Call Now
  1. Home
  2. Guides
  3. Hiring and onboarding
  4. Recruitment


Published April 2, 2015 (last updated on April 18, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer

happy female hr managers meet with joyful female candidate

What is recruitment?

Simply put, recruitment is the process of actively seeking out, finding and hiring candidates for specific positions or jobs. Because attracting top talent can help a company stay competitive, recruitment is a core function of most businesses.

Recruitment involves identifying hiring needs, writing a job description, advertising the role, shortlisting and interviewing applicants, selecting the best candidate, and making a job offer.

Many companies have HR departments that meet their recruitment needs internally, often in collaboration with the department the job vacancy lies in. Sometimes companies may outsource their recruitment process to a specialised recruitment agency. 

Recruitment and employment law

Employment law applies to the whole process of recruiting new employees, from advertising open positions to the moment a new recruit starts work, and beyond. Throughout your recruitment process, it’s against the law to discriminate against any potential employees based on:

  • Race or ethnicity

  • Sex or sexual orientation

  • Age

  • Physical or mental disability

  • Marital status

  • Family or carer’s responsibilities

  • Pregnancy

  • Religion or political opinion

  • National extraction or social origin

  • Union activity

What is the recruitment process?

The end-to-end recruitment process involves all the steps between writing a job description and writing an offer letter. These include identifying hiring needs, advertising the role, screening candidates, face-to-face interviews, skills assessments, and reference checks.

Beneath is a more detailed description of each step that goes into recruiting the right employees.

Identifying hiring needs

The first step in the recruitment process is to identify your hiring needs. Maybe an employee has left the company and you need to fill a vacant role, or maybe the business has changed its activities and created a workforce need for new roles. Whatever the reason, your hiring team should consider the following:

  • What will the role of the new employee be?

  • What skills and training will they need?

  • How will the role fit into the wider business?

  • What will the salary and work hours be?

Writing the job description

The job description will be based on your hiring needs. Just as no two jobs are the same, no two job descriptions will be the same. However, most will contain:

  • The job title

  • Company name and information about the company 

  • Company values

  • Pay and benefits

  • List of responsibilities

  • Key skills, qualifications, expertise and experience required

  •  Call to action (how to apply)

You may also choose to include your company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP), outlining the unique mix of benefits that come with working for your organisation. Having a strong EVP can help your business stand out from the crowd and attract the best talent. 

Advertising a job vacancy

When it’s time to advertise any open positions, it’s important to use the right wording in your job advertisement. Your ad should be a fair and accurate description of the job, including its title and status, reporting procedure, how to apply, the location of the job, any travel requirements, and the duties and responsibilities of the role. You might also include pay and benefits, skills, experience and qualifications, and a deadline for submitting applications.

Assessing candidates

Once you have received enough applications, it’s time to start screening candidates. Conducting interviews, organising skills assessments, and finding out about possible employees via their references can give you valuable insights.

You must ensure that you do not ask the candidate to work an unpaid trial. You can ask them to demonstrate a particular skill (such as touch typing or programming in a coding language) but if you ask them to perform productive work, you’ll need to pay them the minimum hourly rate for the job (including any penalty rates and loadings).

Making a job offer

By the end of the screening and interview process, you’ll have identified your ideal candidate. At this stage, you’re ready to make a job offer. Most employers will have a preferred candidate and a back-up candidate. This is because there are never any guarantees that a preferred candidate will accept the role. If the preferred candidate does not accept the position, you can then make a job offer to your back-up candidate. 

Discrimination in recruitment

Discrimination in recruitment can be direct or indirect. You may choose to overlook a candidate for a role because you believe they are too old and will likely soon retire. This is an example of direct discrimination in the hiring process.

Alternatively, you could use youthful slang in your job advertisement, or only advertise in places where younger people are likely to view the advertisement. Advertising a role in a “young and energetic marketing team” is considered ageist and an example of indirect discrimination. 

How to avoid discrimination when recruiting

Always be very careful not to exclude any potential applicants by wording your ad poorly. Even if you do not break the law, it could affect your reputation.

Some companies choose to review resumes ‘blind’, which means they cannot see the applicant’s age, gender, or other personal information. This can help to remove discrimination and unconscious bias from the first stages of the recruitment process. 

What are the laws for discrimination in recruitment?

Employers recruit in different ways. Some use their in-house HR, while others may contract a recruitment agency to identify talent, short-list the applicants and help select the best person.

If you use your own HR staff to recruit, you must make sure they are aware of their Australian employment law obligations and are dedicated to a fair process.

If you use a recruitment agency, you must make sure the recruitment agency is aware of their legal obligations when it comes to discrimination.

You can do this by accessing and sharing these important documents, published by the Australian Human Rights Commision:

Guide to preventing discrimination in recruitment (PDF)

Guide to preventing discrimination in recruitment (Word)

How can Employsure help?

Employsure has the expertise to help you remain compliant with the latest employer relations and health & safety laws. To have all your questions answered and find out about our services, please call our FREE 24/7 Advice Line now on 1300 651 415.

Get Workplace Advice Now

Call Our Team of Expert Advisers To Get Help With Workplace Related Questions. 

Call now

Guides in this category

View All

Have a question?

Employsure Logo

Not a client yet?

1300 207 182

Existing clients call (AU)

1300 651 415

Existing clients call (overseas)

+61 2 8123 3640

Employsure HQ

Level 6/180 Thomas St, Sydney NSW 2000
Peninsula LogoEmploysure Law LogoFair Work Help LogoEmploysure Mutual LogoBright HR LogoHealth Assured LogoGraphite HRM Logo
Peninsula LogoEmploysure Law LogoFair Work Help LogoEmploysure Mutual LogoBright HR LogoHealth Assured LogoGraphite HRM Logo

Copyright © 2024 Employsure Pty Ltd. ABN 40 145 676 026

Employsure Protect is a financial product issued by Employsure Mutual Limited ACN 630 256 478 (AFSL 544232). Employsure Mutual has appointed Employsure Pty Ltd as its Authorised Representative (No. 001274577) to distribute the product and provide general advice. To decide if this product is right for you, please read the Employsure Protect Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination.