Recruitment and selection are conducted to get the right persons
for the right jobs of an organization. After the completion of
recruitment, selection process starts. Recruitment can be defined as the
set of activities an organization to attract job candidates who have the
capabilities and attitudes needed to assist the organization accomplish
its goals (Glueck 1978). It is the process of encouraging people to
apply for actual or anticipated vacancies of the organization. The
ultimate goals of recruitment are to attract and retain the interest of
right candidates, and the projection of a positive image of the
organization to those who come in contact with it (Weeratunga 2003 block
6:6). The success of recruitment depends upon its ability to create a
large pool of competent applicants. There are numerous sources of
recruitment which may be categorized into two--internal and external
(Aswathappa 2008:150). The internal sources of recruitment are present
employees, employee referrals. External sources of recruitment are the
professional associations, newspaper advertisements, campus recruiting,
unsolicited applicants, management consulting firms, and internet.
Byars and Rue (1997:172) defined selection as "the process of
choosing from among available applicants, the individuals who are most
likely to successfully perform a job". It is the process of
gathering all necessary information about applicants and using that
information to decide which applicants to employ. Once an adequate
number of qualified applicants are identified through proper
recruitment, the selection process begins. Selection is one of the most
important functions of HRM because wrong selection of employees hampers
organizational performance enormously (Dessler 2007:194). Employee
selection in a country is influenced by the perception, fairness,
favouritism, and internal and external pressures (Aswathappa 2008: 186,
Khan & Taher 2008: 110). Selection process differs from
organizations to organizations. An ideal selection process comprises
some steps such as (Decenzo & Robbins 1999: 169) filling up
application forms, initial screening, preliminary interview, employment
tests, written examination, comprehensive interview, background
examination/ reference check, medical examinations, and job offer.
Research on Recruitment & Selection Practices
The recruitment and selection process determines the decisions as
to which candidates will get employment offers. The aim of this practice
is to improve the fit between employees, the organization, teams, and
work requirements, and thus, to create a better work environment
(Tzafrir 2006). Sophisticated recruitment and selection system can
ensure a better fit between the individual's abilities and the
organization's requirement (Fernandez 1992). Hunter and Schmidt
(1982) concluded that employment stability can be achieved through a
selection procedure based on ability. Katou and Budhwar (2007) also
found that recruitment and selection was positively related to all
organizational performance variables such as effectiveness, efficiency,
innovation, and quality. Quang and Thavisay (1999) in a study on the
public sector firms of Lao found that recruitment and selection
practices of the surveyed firms were interfered by the respective
ministries. They opined that management succession planning should be
impartial and transparent. Another study (Huang 2001) on HR practices of
Taiwan unearthed that recruitment and selection took the highest
percentage of time (14.6%) spent by HR departments in Taiwan. Huang
(2001) also identified recruitment and selection as the 4th most
important function of HRM in achieving organizational objectives whereas
training and development, compensation and benefits, and HR planning
were identified as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd most important functions of HRM
respectively. Ariyabuddhiphongs (2003) studied recruitment and selection
practices of 205 manufacturing companies of Thailand. The study showed
that walk-in applicants (or via web-site) and newspaper advertisements
were the two most effective and frequently used methods of recruitment
in Thai manufacturing companies. Although job samples were considered as
the most effective method of testing, written examination was the most
frequently used method in Thailand. Moreover, structured panel interview
was the most preferred and effective method of interview in Thai
manufacturing companies. Tanova and Nadiri (2005) analyzed the
recruitment policies and practices of Turkey. They observed that
contrary to the existing literature and theoretical suggestions, small
businesses in Turkey were more likely to rely on employment agencies as
formal recruitment sources to fill managerial positions. Chatterjee
(2007) uncovered that public sector employees of India had more formal
job descriptions than that of private sector. He added that
organizations of India strongly depended on formal labour market in the
case of recruitment whereas recruitment from higher learning
institutions was a very common phenomenon in the case of professional
cadres. Placement agencies, internet, and newspapers were found to be
the most popular sources of recruitment in the Indian context.
