Modern Challenges facing Human Resource Management

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The twenty-first century has ushered in many alternative ways in which to do business. Specially, Human Resource Management has been challenged to keep up with today's fast tools of technology. Firms are facing exceptional challenges but very few ideal solutions. These challenges have been identified as being talent shortages, globalization, competition and technological improvement. (Johnson, 2000; Kronos, 2003; Simphal, 2004)

Confronted with the effects of globalization, the Mauritian government took the commitment to turn Mauritius into a 'cyber island' with ICT as the fifth pillar of the economy. Thus businesses face increasing pressure to recruit and retain a knowledgeable workforce willing to adapt to the ever changing nature of businesses.

Thus with the explosive growth of the Internet over the last several years and a strong economy with record low unemployment rates and increasing skills shortages in many areas has led to increased competition to recruit the best people. The recruitment process itself has also undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years with the utilisation of the internet. The use of the internet as a means of connecting the job seeker and the employer, and as a medium for conducting certain elements of the recruitment process is described as online recruitment.

The fantastic growth of online recruitment market puts the stress on the phenomenon that electronic marketplaces can put forward a reach and efficiency that physical markets cannot compete. And as the Internet penetration is growing, firms are taking great interest in recruitment via the web. As a result, e-recruitment has now become a core strategy of organizations in their recruiting process.

Thus the challenge of Human Resources is to emphasise on adding value to the staffing process with intelligent screening, filtering, sorting and hiring software that can fairly without any discrimination, locate and sort the potential candidates electronically.

1.1 Rationale of the Study

The topic of online recruitment was chosen after a meticulous study of the various subjects and the upcoming global trends in the business background. As the world becomes smaller and that competition can be seen everywhere, business processes need to become more efficient. One of these business processes is the recruitment process.

1.2 Objectives of the Study

To identify the use of intranet and internet for the purpose of recruitment

To investigate the success and failure factors for e-recruitment

To analyse the attitude of stakeholders involved in the implementation

1.3 Methodology

For the current study both primary and secondary research were used. Primary research consisted of collecting data from Mauritian Human Resource Practitioners with the help of an online questionnaire. Moreover a face to face interview was conducted with the general manager of two recruitment sites.

1.4 Structure of the research

The structure of the research is as follows:

Chapter 1: Introduction

It provides a brief overview of e-recruitment, the objectives of the study and the research methodology.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

This provides an overview of the extensive literature on e-recruitment, examining the attitudes of the different stakeholders upon the implementation, the key success and failure factors.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

This presents a research methodology use: an overview of the design of the online survey and the interview, the pretest procedures were also mentioned.

Chapter 4: Data Analysis and findings

This provides a description of the e-recruitment process in Mauritius.

Chapter 5: Recommendations

This presents a description on corrective measures to be taken in order to improve the practice of e-recruitment.


Definition Of Recruitment And Selection

Recruitment "includes those practices and activities carried out by the organisation with the primary purpose of identifying and attracting potential employees" (Breaugh and Starke, 2000) and "performs the essential function of drawing an important resource - human capital -- into the organisation" (Barber, 1998).

"Selection is the process of collecting and evaluating information about an individual in order to extend an offer of employment. Such employment could either be a first position for a new employee or a different position for a current employee. The selection process is performed under legal and environmental constraints and addresses the future interest of the organisation and of the individual" (Gatewood & Field, 2001)

Anderson (1994) stated that recruitment and selection are 'integrated activities and where recruitment stops and selection begins is a moot point.'

Evolution Of The Use Of Technology And Internet In The Recruitment Process

The internet first emerged as a recruiting tool in the mid-1990s and was hailed by the popular media as the driver behind a "recruiting revolution" due to the benefits it could bring to recruiters (Boydell, 2002). According to Galanaki (2002), online recruitment was first referenced in the mid 1980s, while systematic reference to the online recruitment in HR journal begins almost a decade later, in the mid-1990s, (Galanaki 2002, cites the work of Gentner 1984; Casper 1985).

It was predicted that the recruitment industry's "future is on the net" (Edgeley, 1995) and that the internet had brought "radical change to corporate recruiting" (Cappelli, 2001). Crispin and Mehler (1997) suggest that the Internet had brought a lot of novelty and ambiguity into the hiring process. They argue that HR managers are yet to figure out how to adjust hiring strategies to online applicant tracking systems, interactive voice recognition services, PC-to-PC interview software, web-based testing tool, search engines, intrusive advertising techniques, and numerous job and resume databases.

