Purpose: The existing literature on the recruitment and selection process in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) context has not sufficiently revealed inherent challenges. The purpose of this paper is to examine managers’ perceptions of employee resourcing in Nigeria. Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses qualitative data which were generated from the semi-structured interviews of 61 managers across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. Findings: The paper finds that in addition to the Federal Character Principle and the Quota System Policy, favouritism, ethnicity, age and gender discrimination, as well as corruption significantly inhibit the recruitment and selection process in Nigeria. Consequently, the ability to hire the best workers to improve competitiveness is also inadvertently hampered. Practical implications: The paper shows that the institutional and cultural variations in SSA require a nuanced approach in the recruitment and selection process in order to enhance organisational competitiveness. Originality/value: The institutional and cultural variations in SSA require a nuanced approach in the recruitment and selection process in order to enhanced organisational competitiveness.