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A recruitment policy governs the way an employer attempts to fill vacant staff positions. Most large companies have some form of recruitment policy in place that complies with employment laws, and also provides the company with a cost-efficient method to quickly replace outgoing employees. Major firms typically have hiring policies in place that all human resources personnel and hiring managers must abide by. Small firms with few employees usually handle recruitment on a case-by-case basis.
Some companies attempt to fill vacant positions with internal candidates in order to speed up the hiring process. External advertising can be expensive, and firms often limit external advertising to job postings on company websites. Companies requiring employees with specialized skills usually have full-time human resources personnel on staff who headhunt qualified candidates from other firms or from major colleges.
A proactive recruitment policy involves continuously identifying suitable job candidates for positions, regardless of whether the positions are currently filled. Companies that proactively recruit often hire surplus employees and put them through training so that they can immediately step in to positions that become vacant. This enables these companies to avoid slowdowns in production caused by key personnel vacating positions. Depending on the complexity of the job it can take weeks or months to hire a new employee, so proactive hiring enables firms to avoid extended periods of operating with staff shortages.
Companies that have a reactive recruitment policy do not attempt to begin recruiting until after a position becomes vacant. Reactive recruitment enables firms to save money in terms of advertising and paying recruitment personnel during periods of time when the company is fully staffed. Companies with large numbers of low skilled workers tend to have a reactive recruitment policy, because candidates for entry level jobs are much more numerous that candidates for highly skilled positions. Some firms that rely on reactive hiring do not employ full time human resources personnel to act as recruiters, but instead work with employment agencies when positions open up.
In most countries, laws exist that prevent companies from developing recruitment policies that discriminate against certain sections of society. Typical employment laws prevent companies from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of age, gender, race, or religion. Laws in many places also protect the employment rights of people with medical conditions and handicaps, as long as the particular medical condition does not prevent them from carrying out the basic job duties. Companies with recruitment policies that do not comply with the law can face fines and law suits.