Recruitment process: Definition, Importance and Steps

Rohit Rajpal

Senior Writer

Chief editor

Chief editor

What is the Recruitment Process

An organization thrives on its employees. The better the quality of the hire, the faster the company can grow. However, hiring the right candidates is easier said than done. HR managers must carefully craft job descriptions, screen candidates, negotiate the offer, and ensure seamless onboarding.

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According to research, a new position takes an average of 27 days to fill. However, optimizing the job recruitment process can shorten the hiring cycle by 60% while improving hire quality.

But what exactly is the recruitment process in HRM, and how to create an effective recruitment and selection process? Let’s understand!

What Is the Recruitment Process?

The recruitment process refers to finding, identifying, and selecting qualified candidates to fill open positions in the company. It includes crafting job descriptions, promoting vacancies across channels, and interviewing and hiring suitable candidates. Most recruiters use either commercial recruiting software or free and open source recruitment software to manage the entire process and gain complete visibility into each stage.

The HR recruitment process is usually divided into two stages:

  • Pre-recruitment stage: This stage involves all the activities that take place before advertising a vacancy. The aim is to establish the organization’s needs and identify potential applicants. The key tasks in this phase include defining competencies, identifying recruitment sources, developing job descriptions and selection criteria, preparing advertisement materials, and deciding on recruitment channels.
  • Post-recruitment stage: This phase involves all activities after receiving applications from applicants who meet the basic requirements of the advertised position. The key tasks in this phase include screening applications and selecting suitable candidates for interviews based on their application materials (resumes, cover letters, etc.).

Importance of a Strong Recruitment Process

Small organizations often outsource their recruitment needs to hire qualified candidates quickly and cost-effectively. However, as the company grows and requirements become complex, managing the recruitment process in-house is more effective.

Let’s look at why you need a robust recruitment selection process.

  1. Fill Positions Faster

    You can hire qualified candidates faster when you have a clearly-defined recruitment strategy. That’s because it gives you a better understanding of what you’re looking for, thereby pointing you in the right direction. Besides, when the job description is clear and accurate, you’ll attract better applicants, making the task further easier for you.

  2. A Better Candidate Experience Better Candidate Experience

    Because you know what you’re looking for, you can reject candidates who don’t meet the basic criteria in the first stage. Those who move to further rounds of the interview process are less likely to get rejected for not meeting the requirements (e.g., skills, experience).

    This means not only do they have a better candidate experience when applying to your company, but they also have a better experience during interviews. This, in turn, will enhance your image as an employer.

  3. Meet Compliance Requirements

    Laws and regulations related to employment are complex. And if you have employees worldwide, things can get complicated quickly.

    However, with a streamlined recruitment process flowchart, you can correctly classify new employees, ensure they get the right benefits, and avoid legal issues. It helps ensure compliance with all relevant laws, regulations, and best practices related to recruiting and onboarding — including equal opportunity employment practices (EEO).

  4. Lower Cost Per Hire

    A poorly managed recruitment process will waste time and effort and add unnecessary financial burdens to the company.

    However, as discussed above, an effective recruitment process helps you find candidates who are a good fit for your organization. In addition, this will result in a lower cost per hire because fewer candidates will go through multiple rounds of interviews and assessments before being hired.

  5. Minimize Legal Risk

    Employers must vary the employment risks during the recruitment process in HRM. Misclassification of employees or not providing mandatory benefits could invite legal action and penalties. 

    If your HR recruitment process is unprofessional and inconsistent, you might be at risk of legal issues by candidates who felt they’re not treated fairly. Furthermore, it increases the probability of biased hiring.

An Overview of the HR Recruitment Process

The recruitment process in HRM involves numerous stages. However, the hiring team must clearly define the steps they plan to take to fill open positions quickly. Here are some essential steps that a hiring manager should consider.

  • Identify skill gaps in existing employees.
  • Define the hiring needs
  • Formulate a recruitment strategy
  • Draft a compelling job description
  • Post the openings on multiple job boards, social media, and other channels
  • Review the applications
  • Conduct interviews (telephonic or video interview)
  • Check the candidate’s background
  • Send a job offer to selected candidates
  • Ensure seamless onboarding

7 Steps in the Recruitment Process

Now that we’ve covered the basics of an efficient recruitment process, let’s look at them in detail. It is worth noting that even though hiring is tailored to a company’s requirements, the stages of the recruitment process in HRM are often the same.

7 Steps in the Recruitment Process

  1.  Job Analysis

    The first step of any recruitment process is to conduct a job analysis. This process involves gathering information about the current state of your organization, its mission, and goals, as well as what kind of employees you need to accomplish these goals.

