Recruitment Vs. Selection: Definition And Key Differences

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Hiring managers might use the recruitment and selection process to find qualified employees to fill open jobs. To hire qualified and culturally fit candidates, familiarising yourself with each phase of the hiring process is essential. If you have an interest in working in the human resources (HR) department, understanding the definition and differences between them can help you use the right recruitment strategy. In this article, we examine recruitment vs. selection, outline the key differences and review recruitment and selection methods to use during the hiring process.

Definition Of Recruitment Vs. Selection

It is essential to compare recruitment vs. selection to help you determine which strategy is appropriate for the hiring process:

What is recruitment?

Recruitment is a process that hiring managers use to promote open jobs. It involves using different processes to attract candidates for a desirable role. A hiring manager might use tactics such as providing job descriptions, advertising, setting recruitment criteria and creating a job listing to promote the job to qualified candidates. The primary purpose of recruitment is to attract qualified employees that meet the company's standards. When a company has an open job, the hiring manager works with the marketing and other teams to attract potential candidates. Often, recruitment is the primary step in hiring employees and typically includes:

  • Advertising the open job position

  • Writing a job description

  • Sending emails and messages to qualified candidates

  • Determining the job requirements

  • Responding to queries about the job

  • Reviewing resumes and cover letters of potential applications

  • Shortlisting potential candidates for interview

In short, recruitment is a broad shortlisting that helps in reducing a candidate pool size before the next stage.

Related: What Is Recruitment In HR? (With Types, Process And Tips)

What is selection?

Selection is finding and choosing candidates who are ideal for the job. Typically, this phase comes after the recruitment process. While the recruitment process gathers eligible candidates for a job, the selection determines which candidates are ideal for the job. The hiring manager starts with a shortlist of qualified candidates. During the selection process, hiring managers use various methods to assess their abilities and skills to ensure they hire the right individual. Some actions that might occur during the selection process are:

  • Administering aptitude tests depending on the job requirement

  • Interviewing potential and qualified candidates

  • Performing background checks

  • Screening candidates based on their resume and cover letter

  • Performing background checks

Related: What Is Headhunting And Recruiting? Definition And Process

Key Differences Between Recruitment Vs. Selection

While both the recruitment and selection process is an essential step in the hiring process, some critical differences between the two processes:

  • Objective: The recruitment process aims to advertise the vacant position, while the objective of the selection process is to fill the vacant position.

  • Approach: Recruitment follows a positive approach, where companies encourage candidates to apply for open positions. In comparison, selection follows a negative approach, where companies reject candidates unfit for the job.

  • Number of candidates: During recruitment, the number of candidates increases, whereas in the selection stage, the number decreases.

  • Time and money: Recruitment typically requires minimal time and money, whereas selection is time-consuming and expensive.

  • Process: Recruitment involves notifying candidates about the job through various sources. In the selection process, it is essential for candidates to pass tests at various levels.

Methods Of Recruitment

Here are some methods of recruitment you can use to attract qualified candidates and meet the organisation's needs. While the recruitment method you choose depends upon the industry and sector in which you work, you can use these popular recruitment methods:

Employee referrals

Employee referrals are a cost-effective way to acquire quality candidates because the existing employees know their skills, personality and qualifications. An employee referral is when an existing employee recommends their family members, friends and colleagues for a vacant position. This is primarily an internal recruitment process and can save time and money of the hiring process. If the company hires a candidate who other employees referred, the employee is eligible to receive monetary compensation or a bonus. For employee referral to be successful, trusting the existing employee's judgement is essential.

Related: How To Develop An Employee Referral Program (With Tips)

Direct advertising

Often, recruiters use direct advertisements to promote open jobs. Some common methods a recruiter might use include advertisements, television commercials, billboards and radio to connect with a wide variety of qualified candidates. This is useful when a company is hiring for entry-level or multiple positions. Recruiters who require skilled candidates are likely to use direct advertising to target candidates who match their qualifications.

Related: Top 10 External And Internal Recruitment Strategies

Boomerang recruitment

Boomerang recruitment primarily involves hiring past employees. These employees require fewer selection and training programmes. During boomerang recruitment, recruiters hire candidates who share the same value as the business and are competent in their role. This helps in saving a lot of time and money because the recruiter is aware of the candidate's skill set. But, this type of recruitment rarely yields desired result because past employees who leave the company have a justifiable reason for their past actions.

Related: 12 Popular Recruitment Types Used By Employers

Internal promotions

A company might consider internal promotion as a recruitment option when they have existing employees with the right abilities and qualifications. In such a scenario, the company might not look outside the company to search for qualified candidates. By offering internal promotions to deserving employees, a company can retain its current workforce and improve its morale. Typically, internal promotions reduce costs, save time and encourage team members to develop their skills and work ethics. Before promoting an employee, consider which position might be easier to fill.

Online job boards

Listing job responsibilities on an online job board can be an excellent way to hire new and qualified candidates. A job board ensures your job listing reaches the right audience. Apart from helping a company connect with potential candidates, these job boards provide an easy and user-friendly method of applying for vacant positions. These job boards allow you to provide details about the job responsibilities and benefits along with the work culture.

Methods Of Selection

Choosing qualified and talented candidates helps in strengthening a company's workforce and improving work quality. While the method of selection depends and varies depending upon the number of applications a recruiter receives, some common methods to use for the selection process are:

Application screening

The primary step of the selection process is screening applications to ensure candidates fulfil the minimum qualification for the role. For instance, the hiring manager might check whether the candidate is eligible to work in the country, has completed the desired certifications and possesses the relevant qualification. Often, companies use the applicant tracking system or ATS to identify whether a resume has certain skill sets and qualifications. ATS helps managers save time they might spend screening applicants manually.

Skills tests

Apart from a resume, curriculum vitae and cover letter, a company might require a candidate to pass a skill test. For example, if a candidate is applying for an analytics position, you might conduct an aptitude test to check their analytical skills and assess their abilities. Candidates who get passing marks in these skills tests move to the interview round.

Related: Skills Test: Definition And Examples

Psychometric tests

Another selection method that a recruiting manager might use is a psychometric test. A hiring manager might use psychometric tests to assess a candidate's personality, cognitive ability and integrity. The psychometric test results help you identify which candidate qualifies for job-related tasks. These tests help in selecting candidates who align with organisational culture and values.

Preliminary interview

Often, to assess a candidate's skills, hiring managers might conduct a preliminary interview with candidates with impressive applications. They can conduct these interviews by video or phone to save time. The primary purpose of conducting a preliminary interview is to verify whether the candidate fulfils the minimum qualification criteria. Each of these preliminary interviews can take less than 15 minutes.

Related: What Is An Interview? (Types Of Interviews And Formats)

Team and the employment interview

The employment and team interview involves formally meeting candidates to ask them in-depth questions and learn more about their skills and abilities. It helps a hiring manager know each candidate personally, learn about their job responsibilities and test their industry knowledge. Before the interview, prepare a list of questions to ask candidates to assess their knowledge.

Reference and background checks

The last step of the selection process is conducting reference and background checks. It helps the employer understand whether the candidates share the correct information. Background checks can help you verify critical information and assess the candidate's work ethic. For example, you might use a background check to verify if the candidate worked for a particular organisation or ensure they earned a relevant certification.

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