Personnel are people who are employed by a company or organization to perform some kind of work. Personnel can vary from unskilled laborers hired to do daily contract work to highly skilled professionals such as doctors who staff a hospital. A number of nations have laws which are designed to protect the workforce by mandating minimum wages, working environments, and standards of behavior.
In a large company, there may be an entire personnel office which is dedicated to managing the company's staff. This office is responsible for hiring new personnel to fill job openings, providing training to new staff members, and monitoring the performance of staff members. The office also provides information about benefits, responds to complaints from employees, and handles a variety of other situations, ranging from obtaining security clearances for people working in sensitive areas to providing the accounting department with information about new employees so that they can be paid.
Personnel can provide a variety of services to their employers, and they may be hired under a variety of terms. Some are full time workers, while others are part timers, and companies can also hire temporary personnel or independent contractors to supplement their work force. When people are hired by a company or contracted to perform a task, they have an opportunity to negotiate the terms of their employment, discussing issues like compensation, working hours, and benefits.
Some companies source their employees through personnel agencies. At an agency, people looking for work sign up and provide information about their skills and qualifications. The agency provides placements, responding to needs for employees from clients by sending out the most qualified candidates from the agency. Some agencies send a group of candidates, allowing a company to select the employee they want, while others provide direct placement, sending a single person to fill a job opening.
Smaller companies and agencies handle their personnel needs on a case by case basis, with employees being interviewed personally by the owners or a staff member working in the area where there is a job opening. A candidate may need to go through several interviews, or just one, depending on the job and the size of the company. One advantage to meeting directly with employers rather than a personnel office is that job candidates get an opportunity to talk directly with company decisionmakers about company policies, the company's business ethics, and other topics which may be of interest or concern.