Traditional Recruitment

According to Farhnam and Stevens (2000), "the traditional approach to recruitment is for line managers, having obtained approval for new posts, to provide job descriptions and person specifications for 'fine tuning' by their personnel department. Managers also draft job advertisement, with the assistance of the personnel department for placement in newspapers and/or professional journals. The personnel department sends information and application packs to potential candidates, collates submitted application forms, forwards applications to line managers for short listing, arranges job interviews and notifies candidates"

From the study of Arboledas, Ferrero and Vidal (2001), they present some examples of recruitment methods that organizations are using: newspaper advertisement, faxed/mailed resumes, recruitment agency or headhunter.


According to Schreyer & McCarter (1998) e-recruitment refers to "the recruitment process, including placing job advertisements, receiving resumes, and building human resource database with candidates and incumbents."

From the relevant literature, the words e-recruitment, online recruiting, electronic recruiting, virtual recruitment, virtual recruiting, cyber recruitment, cyber recruiting are synonymous (Simphal 2004). They imply the formal sourcing of job information online (Ganalaki, 2002).

The traditional method of recruitment has been revolutionized by the emergence of the Internet. In the past few years, the Internet has dramatically changed the face of HR recruitment and the ways organizations think about the recruiting function.

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.

2.4.1 Benefits of e-recruitment

Millman (1998) cited in Rozelle & Landis (2002) suggested that online recruitment offers an efficient way to identify and classify a virtually unlimited number of job seekers.

Elswick (2000) cited in Bussler & Davis (2002) that a good e-recruitment system could bring lower cost by 90%.

E-recruitment can increase the image of organisation, especially when building a corporate recruitment site; it is considered to attribute to the company an image of innovation and flexibility (Fister, 1999).

E-recruitment is considered as a very good tool to reach the global target (Ganalaki, 2002). It appears that other than language barriers, which can be overcome, the Internet has no boundaries.

Recruitment And Selection Process Using Internet And Information Technology

The recruitment process can be identified as a support process: a process which is not directly aimed at establishing the primary organisation (Veger 2006). Armstrong (2001) has broken down the recruitment process into three stages as being:

Defining requirements

Attracting candidates

Selecting candidates

Veger (2006) adds one more stage to this process namely welcoming new employees into the organisation i.e. the induction of new employees.

2.5.1 Defining requirements

Armstrong (2001) stated that requirements for particular positions are set out in the forms of role profiles and person specifications that provide the basic information required to draft advertisement, brief agencies or recruitment consultants, and assess candidates. By defining requirements, essential information such as the number, type, and quality, nature of vacancy to be filled and other information can be acquired to come up with an appropriate job requirement that will match with candidate's profile.

A computerized job analysis can reduce the time and effort involved in writing job descriptions which in turn can be used to design a person specification. (Malthis and Jackson 2002). However one of the drawbacks to create and maintain such sophisticated system is the lack and support from top management for the transition and maintenance costs associated with a fully integrated system (Wether and Keith 1996)

2.5.2 Attracting Candidates

Malthis and Jackson (2002) stated that the aim of attracting candidates is to come up with a pool of candidates who meet job requirements. Bartram (2000) presents a snapshot of Internet development as a recruitment and selection medium. He examines the role of the Internet within a traditional recruitment cycle. At the so-called "attraction stage," he writes, the Internet helps to draw people into a large pool by providing a virtual stage for a job posting.

Candidates can be attracted in two ways:

Internal recruitment

External recruitment Internal recruitment

Recruitment can be done internally (within the organisation) as well as externally (Veger 2006).In large organizations, most vacancies are advertised internally before the are externally advertised as it is the cheapest way of attracting a wide pool of candidates.

Internal candidates can be sourced using two main ways:

Skill inventory database

An employee skills inventory database maintains profiles of employees, their skills and abilities, for use in matching to internal opportunities. It may also be used for skills gap analysis and training. With a skills inventory database based on a robust technology platform, organizations can benefit from being able to mine a transparent internal labor pool and profit from a clear understanding of the human capital it controls.

