The work of the Human Resources department

We all know that recruitment and selection is one of the tasks that the HR department fulfills. The other tasks will be discussed below:

  • Recruitment and selection: Involves selecting and attracting the best workers.
  • Wages and salaries: Must be enough to motivate or attract workers.
  • Industrial relations: There must be effective communication between departments.
  • Training programmes: Must meet the training needs of employees and accomplish business objectives.
  • Health and safety: Must do things according to the law.
  • Redundancy and dismissal: Must obey all laws when firing workers.

Recruitment and selection

Workers are needed when a business starts up, expands or an existing employee leaves. Businesses use the recruitment process to successfully employ the right people. This process is usually undertaken by the HR department, but in small business, HR departments do not exist since the businesses employ too little workers for it to be of much use. Here is a diagram summarising the recruitment process:

  1. Vacancy arises.
  2. A job analysis is done, which identifies the responsibilities and tasks of the job.
  3. A job description lists that responsibilities and tasks to the candidates who apply for the position.
  4. A job specification outlines the required qualifications, expertise and experience a candidate needs so that they can be accepted.
  5. The job is advertised in the appropriate media. (e.g. newspapers)
  6. Candidates fill out application forms, which are short-listed so that only the best candidates remain.
  7. Interviews are held with remaining candidates, and the ones suitable for the job are selected.
  8. Vacancy filled

The recruitment process

Job analysis and description:

When a new employee is needed, a job analysis needs to be taken to identify the tasks and responsibilities of the position. This should be easy for a job that needs replacement, but not so much for a job that has just been created.

Once all the details of the job has been gathered, a job description needs to be drawn up. This job description has several functions:

  • Given to candidates so they will know what the job will involve.

  • Allows a job specification to be drawn up which will state the requirements for the job.

  • Shows whether an employee carries out the job effectively or not. It helps solve disputes  between employees and employers about wages, working hours, etc.

The job description for any business will usually contain:

  • The title of the job.

  • The department one will work in.

  • Who will be in charge of the job-holder?

  • Who the job-holder will be in charge for.

  • The purpose of the job (job summary).

  • The main duties of the job.

Job description sometimes contain information about:

  • The conditions of employment – working hours, wages, pension schemes.

  • Training that will be offered.

  • Opportunities of promotionJob specification

Job specification

After the job description has been drawn up, the qualifications for the job can be identified. They usually include:

  • The level of educational qualifications.

  • The amount and type of experience.

  • Special skillstalents or knowledge.

  • Personal characteristics. (e.g. type of personality)

Advertising the vacancy

The next stage is on how to get people to know that you have a job to be filled.

Internal recruitment

The vacancy can be filled by an employee already in the business. It might be suitable for employees seeking promotion.

Advantages of internal recruitment:

  • Saves time and money.

  • The candidates’ reliabilityability and potential are already known.

  • The candidates know the expectations and rules of the company.

  • Motivates other employees to work harder to get promoted too.

Disadvantages of internal recruitment

  • No new ideas or experience come into the business.

  • May create jealousy and rivalry between existing employees.

External recruitment

Most vacancies are filled with external recruitment, which always involves advertising the vacancy. Here are some suitable media of advertising:

  • Local newspaper: Usually for office and manual workers. These people are plenty since the job does not require too much skill.

  • National newspaper: Used to find workers for senior positions that requires a lot of skills. It can be read by people anywhere in the country or overseas.

  • Specialist magazines: Used for particular technical specialists such as physicists. Can be used to hire people in the home country or abroad.

  • Recruitment agencies: Keeps details of qualified people, and will send the suitable applicants to interviews when a business asks for a worker. Many businesses prefer to use recruitment agencies to find them workers because it is easier. However, it is expensive since their fee is based on a percentage of the workers pay.

  • Government job centres: Place where businesses can advertise their vacancies. These vacancies are usually for unskilled or semi-skilled workers.

Possible effects of government legislation on the recruitment process

Many governments pass laws to create equal employee opportunities. They state that all employees should be treated equally in the work place and receive the same salary for doing the same job. People of any sex and people with disabilities are treated equally. Therefore, businesses need to be careful when advertising and treating their employees because they could be prosecuted and fined.

Job advertisement

This is what a business needs to decide when drawing up an advertisement:

  • What should be included?

    • Job description

    • Job specification

  • Where the ad will be placed.

    • (depends on job)

  • Advertising budget.

