The Recruitment Process Demystified

How does HR work?
How does HR Work?

Wondering how recruitment works? Take a look.

You’ve heard the words recruitment, hiring, on-boarding, talent-hunt, head-hunting… the list is long. But if you are a fresher out of college you’re probably wondering what recruitment, hiring, or getting a job entails. So here’s a look at how recruitment takes place.

Wondering which career to pursue?


What is recruitment?

Stakeholders in the Recruitment Process.

The Employer or Hiring Manager


The external recruiter

The Candidate

The 8 Steps of Recruitment

Identifying the Role

Candidate Profile

Choose your Channel

Candidate List – Screening. 4

Interview.. 5

Reference Check. 5

Onboarding. 5

Stakeholders in the Recruitment Process

In the year 2017, Allegis Group conducted a survey of employers and candidates. They found that 33% employers feel that they fail to attract the top talent in the industry. 73% feel that the recruitment process does not leverage technology. These figures indicate that there are some gaps for the top talent to slip through. If all the stakeholders – the people involved in the process – are working towards the same objective this should not happen. So who are the people involved?

The Employer or Hiring Manager

The employer is the person who will eventually work with the candidate. It may be someone from the C-Suite – a CXO – or a team leader but it is usually the person who will eventually become the boss of the selected candidate. He and only he can decide what needs doing and the type of person who can do it.


In medium and large businesses there may be what you may call the internal recruiter. This is usually the head of the HR team – the Chief HR Officer (CHRO) – who is involved in the recruitment process to the extent that he may manage the process coordinating with the external recruiter – if there is one, – help in sourcing and short listing candidates, and work with the hiring manager to select the right candidate.

The external recruiter

Depending upon the organizational structure, there may also be an external recruiter to whom the process of sourcing and screening potential candidates is outsourced. This may be an individual or small firms frequently referred to as job agencies or temp agencies where temporary staff is required. The external recruiter – called by many names like HR agency, employment agency or freelance recruiter – is the front-line man who establishes first base with the candidate and asks the preliminary questions to understand whether the candidate is suitable for the role.

The Candidate

This one is obvious – the candidate is the individual who applies for and hopes to secure the job. The candidate may be an experienced employee looking for better opportunities, someone who is dissatisfied with his existing employer and hence wants to bail out, or a fresher just out of college or university. Whatever the case, it is eventually the candidate and the recruiter or hiring manager who must work together and it is the role of the recruiter to ensure that they can do so amicably.

Looking to upgrade your skills?

The 8 Steps of Recruitment

What seems like a simple process – find the candidates, shortlist them, select the best – can actually be quite lengthy and often complex. For instance, writing the job-profile or job description (JD) can be a challenging task as can communicating it to the stakeholders. While there is no guiding authority, the process is generally broken into 8 steps.

Identifying the Role

From a hiring manager’s perspective this means identifying his needs and creating a profile of the perfect candidate. As an employer, team leader, or CXO you must ask yourself what you need done and who can do it best. List the tasks that you expect the new employee to perform. Set clear boundaries around the role. So for instance if you are hiring a copy writer, be clear whether he or she will write copy for all your marketing collaterals or only select ones. Decide and define whether or not he needs to write copy only or help with designing. The more specific you are with the job description the better the recruiter can identify candidates. This will help speed up the recruitment process cutting down time wasted in screening.

From the candidate’s perspective this gives him an idea about the duties and responsibilities attached to the role. He can then decide whether or not he would like to apply.

Candidate Profile

Along with a clear job description or job profile, the external recruiter also needs a clearly outlined candidate profile – he needs to know what type of person can best fill the role. This includes everything from desired qualification and desired skill set, age, gender, temperament, location, and other demographics. When the right jobseeker reads the candidate profile it should resonate with who he (the candidate) is. It also makes it easier for the recruiter to identify potential candidates and screen them.

Talking of skill set there’s an emerging trend to prioritize talent over qualification. You can read more about it here –

Talent or Qualification – what is more important?

Choose your Channel

There are many ways to source candidates for any role. You may for instance choose to promote internally, hire from online job portals, or go the physical route. Recruiters may surf job portals or scout freelancer websites. Some big companies and conglomerates like to hire straight out of the campus through campus interviews. External recruiters too are heading to campus for selection when they are looking for talented youth. Social Media is fast emerging as the new platform for talent acquisition.

Candidate List – Screening

The next step is to create a list of potential candidates. This involves searching, reading applications, and making a list of those who fit the bill – and of course rejecting the rest. This is usually the job of the external recruiter. Where there is no external recruiter, the CHRO or one of his team members will usually perform this task.

However, outsourcing to a HR freelancer or HR firm in India is a good idea. Not only does it take a load off your shoulders, but also the person you hire to recruit for you may already have a database of candidates to pick from, which will speed up the hiring process and you can get cracking on the project that much sooner. Of course, there are costs associated with outsourcing but it’s worth it because you are likely to get the perfect candidate in a short time and you won’t have to go through tons of applications only to discard most of them.

As a candidate, you should know that not all recruiters read the entire CV of every candidate. So if you want to stand out, you should highlight the strengths that make you a good fit for the role so that recruiters can notice them and put you on the short list. As a recruiter, while its fine to scan through the applications; don’t reject all the wild cards. Remember, sometimes you find what you are looking for in the least likely place.


In these days of technology, WFH, and the post-pandemic era, most interviews are conducted online – at least initially. For crucial roles that require the candidate to come to office regularly, the last round or two may be physical.

As a candidate you’ll probably first be approached by an external recruiter – a head hunter or talent hunter – and asked about your educational background, your current status and CTC, and a few more questions such as your status in personal life. If the recruiter is satisfied with your answers, he will put you on his list of possibles.

Recruiters must bear in mind that they should conduct first interviews quickly with a ready list of questions to ask and see where it leads them. They can then call the probables in a second round of telephonic or video interview to probe further.

Reference Check

Most candidates who are experienced will voluntarily offer references and samples. If they don’t, you can ask them. While cross checking with references is a good idea, you will get a sense about the ethics and integrity of the candidate when you talk to him or her over the phone. Cross checking may be bypassed if you are sure or you can wait for the next round. On the other hand, if you are hiring for a crucial or sensitive role that requires a certain temperament or quality, it may be a good idea to call up the previous employer or reference provided by the candidate.


This is the last step once you have selected the candidate. Onboarding or enrolment is a process in itself as it frequently involves substantial paper work such as drafting and signing several documents such as the employment contract, NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), arranging for insurance and other benefits and so on. Of course this depends upon what the employer desires and what he has to offer. At the very least, you will require the candidate to sign the employment contract.

Many external recruiters – particularly from the SME sector – are offering onboarding services so if you are outsourcing your HR, ask about it.

Recruitment can be tiring and exhausting or it can be a seamless smooth process with little stress for either the recruiter or the candidate. We hope this blog has helped you understand the process better. If you still have questions, feel free to ask in the comments or via email. Meanwhile do join our FB community and sign up for our newsletter to stay tuned.

Leave a Reply