Challenges of Recruitment in a Workplace


One human resource challenge organizations face is that of selecting the right candidates for job positions. In Nigeria, the labour market is awash with stories of recruitment failure and lack of jobs depending on who is telling the story.

The truth is that organisations are in constant search for the ‘right’ personnel to man ixts operations. In some cases, in the manner of people of marriageable age searching for the ‘right’ spouse.

Recently, I had discussion with one of our clients’ representative regarding their need to fill certain positions in their company. During the discussions, she mentioned some challenging issues they usually face with recruitment process which sometimes result in new entrants leaving the organization within one year and in some cases less than six months.

The reasons for recruitment failures are multifaceted and require an integrated approach to resolve. However, some causes of these challenges require a good understanding of country, organization practices and people thinking.

Successful recruitment is easier achieved by doing it professionally. The first logical step is for a recruiter to understand the organization, its processes, and people. A clear description of the vacant position; functions and all requirements and expectations are important in getting it right. It is important to pool as many candidates as possible. Use the media to reach your target. Communication and packaging is critical at this point. Talk to a professional.

Organizations need to check its screening process before hiring an employee. Meeting someone for interview once or twice is not enough. There are batteries of tests that if well administered and interpreted could give clearer picture of the competence and personality traits of job candidates.

Competence of interviewers could affect selection outcome to a large extent. What questions are you asking the candidates? What are the questions meant to achieve? What is your understanding and interpretation of the answers you receive from the candidates? Human resource is not a physical science but a social science that requires complex analyses and understanding of people issues.

You should have the skill to probe and get the fact out of the prospective employee. You must avoid assuming that people who say certain things are bound to behave in certain ways. Sometimes frequent change of jobs may not necessarily mean a candidate is unstable.

Probe and understand the circumstances before drawing conclusions. Looks can also be deceptive. You can not by mere looking at a candidate tell his/her character. Appearance matters but watch.

Character is everything. It could be a problem if references are not checked. Running checks on people in Nigeria’s peculiar system requires knowledge of the corporate community. Who are you taking reference from? What is the character of the individual in position to give reference? There are cases of vendetta and sometimes referees just being economical with the truth. Relying on formal references may not be enough.

Depending on prospective employee’s position, the measure of reference required should vary from just enough to being thorough. A candidate’s character could be spotted from the presentation of his/her curriculum vitae. Do not over look the ‘little’ lie on the curriculum vitae; it could graduate to corporate fraud. You know a leopard never changes its spots.

Selection could also be hampered if candidates are imposed by certain loyalty distractions or sentiments and not by merit. A staff that benefits from such process is most likely to be complacent. The resultant poor performance may go a long way to affect other performance drivers and lead to a failure of the recruitment process.

Another sensitive area in the recruitment process that must not be overlooked is that of expectations. Not just remunerations. Sometimes organizations think of remuneration only in analyzing candidates’ expectations, without taking time to discuss job functions, job tools, career path, promotion criteria, performance measures as well as work environment and culture, etc.

These are very important aspects of the recruitment process. Employer/employee relationship is that of mutual benefits. As the employer is assessing reasons to employ the prospective employee, the employee is also looking out for reasons to work for an organization. So recruitment assessment is a two-way thing. You must be conscious of the image that you are projecting that may form a prospective employee’s perception.

You must seek to know and understand the type of corporate culture the prospective employee is coming from and match it to your corporate environment. Culture shocks are the most common reason for recruitment failure.

A new employee is always looking out for ‘familiar’ systems and wants to do things in ‘known’ ways. Most often they meet with resistance and ‘new’ ways of doing things. If orientation was not properly or comprehensively done, the new staff gets shocked and begin to quietly feel the people around are rejecting his person not his known ways of doing things.

This feeling could lead to an early exit. Understanding other culture is key to building lasting relationship. The good thing is that culture can be learned and unlearned. Consciousness of its place in organization performance is vital.

More over, the recruitment process time is a factor in achieving success. Candidates should not be kept waiting too long before outcome is communicated. Successful candidates, at least, should know their stand within four (4) weeks at the maximum, depending on number of positions to be filled and the process style.

If recruitment is done right, every other HR issues become easier to manage. Recruitment is the single most important part of HR management. It is at this time that both parties (employers and employees) begin to form impressions that are laid as the bedrock or foundation of the work relationship and ultimate job performance.

Marvel Essien is Managing Director of Spring Resources Consulting – a human resources and organisation development firm,  based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (+234)8023195821(WhatsApp and Text messages only)


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