The Recruitment and Selection Process in Companies
According to Trevor Bolton (1997) recruitment is concerned with the production of the “definitions” of a job (job descriptions and personnel specifications) and also with attracting the interest of suitably qualified candidates in the vacant position. Recruitment can be defined as a process of attracting individuals on a timely basis, in sufficient numbers and with appropriate qualifications and attitudes and encouraging them to apply for jobs in the organisations (Armstrong, 1999). Furthermore, as per Snell and Bohlander (2007), recruitment is described as the process of locating potential individuals who might join an organisation and encouraging them to apply for existing or anticipated job openings. Similarly, Noe et al (2008) support that recruitment is the practice or activity carried out by the organisation with the primary purpose of identifying and attracting potential employees.
On the other hand, Dave Bartram (2000), in his study “Internet Recruitment and Selection: Kissing frogs to find princes” contradicted that recruitment filters the numbers of applicants down by selecting out those who fail to meet key criteria and that traditionally, recruitment has been required in order to reduce the numbers of applicants to a practical size for the more formal and more resource-intensive ‘select-in’ assessments (interviews, psychometric tests, assessment centres exercises, etc).
Barber (1998) points out that recruitment is an important part of Human Resource management as it performs the essential function of drawing an important resource-human capital into the organisation. Lievens et al (2002) asserted that the ‘war for talent’ meant that the emphasis in organisations moved from the selection to the attraction of employees, and the labour market. Research by HR prospects (2003) found that recruitment was the second highest priority for HR practitioners (after absence management). Nonetheless, some researchers and practitioners recognise that the recruitment process is complex in nature, mediated by organisational, legislative, social and political requirements and expectations (Courtis, 1994; Hinton, 2000 et al) with a multiple number of stages, activities and characteristics (Barber, 1998; Breaugh, 1992 et al). The major criticism has been the attempt by researchers and practitioners to render the participants, the people and the organisation as objects that are controllable and manageable units when applied to rational and scientific methods (Hilton, 2000 et al). Gatewood et al (1993) acknowledge that recruitment is a more complex concept that is influenced by the job choice process of applicants in terms of the series of decisions made about which jobs and organisations to pursue for future employment.
188.8.131.52 Recruitment Policies
Trevor Bolton (1997) proposes that policies for recruitment should be: cost effective, be consistent with the wider public relations aim of the organisation as it is important to remember that potential employees are also actual or potential customers and finally should not discriminate against people on the basis of sex, race, age, physical disability or religion. Again, Noe et al (2003) validates that the key policies of recruitment are: attracting a group of potential candidates for existing vacancies, ensuring that fair means and processes are used for all recruitment activities and all recruitment activities should contribute to organisations goals and objectives and thus project a positive organisational image to those who come in contact with it.
184.108.40.206 Recruitment Process
Peter Stimpson (2005) described the recruitment process into the following steps:
establish the precise nature of the job vacancy and draw up a job description (or specification)
draw up a person specification, that is, the type of qualities and skills being looked for in suitable applicants
devise a job advertisement reflecting the requirements of the job and the personal qualities looked for.
Once the applications have been received, the selection process can begin.
Armstrong (1999) defines selection as the process of choosing from a group of applicants the best suited individual. Also, Dave Bartram (2000) supports that in the selection process; there are various forms of assessments that are used to select those candidates with the best potential for success in the job. Snell and Bohlander (2007) state that selection is the process of choosing individuals who have relevant qualifications to fill existing or projected job openings. In simple terms, selection involves choosing the best applicant to fill a position (Grobler, 2006 et al).
2.1.3 The Recruitment and Selection Process
Ideally, the recruitment and selection process is intended to identify prospective employees who will fit well with the hiring organisation. Clark (1992) points out that even a small number of poor staffing decisions can have significant impact upon the goals of the organisation and hence, the Recruitment and Selection process in the Human Resource Management should be efficient. Furthermore, Sheila Rioux and Paul Bernthal (2001) found that better Recruitment and Selection strategies result in improved organisation outcomes. However, it is a complex and expensive process (Sohel Ahmad and Roger G. Schroeder, 2002). Ndunuju Adiele (2009) agrees that the most important job of a HR person is the selection and hiring/recruitment of employees. He also stated that it cannot be faulted that the success of any firm depends on the quality of human resources or talents in that firm and this is why it is very important for any HR expert to be very sure of hiring the right staff without compromising anything from the onset. The more effectively organisations recruit and select candidates, the more likely they are to hire and retain satisfied employees.