Taher and Arefin (2000) examined the recruitment and selection (R
and S) process of Bangladesh Open University (BOU). They emphasized on
proper R and S because it constitutes the most important features of HRM
and the cost of improper R and S is also very high. Finally, they
recommended that BOU should set a full-fledged HR department with
experienced and competent people, formulate HR plans, and introduce
computerized HR system to improve the R and S process of BOU. A similar
study (Ahmed, Khan & Uddin 2004) assessed the recruitment and
selection practices of Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd (SPL). SPL practiced
both internal and external sources of recruitment. About 60% positions
of SPL (which were mainly field level positions) were filled externally
through newspaper advertisements. The rest of the positions were filled
internally by employee referrals, and references of reputed personnel
and senior management. It did not use internet for this purpose. SPL
used different tests such as written test, communication skill test,
interview, alcohol/drug test, medical check up, reference check, and
skill test in selecting right people for the right posts. Ernst and
Young, and Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2007)
conducted a survey on HR practices of more than 50 organizations
selected from industries (mainly from the private sector) such as Pharma
and Healthcare, FMCG, IT, Telecom, Manufacturing, Finance, NGO,
Textile/Garments, and Conglomerates. The survey revealed that an
'Extended family' culture in Bangladesh influenced recruitment
and employers preferred hiring through known contacts. The survey also
unfolded that newspapers continued to be the most commonly used source
of recruitment. Uddin, Habib and Hassan (2007) depicted a comparative
scenario of recruitment and selection practices of two public and the
private sector companies of Bangladesh such as Bangladesh Power
Development Board (BPDB) and Wartsila respectively. They found that the
sources of recruitment used by Wartsila were circulation of internal
memo (existing employees / internal recruitment), previously received
applications (unsolicited applicants/walks-in), and newspaper
advertisements. On the other hand, the sources of recruitment used by
BPDB were direct recruitment, promotion, and apprentices. In the case of
selection, Wartsila, at first, used to prepare a short list then they
formed an interview board. Applicants had to fill up employment
application forms before interview. The selection process of Wartsila
comprised panel interview, physical examination, reference and character
investigation, joining and placement. On the other hand, the selection
process of BPDB comprised written examination, interview, practical
examinations and tests, and physical examination. Khan (2007)
categorically mentioned that the public and the private sector
institutions of Bangladesh failed to discharge their duties properly due
to defective recruitment and selection of employees, politicization of
promotion and posting, low compensation, and ineffective training.
Objectives of the Study
a) To explore the differences and similarities between public and
private sector manufacturing firms of Bangladesh with respect to
recruitment and selection practices.
b) To put forward policy implications for improvement of the
recruitment and selection practices of the surveyed firms.
Hypothesis of the Study
Hypothesis 1: [H.sub.0] = There is no difference between the public
and the private sector manufacturing firms of Bangladesh with respect to
recruitment and selection practices.
A sampling frame of 155 public and private sector manufacturing
firms was prepared comprising 64 public sector manufacturing firms
(running) under all the six state-owned manufacturing corporations (GOB,
Ministry of Finance 2007) such as BCIC, BSEC, BSFIDC, BFIDC, BJMC, and
BTMC, and 91 private sector manufacturing firms (CSE Annual Report 2007)
listed under Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE). Various established
approaches are used in determining the sample size such as using a
census in the case of a small population, imitating a sample size of
analogous studies, using published tables, and using formulas to
calculate a sample size (Israel 2003). For the present study, the
published table method was used in the determination of the sample size.
Israel (2003) developed the table by using the formula of Yamane (1967),
which is presented in Table 1.
Table 1 shows that a sample size is feasible and valid at different
precision levels. From the field survey it was found that the total
population for the present study was 155 that fall within the population
range of 175 in the table. Considering the sample size to be determined
at 10% precision level, it can be seen that the sample size for the
present study came to 64 within the predetermined population range of
175. Since the study was directed to assess the comparative status of
recruitment and selection practices of the public and private sector
manufacturing firms of Bangladesh, the stratified random sampling
technique was applied here to get a representative sample size. In
selecting samples from both the sectors (stratums) the present study
also used 'proportionate allocation method' (Kothari 1990:
63). Therefore, the following overall sample size was obtained for the
Data Collection, Analyses & Measurement
Questionnaire survey method was used to gather data in the present
study. The questionnaire had three sections. First section was composed
of an eightitem questionnaire on a 5-point Likert type scale
(Cronbach's a = .76) framed to assess the status of recruitment and
selection practices of the firms. Second and third sections included
'yes/no' type questions related to the sources of recruitment
and the selection devices respectively. To assess the validity of the
scale of the present study, content validity was used. It is a
"subjective but systematic evaluation of how well the content of a
scale represents the measurement task at hand" (Malhotra 2007:
286). For this purpose, the contents of the questionnaire were prepared
with the help of leading literature, models, theories, and texts
pertaining to the subject and questions of research. After necessary
modifications, the content validity of the scale was approved by a panel
of experts. As HR managers are the most competent persons to provide
data related to any HRM practice such as recruitment and selection
(Huselid & Becker 1996, Tzafrir 2006), the structured questionnaire
was sent to the HR managers of the surveyed manufacturing firms.