    • (depends on job)

Applications forms and CVs/résumés

When a person applies for a job, he will have to fill out an application form, or write an application letter with a CV enclosed. CVs are descriptions about one’s qualifications and skills in a set format.

Businesses will use application forms and CVs to see whether an applicant match the job specifications or not. The closest matching applicants are invited to interviews in the selection stage. A short-list is drawn up.

These are what CVs should contain:

  • Name

  • Address

  • Telephone Number

  • Date of Birth

  • Nationality

  • Education and qualifications

  • Work experience

  • Positions of responsibility

  • Interests

  • Names and addresses of references.

The letter of application should contain briefly:

  • Why the applicant wants the job.

  • Why the applicant feels he/she would be suitable.

Applicant forms ask for the same information as the application letter and CV, but may ask for other types of information.


Applicants who are invited to interviews will have provided the names and addresses of their references. These people can give their opinions on the reliability, honesty and skills of the applicants and they will be likely to tell the truth because the applicants will not know what they have said.

Interviews are the most popular form of selection. However, interviews are not always the most reliable process of selection. They aim to find out these things:

  • The applicant’s ability to do the job.

  • Personal qualities that are advantageous and disadvantageous.

  • General characteristics – whether they can “fit in”?

These are the likely questions in an interview:

  • Why have you applied for the job?

  • What do you know about this company?

  • What qualities do you have to offer the company?

  • What ambitions do you have?

  • What are your hobbies and interests?

  • Do you have any questions to ask us?

Interviews can be one-to-one, two-to-one, or a panel of people to interview people which is used to select people for important jobs. Some businesses include tests in their selection.

  • Skill tests: To test the skills of the candidates.

  • Aptitude tests: To test how easily candidates can be trained/learn new things.

  • Personality tests: To test for people who have specific personal qualities which will fit into jobs – e.g. that has a lot of stress; requires you to work with a team.

  • Group situation tests: To test how well applicants work with other people.

Rejecting unsuccessful applicants

When applicants fail to get the job, they should be informed and thanked for applying.


Training is often needed to do achieve the needs listed below. These needs can be long-term or short-term.

  • Introduce a new process or equipment.

  • Improve efficiency.

  • Decrease supervision needed.

  • Improve the opportunity for internal promotion.

  • Decrease the chance of accidents

Employees should know the benefits of training for them to take it seriously. Here are some

  • objectives of training:

  • Increase skills.

  • Increase knowledge.

  • Change attitude, raise awareness.

There are three main types of training:

Induction training:

    • Introducing a new employee to their business/management/co-workers/facilities.

    • Lasts one to several days.

  • On-the-job training:

    • Employees are trained by watching professionals do a job.

    • Only suitable for unskilled and semiskilled jobs.

    • Cuts travel costs.

    • The trainee may do some work.

    • The trainer’s productiveness is decreased because he has to show things to the trainee.

    • The trainer’s bad habits can be passed to the trainee.

  • Off-the-job training:

    • Workers go to another place for training (e.g. school).

    • Methods are varied and usually more complex.

    • Usually classroom training.

    • Employees still work during the day.

    • Employees can learn many skills.

Workforce planning

A business will need to forecast the type and number of employees needed in the future. This depends on the firm’s growth and objectives. The forecast can be done by:

  • Finding out the skills of all current employees.

  • Counting out people who are leaving soon (e.g. retirement).

  • Talk to staff about who would want to retrain for new jobs.

  • Provide a recruitment plan. (how many new staff are needed, and how they should be recruited, internal or external)

Dismissal and Redundancy

There are some situations when businesses need to reduce the number of employees they have. This can be done in two ways:

  • Dismissal:

    • A worker is fired for unsatisfactory work or behaviour.

    • Fault of the employee.

  • Redundancy:

    • Employees are no longer needed.

    • Not the fault of the employee.

    • Some reasons are:

      • A business is closing down a factory.

      • A business wants to cut costs by reducing the number of employees.

      • A business has merged/taken over another and there are too many staff in certain departments.

      • New machinery replaces workers.

    Employees are given some money to compensate for their lost job.

  • The money is often negotiated with trade unions.

  • Some government have laws that makes businesses pay for their workers this way.

   If only some employees are to be made redundant, trade unions will agree with the fairest way to see who goes. These terms are negotiated with the HR department.

Sometimes there will be voluntary redundancy by members.

  • Older workers.

  • There may be some who wants to leave because they have other ideas.