Recruitment Simplified

This is Part I in a new series launched through Morrison's People Solutions Monthly, a regular email providing valuable insight into human resources and other related topics. Click here if you'd like to sign up to receive Morrison's People Solutions Monthly email.

1the action or process of recruiting
2the process of adding new individuals to a population or subpopulation (as of breeding or legally catchable individuals) by growth, reproduction, immigration, and stocking
Merriam Webster

It’s been a few years since I was in grade school, but definition number 1 sounds like something from my smart aleck phase. Number 2 looks like a lawsuit.

These definitions also miss the point for hiring purposes – much as the recruitment process can do if approached incorrectly. The online Cambridge Dictionary definition comes closer to the mark: 

The process of finding people to work for a company or become a new member of an organization.

Inherent in that definition is that the organization has a personnel need it is actively seeking to fill, and there are a number of factors that can make this a challenge. In this new series of articles, we will be looking at problems associated with the recruitment process and breaking them into basic concepts and practical solutions.   

The first challenge is to understand what is required to do the job well. Task oriented jobs are the simplest to understand, if not necessarily to perform. One of my summer jobs in college was stacking feed bags at a local mill. Stacking 80 pound bags for 12 hours a day has a small number of job requirements. Being in good shape is one; lacking the wherewithal to find something else to do is a close second. 

Job requirements for most positions are more complex, but the process of identifying them involves the same key concepts: 1) KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities), 2) competencies, and 3) cultural fit. 

KSAs are the easiest to understand and identify, but this can cause organizations to overlook nuances that make a significant difference in achieving a successful hire. For example, a manufacturer needing an analyst for complicated financial analysis may hire someone from a service industry because of a strong technological background, but lacking an understanding of how materials flow through an assembly process. Training might make up for that, but the lack of key knowledge may derail a candidate’s success.

Competencies may seem similar to KSAs, which can cause an organization to overlook them, yet these are what drives the ability to apply KSAs. The analyst in the example above may have all the KSAs, including knowledge of manufacturing and material flow, but if they do not have the social skills to interact with the various disciplines and personalities in the organization, such as operations, accounting, engineering, and sales, they will have a difficult time applying their knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

Culture is the final component. If a candidate’s individual culture (values, motivations, and priorities) does not match the organization’s, they will be unhappy, create tension, and eventually leave – or be asked to leave.

In next month’s issue, we will continue this series by exploring the methods to properly identify the KSAs, competencies, and cultural factors associated with a role.

About the Author
Shawn Miller is a principal at Morrison working primarily in our People Solutions practice. To get in touch with Shawn, please find contact information for Morrison here.


We’ve worked with a wide variety of clients on a broad range of projects and are happy to discuss solutions that can best fit your needs.

Get in Touch