What is recruitment?


Recruitment is the process of attracting and hiring candidates for a role in an organisation.

Recruitment is the process of attracting, screening, selecting and interviewing candidates for a role within a company. Companies recruit candidates to take on newly established roles or to fill positions that have been recently made available – either by the previous employee leaving the company or changing roles. There are two types of recruitment: internal and external. Internal recruitment involves scouting talent from existing employees within the company, while external recruitment involves looking elsewhere. While recruitment may be taken on by the hiring or human resources manager, companies may also choose to go through recruitment agencies, which are organisations that match companies with employees.  

History of recruitment 

Formal recruitment can be traced back to 2700 BC in Ancient Egypt, where it was first used to enlist a military force. At the time, most professions were hereditary and passed down through the family – except the military roles. Greek leaders and recruitment agents were therefore sent out with significant sums of money to find the necessary forces, even if they were not Greek. 

Though methods have changed, recruitment has been used to find talent and fill positions in nearly every industry since. In the 1750s, newspapers started being used to publish job advertisements and continued to be a preferred medium for advertisers for many years. As the Industrial Revolution came to a head in the 1800s, the high demand for labour led to the formation of the first recruitment agencies. The invention of the internet in the 1990s opened the door for online recruitment and global job advertising. By 2006, 70% of job seekers reported using the internet to help them find a job and by 2010, 90% of job applications were submitted through email or online.  

Recent trends in recruitment 

Social media 

In addition to the internet, social media has had a profound effect on recruitment. Today, due to professional networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, and social media websites and apps, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and more, recruiters can get a much more comprehensive view of a candidate than ever before. Rather than having to base their opinion of a candidate on a cover letter or a personal statement, both of which are more formal and carefully curated, social media provides recruiters with a more unfiltered view of a candidate – which can work for, or against, that individual. As such, candidates must be cognisant of the content they post online as it could make or break their chances of getting a role.    

Artificial intelligence 

In recent years, artificial intelligence has started being used by many large companies within the recruitment process. By weeding through applicants based on a predetermined set of criteria, such as education level or specific skills, AI-assisted programs can speed up the recruitment process. The technology can also find candidates within its database who may not have applied to the position but have the desired qualifications and prerequisites for the role. It can also assist in the more logistical aspects of the hiring process, such as scheduling interviews.  

Employer branding 

Employer brand is a company’s perception among past, present and future employees and is based on three factors: reputation, employer value proposition, and employee experience. In the wake of the pandemic, employer brand has become more important than ever, and can be a key determinant in attracting, retaining and engaging top talent.  

As hybrid and remote work have become more common in recent years, many employees expect flexibility as part of the employer value proposition and employee experience. Companies that do not offer flexible work arrangements are therefore less attractive to candidates, which may be shared online via social media channels or professional networking platforms. This may result in a negative online reputation, which can be detrimental to a company’s recruitment efforts. As such, employers must be aware of such trends moving forward and be open to meeting employee expectations. These efforts should then be communicated online through social media, the company website, or any other communication channel the company may use to showcase the organisation’s values and their commitment to standing by them.   

Advantages of recruitment 

Recruitment connects employers with high-quality candidates that have the necessary skills and qualifications for a role. As candidates must pass interviews or tests, the recruitment process ensures whoever is selected will be qualified and suitable for the position. Recruitment can also help businesses grow and innovate by bringing in new people with different backgrounds, skills, and mindsets.  

Disadvantages of recruitment 

The recruitment process can often be long and tedious, which may be an issue if a position needs to be filled urgently. Finding people with the necessary skills and experience may also prove difficult, which may extend the process even further. However, many qualified job seekers report that the recruitment process is often inefficient – as companies sometimes take too long to make a decision or don’t get back to them at all.   

Use case 

As a global STEM-specialist talent partner, SThree connects specialists in life sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics with organisations around the world. With a global house of specialist recruitment brands – each with expertise in specific sought-after skills in the STEM industries for both permanent and contract roles – SThree provides a unique combination of expert recruitment knowledge and worldwide reach. Our consultants understand the needs of candidates and companies alike and can therefore help highly skilled people do the work they aspire to do.