This section deals with the main issues underlying the whole recruitment process. Such as, how recruitment is organised within the organisation, whether or not to outsource some or all of the recruitment function, the impact of partnership working on recruitment, and the role of Human Resource Management Information Systems (HRMIS) in assisting with the recruitment process.

Who Deals With Recruitment?

In most organisations there are a number of people who become involved in the recruitment process. From the initial stages when a vacancy arises, the administrative process of arranging advertisements, job packs and interviews, through to the decisions about shortlisting and selecting the final candidate.

Line Managers:

All or some of these tasks can be undertaken by line managers, or by a specialist HR team, either employed directly by the authority, or outsourced to an external organisation. Roles and responsibilities may also vary depending on the job being advertised.

Line managers will usually be involved in the selection process, but may also undertake all or parts of the recruitment process, such as organising placement of the advertisement and inviting prospective candidates to interview. Line managers will be the most familiar with the job's requirements and therefore be in a good position to ensure that the advertisement is appropriate. In addition, depending on the manager, they may feel happier about the process if they have had direct involvement with it.

Human Resources:

Alternatively, the Human Resources (HR) function may undertake the recruitment process. The service could be provided by:

  • A directorate-based HR team, provided as part of an overall HR service.
  • A corporate HR team, provided as part of an overall HR service.
  • A specialist team, whose sole responsibility is recruitment.

A directorate-based HR team may have a greater understanding of the requirements of the job, particularly if it is of a specialist nature, specific to that directorate. However, there may be concerns regarding consistency of practice across the authority unless clear standards are in place, and this may not help to promote the authority's employer brand. In addition, there may be duplication of tasks between different directorates and confusion for potential candidates, particularly if there are different contact points for different jobs.

Specialist Recruitment Team:

A specialist recruitment team within the organisation can provide economies of scale, particularly for larger organisations. This will ensure consistency, a central contact for potential candidates, and centralised promotion of the employer brand.

Points to Consider:

When deciding who should carry out recruitment, the organisation should make sure that those dealing with recruitment have the capacity to deal with the volume, and the nature of job vacancies in terms of training and resources.

Systems are set up for record-keeping which:

  • Comply with any corporate monitoring requirements.
  • Are adequate to defend any potential discrimination claims.
  • Comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.
  • If the process is devolved to line managers or directorate-based HR teams, consistency is maintained as far as possible.
  • The speed and success of the recruitment process is monitored.


The recruitment process can be contracted out partly or wholly to an external organisation. This outsourcing may be for a specific vacancy, such as the use of a recruitment agency to recruit for a senior level post, or for all vacancies. Different parts of the recruitment process may be outsourced; for example using a recruitment advertising agency to proof read and place job advertisements.

Benefits may arise from outsourcing because of economies of scale, particularly where the agency has invested heavily in technology. This may mean that the agency can provide a quicker, better and even cheaper service than the authority can provide itself. Improved service levels may also result from the service level agreement agreed between the authority and the agency.

When outsourcing, it is important that line managers remain sufficiently involved in the recruitment process because of their understanding of a vacancy's requirements. It is also important for the authority to set clear roles, responsibilities and standards to ensure that they retain some control over the process. The authority needs to be satisfied that the agency is able to comply with anti-discrimination legislation and is experienced in promoting equal opportunities.


  • What are the benefits to the authority of organisation in the recruitment process?
  • What are the disadvantages and costs? Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
  • Will outsourcing involve the agency undertaking all tasks involved in the process for all job vacancies, or will it be parts of the process and/or for some jobs only?
  • What will the impact be on current service delivery and those who currently undertake the recruitment tasks?
  • How will a supplier be selected to ensure that they meet service delivery needs and reflect the authority's management style and culture?
  • What input will the organisation have in defining how the service will be delivered
  • How will the organisation ensure that the contractor complies with the authority's recruitment policy?
  • How will information be shared with the contractor, bearing in mind Data Protection requirements?
  • How will the success of the approach be monitored and reviewed?
  • Human resource management information systems (HRMIS) in recruitment and selection methods

Depending on the software provided, HRMIS can help at every step of the recruitment and selection process such as:

  • Recording job requirements, through on-line job descriptions and person specifications;
  • Recording previous job advertisements, which may then be modified for the current vacancy
  • Producing information for the job pack, such as standard letters regarding the application process etc.
  • Linking to web-based information, if the Internet is used for recruitment and the receipt of applications
  • Producing letters and information for candidates regarding the selection process, such as invitations to attend interviews etc
  • Record selection process results
  • Producing standard letters for potential successful candidates, such as reference requests, initial offer letters etc
  • Producing contracts of employment for the successful candidate
  • Recording the successful candidate's personal and job information for future use during employment
  • Recording information about applicants and the process for monitoring purposes.

The use of a HRMIS during the recruitment and selection process can speed up the process and free resources. For example, depending on the type of package used, it may be possible to enter a candidate's details once and this information can then be used to generate all other documentation and information. If the use of a HRMIS is linked to Internet recruitment and applications, the process may be streamlined still further.

The implementation of a HRMIS can be costly, both in terms of purchasing the software but also in training staff to operate the new system. There may also be concerns from staff regarding their future roles as many of the traditional administrative functions may be reduced.