Understanding The Difference Between Recruitment and Selection

If you are looking for a job or are searching for a new employee you may have heard of the different terms, recruitment, and selection. It can sound confusing but it is important that you know the difference. It makes a difference to how employees are found and hired.

What Is Selection?

Selection is simply choosing a potential employee from a pool of possibilities. At one extreme this could be said to be the final stages of the recruitment process. 

However, in most cases, this is a more targeted approach. For example, if you go to a labour hire agency and ask for a person with specific qualifications they will give you details of all the available employees that have the skills you need. 

You will then have a pool of people that you can choose from, that’s selection as the people may not even know they are being considered for an opportunity.

Equally, selection can be applied when people are headhunted. In many industries, the most respected people are in extremely high demand. That’s how they command great salaries. Of course, this means that they will often be approached by rival firms with an offer in the hope of poaching them. The rival firm has specifically selected the person, without the need for interviews.

Selection as a method of attracting new staff is surprisingly common.

However, selection can also be considered to be part of the recruitment process. In this instance, the recruitment process produces a pool of talent. Everyone in the pool has the qualification, experience, and other skills necessary to fulfil the role offered. The selection process in this instance is a way of working out which of the potential candidates should be chosen. 

This will usually mean undertaking the following:

  • Screening

Selecting means taking the available pool of candidates and carefully screening them to identify the one, or ones, that are most likely to be capable of the job and fit in with your work ethos. This can be time-consuming and it is essential to have a set of guidelines to follow and apply fairly to every candidate. 

  • Elimination

Naturally, once you have screened the candidates there will be some that don’t meet the grade. These need to be eliminated. This step can be difficult but you must remember that this is for the good of the business, not personal.

  • Testing

You may not feel the need to interview applicants you have pre-selected. It depends on how you got your screening pool. But, even if you don’t want to interview, you will need to meet them. This is your opportunity to check that they have the right character for your business. 

You can also administer tests to confirm their skill level and knowledge is what you expected it to be. 

  • References

Before you can complete the selection process you will need to check the references of anyone you are considering for the role. This is an essential part of the selection process as it confirms your chosen applicant is as good as you think they are.

  • Medicals-if appropriate

Finally, you’ll want to get your selected candidate to undergo medical exams. This isn’t always necessary. However, if the job is physically demanding or you are offering health cover, it will be. You can reassure the applicant that you don’t know the details of the medical, just whether they have reached the required standard or not. 

Understanding Recruitment

Recruitment is much simpler as this covers attracting talent to your organization. While selection deals with shrinking an applicant pool to find the right candidate, recruitment is the first stage. That means you are trying to create a large enough pool to find a great candidate. 

Of course, the larger the pool, the better the chances of finding the perfect candidate. But, the more work you will need to do during the selection process. 

Recruitment generally follows a set pattern:

  • Assessing the Job

This is a critical part of any employment process. You can’t advertise a job unless you know what you expect from your new employee. It doesn’t matter if you are filling an existing role that has become available or creating a new role. You need to take the time to assess the role and define exactly what is expected from your new employee.

This allows you to be clear about what skills and experience a candidate need and ensures every applicant knows what is expected from them.

  • Advertising

The second stage of the recruitment process is to advertise the vacancy. You can do this through traditional venues but you should also look at digital options. This includes job boards and networking sites. The wider you cast the net the more likely it is that you’ll find the perfect candidate. 

  • Networking To Build Candidates

Alongside using online networks such as LinkedIn, you will need to talk to everyone you know, especially those in the industry. This will help you to identify potential candidates and network with them. Of course, this borders on selection as opposed to plain recruitment. But, the two are never completely separate.

  • Scrutinizing & responding

The last stage of the recruitment process is to scrutinize each application and respond. You’ll need to establish criteria to make it easier to say yes or no to applicants. A yes puts them into the selection pool. A no should trigger a standard response. It doesn’t hurt to create a nice standard response, you never know when you may want their assistance in the future. 

Final Thoughts On Recruitment And Selection

Recruitment is generally seen as more proactive as you are trying to build a pool of potential candidates. That means adopting any technique you can think of to let the best candidates know of your vacancy. In contrast, the selection process is more negative, you are looking for ways to shrink the pool you’ve created. 

But, the ultimate aim is the same, to find the right applicant for your vacancy.