The recruitment and selection process in human resource management have experienced changes due to recent developments in dynamics such as technological advancement and globalisation. Recruitment is a process starting from the time an opening is identified in an organisation to the point when suitable candidates are identified from a group of applicants for the job. Selection on the other hand is getting the best applicant from the shortlisted group. This essay will discuss the changes in recruitment and selection by identifying how these changes have occurred while analysing factors such as technological advancement and globalisation. It will also examine present issues that human resource managers are being faced by concerning recruitment and selection.
Background and Discussion
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 'Recruitment is the process of having the right person, in the right place, at the right time.' This definition clearly states out what recruitment is and what it does. Thornhill et al view 'recruitment and selection as a systematic process applied to meeting an organisation's staffing requirements through filling identified vacancies.' (Thornhill at el, 2000). Recruitment is identifying the need for a new person either due to a newly created role or a recent vacancy in an organisation and getting the right person to fit the job specification. Selection alternatively involves picking out candidates after the recruitment process and accessing from the list of shortlisted candidates the best for the job specification. At the point of selection, interviews can be used as a tool to access the candidates. Molander and Winterton differentiate recruitment and selection this way, 'It is wise to distinguish between 'recruitment' and 'selection'. The former is concerned with the provision of a relevant market from which new employees will be selected. The latter relates to the processes of choosing from that market.' (Molander and Winterton, 1994.)
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Appointing the right people for a job will eventually lead to the success of an organisation. Therefore, recruitment and selection is of principal importance. Newell and Shackleton make the understanding of this clearer in Bach and Sisson by stating that, 'Hiring the 'right' people is of paramount importance and this is dependent on effective recruitment and selection procedures, which aim to select the 'right' individuals and reject the 'wrong' ones.' (Bach and Sisson). Recruitment and selection in the 1980s and 1990s were to a certain extent less rigorous than what it is today due to the changing nature of jobs and roles. Work was well defined then with the employees going by the book but the changes in technology and globalisation has caused roles within the companies to shift. Organisations are now seeking for better ways to recruit, select and retain employees who meet the standards of the job description.
Technological advancement has brought about the concept of e-recruitment. This has affected and changed the process of recruitment and selection as most organisations recruit through the use of their corporate website. E-recruitment has turned out to be one of the most significant changes in the recruitment and selection process. Apart from the use of corporate websites, organisations place advertisements in major recruiting organisations like Reed - www.reed.co.uk and Prospects - www.prospects.ac.uk. These websites in turn lead job seekers to the corporate websites of the organisation. The use of the internet for the selection process narrows down the workload of the human resource managers as they are able to sift through applications and narrow them down to find the most suitable candidates to be shortlisted for interviews. According to Kwiatkowski, 'The internet has already had an impact on selection, making it easier to test people at a distance.' (Kwiatkowski,2003). A survey conducted on 68 organisations by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) showed that online recruitment is one of the prevalent changes in the recruitment process. The graph below shows the percentage of employers involved in online recruitment by online applications, selection and other online resources.
Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
With the fast growth and emergence of internet technology, newspaper advertisement for jobs that was a solid way of getting across to the public is slowly ebbing away. A large percentage of people go online to look for job opportunities. Applying online gives a large variety of options to the job seeker. 'These internet-based recruitment applications usually provide applicants with the opportunity to apply online for a specific job.' (Lievens et al, 2002.) Focusing on the younger generation, very few of them read newspapers so organisations use the medium of internet access to reach to them. In some organisations, the HR managers have programs that automatically appraise and access candidates as soon as they submit an application online. The applicant is accessed based on the answers given through various tests. Depending on the success of the applicant, they are taken to the next stage of the selection process.
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Recent trends in the recruitment process have identified less us of the Curriculum vitae (CVs) as organisation tailor-make applications to suit the person specification. The CV may be asked for just as an addition and references may only be asked for after the candidate has fulfilled criteria for the job. References are not usually asked for at the point of application. 'Referees are normally asked to comment on generalities of personality such as honesty, cooperativeness and social adjustment'. (Leopold et al, 1999).
The selection procedure has experienced the rise in online selection tests. These tests determine if the candidate will move to the next level for interview. Tests are modified to suit the job specification. For example, applicants for a finance role are more likely to have numerical tests and IT or computer applicants may likely have diagrammatic tests. Most employers send samples of these tests to give the applicants an idea of what the test will look like. This is a major change in the recruitment process as organisations see the need to get the best out of a pool of applicants.
A notable development in recruitment and selection is the fitting of ex- placement and graduate schemes students into organisations. This is a form of internal recruitment that focuses on training students or graduates to fit into a specific position. Most of them start out their careers on the training program before advancing to higher levels in the organisation. This type of recruitment gives the applicant an advantage over others because they are familiar with how the organisations work. Some examples of organisations that run graduate schemes are Nestle, J.P Morgan and Barclays.
