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In a world that is constantly changing and evolving, technology surrounds us all. This essay identifies and evaluates the use of technology in the HR department in general and in the recruitment & selection process in particular. Technology, E-Human Resources and E-HR systems will de be defined first. Then, the recruitment and selection process will be described along with the different recruitment tools. The different methods of online recruitment will be evaluated along with e-selection methods.
The pros and cons of the uses of technology in the recruitment & selection processes will be discussed in depth. Finally, a conclusion will be made.
Human Resources & Technology
Technology according to ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANICA (2010) "isÂ the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life or, as it is sometimes phrased, to the change and manipulation of the human environment".
The past decade has seen the introduction, application, and merging of technology in the workforce or as some may label it 'the information revolution'. The information revolution has changed the whole work environment. Most of the tasks are computerized and companies rely heavily on their computer systems.
The Human resource department was not immune to such a revolution, the adaptation of technology in HR lead to the birth of E-Human Resources.
E- Human Resources
ENTREPRENEUR (2010) defines Human Resources as "The department or support systems responsible for personnel sourcing and hiring, applicant tracking, skills development and tracking, benefits administration and compliance with associated government regulations".
The Human Resources department is the hub of the company. It acts like an advocate for both the company and the employees and is responsible for the employee's well-being, benefits, payroll, hiring, team building, coaching, recruitment and selection...etc.
E-Human Resources on the other hand refers to the application of technology like the internet in the transactions of the human resources department. (Lengnick-Hall and Moritz, 2003).
E-HR aims at running the operations of the HR department smoothly and efficiently, by keeping all necessary information readily available to all managers and employees when needed.
E- Human Resources Systems
The mixture of the vast growing information technology and the need for continual improvement of work efficiency was among the major drivers for the development of the E-Human Resources systems. (Stanton and Coovert, 2004; Fletcher, 2005). In other words E-HR systems are a merger between HR activities and information technology.
Human Resources systems are created by vendors like Oracle and Ascentis, they usually include four modules: Payroll module, Time and Labor Management module, Benefits Administration module, and finally the HR management module. The Payroll module manages and controls all employees salaries and payrolls, while the Time and Labor management modules control attendance, absences issues. Benefit Administration model deals with employees benefits and entitlements. While the HR management module helps in the selection and recruitment process, more on this module will be explained later.
Moreover, E-HR systems also include enterprise resource planning system (ERP), HR service centre's, interactive voice response, manager and employee portals and web applications. (Panayotopoulou,Vakola and Galanaki 2007). Enterprise resource planning system is used to manage financial, materials and human resources both internally and externally.
Overall, HR systems cater for the different needs of the HR department and helps automate many aspects of human resourcing.
Recruitment and Selection
Every business, enterprise and organization goes through the recruitment and selection process. It is the most important aspect of the human resource management department, as it provides the organization with the essential resources needed for its operations - the human capital (Barber, 1998). Recruitment is defined as the activities an organization undertakes in order to identify and attract potential employees (Breaugh and Starke, 2000). Selection is what comes after recruitment of choosing the best candidate for the job out of all the applicants.
The recruitment and selection process
Getting the recruitment and selection process wrong is not an option for recruiters, the wrong person for the job will not only affect the company's productivity but it will also result in business losses (book reference). That is why most companies follow a somewhat standardized recruitment and selection process, shown in the figure below.
Organizations mold their recruitment processes or strategies according to the job they want to occupy. In order to attract the right candidates, HR professionals advertise in a certain way, seek professionals or graduates, contact agencies or use the Internet.
In a study by Bernthal and Development Dimensions International, data was collected from members of the Electronic Recruiting Exchange. Among the survey questions was a question about the recruitment strategy and its effectiveness. The findings of the study show that the internet is the most popular and most effective recruitment method while employee referrals came second. This shows that although the internet is new and more effective, it did not replace the traditional recruitment methods.
Figure showing Berthal's results:
Taken from Recruitment & Selection paper by Barthal and Development Dimensions International
The internet was not acknowledged as a recruitment tool until the mid 1990s. With the benefits it brought to recruiters, the media described it as the driver behind a 'recruiting revolution' (Boydell, 2002). Many companies now have a new position in the HR department; Online recruiter.
Online recruitment is growing rapidly; both recruiters and job seekers around the world use it. It can be defined as the use of the internet to match job seekers with appropriate jobs. In other terms, using the internet to attract potential employees.
Studies were carried out to understand and quantify how much recruitment exactly is done online. These studies include: a study by total jobs 2004 that shows that two thirds of the organizations in the UK use job boards. While HR focus (2001) indicated that more than 75% of HR professionals use job boards in addition to the traditional recruitment methods. In the USA, Cober and Brown (2006) found out that 50% of the recruitments were carried online and this figure is expected to increase. Moreover, a study by Capelli (2001) stated that 90% of the Fortune 500 use online recruiting. A poll carried out by The Recruiters Network (website) showed that 45% of the companies filled 20% or more of their positions through online recruitment (Charles 2000).
