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Staffing is one of the most essential responsibilities of the Human Resources Department. The concept refers to the process of determining the organization's needs in terms of human resources. Moreover, it refers to the filling of employment positions either by hiring new employees or by reassigning persons form other posts in the organization. (Torringhton et al, 2005)
The activities of staffing include: human resource planning, job analysis, recruitment as well as selection and placing of human resources. (Torringhton et al, 2005)
The present assignment is devoted to studying the recruitment methods and selection processes by companies. For this reason, the Laser Investment Group was selected. The second part of the assignment provides the company profile. The next part discusses the recruitment process and tools while the subsequent section the selection procedures. In each section, the effectiveness is discussed along with ways for improvement. Then the assignment concludes.
2.0 Company Profile
2.1 Laser Investment Group PLC 
The Laser Investment Group was established in 2000 as an investment company and in the same year, it was listed on the Cyprus Stock Exchange under the name Laser Investments Public Ltd and shortly after, it was renamed to 'Laser Investment Group PLC'.
In 2007 became franchisee of International well established food & beverage chains and at presents operates 14 stores seven of which are Coffee Beanery and seven Burger King Restaurants. Since 2007, the Group has become Master Franchisee of Coffee Beanery Europe for 24 European counties.Â Additionally, it became master franchisee in Cyprus of Burger King.
Currently 400 people are employed.
The Group has as its mission first of all to provide continued customer satisfaction by maintaining best quality products, employees with positive work attitudes and thus to deliver optimum value to its shareholders.
Additionally, it intends to contribute to the welfare of the local community by supporting charity and cultural events and to international wellbeing by continuing to use Fair Trade, Sustainable Production and Organic products whenever possible.
The vision of the Group is to become a "market leader in both Cyprus and Europe, of some of the worlds most recognized and well established brands of the entertainment and food & beverage sectors.Â Both sectors belonging to a challenging industry that Laser is determined to excel in and thrive."
A PESTLE analysis is offered in order to understand the strategically relevant components of the Group's external environment.
2.2 External Context 
The glowing - built democracy of Cyprus along with the provided benefits form the country and European Union had helped in the establishment of new businesses or the expansion of existing ones.
The Cypriot economy exposes the following features: a satisfactory growth rate, full employment conditions and a low inflation rate. The high per capita incomes as well as its high living standards are seen as country' advantage. However, these days the island's economy has been affected by the economic crisis. As a result, the tourist inflow has been reduced and a large segment of hotel and restaurant industry is out of business for almost the whole season. (Country Report, 2006, 2008)
Cyprus is a country with lots of influences due to its past occupations.
Technology is a driving force in the hotel - industry sector.
Since 2000 a series of reforms as well as structural changes have taken place into the island aiming to prepare the country to be part of the European Union. Thus, the new legislation encouraged among others activities such as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and franchise. Additionally, tax advantages eliminated the barriers for business growth.
The newly established businesses have to compile with the environmental regulations which are imposed by the E.U.
2.3 Internal Context
One useful framework for carrying out an internal audit of an organization is the seven S framework and these namely are: strategy, structure, systems, style, staff, shared values and skills. These dimensions are divided into "soft" and "hard". Hence, strategy, structure and systems are under the "hard" dimensions while style, staff, shared values and skills are under "soft" dimensions. Skills are both "hard" and "soft". (Pascal, 1990)
The structure of the organization to start with is characterized by both hierarchical decentralization and decentralization around function. This type of structure fits its purposes and facilitates the implementation of its strategies. The co-ordination enables all the departments to work effectively and efficiently.
The Group uses the following systems: financial and budgetary systems, information systems as well as reward systems. Thus, the financial and budgetary systems are used for the evaluation of the outcomes form operations and strategies on a monthly, quarter or yearly basis; the information systems are used to give the right information to the right person; finally, the reward systems are used to reward the personnel.
The style of mangers varies. Thus, the manager of the Department of Human Resources is more people focused. In opposite the Managing Director, the Group CFO and the Group Operational Director (CB) are task - centred. Participative decision making is encouraged throughout the whole group.
The distinctive capabilities of the Group's key personnel are summarized as follows: customer care, quality management and financial control.
As regards the shared values of the Group these are its guiding principles and are seen as its higher order goals. The values  of the Group are summarized as follows:
'Quality and not quantity' as our business ethic and promise towards our customers, products and collaborators. Integrity and honesty to our customers, suppliers, collaborators and shareholders.
2.4 SWOT Analysis
good supply chain
better product quality
competencies and capabilities are not matched
no - well developed core competencies
openings to win market share form rivals
openings to exploit new markets
expanding into the company's products
likely entry of potent new competitors
As it obvious in such an organization the recruitment and selection procedures must be extremely important for the survival of the company
3.0 Analysis of Company Recruitment
3.1 Description of Process Tools and Methods
3.1.1 Person specification
Searching the recruitment files of the Group, it was revealed that the person specification is almost similar for all the departments. The person specification list neither varies among the departments nor includes special listings according to the job requirements. Thus, the person specification list for the marketing posts includes: competency in using spreadsheets and word processing, universal interests, ability to be friendly, and develop further interests.
When the recruitment is for staffing other departments of the Group, such as the Finance Department, under the person specification list is the age of the candidate. Group's policy is to select personnel under the age of 35 for payroll issues. However, in some cases this is not possible.
In case that the recruitment is for staffing the stores with waiters besides the person specification list includes only the age group and the sex. However, the vocational educational oh leisure and hospitality is ignored for payroll issues.
Summarizing the person specification list used by the Group's Personnel Department, it becomes apparent that one the one hand there is one person specification list used for all the departments and on the other hand the target age is bellow 35 while at the most of the cases there is sex discrimination is also included.
3.1.2 Communication with the target group
The management of the Laser Group has decided that the vacancies should be filled with external recruitment. Furthermore, it has been decided that the most appropriate and cost - effective media is the internet, the colleges/universities as well as the career services of the educational institutions. The on-line advertisement (e - recruitment) is used as the most cost - efficient method.
By the above it becomes clear that the Group visits college campuses once a year, when career days are organised, to interview graduates for jobs within their organization. This is an inexpensive method of recruiting, because the Group uses the educational institution's premises and facilities. Furthermore, a large number of interested "applicants" looking for a job are being interviewed.
Internet recruitment is used by the Group as a main tool to locate, attract as well as screen qualified applicants. Moreover, the Group takes advantage of this inexpensive and innovative way to appeal to potential employees.
3.2 Evaluation of Process Tools and Methods
3.2.1 Evaluation and Improvements for Person Specification
Consistent with theory, person specifications to start with define the qualifications, experience and personal qualities required by the job holder as well as further essential information about the particular demands required by the job, for example physical conditions, unusual hours, or travelling away from home. In addition to these, person specification should refer to terms and conditions of employment for instance salary, fringe benefits, hours and holidays. (Min and Kleiner, 2001)
Even though, the development of the person specification list is considered as an extremely important stage in the recruitment and selection process as it is the basis for the achievement of this process. Hence, the Group needs a person specification list written in a way that will establish the foundations for the unbiased appraisal of candidates during the short - listing and selection stages.
In writer's opinion, it is indispensable for the Group's Personnel Department to improve the person specification which could be organized into the following categories: qualifications, knowledge, skills/abilities/competencies, experience and personal attributes. Furthermore, along each of these categories, it should be mentioned what is essential and what is desirable. A person specification form suitable for recruitment has been made and it is presented on Appendix I.
Another, point is that for the marketing posts the command of language describing the criteria under the person specification list and presented in the previous sections could be improved to assist in the whole process. Table 3.1 bellow presents these changes.
Previous Person Specification Listing
Improved Person Specification Listing
Competency in using spreadsheets
Ability to produce accurate reports using SPSS at short notice
Competency in using word processing
Able to do word processing
Ability to have global awareness
Ability to be friendly
Ability to provide co -workers and customers with simple information.
Ability to develop further interests
Ability to work as a member of a team.
Table 3.1 Improvements on the person specification list fort he Marketing Department
However, the person specification list when recruiting for the marketing department should also include customer orientation, effective communication, creative thinking and innovation, professional experience, and managing change.
Another criticism is related to the exclusion of particular groups. The Personnel Department of the Group should be aware that at the early stage of writing the person specification list should re-examine any imbalances in the staff number, gender and age groups within each department as well as in the Group as a whole.
Another criticism is that the education is missing. Thus, for example, when recruiting for staffing the marketing department, a Masters' Degree in Marketing could be listed under the essential criteria while a 5 years' experience in a listed company might be desirable.
3.2.2 Evaluation and Improvements for Methods Used
Galanaki (2002) argued that a number of benefits results form on - line recruitment. In the following paragraphs are discussed the benefits that lead Group to efficiency. First of all, it is considered as a low cost method since publishing vacancies on the corporate Web site is costless in opposite to advertising on other sources. Another advantage is that there is neither word limit nor extra charge regarding this. Thus, with reference to costs, it could be argued that on- line advertisement reduces the three main costs generated form recruitment namely job awareness, candidate selection costs as well as lost productivity because of the time it is required to fill a position.
Another advantage of e - recruitment that leads to efficiency is the shorter recruiting cycle times which have been estimated to be 25%-30% lower for strategic issues. Furthermore, with the on-line advertisements applicants can be reached at worldwide level in opposite to pare advertisements. In addition, the on- line advertisement results in applicants in computer literate and educated applicants as well as applicants showing some interest to the company. Thus, there is a better quality of response.
Moreover, the on-line advertisement is seen as an advantage since it gives the opportunity to the company to address to specific labour market niches while at the same time attracts the passive job - seeker and provides global coverage at a constant basis.
However, the on-line recruitment has some disadvantages which will be discussed keeping in line with the Group's improvement. Galanaki (2002) argued that e-recruiting has to be applied as part of an integrated recruitment process. Thus, the on-line advertisement is a disadvantage for the Group the recruitment staff is not familiar with the necessary tools required such as using e-technology and CV screening. In the e-technology it could be included a psychometric test or an online test about the job applied applying for. For this reason, a whole management of change should be implied. (Torrington et al, 2005)
Another improvement that should take place in the recruitment methods is that the Group should ask the advice of a recruitment advertising agency on how advertisements should be worded. This will result in attracting more people with the required skills and qualifications. (Torrington et al, 2005)
Another improvement is in line with the visits to the colleges and universities. The Group should differentiate its presentations from those of other universities. Additionally, the recruitment team should devote more time on visiting all the colleges and universities and distribute equally its time to each of them. This will improve the present situation as a larger number of job seekers will be attracted and the Group will get the opportunity to choose form a greater number of applicants. (Torrington et al, 2005)
4.0 Analysis of Company Selection
4.1 Selection Process: Description of Tools and Methods
As it is known, the selection process aims at identifying the best candidate or candidates among all those gathered by the recruitment process. (Torrington et al, 2005) The next paragraphs describe the selection process at the Laser Investment Group, S.A.
The selection process within the Group is followed by three steps. The first step is devoted to the gathering of information about the candidate and it is related to determining the levels of knowledge, skills and abilities the applicant has. At the second stage each applicant's qualifications are assessed with respect of the standards of the job. For this reason the recruitment team looks at education, experience, skills and information about personal characteristics if it is provided. Then, those applicants who pass stage two are invited for an interview.
The interview is structured on the following topics: questions about applicants' education and choice of studies, previous experience and finally they give him or her opportunity to raise any questions about the company or the position. It should be mentioned that the time devoted to interview each candidate is approximately fifteen minutes. The interview is evaluated mostly by the ability to describe duties and characterize past employment especially when this is about competitors. The table 4.2 bellow summarizes the selection procedure.
The next subsection discusses how efficient this way of selecting applicants is and how it can be improved.
Gathering of information about the candidate
Applicant's qualifications are assessed
Table 4.1 Selection Process at Laser Investment Group
4.2 Evaluation of Process Tools and Methods
Hackney and Kleiner (1994) define resume (CV) as a tool to be used to attract attention and further as a mean that permits an applicant to step into a company's door. Moreover, they regard CV as a reflection of the candidate's true person while the interview should be the real test. For this reason a proper CV analysis on behalf of the recruitment team is considered as extremely important.
Hackney and Kleiner (1994) provide a list of 17 points that should be considered when screening CVs. This list provides evidence that the screening of the CVs is not done properly by the Group and for this reason the CV screening should include the following: awareness about functional CVs without dates attached, awareness about "qualifiers" and bitterness about previous employment, sloppiness, willingness to work hard, long as well as unusual size and colour resumes; furthermore, the recruitment team should examine the applicant's ability to write intelligently, search for signs of self - reliance and initiative, reasons for leaving the last job, evaluate applicant's intelligence as indicated by the CV, weight candidate's educational background and finally check the applicant's employment history.
Moreover, Hackney and Kleiner (1994) support that the recruitment teams some list all the tangible an intangible qualities that an eventual employee must have. Then, answer the following questions: what type of person would best fit in that position?
As regards interview used as a tool for the selection process, Hackney and Kleiner (1994) argue that an interview preplanning stage is necessary as it allows the recruitment team to determine what questions to ask during the interview. Each questioned should be expressed in a way that when the candidate answers it will clearly let the recruiter if a certain qualification is met. Noteworthy is that the questions should vary according to the position.
Finally, Hackney and Kleiner (1994) proposed that once the interview is completed, then for the applicant's suitability all things should be considered: how did they answer the questions, how well they did on the applied test and if their qualifications meet those on the list made earlier.
By the above it is clear that the Group does not follow an effective selection process since the CV screening is limited only to the levels of knowledge, skills and abilities the applicant has while the interview stage is concentrated only on applicant's education, previous experience and to him or her raise any questions about the company or the position. The recruitment team does not seem to devote time to plan an interview for each candidate or search his or her employment history and accuracy of information on the CV.
In addition to these, during the interview the applicant does not take an applied test or a job knowledge test. Job knowledge tests evaluate a candidate's knowledge about certain aspects of a job. These tests yield a convincing proof about the candidate's current mastery of a job, both in knowledge and experience. (Yancey and Austin, 2000) Smith and George (1994) claimed that structured interviews "work" since they force attention on variables related to the job while irrelevant variables are excluding and in this way structured interviews prevent the degeneration of the interview into a quasi - personality test.
Furthermore, the selection process is not efficient since the recruitment team does not search what type of personality is suitable for the specific vacancy.
In writer's opinion, the Human Resources department should revise its existing selection policy and establish a more efficient procedure of employee selection. Another recommendation is that an assessment centre could be used.
Assessment centres have been broadly used in selecting employees for the fulfilment of new vacancies or new assignments. However, the results about the validity of these centres are mixed. (Garavan and Morley, 1997)
5.0 Summary and Conclusions
The purpose of the present assignment was to investigate the recruitment as well as selection process evaluate their effectiveness and provide recommendations for their improvement. It was concluded that while the person specification procedures result in inefficiency, the external method of on - line advertisement is efficient. As regards the employee selection, it was provided evidence that this process is inefficient.
A central criticism of this report is that the human capital of the Group must be its most distinctive core competency. Dixon (2006) defined core competence as one that that critically underpins the organization's competitive advantage. Additionally, he argued that a Threshold competency is the minimum requirement for a company to participate in the market. For this reason the employees must recruited and selected in efficient way. Besides the educational background in their selection other abilities and qualities must also be included such as their ability to provide customer value.
Furthermore, a careful employee recruitment and selection will result in a knowledge management team composed of highly educated managers with rich experience in globally competing companies. Thus, innovation that provides customer value may result from such a team works.
Another final point is the sustainable competitive advantage. According to Porter (1985) sustainable competitive advantage relates to the organization's ability to constantly maintain and earn returns on investments above the average for its industry. Drucker (1999) argues that knowledge is a highly mobile resource stored in the heads of individuals.
Hence, these core competencies that create customer value will be sustained in the Laser Investment Group Ltd only until the organization earns returns on investment above the average.