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Staff Recruitment and Selection Process in the Nigerian Public Service: What is to be done?

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This paper examines the process of staff recruitment and selection in the public service of Nigeria, addressing issues of merit, ethnicity, religion, and compliance with the Federal Character Principle.

Staff Recruitment and Selection Process in the Nigerian Public Service: What is to be done?

   Added on 2024-01-17

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Staff Recruitment and Selection Process in the Nigerian Public Service: What
is to be done?
Article in International Journal of Human Resource Studies · September 2014
DOI: 10.5296/ijhrs.v4i3.6367
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Staff Recruitment and Selection Process in the Nigerian Public Service: What is to be done?_1
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2014, Vol. 4, No. 3

www.macrothink.org/ijhrs280

Staff Recruitment and Selection Process in the Nigerian
Public Service: What is to be done?

Bernard Oladosu Omisore, Ph.D

and

Bernadette Ivhaorheme Okofu (Mrs.)

Members of Teaching Faculty of the Centre for Management Development

Shangisha, Lagos, Nigeria

Doi:10.5296/ijhrs.v4i3.6367 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijhrs.v4i3.6367

Abstract

The recruitment and selection of staff in any organization be it public or private sector is of
paramount importance to the organization. This is so because it is the staff that turns the
vision and mission of the organization into reality. Thus, the objectives of any organization
can only be realized through the effective co-ordination of the human resource (staff) of the
organization. This paper attempts an examination of the process of staff recruitment and
selection in the public service of Nigeria.

Five relevant research questions were raised and addressed. Descriptive statistics was used
to analyse the data collected from respondents to the questionnaire designed for this purpose.
The results obtained showed that merit is often jettisoned on the altar of ethnicity and religion
in recruitment into the public service in Nigeria. Since the public service is directly
controlled and regulated by the government, the Nigerian Federal Character Principle
was largely complied with. The study also reveals that though there are stipulated periods for
recruitment and selection into the public service, these are often sidelined. This paper
concludes by recommending that for government to operate the most efficient administrative
service that would be beneficial to all, her recruitment and selection policies into the Nigerian
public services should be unfettered. It should be able to absorb the most qualified,
technically sound, disciplined and committed human resource that would in turn help
government achieve the objectives of governance.

Keywords: Staff, recruitment, selection, process, nigerian, public service.

1. Introduction

While it is true that machines have been developed to do the work human beings used to do,
it is also true that the machines cannot operate themselves. They have to be operated by
human beings in order to achieve desired results. Thus, every organization (public or private)
depends on the effective use of its available resources in order to achieve its objectives.
These resources (human and material) should be in the right quantity, quality and time, if
they are to be effectively utilized. However, one of the resources of the organization which
Staff Recruitment and Selection Process in the Nigerian Public Service: What is to be done?_2
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2014, Vol. 4, No. 3

www.macrothink.org/ijhrs281

is considered as the most vital, most valuable, most complicated and the least predictable is
the human resource. This is because it is the human resource that processes the other
resources of the organization so that the goals and objectives of the organization are
acheived.

All over the world, the services provided by governments are done through public servants.
Public servants are those that work in the public service of any country or state. In Nigeria,
public servants are made up mainly of senior and junior staff, as well as executive, technical
and administrative cadres who are largely distinguished based on their educational
qualifications, training, skills, ranks and the duties they discharge (Yaro, 2014). The term
Public Service covers agencies of government (federal or state) civil service, the legislature
and judiciary as well as their agencies and parastatals. It encompasses the civil service in
the strict sense of the ministries and departments of central or state government and the field
administration. It also includes local governments, the military, the police and other security
or paramilitary agencies. The Public Service is a dynamic structure of government which
operates based on rules that are reviewed every five years in Nigeria so as to keep in tune
with changing times to serve the current needs of society and to provide for the future
requirements of the people (Yaro, 2014).