The most effective and popular online recruitment methods are:
Talent Management Systems
The HR management module mentioned previously pursues talent management. Talent management is the process of attracting and hiring skilled employees, or retaining current employees while helping them work on their own talents.
Talent Management systems perform the following tasks: analyze the use of personnel within the company, post job vacancies online, review applicants credentials, track demographic data of candidates, store information, automatically communicate and provide information to applicants and many more, depending on the company. Thus talent management systems are used in the recruitment process.
Advertising on the company's site
The first, cheapest step a company can take to recruit people is to advertise about the job offer on its on website. In a study by Bartam (2000) figures showed "88% of companies recruiting 50 or more graduates per year advertise on their own website."
Advertising on the company's website slashes advertisement costs in newspapers, magazines, and recruitment agenciesâ€¦etc. the internet is global medium, thus making it very much easier to spread the word, while being much more cost effective. The company can also use Google ad's as a way to advertise for job vacancies within the organization.
Job boards are recruitment websites that match recruiters with the most appropriate applicants (also called job hunters) through advertisements and job postings.
There are plenty of job boards on the world wide web; the most popular include Monster, CareerBuilder and HotJobs.com. Since these websites are similar and offer the same service, monster.com will be used as an example in order to evaluate and understand job boards.
Monster.com is a global online recruitment website. Its network consists of 22 local content and language sites.
The traffic on the website is estimated to be over 25 million job seeking users and over 100,000 member companies. Its résumé database contains more than 17 million résumés. Two separate studies by Gutmacher (2000) and Leonard (2000) both confirmed that the emergence of monster.com and résumé as frequent search words indicates the influence of job boards (monster.com) on web job searching or in other words online recruitment.
According to monster.com's employment index, the month of September 2010 showed a 131 employment index the highest so far.
More interestingly, Wales showed the highest employment in the UK region.
From the figures and information above, it is safe to conclude that job boards are doing well and play a vital role in online recruitment. However, a significant number of job seekers continue to search in general search engines (reference) while other studies highlighted the role of social media websites play in job recruitment.
Social media websites
The past decade has seen the rise of social media websites. It is now not enough to post your resume on a job board. Social recruitment is now beginning to over shadow the use of job boards and other traditional recruitment methods at some companies (Levinson 2010). Moreover, recruiters are spammed with hundreds of applications of unqualified personnel when posting on big job boards which forces them to look for qualified applicants elsewhere.
Findings from a survey conducted by Jobvite (a recruitment software maker) showed that 73.3% of the companies use social networks for recruitment, while 9.3% are planning to begin next year. Another finding shows that LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular social media networks used by companies for recruitment.
LinkedIn is a professional network, which includes contacts and relationships developed over the years.. LinkedIn provides its users with the means of establishing an authoritative resource on their experience and capabilities, thus making users more attractive to recruiters. Currently LinkedIn consists of more than 80 million members from over 200 countries.
LinkedIn from recruiters' perspective is a place that provides access to different kinds of reliable qualified talents. "The main reason that companies are using LinkedIn is to find passive job candidates. Another reason why companies are using LinkedIn, is because referrals from their employees are highly valued because they typically have a higher success rate (hence the popular "employee referral bonuses"). LinkedIn helps companies leverage the networks of their employees." Kay Luo, Director of corporate communication at LinkedIn.
Hundred of companies use LinkedIn and LinkedIn corporate solutions to post jobs and source candidates for recruitment. The question is: How does LinkedIn work? For example, person x creates a profile, uploads a picture and writes down his skills, capabilities and experiences. A company searching for an employee or a recruitment agency working for that company searches the databases available at LinkedIn, finds person x who has the skills required for the job. The company then looks at his information and if person x is the right person for the job, they contact him.
LinkedIn is growing rapidly to the extent to which it is almost unprofessional not to have a LinkedIn profile. Considering that executives and employees from the all the fortune 500 companies have LinkedIn profiles.
Facebook is ranked 2nd among social media sites used for recruitment purposes. It is a social networking site that connects people with their friends, co-workers, family members, and others. Chris Russel, founder of jobsinpods.com thinks that: ""Facebook is a talent goldmine. It's filled with millions of passive candidates that employers covet."
Looking at Facebook's demographics, it has more than 200 million active users. Success recruitment stories, like the Ernest & Young Facebook group means: if Facebook is utilized correctly, recruiters can access and select from a wide spread of talented candidates.
They key to Facebook recruitment is to create relationships with potential employees in order to make yourself their employer of choice (Facebook Recruitment Tips, 2008)
The figure below illustrates how facebook can be used:
The selection process is not easy. An executive interviewed by Forrester explained the selection process: ``We have to sift through lots of resume's, like kissing frogs before you find the prince" (Lawrence 1999)
Hundreds of applicants apply for the job, companies then have to filter out the suitable ones and filter them even more to find the right person for the job.
Technology has made the selection process easier, nowadays there are numerous methods used by companies in order to test applicants. Some of these methods are:
Applications Database also known as resume database are computer softwares used to keep track of applications. Applications are sent to the database where they are stored, a query containing any keyword the company desires is run to find applicants with the required specifications. This helps in narrowing down the applicants to the most suitable ones.
These programs also enable companies to send template emails and set up interviews without the need to manually do it, thus proving to be cost and time efficient.
Online testing and assessment
Psychometric tests are used to measure the applicant's capabilities. It gives the employer an insight into whether the applicant can work well with a group and his ability to handle stress and meet intellectual demands of the job.
These tests are usually divided into:
There are several types of aptitude tests as shown in the figure below. The type of test the applicant has to sit through depends on the job he/she is applying for.
Taken from psychometric-success.com
Aptitude tests measure the abilities of applicants in the area the job requires the most.
Personality tests include questions about behavior, feelings and thoughts. They are used to analyze the applicant's characteristics in order to find out if the applicant has the right characteristics to help him fit into the organization, whether its motivation, discipline, enthusiasmâ€¦etc.
Psychometrics tests are usually presented in multiple-choice formats. The applicant answers directly into the computer or an electronic device. The results are calculated straight away and compared with the results of a control group.
Interviews are an essential part of the selection process. It gives both the employer and the employee a chance to get to know each other and have a face to face conversation.
Based on the interview the employer can decide whether the applicant is suitable or not. There are different types of interviews: screening, selection, group, stress, panel, and most recently internet or online interviews.
Online interviews are conducted over the internet using video conferencing, it is like a normal interview, except the interviewee is not in the same place as the interviewer geographically. Online interviews give the employer the chance of conducting the interview without baring the cost of the applicant's transportation and the time spent traveling; this is very effective in interviewing people from overseas.
When selecting a potential employee, companies check the employee's background for criminal, medical, credit records and job references (subjected to the presence of the search and access permission).
Reference checks are commonly done over the telephone and by email. There are also websites offering to conduct employment reference checks for employment like credit-check-services.co.uk. It claims to verify the employee's identity; address; criminal record history; employment history; qualifications and more.
Automated reference checks make accessing background information quick and easy. The problem with reference checks is permission and privacy issue; applicants must allow the company to do these checks.
With the help of computers and the internet, it is possible to create multi user exercises like business simulations. The users of this exercise don't need to be in the same place to take part.
The exercise can be customized in order to include the tasks the employer wants to evaluate the applicants in. The exercise is closely monitored and from it the employer can tell which user is doing a better job and who is having a tough time coping.
It is to be noted, that one selection method doesn't replace the other. Different methods have to be applied in order to filter the hundred of applicants to the suitable one.
Advantage & Disadvantages of E- Recruitment & Selection
There are two sides to everything. The introduction of technology to recruitment & selection might be the best thing that happened to HR, but it also has its setbacks.
On one hand, the introduction of technology:
Enabled companies to identify a virtually unlimited number of job seekers.
Reached people at a global level while traditional methods can only grasp the local job market. (Chaskelson, 2000), (Ganalaki, 2002)
Reduced Advertising costs, posting a job vacancy on a company's website or a job board costs less than posting it on newspapers.
Reduced the time taken in recruitment; it reduced the time taken to post the job vacancy and resumes can be received on the same day.
Technology also speeded up the recruitment process by automating some HR tasks.
Provided a wider talent market for companies to choose from. iLogos research 1998 shows that the Internet provides better quality applicants as they tend to be better-educated and more computer literate than non-users.
Provides 24/7 access to resumes and applicants can send their resumes at any time.
Facilitated the use of databases, internet testing, assessment centers which help in the selection process.
On the other hand, the advantages of technology are also its dangers.
Due to the ease of looking for job posts and applying online, millions of résumés are sent which makes the screening process hard and time consuming.
The presence of internet testing makes it easy for anyone to create a test and post.
Loss of human interaction. A study by Arkin and Crabb (1999) shows that executive job applicants still prefer personal contact to internet contact.
It can't replace the traditional recruitment and selection methods. Seminerio (2001) stated many companies might still continue to use traditional recruitment services for hiring executive staff employees.
The use of internet could discriminate against non internet users or those who are not good with computers.
There are also some legal issues with e-recruitment and selection. For example, manipulation could occur in the use of internet tests the person applying may be different from the person taking the test.
Overall, the advantages of e-recruitment outweigh its disadvantages.
To sum it all up, this essay has discussed and evaluated the use of technology in recruitment & selection. Online recruitment has been identified as the most efficient recruitment method, it branches into: Talent Management Systems, Advertising on the company's website, job boards and social media network. There are some privacy and discrimination issues with online recruitment, but it does more good than harm.
The use of technology in selection helped automate and make easy the different selection methods. It also introduced new ways of doing the methods like: online interviews, keeping an application database, online assessment centers and internet tests.
I will end this essay by stating E-recruitment & selection is here to stay and evolve the world into a much more advanced place of recruiting, which can potentially curb down global unemployment rates.