The use of psychometric tests to measure the ability and personality of applicants is on the rise in the recruitment and selection process. 'The term 'psychometric test' refers to the operation of standardized procedures for measuring intelligence or aptitude or personality.' (Iain Ballantyne in Gilmore and Williams, 2009). These can be Personality questionnaires used to determine who a person is and how they will work based on the answers they give to certain questions. Applicants may decide to choose false answers on the questionnaires but the questionnaires are programmed in such a way that they can notice irregularities in answers. Many organisations rely on this as a major way of choosing applicants.
Assessment centres in the selection process have likewise been set up to access how applicants will act in a given situation on a job. This usually acts as the final stage of the interview. In this case, a setting just like the real work environment is fixed up to test and select applicants. Applicants experience first-hand what it will be like on the job while the HR managers access them. The assessment centres only applies to specific job areas not all. Telephone interviews also act as a pre-interview before the final selection. Some companies use the telephone interview as the final stage due to geographical distance. For example, the United Nations (UN) employs people from all over the world to work in other counties so they use the telephone interview as the last step before selection. This also saves time and cost for both the organisations and the applicants.
Employer branding is an issue that is fast affecting recruitment and selection as most applicants are concerned with which organisation they work for, what they offer and how they treat their stakeholders. According to Torrington et al, 'The key, as when branding consumer products, is to build on any aspect of the working experience that is distinct from that offered by other organisations competing in the same broad applicant pool.' (Torrington et al, 2008). This makes the employer stand out from all others and attracts candidates for the job. A survey conducted by Personnel Today of 1,889 Personnel Today readers who are in charge of recruiting people shows what recruiters in organisations feel about employer branding and how they rate it in recruiting the best candidates.
Source: Personnel Today
Employer branding can also be linked to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies which is a new trend that attracts candidates to organisations. The organisation has to show a right standing before the public concerning its CSR policies involving the stakeholders. A rising number of applicants are concerned about the impact the organisation will have on the environment and they as the potential employees. Recruiters have to be knowledgeable in the CSR policies of their organisations as these are possible questions that candidates can ask during an interview. This change in how the world sees businesses puts a task on the organisation to train their human resource managers and recruiters to keep them up to date on the CSR standing of the organisation.
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'Globalisation, simply put, denotes the expanding scale, growing magnitude, speeding up and deepening impact of transcontinental flows and patters of social interaction'.(Held and McGrew,2002). Globalisation and the rise of international business have caused a significant change in the recruitment and selection process of organisations. Recruiters and human resource managers are faced with the challenge to be up to date on information needed in recruiting people to serve in various global networks. They have to determine how to choose the best candidate for a job overseas so that they won't have failed expatriates. Many organisations are expanding and need managers and workers in the international market. Recruiters have to be trained regarding choosing someone for overseas employment. While recruiting and selection on an international scale, cross-cultural relations have to be considered as managing in a host country is not the same as managing in the home country. This is due to cultural and managerial differences across borders.
The recent trends in recruitment and selection are paving the way for more issues as human resource managers have to be conscious of certain issues that will affect the way organisations recruit and select candidates. Organisations and human resource managers will have to consider the rise of issues concerning equality and diversity in the recruitment and selection process in the 21st century. Flexibility involving work time and areas such as flexi-time, part-time work, annual work has to be carefully considered to the benefit of the organisation and potential employees. As the world becomes more global, human resource managers have to consider issues such as expatriate movement and regional job offers in the European Union (EU). There is no 'status quo' as companies have to flexible and adhere to laws relating to diversity, discrimination and equal opportunities. The rise of all these aspects has challenged companies to step up to the responsibilities of recruitment and selection.
This essay has analysed the recent trends and developments in recruitment and selection by identifying the factors that have led to the changes. E-recruitment is recognised as being one of the main factors that has led to these changes due to technological advancement. The rise in assessment centres and psychometric tests have also given a new face to recruitment and selection. Human resource managers and recruiters have had to deal with employer branding and corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. Globalisation has also played a major role in the change in recruitment and selection because of the rise in international business and the need for expatriate placement to serve organisations globally. The analysis reviews the major developments in recruitment and selection.
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The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development - www.cipd.co.uk accessed 02/11/10
The Institute for Employment Studies - www.employment-studies.co.uk accessed 02/11/10
Graphs and Charts
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - www.irs.gov
Personnel Today - www.personneltoday.com
Journals and Articles
Filip Lievens, Karen van Dam, Neil Anderson, (2002) "Recent trends and challenges in personnel selection", Personnel Review, Vol. 31 Iss: 5, pp.580 - 601.
Richard Kwiatkowski, (2003) 'Trends in organisations and selection: an introduction', Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp 382 - 394.