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Developing the right recruitment strategies is very important for an organization. There are various generations of employees in an organization with varied attitudes and behavior and the expectations of each generation could be quite different from each other. Understanding the values and behaviors of existing employees help in guiding the human resource professionals to develop appropriate recruiting techniques and strategies.
In most of the recruiting techniques, the HR professional is the one who is in constant contact with the candidate, hence plays a very important role in setting the foundation for the relationship of the candidate with the organization. There are varies sources which an organization uses for its recruitment needs, these can be external sources or internal sources. The recruiting techniques adopted try to analyze candidates based on their knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAa) and determine the fit with regards to the individual and the job requirements and also personality and organization match.
The various sources though which staffing occur in an organization are applicant initiated, employee referrals, internships, employment websites, college placement offices, employment agencies, job fairs and network-based resources (Revels & Morris, 2012). There are also employment arrangement agencies which provide skilled and knowledgeable workers on a temporary basis. These contracts made with such employees are usually short-term and last for a specific amount of time and are used by an organization for its immediate needs.
We now discuss the two most cost-effective ways of recruitment through internal sources: employee referrals and internships and also look at recruitment through the use of advertisements.
In this method, the existing employees of the organization are the sources for new candidates. They recommend the organization to their friends and family and provide additional information about the company. In most of the cases, the current employees tend to refer to candidates who are similar to themselves hence it is easier to identify individuals who are compatible with the culture and value system of the organization. Employees hired through referrals usually have longer tenure with the organization, better performance and more pre-hire knowledge which facilitates socialization. This is due to the realistic job previews given by the exiting employee and the exiting relation between the referrer and the candidate.
The employees who refer are the ones who have positive work attitudes and feel good about their employers as they are willing to recommend the organization to their friends and family. Though, sometimes referrals can also be motivated by the extrinsic rewards offered by the organization (Shinnar, Young, & Meana, 2004).
The negative side to this process is that the same friendship between the candidate and the referrer and the sense of trust between them may make the candidate to have undoubted faith in the information provided by the referrer and may cause the candidate to build excessive expectations. The candidate may also ignore the need to conduct more thorough information gathering about the company which may lead to an irrational assessment of the organization. Hence after starting employment, the candidate could be disappointed because their expectation fell short and hence resulting in poor person-organization fit (Hsieh & Chen, 2011).
Internships are sought by college-going individuals as a part of their academic curriculum in order for them to gain on-the-job experience. These individuals are employed by an organization so that they can gain experience about the organization and the work environment and also acquire the knowledge and skills required for the job during this course. After the completion of their internships, these individuals can be hired by the organization for appropriate positions which can be determined depending on their performance during the internship period and they would require very less training compared to the other candidates. During the course of the internship, it gives the organization a way to effectively examine the candidates in the organizational setup and judge the person-organization fit. The individuals would get to know about the organization and the culture and this would help them in developing realistic expectation about their jobs.
Recruitment through Advertisements
One of the most prevalent external sources of recruitment is through the use of advertisement. The advertisement is a crucial step in recruitment. An advertisement for a job offers typically contain not only the job vacancy to be filled in but it also portrays the image of the company and its guiding principles (Gerard Ryan, 2000).
In the case of a recruitment advertisement the product is job offer and an organization markets the same through proper communication. In the increasing world of competitiveness, everyone wants to hire suitable and best candidate for the job vacancy. The success of the recruitment process partially depends upon the success of placing an appropriate advertisement. The applicants, when they read a job advertisement, develop an image of the organization, and the image of the organization has significant impact on the success of a recruitment drive. The applicant tries to relate his aspiration and expectation from the job with the image of the company, and when it matches he will be more willing to grab the opportunity. It also prevents the poor-fit candidates from applying for the job and hence saves on wastage of time in evaluating those candidates. An effective advertisement consists of correct use of language, the job description, the layout and design and the organizational description.
Use of technology in recruitment:
An organization spends significant amount on this kind of a recruitment process. The cost of recruitment increases with the number of applicants. The increasing number of recruiters and applicants in the job market has made the recruitment process very competitive. The search for the best candidate in terms of academic and behavioral qualifications and ensuring a proper cultural fit of the candidate with the organization has kept recruitment managers on their toes. Apart from high cost involved in the process, there is significant time invested as well which could be used for devoting on company's core business area.
With changes in job market scenario, a change in recruitment process is also required to handle the voluminous data and workload. The use of technology can help in reducing the recruitment time and cost significantly. The online recruitment process can be used to hire the prospective candidates for an organization efficiently. The advances in technology can be utilized for data collection, data storage and data processing much more quickly, safely and effectively.
The cost of online recruitment process
The major part of the cost associated with implementation of the online recruitment process consists of one time initial investment in data center and software purchase. However this cost is justified with the direct savings in cost and time, the process brings to the company. The process thus gets more effective as the size of the organization grows which justifies for the initial investment.
Benefit of online recruitment process
As explained by the signaling theory which was originally developed for economics research on the role of buyer and seller (Spence, 1974), it has been adopted to explain the potential relation between applicants and recruiters. In the absence of any information, a candidate can form their own perception about the organization based on the peripheral information available. If the recruiter is friendly and co-operative, an individual will carry same perception about the organization since the recruiter here is representative of the organization. Similarly, a well-structured and organized website conveys the message that the organization possesses the same characteristics. Candidates are attracted towards the work environments which are closer to their personal preferences (Kristof, 1996).