Finally, 60 useable questionnaires were obtained for the study (26 from
public sector and 34 from private sector). To analyze the data, this
study used descriptive (mean, standard deviation) and difference
inferential statistics (Leech, Barrett & Morgan 2005: 4) such as
t-test, F- test. All statistical calculations were carried out by SPSS.
The most common approach used in measuring HRM practices (such as
recruitment and selection) is additive approach (Edgar & Geare
2005). The present study used this approach in measuring the status of
recruitment and se lection of public and private sector manufacturing
firms of Bangladesh. The HR managers of the surveyed firms were asked to
indicate, using an 8-item scale, the extent each practice takes place in
their firms. The responses are then added together and the expectation
is that a higher figure indicates better status of recruitment and
Status of recruitment and selection practices of the public and the
private sector manufacturing firms was assessed by 8 items (a = 0.76).
Table 3 shows the sample size (N), mean (M), standard deviation (SD),
and standard error of the mean of the items.
With respect to the means of the items, differences between the
public and the private sector manufacturing firms of Bangladesh were
observed. To determine whether these differences were statistically
significant, independent-samples t-test was carried out for every item.
The result is presented in Table 4.
Item 1 Recruitment Policy: In the case of recruitment policy, equal
variances were not assumed since F = 15.370, p < .01. Accordingly,
t-test was run. It was found that in respect of maintaining formal
recruitment policy, the difference between the public and the private
sector was statistically significant (t = 2.149,p < .05). Thus, it
can be inferred that in a maintaining formal recruitment policy, public
sector firms (M = 5.00) are in a significantly better position than the
private sector firms (M = 4.68).
Item 2 No. of Applicants: Equal variances were considered.
Accordingly, from the t-test, it was found that there was significant
difference between public and private sector manufacturing firms of
Bangladesh with respect to attracting large number of applicants for
vacant positions (t = 2.513, p < .05). Public sector firms (M = 4.35)
are in a significantly better position than the private sector firms (M
= 3.74) with respect to attracting applicants for any vacancy.
Hem 3 Job Analysis:Equal variances were not assumed as F = 30.037,
p < .01. Consequently, from the t- test, significant difference was
found between the public and the private sector manufacturing firms of
Bangladesh with respect to recruitment based on job analysis (t =
-8.582,p < .01). It can be inferred that the private sector firms (M
= 4.74) are in a significantly better position than the public sector
firms (M = 2.31) with respect to conducting recruitment based on job
Item 4 Rigorous Selection Process: Equal variances were assumed.
Accordingly, from the t- test, it can be concluded that there is no
difference between the public and the private sector manufacturing firms
of Bangladesh with respect to adopting rigorous selection process.
Item 5 Fairness in Selection: Equal variances were not assumed as F
= 23.254, p < .01. As a result, from the t-test, it was found that
there was significant difference between public and private sector
manufacturing firms of Bangladesh with respect to fairness in selection
(t = -2.332, p < .05). It can be inferred that the private sector
firms (M = 4.38) are in significantly better position than the public
sector firms (M = 3.88) with respect to maintaining fair selection
Item 6 Participation by Line & HR Managers: Equal variances
were assumed. Therefore, from the t-test, it was evident that there is
no difference between the public and the private sector manufacturing
firms of Bangladesh with respect to the participation of line and HR
managers in employee selection process.
Item 7 Time Spent in Selection Process: Equal variances were
assumed. Accordingly, from the t- test, it was inferred that there is no
difference between the public and the private sector manufacturing firms
of Bangladesh with respect to spending considerable time in the
selection process to find the right person.
Item 8 Focus on Applicants' Psychological Attributes: Equal
variances were not assumed since F = 3.403, p < .10. So from the
t-test, a significant difference was observed between the public and the
private sector manufacturing firms of Bangladesh with respect to
focusing on applicants' psychological attributes in selection
process (t = 4.933, p < .01). It can be concluded that the private
sector firms (M = 4.44) are in a significantly better position than the
public sector firms (M = 3.46) with respect to focusing on
applicants' psychological attributes in selection process.
