In search of good fit: policy and practice in recruitment and selection in Ireland Department of Personnel and Employment Relations, College of Business, University of Limerick, Ireland Introduction The focus of recruitment and selection is on matching the capabilities and inclinations of prospective candidates against the demands and rewards inherent in a given job (Herriot, 1989; Montgomery, 1996; Plumbley, 1985). Recruitment and selection lie at the heart of how businesses procure human resources required to maintain a sustainable competitive advantage over rivals (Aaker, 1989; Jackson et al., 1989; Pettigrew et al., 1988; Raghuram and Arvey, 1996; Walker, 1992) and hence staffing positions, especially managerial posts, in organisations may well represent one of the most important human resource management functions (Judge and Ferris, 1994). Plumbley (1985) suggests that the profitability and even the survival of an enterprise usually depends upon the calibre of the workforce and it has been argued that the costs of ineffectual commercial viability can often be attributed to decades of ineffective recruitment and selection methods (Lewis, 1984; Plumbley, 1985; Smith and Robertson, 1993; Terpstra, 1996). In this paper we review contemporary thinking on recruitment and selection in organisations and, drawing upon Irish data from the 1992 and 1995 Cranet E survey, we explore the nature of current recruitment and selection practices in Ireland with particular reference to managerial jobs. In relation to recruitment, policy decisions are examined, recruitment methods are reviewed, and the influence of ownership, size, unionisation and sector on the methods chosen is presented. In relation to selection, the techniques employed are identified and the situations in which they are most likely to be utilised are highlighted. The changing context of recruitment and selection decisions Much of the recent literature on personnel management has emphasised the necessity for the recruitment and selection of employees who are committed to the goals of the organisation. Recent waves of organisational restructuring have dramatically changed and, in many cases, destroyed existing employment relationships. As traditional autocratic structures flatten and organisations utilise multidisciplinary teams to remain competitive, the need for strategic and transparent systems becomes paramount (Hackman, 1986; O'Reilly et al., 1991; Raghuram and Arvey, 1996; Worren and Koestner, 1996).
Noreen Heraty and Michael Morley
Journal of Management Development, Vol. 17 No. 9, 1998, pp. 662-685. # MCB University Press, 0262-1711
Heraty et al. (1997) suggest that, increasingly, many organisations are being Recruitment and transformed from structures that are built on functions and jobs, to those selection in where focused, self-directed work teams, made up of empowered individuals Ireland with diverse backgrounds, are replacing traditional specialised workers. Burack and Singh (1995) highlight that firms need adaptable people who can adjust to rapidly changing customer needs and operational structures, while 663 Pfeffer (1994) argues that employees, and the way they work, comprise the crucial difference between successful and unsuccessful organisations. He argues that as technology increases and product life cycles shorten, the major source of competitive advantage will be the individual worker. Krauthamer and Dorfman (1996, p. 49) further develop this view of the prevailing business environment and highlight that: With the sweeping changes in today's business climate and the rise of reengineering to meet the needs of organisations in the area of downsizing or cost diminution, (search) firms must be equipped to recruit individuals who can operate in a non-structured or ``virtual'' organisation ... Even in today's technically advanced business environment, the human factor will always be instrumental to...