The major benefits of the online recruitment process are:
1. Speed and efficiency: the technology enables human being to collect and process a larger number of applications per day than being done by human alone. The automatic process of collection, storage and processing can be done by programmed interface, while the decision part can be left for managers. A basic filter and screening program as well can be put in place to select more promising and suitable candidates, thus saving their time significantly which they can utilize to invest in the core business of the firm
2. Profile creation and updating: the use of online process enables to create access and update the profile of the candidate form anywhere and anytime.
3. Monitor the progress online: the applicant can get the status of his application anytime she wants. If required a program can be set to send messages regarding further notice and updates to candidates automatically at predefined intervals.
4. Brand image of the company: the company's online recruitment process may boost the brand image of the company by provide an enhanced experience to the applicants, by ensuring a uniform and consistent recruitment process throughout the organization.
5. Post jobs simultaneously at multiple channels: the online platform helps an organization to post its requirement simultaneously at many places like, universities, corporate center, third party recruiters etc.
6. Better picture of the organization: in traditional job advertisements, an interested applicant only knows about the details mentioned in the advertisement which consists of mostly job descriptions and requirements. The online process may provide an applicant a chance to explore the company's culture, its guiding principles and core values. The applicant may perform a self-selection mode by trying to figure out whether there is a cultural fit between the organization and the employee or not.
A web site should portray correct culture, core values, core purpose, vision and mission of the organization, since it helps in developing the perception with the candidate. A correct convey of message will result in better understanding of the organization. The candidate will self-evaluate and then apply based on her career aspirations and fit with the organization. An organization can use subtle techniques to convey its messages, e.g. if a company displays the award ceremony for innovation, it sends out a signal that this company values and encourages innovation. Thus people with same aspiration will be attracted towards the company. This helps the company to attract better employee who are culturally aligned with company.
External Recruitment Vs Internal Promotion
The methods discussed above deal with getting outside individuals to fill the vacancies in the organization. But there are also current employees who would be eligible for the vacancies. We now discuss these two strategies of staffing and the type of organizations which employ them.
An organization can either promote an individual internally or hire an external candidate for the position. In most of the cases external hires are paid more than what an internally promoted individual would have received. This could be due to the perception of superiority that the management sees in the external candidate over the existing employee who has been working with the organization for some time. It could also be because the external candidates have stronger observable indicators of abilities (Bidwell, 2011). The external candidates have uncertainties in terms of the person-organization fit and lack firm-specific skills. The firms also would have access to more information related to the internal candidate than they would know about the external candidate and hence make a better decision about the fit between the internal candidate and job position. This results in higher turnover rates among external recruits than internally promoted candidates. The internally promoted candidates do not leave the organization quickly because they recognize the confidence organization has in them and their abilities which it has shown by promoting them and they would not want to hurt this sense of trust.
When it comes to capabilities, the external recruit need not be better than the internally promoted individual. The external recruit would take time to get inducted into the new job role and learn the values and culture of the new organization, whereas the internal candidate would have already been privy to what the position entails as he would have seen his superior perform the tasks, hence would require much less time to get adjusted to the new position. But the internally promoted candidates also would take time to stop doing the work they have been doing till date and adapt to the new role and responsibilities and acquire new skills required for the position.
Along with promotions, internal candidates can fill positions through lateral transfers. This could be coupled with a promotion in terms of rank and vertical movement in the organization or could be just a horizontal movement. These steps are taken by an organization to provide job enrichment and job enlargement to their employees. The employees would be able to expand their skill sets and organization would be well-equipped with individuals who would be ready and capable of taking up more holistic top positions.
The kind of decisions an organization takes with respect to hiring externally or internal promotions also gives a signal to the existing employees regarding their own career paths. By promoting individuals from within their own ranks, the organization and its employees maintain a long-term relationship and the firm accumulates specific human capital. In these organizations, promotions are used as carrots for inducing superior performance from employees. This also generates a sense of competition among the employees and when the competition is opened to even external candidates, the current employee competes with not only his colleagues but also with the outsiders. This reduces his chances of winning drastically and reduces the incentive to compete, thus reducing the effect of the carrot (Chan, 1996).
Most of the organizations acquire knowledge through hiring externally. This is especially true in organizations working in a fast-paced industry. In order to gain information and knowledge about the industry and competitors, firms usually seek external sources like suppliers, customers and consultants. But most of this information is in the form of tacit knowledge which cannot be separated from the individual and difficult to acquire independently. Hence when individuals more from one firm to another, they carry this knowledge along with them and when they apply it in different contexts, they are effectively transferring the knowledge from one firm to another (Song, Almeida, & Wu, 2003). This new knowledge will be able to take the firm beyond its current level and break its limits in current technological and operational boundaries. The hiring of an external candidate would also mitigate "group think" in the organization and often this new employee can play the role of devil's advocate. The new employee can also bring in new fresh ideas into the organization.
The kind of bond an external candidate would have with the organization would be that of an economic bond whereas an internally transferred candidate would have an emotional bond with the organization. Hence we see that there are advantages and disadvantages to both internal and external recruitments. The organization should use its judgment in a given situation and take a decision.