The indigenization of the public service that accompanied independence in the 1960s, which
was coated with the perpetuated problems of sectionalism, nepotism, tribalism and religion,
could be traced from the rationalization and popular purges which gave birth to competitions
among ethnic groups in the country who want to favour their ethnic cleavages. Ever since
then, these issues became and remain critical and never left the Nigerian Public Service.

This research effort is, therefore, an attempt at focusing on the process of staff recruitment
and selection into the public service in Nigeria. This paper will also attempt to proffer some
suggestions to improve the process.

1.1 Objectives of the Study

This paper seeks to examine the process of staff recruitment and selection into the Nigerian
Public Service. It also seeks to find out the roles of ethnicity, religion, etc., in recruitment
and selection into the Public Service. This becomes necessary in the light of recent
attempt by the Nigerian Immigration Service (N.I.S) to select new employees, which left gory
tales in the minds of many families in Nigeria. It would be recalled that on the 15th of
March 2014, N.I.S attempted selecting some new recruits but due to some logistic reasons,
some candidates who went for the selection interview lost their lives. This paper is also an
attempt to establish whether or not the Federal Character Principle is being adhered to. It
also aims at finding out whether equity and fairness are the benchmark of recruitment and
selection into the Public Service in Nigeria. Effort would also be geared towards proferring
solutions to observed shortcomings.

1.2 Study Questions

This study intends to create awareness of workplace equality and diversity policies where
they are not practiced. In view of this, the following study questions were raised to be
addressed by this paper:
Staff Recruitment and Selection Process in the Nigerian Public Service: What is to be done?_3
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2014, Vol. 4, No. 3

www.macrothink.org/ijhrs282

(i) How frequent are recruitment exercises conducted in the Public Service in
Nigeria?

(ii) Is merit system adopted in the recruitment and selection into the Public Service
in Nigeria?

(iii) Do ethnicity and religion play any role in the recruitment and selection into the
Public Service in Nigeria?

(iv) Are the recruitment and selection practices into the Public Service guided by the
Federal Character Principle?

(v) Is training, professionalism, etc., used as guiding principles in recruitment and
selection into the Public Service in Nigeria?

2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 The Concept of Recruitment

Butler, et al (1991) defines recruitment as “encompassing the array of organizational
practices and decisions used to affect the number or types of individuals who are willing to
apply for, or to accept, employment in a given vacancy. Thus defined, recruitment
combines with selection and placement procedures to bring people into positions, specified
by some type of job analysis, that were previously unfilled. If, through recruitment, a large
number of candidates can be identified for a particular position, selection procedures may be
used to determine which are most likely to pass the test provided by future performance
evaluations; it is thus possible to skin the cream off the top of the applicant pool. But if
recruiting yields only just enough people to fill vacancies, there will be a long way from the
cream level. Successful recruiting thus is the sin qua non for successful selection and
staffing. Without it, organizations will not have the human resources to implement their
strategies effectively (Miner, et al, 1995).

Griffin, (1997) defines recruitment to mean, “securing the right people for particular jobs, and
it may take the form of advertising for large groups of employees or tracking out a lightly
skilled individual for specific work”. This means that not any person with paper
qualification is eligible for recruitment. A choice has to be made on who is the right
candidate for a particular post. This is very important due to the fact that it is through this
process that the government or organization can achieve its sets of goals and objectives.

According to Monday and Noe (2005) “recruitment is a process of attracting individuals on a
timely basis, in sufficient numbers and with appropriate qualifications, developing their
interest in an organization and encouraging them to apply for jobs within it”. This shows
clearly that recruitment exercises are not conducted all year round but at a designated time
when the need arises. The need arises as a result of vacant positions created by those who
left the service as a result of their retirement, withdrawal from the service or other reasons.
During this process, efforts are made to inform the applicants fully about the selection criteria
of the required competencies that will lead to effective performance, as well as career
opportunities the organization can provide the employee. Clear knowledge of the job helps
the potential employees to put in their best when employed because it is only when you know
what you are going to do that you can understand not only how to do it but how to do it best
(Yaro, 2014).
Staff Recruitment and Selection Process in the Nigerian Public Service: What is to be done?_4

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