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Recruiting and retaining the best people

It will give you the opportunity to explore a range of approaches to planning recruitment, attracting candidates, choosing the right people and getting them started in your organisation in the most effective way. The course materials and activities are designed to allow you to ground your learning in your own role in recruitment and retention where you are. You will be encouraged to look outside your own organisation, perhaps to challenge current thinking about some of ‘the way we do things round here’ and to develop the knowledge and skills to apply fresh and informed approaches to recruitment and retention in your own setting. 

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code
This is a non-credit bearing course.
Study method
Distance Learning
Short course cost
See Registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

What you will study

You will study five units. Each one will focus on a particular aspect of recruitment and selection and contains resources and activities for you to work through. The five units are:
  • Unit 1: Thinking about recruitment? We begin by exploring why organisations need to recruit in the first place (and whether there may be other options). We look at the importance of managing recruitment well and at the preparations you need to make before embarking on any recruitment campaign: based on job analysis and preparation of a job description and person specification. We round up this unit by exploring the wider context and the changing nature of the labour market which has implications for how organisations develop their approaches to recruitment. 
  • Unit 2: Finding and attracting the best candidates. There are many different ways of sourcing applicants. We will examine the range of options and their opportunities, limitations and potential drawbacks, thinking about time, cost and the legal and employment frameworks within which your organisation operates. We will take a practical look at the steps involved in the recruitment process and at how you can maximise your chances of attracting the best candidates. How your organisation goes about recruitment will send out messages about your values, your culture and your way of doing business – not only to potential candidates but to wider stakeholders as well. We will also ask you to think about how candidates make choices too – and what you can do to boost the chances that they might choose your organisation as their employer rather than another one.
  • Unit 3: Selecting the best people. Now we move on to the application and selection processes you might use: CV or Application?  Panel interviews, assessment centres, meetings with stakeholders? There's quite a choice of techniques available. We will explore what each can tell you about your candidates and which you might choose to give you the best possible opportunity to select people with the skills, knowledge and experience that you are looking for.   
  • Unit 4: Getting off to a good start. Congratulations!  Your recruitment and selection processes have worked. You've secured a really good appointment. We look at what's involved practically in making a job offer and issuing a  contract as well as what you now need to do next to help people successfully join your organisation and make the most of the talents that you've recognised that they bring. Effective induction is about far more than showing someone where the water cooler or coffee machine is. We explore the elements of induction and some of the new ideas and approaches to induction that you might want to think about in your own organisation. 
  • Unit 5: Keeping people engaged and motivated.  We look beyond induction, we explore the idea of socialisation and how it can really make people feel part of your organisation. Given the effort we've recognised as required for effective recruitment, our focus here is on maximising the benefits of that investment. We explore the importance of the 'psychological contract' at work and look at approaches to keeping people motivated and engaged that you can apply in your own organisation's policies and practices. 
A work based activity will allow you to consolidate your learning and identify any areas where you might want to recap or reflect.
The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes. It requires no more than 25 hours of your time in total, over whatever period suits you. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!
The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:
  • The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
  • The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.
  • A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. A learning adviser will review your work-based activity and provide personal feedback.
  • Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your continuing professional development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (NB the course does not carry academic credits.)

You will learn

After completing this course you should be able to:
  • Understand, evaluate and apply a range of approaches to recruitment and selection.
  • Identify the costs and benefits of different tools and processes which you can use to underpin effective recruitment and selection.
  • Explain the importance of induction and socialisation in making the most of what new employees can bring to the organisation.
  • Understand how your organisation can improve staff retention through its approach to motivating people. 
  • Draw on your learning to identify opportunities for improvement in your own organisation and for developing your own contribution in this area.

Professional recognition

Successful completion of the course enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing an OU certificate that you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

Work-based activity

The work-based activity for this course has been designed as an integrated ongoing activity that you submit at the end of your study. It will allow you to reflect on your learning and how to use it in your professional work.

Outside the UK

This course has been written primarily for a UK context, but will have relevance to other contexts.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some experience in the field and the course assumes a familiarity with the subject.

    You can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace and submit your work-based activity at any date before the final submission date for the course.

    Please note that depending on when you register, you will have at least 6 months to submit your work based activity. Information about your final submission date is available when you register for the course. If you feel 6 months may not be sufficient time for your study and submission, please contact us to discuss your study options, including current final submission date before you register.


    Start End England fee Register
    At anytime Flexible - see Entry requirements for more detail £295.00 Register

    Ways to pay

    Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

    Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

    The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2019/20 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2020/21 academic year or later may increase in line with the University’s strategic approach to fees.

    What's included

    All learning materials, exercises, study support and the work-based activity are delivered entirely online.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.