Sources of Recruitment
From Table 5, it is seen that all the surveyed public sector firms
used newspapers as a source of recruitment. Present employees and
unsolicited applicants were also used by 65% and 46% of the public
sector firms respectively. In the same sector, only 8% used employee
referrals and internet as sources of recruitment. No public sector firms
used campus recruiting, management consulting firms and professional
associations as the sources of recruitment. On the other hand, all the
surveyed private sector firms used unsolicited applicants as sources of
recruitment. Other sources of recruitment were also used by most of the
private sector firms.
From Table 6, it is observed that written examination,
comprehensive interview, and medical examination were used by all the
surveyed public sector manufacturing firms. The next preferred selection
devices were initial screening, reference check, and employment test
respectively in the public sector firms. A small percentage of the
public sector firms used preliminary interview. On the other hand, in
the private sector manufacturing firms, the most preferred selection
device was preliminary interview. Reference check was the least
preferred device. All other selection devices were used almost equally
by most of the private sector firms.
To test the hypothesis stated earlier, independent-samples t-test
was run with SPSS. To be certain about the homogeneity of variances of
the comparing groups, Levene's test for equality of variances was
carried out before t-test from which it was found that variances were
not equal, F = 8.762, p < .01. Accordingly, independent-samples
t-test was performed. It was observed that there was statistically
significant difference (t = -3.913, p < .01) between the overall
status of recruitment and selection practices of the public and that of
the private sector manufacturing firms. Hence, the null hypothesis was
rejected and it can be concluded that the overall status of recruitment
and selection practices of the private sector manufacturing firms of
Bangladesh (M = 4.8824) is significantly better than that of the public
sector manufacturing firms (M = 4.3846).
It is revealed that the public sector firms are in a better
position than the private sector firms in applying formal recruitment
policies and in encouraging large number of applicants for any vacant
position. This is due to the fact that the public sector firms follow
government recruitment policies and it is also mandatory for the public
sector firms to advertise in newspapers for filling almost every vacant
position. No difference is found between the public and the private
sector with respect to rigorous selection process, participation of line
and HR managers in employee selection, and spending considerable time in
selection process to get the right people. However, the private sector
firms are in significantly a better position than the public sector
firms with respect to conducting recruitment based on job analysis and
fairness in selection, and focusing on psychological attributes of
employees such as personality, attitude, values, and integrity in
selection. In the case of sources of recruitment, the public sector
firms mainly use newspapers, and present employees. Besides newspapers,
and present employees, the private sector firms frequently use
unsolicited applicants, internet, and management consulting firms,
employee referrals, campus recruiting, and professional associations as
the sources of recruitment. It is reported that public sector firms use
employee referrals and unsolicited applicants only in the case of
recruitment of temporary, casual, and 'badli' workers. Though
internet has been getting tremendous popularity as a convenient source
of recruitment among contemporary job seekers and employers, only 8%
public sector firms use internet. It is observed that most of the public
sector firms do not have adequate information technology (IT)
facilities; their employees are not familiar with IT literacy either. No
public sector enterprise uses campus recruiting, management consulting
firms and professional associations as sources of recruitment. The
public and the private sector firms use almost every selection devices
except preliminary interview which is used by only 8% public sector
firms. The overall status of recruitment and selection practices of the
private sector firms is found significantly better than that of the
public sector firms.
Implications for the Public Sector
i. Job analysis should be conducted.
The public sector firms should conduct job analysis to determine
job description, job specification, and job evaluation. Through proper
job analysis, firms will be able to fix up the specific duties and
responsibilities of every employee. Job analysis will help in
determining skills and knowledge to be possessed by the employees to
hold various positions. It will also facilitate in providing effective
compensation packages to the employees.
ii. Fairness in selection process should be upheld.
The public sector firms should maintain fairness in the employee
selection through ignoring internal and external pressures. If nepotism
and favoritism are patronized in selection then it would be hardly
possible for the firms to get and keep right personnel. It should also
be remembered that if selection is wrong then all the ventures of HRM
shall be foiled.
iii. Psychological attributes should be focused in selection.
It goes without saying that people are generally hired by the firms
on the basis of their competencies and they are fired from the firms for
psychological attributes such as personality, attitudes, values and the
like. So psychological characteristics of the applicants must be
assessed in the section process because it is easy to give a job but it
is so difficult to terminate.
iv. Different sources of recruitment should be utilized.
The public sector firms should use diversified sources of
recruitment in attracting applicants. Beyond newspapers and present
employees, they should use internet, management consulting firms,
professional associations, campus recruiting, and employee referrals in
expanding the pool of available talents.
Implications for the Private Sector
i. Formal recruitment policies should be adopted.