Corporate Intranet

Corporate intranet enable employees to take charge of their careers by permitting on-line applications for transfers, promotions or development activities related to their individual careers (Walker, 2001). External Recruitment

There are different methods of external recruitment through the internet that are described below:

Company Websites

Lievens and Harris (2003) stated that" Company web sites represent one of the first Internet-based approaches to recruiting. Many of these web sites also provide useful information about the organization, as well as a mechanism for applying for these jobs". A corporate career website is an instrument to communicate with online candidates. In any communication, the key is to communicate the right information in a way that has the greatest impact on the targeted audience. Topics that jobseekers expect to see addressed on the corporate career website include the company's employment culture, benefits and salary information (Simphal 2004).

Leading-edge websites contain the following information (Walker 2001):

Regular scheduled chat rooms with key company executives, politicians, scholars, or well known company spokespeople.

Tips on how to interview, what to wear, and what to do

Information about what the future holds

What positions are available and how to apply

Recruiting events and other employment- related information

However Simphal (2004) pointed out that some common mistakes found in corporate websites are:

Some job information included company- specific abbreviation that candidates did not understand

An online job application form halted users with error messages.

Unnecessary large graphics were slow to download

Moreover, some jobseekers judge the company on the basis of their quality of their websites which can be a hindrance because not all companies can afford to invest on building a leading edge company website (Mc Dougall 2001)

Media Sites

A media site takes the form of a job listing websites where electronic advertisement appear similarly and simultaneously with traditional printed advertisement in the original paper (newspaper or magazine) (Ganalaki, 2002).

The main difference between traditional advertisement and media site as a source of recruitment is that traditional advertisement has less information while online advertisement has more information and further references can be added and has a global coverage.

Relationship Recruiting

Relationship recruiting is a potentially major innovation in the internet recruitment (Harris and Dewar, 2001). Its major goal is to develop a long term relationship with "passive" candidates, so that when they decide to enter the job market, they will turn to the companies and organizations with which they have developed a long term relationship (Boehle, 2000). "Relationship recruiting relies on internet tools to learn about web visitors' interests and experience and then email regular updates about careers and their field of interest. When suitable job opportunities arise, an email may be sent to them regarding the opportunity" (Lievens and Harris 2003).

It is also possible to use the internet to go one step further and to provide potential applicants with realistic job preview (Travagline & Frei, 2001). This is because internet-based realistic job previews can present information in a written, video or auditory format.

Recruitment Sites

With the advent of the internet, off-line sources such as recruitment agencies, head hunters, outplacement service companies have established on-line. There are specific recruitment sites for employers and job seekers. Due to its targeted nature, it can have a better chance to attract candidates with particular skills or field as well as a powerful source of attracting active candidates (Pin et al 2001)

Online job boards and service providers have been established solely to operate via internet.

Online Job boards

Job boards are commercial websites where databases of job vacancies and application are found (Mohamed et al 2001; Smith and Rupp 2004). Online recruitment sites attract jobseekers by offering value added services as well as listing position and allowing jobseekers to search through them, they help candidates to create resume online, give career advice and offer networking and work life balance advice forums (Simphal 2004)

Service Provider

This is the choice of outsourcing the recruitment activity to a service provider that provide technical solutions to set up the best tailor made -e-recruitment system for each company that eliminates the need for specific training for the people who are actually contracting the service (Pin et al 2001)

Social Networking

Social network has been widely associated with the term Web 2.0 which tends to reduce hierarchies by allowing readers to become real actors. It is user-centered and it enhances information sharing.

From an applicant's point of view, mobilizing a social network makes it possible to obtain more information about the company and the job. From an employer's perspective, according to Rees (1966), making use of one's own network or that of the staff should limit the number of applications whilst simultaneously ensuring their quality and also reduce absenteeism and turnover.

In the recruitment framework, the most representative Web 2.0 tools are:

Blogs, created by applicants and employers and headhunters (Hightech-job).

Online Social Networks: Facebook or professional (LinkedIn or Viadeo) to find customers, partners and future employees, to hunt and contact "passive" applicants.

RSS feeds (Real Simple Syndication), where updated information can be automatically posted on a search engine of job offers (Moovement for example), or RSS aggregators (like Netvibes and iGoogle).

Video platforms, such as Youtube or Youjob, give companies the opportunity to present their job offers, and applicants the possibility of introducing their CV. Résumé Management Systems

Résumé management systems scan résumés into databases, search the databases on command, and rank the résumés according to the number of resulting hits they receive. The reliance upon résumé management systems, coupled with the downsizing of the human resource departments in many corporation. Despite the fact the majority of large orgamisations now recruit over the internet, most of them sift on the basis of purely demographic criteria and simple checks on relevant experience (Stanton & Rogelberg, 2001). Furthermore some companies claim that screening technology has helped decrease employee turnover by between 10 to 30 per cent by helping to establish a better fit between candidate and the job (Kotyar and Ades 2002). Software application such as Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Key Word Search (KWS) are indispensable tools in filtering through the large amount of resume in job bank and job sites. However, these tolls are not free from obstacles. Human Resource officers using the Key Word Search (KWS) process often work without the advantage of clear and specific job information. As such, they may develop selection criteria that are not job relevant that make the Key Word Search (KWS) process invalid and consequently illegal (Mohammed et al 2002)

Selecting the candidates

Gowan (2006), has stated that "selection is a strategic operation not a tactical one. "Appointing the 'right' person is important." However, what is critical is making sure that the 'wrong person' is not appointed. IT has already made an impact on selection in the field of testing (Cooper and Tinline 2003) and interview, although until now is not so widespread. Bartram (2006) reports that the role of the Internet is more limited in the third stage i.e. the selection of applicants. Methods of selection

Internet Interview

Wide band G3 video phone provide a halfway house between the telephone interview and 'live face to face interview. Video conferencing provides the employer with the opportunity to conduct a single, pair or panel interview without having the cost of transporting applicant in a common interviewing site (Bartram 2006).

Reference Checks

Now it is already quite common to seek and transmit references by phone and e-mail. The use of internet to deliver structured and adaptive reference checks will add to the range of ways in which this information can be collected. It will also provide an effective means of providing a higher level of control over administration of reference checking instrument (Bartram 2006).


Here, the information is presented on a computer and all responses are entered on the screen. It has to deal with a series of e-mail to be organized and prioritize and to choose appropriate action to take and types relies to some e-mails.

Web-based cognitive ability test

Baron and Austin (2000) developed a web-based cognitive ability test which is a timed numerical reasoning test with business-related items and was after an on-line application and before participation in an assessment centers.

Assessment Centers

It is in the area of both group and individual assessment exercises that some particularly exciting new possibilities emerge. It is now possible that some possible to create multi-user exercises (e.g. business simulations) that can be closely monitored and assessed. The users need not be brought together to a single location, but could form part of a virtual assessment centre. The potential advantage of making such task internet based is that it removes the geographical constrained on having to bring people together to take part of the assessment (Bartram 2006).

2.5.4 Induction of new employees

Induction is the process of receiving and welcoming employees when they first join a company and giving them the basic information they need to settle down quickly and happily to start working (Armstrong 2001). Traditional induction methods include employee handbook, on-the-job training and job and company briefing. Information Technology can also be used in the in the induction process by using intranet and video simulation to help in socializing employee in the work environment, video simulation can allow a job tour.

According to Digenti (2002), "organisations rapidly move their training focus to virtual environments, resulting in a proliferation of methods and online courses. The move to virtual delivery often involves combining a body of knowledge with resource links, interactive segments, personalization features."

Shift From Traditional Recruitment To Internet Recruitment

The transition from traditional recruitment to internet recruitment is part of the Human Resource (HR) Transformation. " Human Resource (HR) Transformation is an integrated, innovative and business focused approach to redefining how Human Resource work within an organisation so that it helps the organisation deliver on promises made to customers, investors and other stakeholders"(Ulrich et al 2009)

2.6.1 Roles of stakeholders in implementing the Human Resource (HR) Transformation

Ulrich et al mentioned that Human Resource (HR) Transformation depends on the quality of HR professionals and their relationship with line managers. However if they cannot respond to the increased expectations raised by transformation, they will quickly lose credibility.

The stakeholders are:

Chief Human Resource HR Officer (CHRO)

It is the leader of any organisation who sets the direction and tone for that organisation. CHRO is normally the one who sponsor the Human Resource (HR) Transformation by allocating money, time to the transformation offer. The CHRO initiate, take the lead in the design and monitor the transformation plan and making sure that it starts with the business context. (Ulrich et al 2009)

HR Professionals

HR Professionals are the one who enact the HR transformation throughout the organisation if it is to have any prospect of success. Generally successfully HR professionals facilitate change by helping make culture happen and by developing disciplines to make change happen throughout the organisation. This may include implementation of strategy, projects, or initiatives.

As HR professionals coach, architect, design, deliver and facilitate, they transform themselves from reactive staff followers into proactive business contributors. (Ulrich et al 2009)

Line Managers

According to Ulrich et al (2009), "Line managers are ultimately accountable for ensuring that the organisation has the right talent and right organisation in place to deliver on expectations to customers. They have the responsibility to provide a clear business focus for the transformation, to ensure that the transformation team has access to both internal and external information, to ensure that the right people are involved in the transformation process, and to require clear and measurable results from the transformation."

However line managers have had negative experience with the HR practices. Walker (2001) mentioned that from experience line managers are resistant to change and they attempt to keep staff, in order to do business as usual at their units.

Jobseekers and internal employees

Lievens and Harris (2003) mentioned that the use of the Internet makes it far easier and quicker for jobseekers to apply for a job. In years past, job searching was a more time-consuming activity. A candidate who wished to apply for a job would need to first locate a suitable job opportunity, which often involved searching through a newspaper or contacting acquaintances. After locating potentially suitable openings, the candidate would typically have to prepare a cover letter, produce a copy of his or her resume, and mail the package with the appropriate postage. By way of comparison, the Internet permits a candidate to immediately seek out and search through thousands of job openings. Application may simply involve sending a resume via email. In that way, one can easily and quickly apply for many more jobs in a far shorter period of time than was possible before Internet recruitment was popularized. Applicants through the internet are mostly young, computer- literate, and educated (Ballie, 1996 and Frost 1997).

Drawbacks of Online Recruitment

E-recruitment proves more effective for companies already known [(Greengard, 1998), (William & Klau, 1997)]. However, Galanaki (2002) argued that the reputation of the company can prove a critical factor to the success of the recruitment effort, not only this is performed online, but with any other recruitment tool.

Organisations find it difficult to recruit executive level talent on the Internet. Arkin and Crabb (1999) conclude that executive job applicants still prefer personal contact. Similarly, a point from Seminerio (2001) is that, many companies will want to continue to use more traditional recruitment services for hiring certain employees, such as executive level staff. Arboledas, Ferrero and Vidal (2001) similarly argued that using e-recruitment tends to use only looking for junior positions and from recent university graduates. It is not suitable for recruiting top management. Also, there are some positions that are usually better resourced by using a newspaper or using both newspaper and website advertisement.

The risk of overload of resumes as the Internet makes it easier for applicants to summit their resumes and it remove all barriers of time and geography in communication between employers and applicants. As a result, it could create a huge volume of unqualified candidates (Ganalaki, 2002). Similarly, Pearce & Tuten (2001) argued that Web-based job sites yielded a high volume of applicants but a low quality fit.

Pin et al. (2001) cite the lack of human interaction, overwhelming numbers of resumes, and privacy issues as negative sides of online recruitment.

The discrimination issue forwarded to Internet non-user [(Flynn, 2000), (Hogler, Henle & Bemus, 1998)]. It is claimed that e-recruitment may have a disparate impact on certain groups of particularly ethnic minorities. People may lack access to computers or do not have the skills necessary to use online recruitment. Therefore, employers need to remember that although the Internet has increased the geographic scope of recruitment, at the moment, it remains limited in its demographic scope (Hogler, Henle & Bemus, 1998).

Overcoming Resistant To Change Of Line Managers

People resist change because it is seen as a threat to familiar patterns of behaviour as well as to status and financial rewards (Armstrong 2001).Furthermore resistance to change is a phenomenon that affects the change process, delaying or slowing down its beginning, obstructing or hindering its implementation and increasing cost.

Ways to overcome resistance to changes

Organisational Culture

Clarke (1994) stated that the essence of sustainable change is to understand the culture of the organisation that is to be changed. Kotter (1996) argue that for the change to be successful, it must be anchored in the organisational culture.

Organisational Learning

Pettigree et al (1992) stated that learning plays a key role in preparing people for allowing them to cope with change. A willingness to change often stems from the feeling that there is no other option.

Managerial Behavior

Managers are expected to operate as leader, facilitators and coaches who, through their ability to span hierarchical functional, organizational boundaries, can bring together and motivate teams and groups to identify the need for and achieve change (Mabey and Mayon- White 1992)

Following review of the literature on practices and trends on r-recruitment, a number of key variables have been identified and grouped together. The following framework comprises of a diagram highlight those that will enable e-recruitment