In their study “Recruitment and Selection Process in HRM- A case of Bangladesh Open University”, MD. Abu Taher and Kamrul Arefin (2000) concern that because of the high cost of poor Recruitment and Selection, if an organisation fails to select the right person, it has to suffer as long as those persons stay in the organisation, even if the quality of service is strongly influenced by the Recruitment and Selection Process in the organisation.
220.127.116.11 Employee Recruitment and Selection process Flow Chart (Figure 1, Appendix I)
Optimal match of employee talents with organisational needs
Human resource planning
Feedback regarding past and present job performance supervisor/subordinate plans for the future
Competence to perform present or future job requirements
Understanding of company/ departmental policies, procedures and benefits
Cognitive, work sample, or situational tests, personality inventories, polygraphs
A smaller pool of qualified candidates
Recommendations, reference checks, application blanks, interviews
Specification of human resource requirements
A pool of qualified candidates
Planning, operations, control
Source: Wayne F. Casino, 1998 Figure 1.
2.2.1 Evolution of HRM and the internet
18.104.22.168 Internet as a recruiting tool
Edgeley (1995) alleged that the future of recruitment is on the net and it is the internet which will bring radical change to corporate recruiting. This claim proved to be true when Kerschbaumer (2000) agreed that it took more than 30 years for radio as a medium to reach 50 million of listeners, and the internet reached 50 millions of users within 5 years. Online recruitment has indeed grown rapidly over the past 10 years and now it is used to a greater extent all over the world by both recruiters and job seekers (Capelli, 2001). The internet first emerged as a recruiting tool in the mid-1990s and was named as recruiting evolution by the media due the benefits it could bring to recruiters (Boydell, 2002). Bush et al (2002) supports that the adoption of the web as a medium has been faster than any other medium in history. In addition, Crispin and Mehler (2006) found that 20 per cent external hires were from corporate sites and another 13 per cent were from jobs boards. Also, in the UK, it was found that two third of the organisations in 2004 used job boards (independent websites which are used to match multiple recruiters to job applicants typically through recruiter advertisements).
22.214.171.124 Shift from traditional way of recruiting and selecting to new way
From relevant literature, the traditional recruitment method is the way that a company announce a job opening to the market place through classified advertisement, an executive recruiter, a job fair or other media (Othman & Musa, 2006). Web-based technology which has a number of hiring activities can effectively streamline hiring processes by making them faster, more efficient, and less costly. Timeliness is critical to both the candidate and the organisation and unnecessary delays while paper is being routed or data being entered into numerous systems are clearly targets for improvement for the process (A. Walker, 2001). Good candidates are lost by unnecessary delays. In terms of HRM, the internet has changed recruitment from both an organisational and a job seekers point of view (Feldman, 2002, Epstein, 2003, Warner, et al 2005). Traditional recruitment processes are known as being time-consuming with long hiring cycle times, high costs per process and minimal reach to job seekers (Lee, 2005).
In his article “Training and human resource issues in small e-business: towards a research agenda”, Harry Matlay (2004) drew the same conclusion and argued that in the early 1990, ICT and the internet began impacting on organisational growth, development and competitiveness at both micro- and macro-economic levels and as more and more customers and suppliers began to use the internet, the speed, direction and emphasis on strategic change and competitive drive shifted from traditional trade to online business transactions taking place within a fast growing and rapidly expanding digital economy.
126.96.36.199 Factors contributing to shift
Rapid introduction of the internet into the recruitment process can primarily be attributed to the Internet’s unique communication capabilities which allow for written communication (e-mails and documents) to be transmitted for a second; for organisation’s and individual’s websites to be accessed at the click of a mouse and for real-time conversations (print, audio and visual) to be conducted rapidly (Wyld, Bingham et al, 1997). Similarly, Ulrich (1997) concurs that an emerging HR practice area that will require investment of time, talent and resources needs technology which can help in reducing the tension between strategic and administrative role and can remove part of the administrative responsibility. Furthermore, as per Sharon Hill (2001) the factors behind recruiting via the internet as low cost, reach, speed, ease, coverage and products and services for example, resume databases, online applications, banners, profiles etc.
