"The global competition facing many organizations today as well as the changing demographics of the workforce and global skill shortages have made recruitment a top priority. An organization must attract qualified candidates from a variety of backgrounds and differing work experiences."
In the past, recruitment consisted of a simple method of talking to a potential employee over a cup of coffee and discussing the advertised job in an informal manner. This simple method is certainly not too old-fashioned and it works in many situations today as well. However, many organizations today have become multi-national, and the increasingly globalized world, with high-tech communication means, requires that recruiters develop more effective and efficient methods of recruiting job-seekers from all available sources, different backgrounds, including those who may face additional barriers in searching for jobs (women, minorities, older workers, and people with disabilities), and stay competitive in advertising their companies. This paper discusses how different situations require different methods of recruitment, what recruitment methods work best in today's digital age, and the importance of recruiting minorities in a reasonable manner.
Recruitment is generally defined as the process of identifying and hiring the best-qualified candidates for a job vacancy in an efficient (timely and cost effective) manner. Candidates may be recruited from within and outside of an organization. Strategic recruitment refers to identifying recruitment needs of an organization such as number, quality, and specialized skills and talents in every area of the organization's activities, and pursuing goals that fulfill these needs. Strategic recruitment is crucial to organizational success because strategic planning ties recruitment needs to organization's overall strategic business plan (Mathis & Jackson, 2008). By planning strategically, HR managers not simply fill the vacancies of their organizations, but also fulfill their strategic needs, further contributing to the efficiency of organizational management.
In order to recruit best-qualified candidates, HR managers must be able to use the best and most appropriate recruitment methods. There is no single method which works for all cases; different circumstances may require different methods. In her analysis of recruitment methods and their popularity and effectiveness according to employment outcomes, Wiley (1992) classified twelve recruitment methods. The effectiveness of the recruitment source was based on the employee's job performance, while the popularity of recruitment source was based on its frequency. Wiley looked at the popularity and effectiveness of twelve methods in relation to five different occupational categories. The most popular methods turned out to be (in order) walk-ins, newspaper/special ads, employee referrals, private employment agencies/search firms, former employees or rehires, and friends. Wiley's research indicated that the most effective methods were (in order) newspaper/special ads, private employment agencies/search firms, employee referrals.
Wiley's research shows that the effectiveness of recruitment methods depends on the nature of occupation. Her research showed that the most effective recruitment method for clerical employees were walk-ins (76.9%), newspaper/special advertisements (75%), and employee referrals (66.7%), while for plant/service employees, they were newspaper advertisements (100%) and referrals (66.7%). For sales employees, the two most effective methods were newspaper advertisements (100%) and private employment agencies (75%), whereas three leading effective methods for professional/technical employees were employee referrals (100%), private employment agencies (80%), and newspaper advertisements (70%). And finally for managerial employees, newspaper advertisements, walk-ins, and private employment agencies had roughly the same level of effectiveness (80%). These results confirm the suggestion made in this paper that a recruitment method should be chosen by HR managers based on the nature of occupation as well as other germane circumstances such as budget limits, socio-cultural environment, government regulations, and the stake-holder interests.
In the analysis of recruitment practices of entrepreneurial firms, Leung (2003) comes to a similar conclusion. Since entrepreneurial firms are young and developing, unlike large companies, they face tough challenges in acquiring human resources (lack of resources for developing and conducting recruitment methods, the lack of organizational legitimacy and reputation, etc.). Because of these challenges, Leung suggests that informal recruitment (recruitment through networks) for entrepreneurial firms is considered more effective and is more frequently adapted than other methods. Due to lack of financial resources, Leung argues, entrepreneurial firms cannot invest in intensive methods such as college recruiting. Therefore, utilizing networks in recruitment is the most effective means of recruiting people who better fit organization's needs. "Since the two parties (the individual and the recruiter) already know each other and the mutual attraction is based on perceived similarity," Leung says, "people recruited through networks are believed to 'fit in' well with the organization." Leung's suggestion is based on the theory of person-organization fit (P-O fit), which is defined as "the compatibility between people and organizations that occurs when (a) at least one entity provides what the other needs, (b) they share similar fundamental characteristics, or (c) both" (p. 305). While recruitment through networks is a viable method for entrepreneurial firms, it does not necessarily work well for other organizations. In the case of large companies, employment through networks may be tiresome as well as time- and resource-consuming.
While different recruitment methods and tools must be at hand for HR managers to consider, utilization of automated employment recruiting and screening systems in today's digital age can help greatly enhance speed, effectiveness, and cost containment for large companies, according to Buckley et al. (2004). Compared to traditional paper-based methods of recruitment, Buckley et al. argue, automation brings immediate value to the recruiting organization. It reduces time, cost, reaches a higher applicant pool with different qualification backgrounds and "instead of bringing in ten people and finding out five aren't qualified, automated screening allows managers to interview people who are qualified to begin with" (p. 234). Automated system also offers convenience and accessibility to applicants. They can apply at a time convenient to them and apply by filling out relatively hassle-free forms online or other electronic application machines. Buckley et al. studied the impact of automation to PSC (Professional Scoring Centers), a global provider of educational products, services, and technologies for K-12 grade levels. PSC used an automated method of professionally developed and job-related questions intended for deciphering applicants' qualifications and whether they would meet organization's job requirements. The cumulative return on this investment turned out to be 6.0 to 1 (six dollars for every dollar invested in the program). The actual savings were even higher since the savings generated through the utilization of automated models increased hiring trends for PSC.
Alongside other automated methods, in the digital age it is important to utilize the Internet as a recruiting tool. According to various researchers, the Internet is a driving force behind a "recruiting revolution," has brought "radical change to corporate recruiting," and "revolutionized the way that people look for work" (Parry & Tyson, 2008, p. 257). The practice of recruiting potential employees through the use of web-based channels and technologies gives a long list of advantages over traditional methods of recruitment such as newspaper advertising. Online recruitment gives access to more people, it improves organization's ability to target people needed, allows to find applicants with a computing and other technical background, much quicker turnaround and response times, ease of use, and cost containment. Parry and Tyson (2008) identified potential problems of online recruitment such as "the danger of being flooded with resumes, the increased volume of applicants, tracking difficulties and the fact that not everyone has access to the Internet" (p. 259). The advantages, however, vastly outweigh the disadvantages and the potential problems associated with online recruitment may be fixed. More sophisticated software today can sort out and classify large pool of resumes according to applicant's qualification as well as the organization's needs, while the Internet is reaching more and more people around the world. The utilization of web-based tools and channels for effective human resource management, also known as e-HRM, in general improves efficiency, service delivery, and standardization, according to Parry and Tyson's empirical examination of British companies (2010).
Utilization of automated methods and the Internet as recruitment methods, however, does not generate success unless these tools are used properly. Cober, Brown, and Levy (2004) identify several strategies for successful use of the Internet for recruitment. In particular, they underline the importance of form, content, and function of employment Web sites as determinants of successful utilization of the Internet for recruitment purposes. Research shows that consumer perceptions of a Web site's quality (its aesthetic features, vividness) positively influence their evaluations of the employer and the recruiting company. Other features such as pictures, colors, animation, and videos on a Web site, also attract job-seekers to the job.
Another important attraction for job seekers is the Web site's content. "A positive relationship has been found to exist between the amount of content found in recruitment materials and attraction to an employer," according to Cober, Brown, and Levy (2004, p. 203). For example, many job seekers assume that missing information is indicative of an organization's carelessness and disinterestedness in recruiting quality applicants. Applicants are also more likely to lost interest in job ads which do not contain information about salaries and benefits. For many job…