The private sector firms should adopt formal recruitment policies
in a better way. Formal recruitment policies would help the firms in
attracting internal and external candidates in filling any vacant
position. Existence of formal policies can also improve the transparency
and accountability in recruitment and selection. Policies should also be
changed in course of time.
ii. Large number of applicants should be attracted for filling
The private sector firms should encourage large number of competent
applicants for filling their vacant positions. In case of top and mid
level vacancies though it is not always expected, in recruiting entry
level positions private sector firms should try to create a pool of
capable people from whom it would be easier to get the desired ones.
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Table 1. Sample size for [+ or -] 5%, [+ or -] 7%, [+ or -] 10%
Precision Levels Where Confidence Level is 95% and p = 0.5
Size of Population Sample Size(n) for Precision(e) of
[+ or -]5% [+ or -]7% [+ or -]10%
100 81 67 51
125 96 78 56
150 110 86 61
175 122 94 64
200 134 101 67
Source: Adapted from Israel 2003: 3
Table 2. The Overall Sample Size of the Study
Sector No. of Units
Total Sample Size 64
Table 3 Descriptive Statistics of the Items Assessing the Status of
Recruitment & Selection Practices
Item Type of the N Mean Std. Std.
Organization Deviation Error
1 Recruitment policy Public 26 5.00 .000 .000
Private 34 4.68 .878 .151
2 Large no. of Public 26 4.35 1.018 .200
applicants are Private 34 3.74 .864 .148
encouraged for any
3 Job analysis guides Public 26 2.31 1.320 .259
recruitment Private 34 4.74 .666 .114
4 Rigorous selection Public 26 4.62 .571 .112
process Private 34 4.74 .666 .114
5 Selection is fair Public 26 3.88 .952 .187
Private 34 4.38 .604 .104
6 Line & HR manager Public 26 4.58 .578 .113
participate in Private 34 4.79 .770 .132
7 Spending Public 26 4.42 .578 .113
considerable time in Private 34 4.68 .684 .117
8 Focusing on Public 26 3.46 .859 .169
applicants' Private 34 4.44 .613 .105
Table 4 Independent-Samples Mest for Items Assessing the Status of
Recruitment and Selection Practices
Levene's Test for
Variances t-test for Equality of Means
Item F Sig. t df Sig.
1 Recruit- Equal 15.370 *** .000 1.875 58 .066
Equal 2.149 ** 33.000 .039
2 Large no. Equal 1.173 .283 2.513 ** 58 .015
encouraged Equal 2.458 48.893 .018
for any variances
3 Job Equal 30.037 *** .000 -9.306 58 .000
-ment Equal -8.582 *** 34.677 .000
4 Rigorous Equal
selection variances .394 .533 -.735 58 .466
Equal -.750 57.174 .456
5 Selection Equal 23.254 *** .000 -2.471 58 .016
is fair variances
Equal -2.332 ** 39.888 .025
6 Line & HR Equal 1.123 .294 -1.202 58 .234
selection Equal -1.248 57.989 .217
7 Spending Equal .150 .700 -1.519 58 .134
selection Equal -1.554 57.376 .126
8 Focusing Equal 3.403 * .070 -5.156 58 .000
on appli- variances
gical Equal -4.933 *** 43.255 .000
Note. * p < .10. ** p < .05. *** p < .01.
Table 5: Sources of Recruitment Used by the
Public & the Private Sector
Sources % of Firms % of Firms
of Recruitment in the public in the private
Present employees 65 88
Newspapers 100 88
Employee referrals 08 65
Campus recruiting 00 71
Mgt. consulting firm 00 71
Professional associations 00 53
Unsolicited applicants 46 100
Internet 08 79
Table 6: Selection Devices Used by the Public
& the Private Sector
Selection devices % of Firms % of Firms
in public in private
Initial Screening 85 94
Preliminary Interview 08 97
Employment Test 73 94
Written Examination 100 94
Comprehensive Interview 100 94
Reference Check 85 79
Medical Examination 100 91
Table 7. Descriptive Statistics of the Status of Recruitment &
Type of the N Mean Std. Std.
Organization Deviation Error
Recruitment and public 26 4.3846 .49614 .09730
Selection Practice private 34 4.8824 .47767 .08192
Table 8. Independent-Samples Mest for the Status of Recruitment &
for Equality of
Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig.
Recruitment Equal 8.762 .004 *** -3.933 58 .000
Equal -3.913 *** 52.876 .000
Note. *** p < .01.