Empirical studies also have helped enormously in finding the factors contributing to the shift from traditional way of recruiting people to new way. For example, David Pollitt (2007), stated in his article “Superdrug prescribes e-recruitment to improve talent management”, that the HRM manager of the health and beauty retailer Superdrug claimed that it is essential that their recruitment process is as fast and efficient as possible and the launch of their careers websites helped them largely to quickly and efficiently process large numbers of applications and thus reducing the administrative burden of processing CVs. Moreover, M. Voermans and M. Van Veldhoven (2007) in their study about “Attitude towards E-HRM: an empirical study at Philips” alleges that nowadays companies can seek the possibilities to run HR operations more efficiently due to the swift development of electronic HR systems. Through internet, communication is quick, easy and cheap and it can reach on a local, national and international scale. In addition, Graeme Martin and Martin Reddington (2009) “Reconceptualising absorptive capacity to explain the e-enablement of the HR function (e-HR) in organisations” validates that HR can claim to help create competitive advantage and align the function of creating added value for managers and employees through efficient information flows by reducing HR transaction costs and Headcount for example, supplying HR information to a large number of people virtually and help in delivering e-training and e-learning to a large number of people.
2.2.2 Online Recruitment
E-recruitment, also known within the literature as online recruitment, Internet recruiting or cybercruiting refers to posting vacancies on the corporate web site or on an online recruitment vendor’s website, and allowing applicants to send their resumes electronically via e-mail or in some electronic format (Galanaki, 2002). Similarly, Lievens and Harris (2003) et al define online recruitment as any method of attracting applicants to apply a job that relies heavily on internet. Furthermore, online recruitment is the method of matching job seekers to employers that has emerged over the last few years, and is growing quickly than any other means (Cooper & Robertson, 2003). Therefore it can be summarized that e-recruitment is the use of technology to assist the recruitment process where job vacancies are advertised through world-wide web.
Whilst e-recruitment is considered a relatively new concept for many organisations, articles on the topic first started appearing in the mid-1980’s (Casper, 1985; Gentner 1984). However, it wasn’t until almost a decade later in the mid-1990s that more systematic and rigorous literature and research on e-recruitment began to appear in human resource journals (E.R. Marr, 2007). The rise in the amount of literature in e-recruitment was initially attributed to the sudden increase in the use of online recruitment by IT companies and universities (Galanaki, 2002).
Types of E-Recruitment
A number of means has led to the increase in the use of the internet as a recruitment source. The three most common means identified by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD, 1999), cited in the article by Galanaki (2002) are: Firstly, the addition of recruitment pages to the organisation’s existing website. (As indicated by Lee (2005), this avenue is becoming increasingly common primarily as a result of rising costs and inflexibility of using other e-recruitment means and traditional media). Secondly, there is the use of specialised recruitment websites which act as a medium between organisations and potential applicants such as online job boards, job portals, job agencies and online recruiters and finally the use of media sites which involves placing an advertisement in a more traditional media such as newspaper which also has its own website and posts the same advertisement simultaneously in the website, usually for free.
Similarly, Preetam Kaushik (2010) in his article “E-Recruitment Trends: Internet and the Recruitment Process” agrees that E-recruitments are generally done in two different ways. For example, post the company profile and the job specifications on one of the many available job portals and also search the portal to see if any suitable resumes are on the site or alternate is to create an online recruitment page on the company’s own website where job seekers can submit their resumes which will get added to the database of the organization for future consideration.
Criteria for effective E-Recruitment
Arundhati Ghosh (2005): “E- Recruitment: The Recent Trend of Recruitment Practices” points out that in order to have an effective online recruitment, the organizations should be concerned about various factors such as Return on Investment which should be calculated to compare the costs and risks, the recruitment policy which has to be flexible and proactive to adapt market changes, unemployment rate as the whole process depends on the availability of candidates in the market and for every post, position it is not viable to spend too much of time because these rates will determine whether to be stringent or lenient, the impact of supplying compensation details that are the wage, salary, benefits as compensation rate of the company not only reaches to the candidates but will be known to all, the words that discriminates gender, age, religion and so on have to be avoided, and finally they need to be selective while choosing the sites because when special skill candidates are searched then generic job search sites have to be avoided.
