AskDefine | Define recruitment

Dictionary Definition

recruitment n : the act of getting recruits; enlisting people for the army (or for a job or a cause etc.) [syn: enlisting]

User Contributed Dictionary



, (French: recrutement)


  1. The process or art of finding candidates for a post in an organization, or of recruits for the armed forces


process or art of finding candidates or recruits

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Recruitment refers to the process of sourcing, screening, and selecting people for a job or vacancy within an organization. Though individuals can undertake individual components of the recruitment process, mid- and large-size organizations generally retain professional recruiters.

The recruitment industry

The recruitment industry has four main types of agencies. Their recruiters aim to channel candidates into the hiring organisation’s application process. As a general rule, the agencies are paid by the companies, not the candidates. The industries practice of information asymmetry and recruiters' varying capabilities in assessing candidate quality produces the negative economic impacts described by The Market for Lemons.

Traditional recruitment agency

Also known as a employment agencies, recruitment agencies have historically had a physical location. A candidate visits a local branch for a short interview and an assessment before being taken onto the agency’s books. Recruitment Consultants then endeavour to match their pool of candidates to their clients' open positions. Suitable candidates are with potential employers.
Remuneration for the agency's services usually takes one of two forms:
  • A contingency fee paid by the company when a recommended candidate accepts a job with the client company (typically 20%-30% of the candidate’s starting salary), which usually has some form of guarantee, should the candidate fail to perform and is terminated within a set period of time.
  • An advance payment that serves as a retainer, also paid by the company.
  • In some states it may still be legal for an employment agency to charge the candidate instead of the company, but in most states that practice is now illegal, due to past unfair and deceptive practices.

Online recruitment websites

Such sites have two main features: job boards and a résumé/Curriculum Vitae (CV) database. Job boards allow member companies to post job vacancies. Alternatively, candidates can upload a résumé to be included in searches by member companies. Fees are charged for job postings and access to search resumes.
In recent times the recruitment website has evolved to encompass end to end recruitment. Websites capture candidate details and then pool then in client accessed candidate management interfaces (also online). Key players in this sector provide e-recruitment software and services to organisations of all sizes and within numerous industry sectors, who want to e-enable entirely or partly their recruitment process in order to improve business performance.
The online software provided by those who specialise in online recruitment helps organisations attract, test, recruit, employ and retain quality staff with a minimal amount of administration.
Online recruitment websites can be very helpful to find candidates that are very actively looking for work and post their resumes online, but they will not attract the "passive" candidates who might respond favorably to an opportunity that is presented to them through other means. Also, some candidates who are actively looking to change jobs are hesitant to put their resumes on the job boards, for fear that their current companies, co-workers, customers or others might see their resumes.


Headhunters are third-party recruiters often retained when normal recruitment efforts have failed.
Headhunters are generally more aggressive than in-house recruiters. They may use advanced sales techniques, such as initially posing as clients to gather employee contacts, as well as visiting candidate offices. They may also purchase expensive lists of names and job titles, but more often will generate their own lists. They may prepare a candidate for the interview, help negotiate the salary, and conduct closure to the search. They are frequently members in good standing of industry trade groups and associations. Headhunters will often attend trade shows and other meetings nationally or even internationally that may be attended by potential candidates and hiring managers.
Headhunters are typically small operations that make high margins on candidate placements (sometimes more than 30% of the candidate’s annual compensation). Due to their higher costs, headhunters are usually employed to fill senior management and executive level roles, or to find very specialized individuals.
While in-house recruiters tend to attract candidates for specific jobs, headhunters will both attract candidates and actively seek them out as well. To do so, they may network, cultivate relationships with various companies, maintain large databases, purchase company directories or candidate lists, and cold call.

In-house recruitment

Larger employers tend to undertake their own in-house recruitment, using their Human Resources department. In addition to coordinating with the agencies mentioned above, in-house recruiters may advertise job vacancies on their own websites, coordinate employee referral schemes, and/or focus on campus graduate recruitment. Alternatively a large employer may choose to outsource all or some of their recruitment process (Recruitment process outsourcing).

The Recruitment Process

These are the main recruiting stages.


Sourcing involves 1) advertising, a common part of the recruiting process, often encompassing multiple media, such as the Internet, general newspapers, job ad newspapers, professional publications, window advertisements, job centers, and campus graduate recruitment programs; and 2) recruiting research, which is the proactive identification of relevant talent who may not respond to job postings and other recruitment advertising methods done in #1. This initial research for so-called passive prospects, also called name-generation, results in a list of prospects who can then be contacted to solicit interest, obtain a resume/CV, and be screened (see below).

Screening & selection

Suitability for a job is typically assessed by looking for skills, e.g. communication, typing, and computer skills. Qualifications may be shown through résumés, job applications, interviews, educational or professional experience, the testimony of references, or in-house testing, such as for software knowledge, typing skills, numeracy, and literacy, through psychological tests or employment testing.
In some countries, employers are legally mandated to provide equal opportunity in hiring.


A well-planned introduction helps new employees become fully operational quickly and is often integrated with the recruitment process.


1. CIPD (U.K.) Recruitment Viewpoint 2. CIPD (U.K.) E-recruitment
recruitment in German: Personalbeschaffung
recruitment in French: Recrutement
recruitment in Hebrew: מיון עובדים
recruitment in Polish: Rekrutacja
recruitment in Russian: Рекрутинг
recruitment in Chinese: 招聘

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bugle call, call, call to arms, call-up, catchword, clarion, clarion call, compulsory military service, conscription, draft, draft call, drafting, enlistment, enrollment, exhortation, go for broke, gung ho, impressment, induction, levy, mobilization, muster, press, rally, rallying cry, rebel yell, recruiting, selective service, slogan, summons, trumpet call, war cry, war whoop, watchword
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