Information Systems in Recruitment
Summary: Several researches and studies have been conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of technology in the recruitment process. This project explains what recruitment is, the growth of recruitment from how it was two decades ago to using technology today. The work done in this paper identifies the advantages and disadvantages of e-recruitment and discusses e-strategies to overcome the disadvantages. The adoption of these e-strategies helps advantages of internet recruitment outweigh the disadvantages.The conclusion reached in this work is based on several assumptions which might have caused the results to vary from the actual results of detailed works done in this field before.
Index Terms: Technology in recruitment, e-recruitment, advantages of e-recruitment, disadvantages of e-recruitment, Internet recruitment. Introduction Information System can be defined technically as a set of interrelated components that collect, process, store and distribute information to support decision making and control in the organization (Laudon & Laudon, 2000,Pg 7).The transformation of our society from preindustrial to Industrial and from Industrial to a post industrial society (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2008, Pg 7) has given way to globalization, where information is the key resource. The growth of internet and the globalization of industries have changed the traditional operation methods in all areas of business and management including Strategic planning. The Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is a software or online solution for the data entry, data tracking, and data information needs of the Human Resources, payroll, 2 E-Recruitment anagement, and accounting functions within a business (Heathfield, 2010). Konrad & Deckop (2001) explain that “instead of shuffling paper work and fielding phone calls, HR managers use the Internet to obtain information and communicate with others, affecting virtually every HR function. HR database management systems maintain organizationally relevant information about employees.
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Developments in computer hardware and software have not only made possible user-friendly access to employee information, but also the ability to analyze this information for purposes of organizational planning. Information systems is applied by major companies for notable components of Human Resource Management (HRM) that include HR Planning, Recruitment, Selection, Training, career development, employment relationship management and compensation and benefits management. DeSanctis (1986) explains that information systems in personnel have evolved from the automated employee recordkeeping of the 1960s into complex reporting and decision systems to- day. The Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) is designed to support the planning, administration, decision making and control activities of the human resource management (DeSanctis, 1986).The purpose of this article is to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of technology in recruitment process and determine if advantages outweigh disadvantages or viceversa. Evolution of Recruitment Recruitment is the process of identifying potential candidates so that employers can choose the right person for the right job. Dale S Beach observed “Recruitment as the development and maintenance of adequate manpower resources.
It involves the creation of a pool of available labor upon whom the organization can draw when it needs additional employees” (Seetharaman 3 E-Recruitment Prasad, 2009). Recruitment also goes hand in hand with the selection process whereby organizations evaluate the suitability of candidates for various jobs (Singh & Finn, 2003). Hence recruitment is said to be a positive process as it involves attracting suitable candidates for available jobs. Selection is said to be a negative process as it involves rejecting a large number of applicants to identify a few that are suitable for the job. As a filtering mechanism in the selection process, the recruitment function is one of the most important areas of human resource management (Singh & Finn, 2003).The recruitment process begins with human resource planning where a company identifies the right number of people needed to perform the job. Khanna & New (2005) explain that” HR planners can influence the HR planning process so that resource decisions are made with due thought and the organization does not hurt itself by either undercutting its talent pool or retaining excess flab.
HR planners should take this mission seriously if they want to have any control over the changing face of the organization of the future”.Hence HR planning is an important activity as it involves forecasts of the manpower needs in a future time period so that adequate and timely provisions may be made to meet the needs (Seetharaman & Prasad, 2009). The process of human resource planning usually involves forecasting labor demand and labor supply and performing a gap analysis. Once when a vacancy is identified, the recruiter receives an authorization to fill it. A job analysis is done to identify the critical knowledge, ability, skills, and other competencies (KASOC) required for performing the job. There are two sources of recruitment – Internal and External. “In earlier days, for external recruitment, recruiters used low tech methods like advertisements in newspapers, magazines and journals, radio, Employment agencies, campus visits, etc in search of potential candidates.