2.3 Advantages and disadvantages of E-Recruitment
2.3.1 Perceived Advantages
Given that the average job hunters spend around six to eleven hours each week searching and pursuing suitable positions, the flexibility of the internet is extremely attractive as a means of sourcing jobs (Farris & Dumans, 1999). Also, the internet acts as a database of information for organisations, including information pertaining to potential applicants, if organisations know how to find and use it (Gutmacher and Leonard, 2000). According to Gutmacher (2000), Galanaki (2002) et al (2004), the biggest perceived advantage of internet recruiting is that individuals can quickly and easily access information in a wide range of job opportunities twenty-fours a day, seven days a week, reducing the need for employees to actively job hunt whilst performing current job duties, thereby minimising the visibility of the job search. They also further identified that online advertising helps in attracting the interest of high quality people, also known as passive job seekers, who are not actively searching for a job. The information can be passed through friends or collegues who are engaged in online social networking. Feldman and Klaas (2002) also claim that internet is a useful location to generate information on a wide array of industries, companies and search variables including the geographic location, job type or industry type, the remuneration and all when looking for jobs. Furthermore, Bingham et al (2002), Epstein et al (2003) and McCurry (2005) validates that the internet has been classified as an interactive source which helps to engage applicants by providing pertinent and more in-depth information about the job and the organisation through links to tesmonials and employment benefits sites.
For organisations, online recruitment provides an opportunity for jobs to be advertised in global, local or niche markets, presenting the flexibility for recruiters to adapt the source to target an identified job market, or allowing for a brand scope of potential applicants by opening the job to the global market (Smith, 2005). Another advantage is that there is a reduction in the time for recruitment as organisations are able to source and process applications round the clock compared to traditional sources (Lee, 2005).
Last but not the least, in his article “Internet Recruitment”, Radcliff (2000) mentions that it is easier for applicants to search for job vacancies and apply online rather than going through newspapers and submitting hard copy resumes to companies. As for Erica Marr (2007) “E-Recruitment: The effectiveness of the internet as a recruitment source”, she points out that another advantage cited in the literature on e-recruitment is the reduced costs associated with internet advertising compared to print advertising where the size of the advertisement and the publication itself impacts in the cost of posting the advertisement. She also alleges that more people get access to the internet nowadays and consequently there are a limited number of people who bother to read advertisements in newspapers.
2.3.2 Perceived Disadvantages
As with all recruitment sources, there are not only unique advantages related to the medium, but there are also a number of shortages identified by a number of authors (Capelli 2001, Feldman et al 2002). Of major concern is the perception that the internet will generate a high quantity of applications. Screening and checking the skill mapping and authenticity of millions of resumes is a problem and time consuming exercise (Carlson, Dessler, Chyna et al, 2002). Moreover, it takes less effort and fewer costs for applicants to store their résumé electronically and apply for a job online. Consequently organisations will be receiving a greater number of applications and as a result there will be an increase in costs of administering more in the recruitment and selections systems (Gutmacher 2000, and Smith et al 2004).
Austin Texas (2001) in his article “Impact of the internet on the recruitment of skilled labour” mentions that one of the disadvantages of online recruitment is that there may be low internet penetration and lack of awareness of internet in some remote locations.
Galanaki (2002) “The decision to recruit online: A descriptive study” argues that some large organisations have already found it necessary to officially dedicate one or more recruiters to focus all of their time exclusively to internet recruitment due to the extra time and effort needed for implementation. Referring to CIPD (1999), Galanaki (2002) also noted that many organisations lack the resources or the expertise needed to achieve an integrated e-recruitment process. They have to be ready to deal with the relevant IT tools such as search engines, databases, CV-screening and to undertake a whole change management effort in order to get the employees familiar with the implementation of the necessary tools. Another disadvantage highlighted in the article is that for the majority of job seekers, internet still is not the first option as organisations cannot be dependant solely and totally on the online recruitment methods.
Furthermore, the study about E-HR at KPN conducted by David Pollitt (2006) adds that not all companies find it easy to move to e-recruitment. This is because the technology, the processes and the people capability have to be managed simultaneously and the risk that companies face is that HR managers, trying to pay more attention to get the technology right, sometimes give less importance to the processes and the employees. Therefore, there is a need to consider the new system first, prepare the workforce and then embrace the new technology to avoid unplanned circumstances. Another urgent need is to ensure that the organisation’s senior managers back the changes.
Finally, in her article “Careers and Employment”, Kristian Keefer (2009) sums up the disadvantages as: a company which is hiring online will not have the ability to meet the individual applicants in person before recruiting them; employers might receive the positive impression of someone who ends up not being the best choice for the job; a perfect resume might be received but after contacting the person concerned, the employer may be disappointed if the applicant does not show any interest in the job. This is a waste of time and money.
2.4 Success of E-Recruitment
As per D. B. Morin (2000) there are approximately 700 million people using the consumer internet and one of the most usages of the internet is to conduct online job searches, and one of the most searched-on key words is “jobs”. In short, the internet is fundamentally changing the way the recruitment industry is operating and it can be an extremely effective tool for hiring. Therefore, D. B. Morin (2000) has devised two ways to ensure successful internet recruitment.
First and foremost, there is a need to build a recruitment centre within the company’s own website. Logically, candidates will first look for jobs on the company’s website if they are interested to work in that particular organisation. As a result, they should be able to have access to all the information about the company immediately. However, before adopting this method of recruitment, there are some issues which may have to be taken into consideration. For example, it should be made easy for prospective candidates to find recruitment area. Many online job applications are submitted by ´passive´ job seekers, that is, individuals who are not actively seeking a career change, but are intrigued enough by an individual job offer to apply. A conspicuous recruitment area will draw these ´passive´ job seekers in. Also, an efficient method of collecting job applications (i.e. will candidates email their résumés or do you plan to build an online résumé builder) can be established. Finally, we have to ensure that there are the resources to provide prompt responses to enquiries and applications. With close to a billion users online, one good job advertisement could potentially swamp an entire HR department. As technology continues to evolve, there is an ever-increasing array of resume ´sifting´ software available.
Secondly, we should advertise in websites. According to D. B. Morin (2000), there has been literally an explosion of online career centres, job guides, and recruiting services and there are now over 33,000 career specific websites on the Internet. The primary advantage to advertising our open positions on one or more recruitment websites is our extreme popularity with job seekers. If we are considering placing ads on the Internet, there are a few points to consider when evaluating sites such as does the site target candidates with a high likelihood of appropriate qualification? Is navigating around the site uncomplicated? Is the site professional and is it aligned with our company´s image? How are postings added to the database and how often can you update or delete your listing? Or how many visits does the site get weekly and monthly? With such a plethora of job sites on the internet now, organisations need to position their job advertisements where they will gain the most exposure to the most appropriate audiences.
Just as there is no one way to recruit, similarly there is no one place to list jobs. Organisations need to employ a combination of recruitment strategies, services and resources to position their job advertisements effectively. By limiting the company´s recruiting efforts to the Internet, many key applicants could be missed for jobs opportunities. For instance, in a study conducted by Drake Beam Morin (2000), the Internet provided sources for new jobs in only 4% of cases, compared to networking which produced opportunities in 64% of cases studied. The key element to consider for online recruitment is where qualified applicants would most likely look for open positions. Once that is determined, a media plan including a variety of targeted venues can be thoroughly constructed and evaluated.
From the relevant literature, there is an argument that e-recruitment is needed to be used in conjunction with other techniques. Caggiano (1999) and Borck (2000) argue that Internet-based recruiting will not replace traditional practices, but a well-implemented e-recruitment strategy can help the recruitment process become more successful. Internet recruiting should be only one of many tools used to find and recruit applicants. Similarly, Pearce & Tuten (2001) pointed out that although the employers see the advantages of e-recruitment, they continued to use traditional methods such as newspaper ads, personal referrals, and search agencies for most of their recruiting. Employer viewed the Internet as an important additional tool.
Cullen (2001) also supports that e-recruitment is not treated as a stand-alone human resource tool but is integrated into an overall recruiting and selection strategy that includes, among other things, sophisticated behavioral and skills assessment, interviewing, and additional means of identifying needs and sourcing candidates. Previous studies show that a human resource department still uses both traditional method and e-recruitment in recruiting process. More than 75% of HR professionals are now using Internet job boards in addition to traditional recruiting method (HR Portal, 2003).
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