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A colleague of mine who has been working in the Human Resources Department for the last 20 years, was arguing to me that recruitment and selection is the same thing. According to him/her (don’t want to embarrass him/her) selection is a part of recruitment. That is when I realised that many people mistakenly believe that recruitment and selection are identical, or that selection is merely a component of recruitment. In reality, these are two distinct processes. The following article provides a clear explanation of how they differ.

Recruitment and selection are two distinct phases in the process of hiring employees, each with its own steps and objectives.


  1. Identifying the Need: The first step involves recognizing the need for a new employee, typically due to business growth, the development of new departments, or replacing departing staff.
  2. Job Analysis: This involves understanding the requirements of the role, including responsibilities, skills needed, and the role’s importance within the organization.
  3. Creating a Job Description: Based on the job analysis, a detailed job description is prepared, outlining the responsibilities, qualifications, and experience required for the role.
  4. Sourcing Candidates: This can be done through various channels like job postings on websites, social media, referrals, or using recruitment agencies.
  5. Advertising the Position: The job is advertised to attract candidates. This includes deciding where to post the job (online job boards, company website, etc.) and crafting an appealing job advertisement.
  6. Managing Responses and Shortlisting: Responses from candidates are collected and reviewed. The most suitable candidates are shortlisted for further assessment.


  1. Screening and Shortlisting: This step involves a more thorough review of the shortlisted candidates from the recruitment phase, often using specific criteria to identify the most qualified candidates.
  2. Interviews: Shortlisted candidates are invited for interviews. This can involve several rounds of interviews, including HR interviews, technical interviews, and interviews with higher management.
  3. Assessments and Testing: Depending on the job, candidates might undergo various tests (skills tests, personality assessments, etc.) to evaluate their suitability for the position.
  4. Reference and Background Checks: To verify the information provided by candidates and to ensure there are no legal or behavioral issues, reference and background checks are conducted.
  5. Job Offer: Once a candidate is selected, a job offer is made. This includes negotiating terms and conditions of employment.
  6. Onboarding: After acceptance of the job offer, the new employee undergoes an onboarding process where they are introduced to the company, its culture, and their specific role.

Key Differences
Purpose: Recruitment is about attracting a large pool of candidates and ensuring there’s a wide selection to choose from. Selection is about narrowing down this pool to the most suitable candidate.
Scope: Recruitment is a proactive process focusing on creating interest and encouraging as many candidates as possible to apply. Selection is a reactive process where the focus is on evaluating and choosing among the applicants.
Activities: Recruitment involves advertising, communicating with potential candidates, and managing applications. Selection involves interviews, assessments, and making the final hiring decision.
Outcome: The outcome of recruitment is a pool of candidates who have applied for the job. The outcome of selection is the best candidate who is offered the position.

Both recruitment and selection are crucial for finding the right candidate for a job, but they focus on different stages of the hiring process.