A recruitment and selection policy is a statement of principles, outlining how your organisation will conduct its recruitment and selection process.
The aim of such a policy is to ensure that a transparent and unbiased recruitment and selection process is followed; one that results in the appointment of the best candidate, based solely on merit and best-fit with your organisational values, philosophy, and goals.
Five good reasons for having such a policy are to ensure:
- Job descriptions meet business requirements
- Candidates are assessed against consistent criteria at every stage
- The recruitment process is lawful
- The candidate can be confident it is a genuine job offer
- The process can be followed by all stakeholders.
Writing an accurate position description is an important part of the recruitment process. It describes the primary tasks involved as well as the core competencies required to perform the role.
A good recruitment and selection policy would require those writing job descriptions to give precedence to the competencies that would make the most positive contribution to the organisation’s business requirements (i.e. flexibility, initiative, leadership etc).
A good recruitment and selection policy will also require that hiring managers use pre-determined criteria at all stages of the recruitment process, thereby reducing the risk of bias or discrimination. In the screening stage, the key selection criteria should have been determined before the job was advertised and clearly displayed in the advertisement and job description.
Each candidate would then be evaluated according to those criteria only. When interviewing candidates, the same interviewers should be present at each interview and a set of pre-determined questions asked of each candidate, allowing them equal time to respond. Reference checks should be conducted before any appointment is made and should be carried out in a consistent manner (i.e. asking similar questions of each candidate’s referees and former employers).
It should be noted that treating everyone consistently does not always imply fairness. If a candidate is at a disadvantage for any reason (i.e. has a disability), you may need to take their individual circumstances into account, so they are given an equal opportunity to present their case.
Privacy and equal opportunity legislation require that the recruitment process is conducted in a fair and transparent manner and a good recruitment and selection policy will always make this very clear to recruiters.
During no stage of the recruitment process (from advertisement to interview) can there be any discriminatory behaviour, based on a person’s age, sex, marital status, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or disability. A candidate may have recourse to legal action if they feel they have been discriminated against, so impartiality is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good risk management practice. Discrimination may be quite unintentional.
For example, using terms in a job advertisement such as ‘young and energetic’ or ‘new graduate’ may seem harmless enough, but should be avoided as they are implying that you must be young to apply for the job.
Privacy laws also require that a candidate’s application is treated confidentially. Penalties apply if breaches occur, so here as well, a good recruitment and selection policy helps to protect the organisation’s best interests. An example of a privacy breach would be a recruiter discussing the details of a confidential job application with their family or friends.
A recruitment and selection policy that reminds staff about the implications of possible lapses such as these can go a long way towards ensuring they never happen.
Not all job advertisements are genuine. Some are placed by organisations wishing to build up a ‘talent pool’ or to simply to test the waters and see what’s out there. If an organisation calls for certain application procedures to be followed, candidates can feel confident the position they are applying for actually exists and that their efforts will not be in vain.
Candidates can also see you are a reputable employer by the good practices you follow and are more likely to want to become an employee of your organisation.
By requiring transparent procedures at every step, the recruitment and selection policy ensures that all stakeholders in the recruitment process (HR, department head, line manager etc) are able to follow the process and be confident of the outcome.
Candidates should be kept informed of the status of their application and notified if unsuccessful. Reasons for decisions made during the recruitment process should be documented and a transparent appeals process put in place if a candidate is unhappy with the outcome.
A good recruitment and selection policy should be based on principles such as:
- Respect for diversity
- Ethical decision making
- Selection according to merit
- Equal treatment for all
- Procedural fairness.
Adherence to such a policy will not only ensure job applicants are treated fairly, but will also greatly increase your chances of securing the best possible people for your organisation.