A guide to employee recruitment, selection and hiring

Choosing to hire is a significant business decision for any organization.

Employees add considerable costs to a company’s overhead, as well as potential liability. Startups have limited resources—every additional employee must be carefully considered.

A company’s growth is measured according to its profits and losses. The cost of unnecessary hiring and/or hiring the wrong person can be detrimental to a company’s bottom line.

Before engaging in the recruitment process, management should clearly understand the company’s operational requirements, projected revenues and business goals, and then determine the types of skills and competencies required to meet those needs.

Consider your options

Hiring new employees is not the only answer. Before proceeding directly to the recruitment process, consider the following alternatives for meeting your company’s existing needs:

  • Elimination of certain tasks
  • Training current staff
  • Reallocating and/or outsourcing the work
  • Hiring temporary employees

Recruitment, selection and hiring process

The following steps constitute the main elements in the recruitment, selection and hiring process:

  1. Develop a position description that includes a comprehensive overview of the job—including the role’s responsibilities, competencies, relationships and working conditions.
  2. Determine what resources you will employ to source qualified candidates.
  3. Create well-defined selection criteria for use in screening candidates and preparing interview questions.
  4. Ensure that the selection process is fair, consistent, well understood, and legally and professionally executed.
  5. Conduct thorough reference checks on final candidates.
  6. Conduct pre-employment testing as appropriate.
  7. Ensure that all candidates being interviewed are managed respectfully and receive timely and accurate feedback.
  8. Maintain goodwill with all applicants—everyone is a potential source of referral.

Common recruitment, selection and hiring mistakes

Many startups make the following errors when recruiting new employees:

  • Failing to define the position being offered
  • Underestimating the importance of corporate culture
  • Taking sole responsibility for hiring
  • Failing to prepare for the interview
  • Providing an inappropriate setting for the interview

Proper planning can help your organization to develop and execute a proper recruitment strategy and avoid many of these errors.

Further Reading


Butteriss, M. (1999). Help Wanted: The Complete Guide to Human Resources for Canadian Entrepreneurs. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons.