent of the organizations plan to r Organizations believe they offer candidates a
increase their spending on selection. strong company reputation (69 percent) and
high-quality benefits packages (65 percent) and
r Organizations perceive their approaches to
learning opportunities (55 percent).
recruitment and selection to be only moderately
effective (respective means of 6.57 and 6.53 on r Many organizations do not offer stock options
a 10-point scale). (37 percent) or child care options (36 percent).
r Almost half of the organizations plan to
Best Practices
significantly change their current approach to
both recruitment (47 percent) and selection r Organizations with the most effective recruiting
(41 percent) within the next two years. strategies were 15 to 19 percent more likely to
offer candidates high-quality options such as:
− Potential for advancement.
Recruitment Strategies
− Company reputation.
Findings Overview
− Stocks.
Organizations were asked what strategies they use
− Benefits package.
to recruit both managerial/professional and non-
management candidates. − Corporate culture.
r For recruiting managerial/professional − Salary scale.
candidates, the Internet is the most popular
r Organizations offering candidates and
advertising medium, used by 76 percent of the
employees a positive culture (e.g., innovative,
organizations surveyed.
diverse, potential to advance) and learning
r Organizations regularly utilize internal resources environment have more satisfied employees and
(e.g., internal job postings and employee are more successful at retaining them.
referrals) when recruiting both internal and
external candidates.
r Different kinds of agencies are used to recruit Current and Future Selection
for positions at different levels. Practices
— Temporary and government agencies are Findings Overview
used mainly to recruit non-management
candidates. Organizations were asked to indicate how
extensively they use several selection practices and
— Employment agencies, colleges, and how much they anticipate using them in the future.
professional organizations are used more
often to recruit managerial/professional r Most organizations make extensive use of
candidates. applications (89 percent), manual resume
screening (80 percent), and reference checks (75
percent) in their selection systems.

− Nearly half (48 percent) of the organizations
Outsourcing Recruitment
plan to increase their use of computerized
resume screening in the future. New and Selection Activities
technology allows organizations to screen Findings Overview
literally thousands of resumes in a fraction
of the time it takes to screen them manually. Organizations choose to use outsourcing (i.e., hiring
outside consultants/vendors) for some or all of their
r Although nearly all (97 percent) the human resource functions.
organizations already use behavior-based
interviews to some extent when selecting r Many organizations (62 percent) rely on outside
employees, nearly half (49 percent) plan to use vendors to recruit executive talent to a moderate
them more frequently in the future. This type of or large degree. Many outsourcing agencies and
structured interview can be used to validly head-hunting firms specialize in recruiting top
predict future behavior in dimensions (or upper-level talent.
competencies) critical to job success. r Organizations often use outsourcing for the final
r Less than 20 percent of organizations currently stages of the selection process, such as drug
use testing or assessment methods extensively in screening (54 percent) and reference checks
their selection process. However, organizations (56 percent). These procedures are expensive,
plan to increase their use of applicant testing and and most organizations do not have the
assessment in the future. These structured capabilities to perform these functions in-house.
approaches to assess skills, abilities, and r In the next three years, some organizations
knowledge can significantly reduce the expect to use outsourcing more for testing
candidate pool by eliminating those who fail to (20 percent) and assessment (20 percent)
meet the minimum job qualifications. activities. Organizations can take advantage of
the many firms that specialize in creating and
Best Practices conducting valid testing and assessment
r Organizations with the most effective selection procedures.
systems were 15 to 22 percent more likely to use
the following practices:
− Behavior-based interviews.
Barriers to Effective
− Training and experience evaluations.
Recruitment and Selection
Findings Overview
− Ability tests.
r The surveyed organizations report that the top
− Biographical data.
barriers to effective recruitment and selection of
− Motivational fit inventories. candidates are:
r Organizations with highly effective selection − Shortage of qualified applicants
systems experienced higher business outcomes (62 percent).
(i.e., financial performance, quality of products
− Competition for the same applicants
and services, productivity, and customer
(62 percent).
satisfaction) and employee outcomes (i.e.,
employee satisfaction and retention of quality − Difficulty finding and identifying applicants
employees) than those with ineffective selection (48 percent).

Results from this study indicate that selection tools
The Big Picture
designed to obtain behavioral and motivational
Today’s tight labor market is making it more information about candidates contribute to effective
difficult for organizations to find, recruit, and select selection systems. For example, behavioral
talented people. The competition for talent is interviewing is a popular selection activity among
intensifying, as there are fewer qualified applicants organizations with highly effective selection
available. This shortage of applicants makes it all systems. In the future even more organizations plan
the more important for organizations to be able to to use this and similar tools more extensively to
effectively attract, select, and retain quality select employees. Organizations realize that having
candidates. an effective, legally sound system in place is crucial
As results from this survey indicate, organizations to helping them select the right people for the right
need to offer more than an attractive wage to entice jobs; to do so, many organizations are planning to
qualified candidates. With the number of job increase their use of various tools and devote more
opportunities currently available, candidates can money to the process.
afford to be choosy when searching for their ideal Finally, better recruitment and selection strategies
job. They are looking for more than just an result in improved organizational outcomes. The
attractive salary; candidates are seeking more effectively organizations recruit and select
organizations that can offer them various kinds of candidates, the more likely they are to hire and retain
benefits, the potential to advance, and an satisfied employees. In addition, the effectiveness of
environment in which they can learn and thrive. If an organization’s selection system can influence
an organization cannot offer these, job seekers will bottom-line business outcomes, such as productivity
find one that does. Thus, it is important for and financial performance. Hence, investing in the
organizations to know exactly what they have to development of a comprehensive and valid selection
offer potential employees, then highlight their best system is money well spent.
features when recruiting candidates.
Once organizations have successfully recruited Center for Applied Behavioral Research
candidates, they must select the best ones for the
Sheila M. Rioux, Ph.D., Research Consultant
positions under consideration. Organizations use
various tools to help them select individuals. Paul Bernthal, Ph.D., Manager

For more information, contact: To order a complete report, call:

HR Benchmark Group DDI Books and Publications
Paul Bernthal, Ph.D. at 1-800-334-1514
Development Dimensions International
1225 Washington Pike Ask for part number MKTCPGN52
Bridgeville, PA 15017
Phone: 412-257-7533
Fax: 412-220-5204

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