    It involves:

    • Defining the job’s requirements so you know what skills, knowledge, and experience are needed.
    • Analyzing if the skill gap can be filled internally. If not, it’s time to look outside the organization.
    • Crafting job specifications to attract qualified candidates.
  2. Craft a Staffing Strategybenefits of staffing strategy

    Staffing strategy is a plan of action that describes how your organization will recruit, select, and hire the people it needs to achieve its goals. It should be aligned with business strategy, developed with managers and HR, and reviewed annually or as required.

    The recruitment plan should include details such as the timelines and responsibilities of each employee involved in the process and specific milestones throughout each stage of recruitment. Hiring managers must oversee the process to ensure everything is going as planned.

    In other words, the staffing strategy should include the following,

    • An analysis of the skills and competencies required for a successful hiring process
    • A description of all roles to be filled by external candidates, regardless of whether they are expected to be hired from outside or promoted internally.
    • An explanation of how each role will help support specific strategic objectives.
    • A plan for how you will fill the vacancies. You can advertise available positions on job boards, job fairs, social media (like LinkedIn), and your website. Additionally, you can create an employee referral program to encourage current employees to refer their friends.
  3. Screen Applications

    Once you have a pool of potential candidates, it’s time to screen the applications and shortlist the best ones for your business. It is worth noting that this is one of the most critical yet challenging recruitment steps.

    Therefore, it is critical to follow the best practices for screening candidates.

    • Read cover letters: Candidates often tailor cover letters for the position and the company they’re applying for. Thus, reading cover letters can give you a broad understanding of how well they align with your company.
    • Reviewing resumes: Look for formatting, spelling, and grammatical errors. They show a candidate’s level of professionalism and indicate how they can perform detail-oriented tasks.
    • Conduct phone screening: Phone interviews are a great way to understand the candidate’s attitude and soft skills. However, you must create a set of questions before reaching out to the candidate.
    • Contacting references: Ask candidates for references from their last job and reach out to them. Ask questions related to the candidate’s work ethic, performance, and how well they’re at taking feedback.
    • Visit their LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn is the biggest professional social network. It can help you understand the candidate’s characteristics and behaviors online.
  4. Conduct InterviewsConduct Interviews

    Now that you have shortlisted a few candidates, it’s time to take the recruiting process a step ahead. Start the interview process to understand the potential employees and if they’re the right fit for the current job opening.

    Now, depending on your company’s policies, you can conduct video interviews or call the candidates for a face-to-face interview. Either way, it is recommended to involve the department head for which you’re hiring the candidate. They’ll be able to judge the employee’s technical competencies better

  5. Do Background Checks

    Recruitment process steps involve background checks to ensure you don’t hire someone who will become a liability for the company or pose a threat to the workplace. For example, Accenture had to fire employees who forged documents and experience letters to get a job. Having a robust background check process in place can help avoid this.

    You can outsource background checks to third-party companies or do them in-house. If it’s the latter, you should look at the following things.

    • Criminal records check
    • Social security validation
    • Check address history
    • Sex offender registry check
  6. Negotiate and Make the Offer

    Now that you have decided on the candidates, it’s time to make an offer. Every company has a budget for specific roles, and the hiring team needs to adhere to it. At the same time, the potential candidates want to get the best offer they can. Therefore, it is critical to prepare for a negotiation.

    Once you have reached a mutually-agreed offer, it’s time to send them the appointment letter. Ensure that it contains every single detail, including the start date, job conditions, work hours, and a breakdown of their salary.

    Once the candidate(s) accepts the offer, inform other applicants about your decision. This will foster good connections and encourage them to apply for your company again when there’s a vacancy.

  7.  Onboard Employees

    The last stage of the recruitment selection process involves onboarding the employee. In this stage, the candidate signs the employment terms and becomes a part of your team.

    It is worth noting that onboarding is critical, as a good onboarding experience ensures that 69% of employees stick with a company for over three years. Here are some tips to help you provide a positive candidate experience.

    • Get the paperwork done quickly
    • Send a welcome gift
    • Involve team members and assign a buddy
    • Help them understand the company and the process
    • Check on them regularly
    • Share your company’s definition of success

Wrapping Up

The HR recruitment process is a critical aspect. Businesses must have a foolproof recruitment process flowchart ready. It will help ensure you hire the right people for the right positions and within the budget. Follow the seven recruitment steps mentioned in the blog to formulate a robust talent acquisition strategy and fill the open roles faster.

Also, don’t forget to regularly revisit and check your recruitment process steps to optimize them for better results because what works today might not work tomorrow.

Have questions? Shoot in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions


The perfect recruitment process in HRM follows these steps.

  1. Identifying the hiring need
  2. Crafting a job description
  3. Sourcing candidates via different channels
  4. Screening candidates
  5. Interviewing candidates
  6. Negotiating and making an offer
  7. Onboarding employees

You can streamline the HR recruitment process by following the right steps. You'll also need good recruitment software that makes the process more transparent. Then, analyze your existing recruitment process and optimize it to enhance it further.

There are three types of recruitment:

  1. Inbound
  2. Outbound
  3. Internal

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