Internally, one of the most common methods, 4 E-Recruitment especially in unionized organizations, involved posting vacancies within the organization and encouraging bids from current employees” (Singh & Finn, 2003).Singh & Finn (2003) explain that many organizations began to use innovative information technology methods to complement traditional sources. Companies use internet medium to attract potential pool of applicants as it has a global reach and relatively inexpensive to the low tech sources available. In a survey by SHRM and AON Consulting, human resource professionals considered employee referrals as a good source of job applicants and it was their top choice (Click, 1997).Another recent survey suggested that over 80 percent of organizations use the web to recruit (Bernardin, 2009).
Components of E-Recruitment Thomas & Ray (2000) identify general job sites, specialized job sites, company website chat rooms and news group as the four major components of web recruitment. Though each of these components have their own advantages and disadvantages, Thomas & Ray (2000) explain that company website is the best e recruiting tool as it has a low marginal cost, the company has e-recruiting control over its content, and it is the only e recruiting tool with the potential to provide a e-recruiting prov competitive advantage specific to a particular firm. 6 E-RecruitmentImportance of information in advertisements Several researchers have suggested that the advertisements viewed by job seekers as they gather organizational information play an important role in initial organizational perceptions (Walker, Field, Giles & Bernerth, 2008).
Hence, to attract talented people, advertisements placed by companies must be attractive. Potential applicants look out for advertisements to gather important information about the recruiting company. The specificity of communicated information provided in job advertisements has found to influence application decisions (Walker, Field, Giles & Bernerth, 2008).Researches focused on the aesthetic properties associated with recruitment messages that concentrated on web based recruitment. The results of these surveys concluded that job advertisement characteristics such as font, pictures, color, content and design influence job seeker attitudes and the cognitive processing of recruitment information (Walker, Field, Giles & Bernerth, 2008).
Inexpensive Employers are finding ways to reduce their recruitment costs in the wake of economic downturn, according to a survey by Personnel Today’s sister organization, Pay Specialist IRS (Williams, 2009). More specifically, the results of the survey of 143 employers found that employers were typically reviewing four main areas of recruitment procedures in an attempt to reduce recruitment costs. They are use of advertising, deciding whether or not to fill certain vacancies, the cost of agency fees and candidate E-Recruitment selection procedures. It was identified that finding alternatives to recruitment advertising received the most attention. The survey also identified that shifting recruitment away from employment agencies towards online recruitment ranked third in the most effective ways of reducing recruitment costs. Many researches show that advertising costs are lower than traditional recruitment methods.
The results of these surveys are discussed below:
- Kuhn (2003) explains that “for posting a typical career ad on an internet job board for several weeks cost firms a few hundred dollars.Some sites offer unlimited posting to client firms for about $15,000 a year which is contrast to news paper advertisements that costs to $2000 per day. A quarter page advertisements can cost $15000 in many markets”.
- Superdrug, a UK based health and beauty retailer, employed e-mail based recruitment system and explains that the recruitment process has become quicker, more efficient, and 87% cheaper (Pollitt, 2007).
- In one study, the average cost per hire via Web ads was reported to be about $152, compared with $1,383 using traditional methods.Another survey identified that in traditional advertising cost-per-hire was $3,295 compared to the Internet cost per hire of about $377. In other instances, many job-posting sites charge $100 or less for a single job posting, thus saving a recruiter as much as $6,000 in recruitment costs for each position filled (Singh & Finn, 2003).
- On another study conducted by Verhoeven & Williams (2008) note that the relative costs of Internet recruitment are perceived to be lower in comparison with non-electronic recruitment sources.
Recruitment intermediaries are employment organizations that operate as middlemen between organizations and potential employees. According to Wolfe & Hartley (2005) Recruitment intermediaries typically operate in one or more of three ways:
- Finding specific skills in specific sectors
- Providing workers of all kinds in a specific locality
- Specialist ