Definition Of Recruitment And Selection Management Essay

According to Beardwell Claydon the recruitment and selection process is focusing on identify, attract and select the right person into the right job to meet the organisational HR requirements. Both activities are integrated and “where recruitment stops and selection begins is a moot print”. (Anderson, 1994 cited in Beardwell & Claydon 2007, p. 190) Hiring right person to right job for the firm is a difficult task even for the experienced HR manager. Therefore, most of the HR practitioner will use recruitment and selection process to employ the best candidates over interview.

Although both activities often linked together but they are two individual activities. Bratton & Gold (2007, p. 239) had differentiated “recruitment is a process to generate capable people from a pool who applied for the vacant position. Selection is HR practitioners use specific instruments to choose the person most succeed in the job given management goals and legal requirements”.

Moreover, Foot and Hock (2005, cited in Frence and Rumbles 2010, p. 170) has concluded “although both functions are closely connected, each requires a separate range of skills and expertise, and may in practice to fulfil by different staff members. The recruitment activity but not normally the selection decision may be outsourced to an agency. It makes sense, therefore, to treat each activity separately”.

When to Recruit and Select people?

There are four common reasons why the management need to recruit new employees. It was growing of the business, changing the job roles, fill up the available position when staff leaving and promotion from existing staff. Once the management noticed its staffing needs, the HR practitioners have to solve the issue ASAP to prevent manpower shortage from affecting the organisational operations and performance. Otherwise, it will cause cost consuming too because the management need to hire new employees and provide training to them.

Where to Recruit and Select people?

When the job vacancy available, the management will get the replacement from two ways which is either from internal of the company through promotion or recruit from outside of the company. “On the external recruitment, the company can recruit either fresh graduates or in some case they recruit those with experience particularly on higher and critical positions.” (Othman, 2009: 85) Furthermore, the company also can recruit potential graduates whom are studying related courses in their final year from colleges or universities into the company.

Who to Recruit and Select?

Before hiring, HR practitioners need to do a job analysis to identify the best person for the job. Job analysis is to “determine the skills, duties, knowledge required for performing jobs in an organisation.” (Mondy, 2012, p. 108) For example, the firm are seeking novice employee, less experience employee, moderate experience or rich experienced employee to replace the position?

How to Recruit and Select?

The management can choose from a wide variety of methods to attract select candidates to apply for the job. For recruitment, they able to use WOM method, walk-in interviews, set booth during career fair, through media (TV or radio) and cooperate with employment agency or intermediaries and others. (Yong, 1998, p. 46) Otherwise, the organisations have to set some requirements or criteria to filter unqualified candidates. Meanwhile, they can base on recommendation letters, interviews, ability test and others method to select potential employees for the firm. (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2007: 158-160)

An Airline Industry

Manpower shortage of the industry

Aviation industry is playing an important role to the economic progress for the business and citizens too in different countries. It is not only a transport tool for international voyage and trade also helping in connectivity one country together with another country. Aviation industry are a vital infrastructure for every country which developing in tourism and trade also bringing in profit to the business activity and the country economic.

According to IATA 2012 annual report, the report shows during year 2011, airlines has increased 865 direct services and bringing in nearly 35000 of direct airport-pair connections by the year end of 2011. ( 2012, p. 10) What this means to airline industry for next few years, there will be more and more skilled professional’s employees are demanding in the labour market. But the airline leaders has identify their biggest challenge in the strong economy and tight labour market, the only one answer keeps coming up is finding, attracting and keeping talented people. (Mitchell and D., n.d.: 1)

“Yet, nowadays many counties are facing manpower shortage issue in the airline industry.” (Welford, 2010, p. 27) This issue have to be solving ASAP to avoid more problems happen and its consuming operational cost too. Airlines industry is facing increasingly manpower shortage in all the levels such as pilots, cabin crews or ground staffs while “in the same time baby boomer are going to retire stage and without enough replacement” otherwise the industry are getting bigger. (Mitchell and D., n.d.: 1)

“Association of Aerospace Industries Singapore (AAIS) founded Singapore Airline Company will need about 1000 new employees to fulfil the vacant positions each year until 2015.” (Sim, 2012) “The organisations have to either seeking new employees from external industry such as foreign worker or increase the productivity of the existing employees to fulfil the current issue.” (Sim, 2012) “There are many offering training courses among the Asian airlines in order to create job opportunities for those considering the airline industry.” (Welford, 2010: 27)

AAIS chief executive Mr Aloysius Tay said “there are about 1400 to 1500 new students taking aviation-related courses every year but the problem is many of the graduates not willing to stay on to work in airline industry”. (Sim, 2012)Why people not willing to work in airline industry it is because of “the training period for pilot is longer than other sectors which two years”. (Sim, 2012) Nevertheless, cabin crew training period are shorter but they might need to extend if get negative comment from inflight supervisor and during training period they are paid less than others. However, “to attract new blood into the industry in order to fulfil shortage, airline association has done lots things such as promote the industry to young generation, having colleges or universities open day and provide part-time scholarships to students”. (Sim, 2012)

SIA’s Background

Singapore Airline (SIA) was incorporated with Malayan Airways Limited when Malayan Airways operated the first commercial flight with linking Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang in year 1947. Due to political issue, Malaysian Airways and Malaysia-Singapore Airlines were renamed by the company in year 1963 and 1966. After six years later which is year 1972, both airlines finally been split into two and created Malaysian Airline System and SIA.

Due to no domestic route available for SIA after separated with Malaysian Airway, SIA forcing to fly international market which having heavy competitors among the airline industry. To survive in the industry, SIA staring create own airline brand strategy with changing in-flight services and airline staff uniform. SIA’s air stewardess uniform is a special version of Malay sarong which designed by a French haute-couture designer Pierre Balmain and it has become one of the recognised features of the airline.

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After a period of time, SIA has gained reputation as an innovation market leader with their excellent services and quality products. Then, SIA extending their route network to 63 destinations in 35 countries which flying to Asia, North America, Europe, Middle East, South West Pacific and Africa. The Excellent customer services helped SIA achieve competitive advantage in the industry even though the airline only has youngest fleets with 6 years of the average age.

SIA are the first airline with satellite-based inflight telephone and also offering free headsets, free to choose meals and beverage in Economy Class in year 1970s. During year 2004, SIA has introduced the world’s longest non-stop ultra-long-haul commercial services between Singapore and New York and this service had created a history in aviation industry.

The care, attention and services from SIA staffs given to their customers have gained many industry and travel awards from lots of the different associations, including “Business Traveller (US) 2011 for Best In-flight service, Business Traveller (UK) 2011 for Best Cabin Staff and etc”. (Singapore Airlines Annual Report 2011/2012, 2012, pp. 34-35)

SIA’s Belief

Through the interview with SIA’s senior management, the researchers “deduce that there are five interrelated and mutually supportive elements’ helping in managing their employees”. (Heracleous, Wirtz and Pangarkar, 2006: 147) Stringent selection and recruitment processes are the first step in the five elements. Collins (1999, p. 7) figured out “the old adage “people are your most important asset” is wrong; the right people are your most important asset”. SIA has set up a highly rigorous system and process for staff recruitment and selection because they believe “The wrong people are a liability”. (Wirtz, Heracleous and Pangarkar, 2007: 7)

Importance of employee to the firm

Employees are the key of sustained service excellence

Employees are the most important asset for service industry because of the characteristics of the industry. If the management manage employees with HR practice, it can help to gain competitive positioning in the industry. “Service is a core part of the company product.” (Wirtz, Heracleous and Pangarkar, 2008: 2)As long as the operation staffs are involving in the service process, they are tending to be the most visible element of the service as they are the people who delivering the services to the customer hence significantly influencing service quality. (Wirtz, Heracleous and Pangarkar, 2008: 2) Singapore Girls (SIA’s cabin crew) have become a synonymous of the airline and personification of quality service.

From customer’s perspective operation staffs are representing the firm itself, so SIA employees are empowered to make appropriate decisions and take corrective action when delivering customer services. Last, service and operation staff are a part of the company brand, it is to determine whether the brand promise get to deliver to their customer or not. Therefore, SIA heavy emphasis on recruiting and selecting employee, especially operation staffs because they are the one who represent the airline to service customer. (Wirtz, Heracleous and Pangarkar, 2008: 1-3)

Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and Selection Program

Singapore Business Review has published “Singapore Airlines has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with Nanyang Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic. The main point of it is to facilitate joint activities related to cabin crew recruitment and training. Selected students having opportunities for internship-recruitment programme and will be offered employment contracts and undergo training to become full-time cabin crew.

Singapore Airlines’ Acting Senior Vice President Cabin Crew, Mr Marvin Tan said that SIA are pleased to work with the three polytechnics through this special programme, which will enhance Singapore Airlines’ ability to continue attracting the best talent and cater to their operational needs when they grow.

SIA strongly believe that this programme will benefit the communities which they operate and establish long-term support to these educational initiatives.”


Model of Recruit and Select

Figure Recruitment and Selection Process


The model shown about recruitment and selection process has divided into three steps, first at all the management have to identify the job requirements then decide from what methods or ways to attract the potential candidates come to the job, last step is select the right people from a pool of applicants. There are two techniques supporting the first steps which are job description and job specification. Job description is a written document with the summary of job analysis which included basic job related data, for example the job title, job location, job summary, reporting to who, working conditions, job duties and others. Then for job specification is a written statement of special qualification required to perform job which is qualifications for the job, working experience, skills, responsibilities, emotional characteristics and so on.

After the identification then proceed to the second step which how to attract potential candidates for apply the vacant jobs. There are a wide of methods or ways for attract attention of candidates, the organisation can use e-recruitment, WOM, advertisement or others ways. SIA are practicing e-recruitment method, they will announce the news through their website or intermediaries due to the convenience of technology. Other than that, SIA also work together with education representative for speak the recruit announcement, send trainees for internship, day trip during open day and etc.

The last step is choosing the right people from a pool of applicants through job interview and some tests. If the SIA’s applicants meet the baseline of cabin crew’s requirement, then they need to go through all the interview process during the actual day. After the personnel documents checked, all will be divided into small group which ten peoples each group according their number. The interview process included seven stages; the first stage is introduction section. One time only allow one group of peoples go into the room.

Inside the room, there are two interviewers waiting for the candidates. In the section every candidate has to provide a brief self-introduction and answer some very random simple questions that asking from interviewers. All have to stand up one by one to answer the questions.

Before proceed to second stage, there are a height and weight measurement all the interviewee need to go through. Second is memory test, for those candidates who successfully went through the first section, in this section they need to play Uno cards. All the cards are closing, candidates are divided into two groups, and everyone have to get two cards with same number and colour after that put the cards aside. Each group have to find and match three pairs of cards, so to pass the test each of the group member need to communicate and cooperate with each other.

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Third, interviewee will be asking for their background, airline knowledge and case study during this section. An interviewee was asked to pick a passage out of the three which were closed upside down, then read the selected passage and answer the case study. This activity is to test the immediate respond of the interviewer.

Thus, fourth stage is applicants were asked to trying on SIA’s kebaya uniform for skin check. Interviewers will ask for stand under the sun light so they can check for any visible scars on the face, hands and body otherwise also asked to bend down for check for the back acnes and tattoos. The fifth stages will be an ability test which test water confidence at training pool, interviewees requested for wear life jacket and required to jump from a height of three metres into the pool. This is a part of the cabin crew training as they have to learn how to help passengers during an emergency evacuation on water so they cannot have a fear of water or heights.

The next interview is what SIA calls the management round, there were two higher level interviewers, the senior vice president of cabin crew and another senior staff of cabin crew are waiting inside the room for interview who been shortlisted after the earlier stages. It been separated to three rounds, the applicants need to group to a new groups. Then asked to introduce the friend next to each other, read an announcement for test the pronunciation and have a debate about the given statement.

The final assessment is made after the management round; then the last step after management round is a tea party for the successful applicants. In the tea party, the management will communicate and mix with the successful applicants to ensure the applicant is the right person SIA need. (Heracleous, Wirtz and Pangarkar, 2006: 149-152)

Once the interviewee passed all the stages, the management will ask them go through the medical check-up which need to be done within a week. After passed the medical check-up then they can join the cabin crew training for four months.

How Recruitment and Selection help SIA achieve Competitive Advantage?

As Schneider and Bowen (1995 cited in Heracleous, Wirtz & Pangarkar 2006, p. 152),” The combination of attracting a diverse and competent applicant pool, utilizing effective techniques for hiring the most appropriate people from that pool, and then training the heck out of them would be gangbusters in any market.” Moreover, Heracleous & Wirtz (2010, p. 2) had descripted “service is mostly about people” therefore; SIA invests heavily in the training program. The “Singapore Girl” undergoes training for 4 months which longer than any other airlines and twice as long as the industry average of 8 weeks. The training program includes functional skills and soft skills such as F&B serving, safety knowledge, deportment, etiquette, wine appreciation, and cultural sensitivity. SIA’s cabin crews are trained to interact with different nationality passengers in different ways. (Heracleous and Wirtz, 2010: 2-3)

Trainees learn to appreciate subtle issue such as communicating at eye level rather than “talking down” to passengers. It made customers feel the respect from the cabin crew and the entire organisation. In additional, the superior service can minimize customer turnover rate and operational cost reduces.

Due to safety and cost saving purpose, the airline cannot fulfil the customer satisfaction so they combine standardized and personalisation to delight customer. SIA personalize the customer experience by their personnel information like birthday and preferences from the CRM system to employees. SIA’s cabin crews can address the frequent flyers by their name and familiar their needs and wants like F&B and magazines.

Yet, most of the airlines’ staffs don’t not pay attention to small things such as a passenger may look unwell; another have no book to read or another may have a laptop but run out of power. However SIA’s training program had taught cabin crews how to anticipate passengers’ needs and wants to enhance employees’ ability to delight customers. For example, a passenger wants to discuss the wine he’s drinking so the crew who has taken wine appreciation training will quickly materialize.

Standardise will enable personalities but because of the well trained employees by SIA, their staff will respond naturally. Besides, well known responsibilities would let them have mental space to know the customers’ needs and respond in creative ways.

Before development starts, the company have to ensure they hired the right staff. As Heracleous & Wirtz (2009, pp. 277-278) stated “entry qualifications for cabin crew applicants are both academic (at least polytechnic diploma, meaning that they have spent 13 years in school), as well as physical attributes” From a thousand over applications received annually, only around 500 to 600 new cabin crews are hired to replace the vacancy but it was only 10 per cent of the turnover rate, this means that SIA still having manpower shortage. (Wirtz, Heracleous and Pangarkar, 2008) It can clearly be seen as how rigorous and strict the recruit and select process that SIA applying when hiring employees.

Beside the process of recruit and select, SIA also emphasize on the customer service as they don’t want the passenger to travel on board and cause the passenger a bad time on the board. Therefore, they are searching for the right staffs to the right job that can empathy with people’. (Heracleous, Wirtz and Pangarkar, 2006: 150-151)

After the four months of initial training, the new cabin crews are carefully monitored for the first six months of flying through monthly reports from in-flight supervisor during the probationary period. (Heracleous, Wirtz and Pangarkar, 2006: 149) Usually, 75 per cent of new cabin crews will be confirmed as their staff for the five years contract offered by the company, 20 per cent of them have to extend their probation period and the rest of the 5 per cent have to leave the airline company. (Wirtz, Heracleous and Pangarkar, 2007: 8)

Singapore airline has managed to achieve what other airline in the aviation industry can only dream about as the cost effective service excellence and sustained organisational performance by recruitment and selection process to gain their competitive advantage. They found out how important recruitment and selection is to gain competitive advantage and fortunately they did it very well in order to build up excellent customer service. As Heracleous, Wirtz & Pangarkar (2006, p. 22) stated that ‘they are one of the airline industry’s most instantly recognisable figures, giving SIA a key competitive advantage as no other airline has managed to ‘brand’ and promote its cabin crew as successfully’. Hutt & Speh (2012, p. 133) had defined “superior sources as more tangible requirements for advantage that enable a firm to exercise its capabilities”. Hence, the superior service of SIA had help the organisation achieved the competitive advantage in the industry and earned many awards from different associations. Complete award list could be viewed at Figure List of SIA’s Awards (1) and Figure List of SIA’s Awards (2) in appendix.

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For the organisation in any sector whether it is for profit or non for profit, HR is absolutely a valuable asset which to gather all the factors of production for strategy achievement. Strategy is the direction and scope for an organisation over the long term period. Meanwhile, it was also a tool for a firm to achieve the competitive advantage in the changing environment with their limited resource.

Recruitment and selection are not only talking about selecting the most suitable candidates from the labour market to the organisation. It is also for creating the effective of central workforce. The SIA’s recruit and select process are high standard which comparing with other airlines likes Ryanair or Air Asia. Their employees’ recruit and select process is high rigorous in order to get the capable employees to represent the airline to serve the customers who choose and trust their service and brand. The reason why SIA successful is because they believe employee is the important assets as they can help to gain the competitive advantage with their services.

Even the airline company are the top in the industry but there are some uncertain forces affecting the company need to continually improve their service excellence. Service excellence not something that is static, it cannot take for granted therefore to remain the top position with service excellence they need continuously changing and improve. Same for all companies in aviation industry and they should continuously changing and improve the services for satisfy the human needs and wants besides earning profits.

Although, MAS had win the World’s Best Cabin Staff award at 2012 World Airline Award but the services had a bit different if compare with pass few years. For my opinion, MAS can have some arrangement for the recruit and select process or benchmark SIA’s process then ameliorate it become their own strategy. I believe that the first step any of the company to become successful, they have get the right and capable staffs to work for the company. With the right employees and their performance then the company only can achieve the organisational objective in order to gain the positioning among the competitor in the industry.

There is no shortcut for any organisation to successful instead of they start with the beginning step which is get the correct recruitment and selection procedure. After that, the management need to provide suitable training for the staff, even how the people is capable without proper training, he or she cannot be anything or do anything for the company.


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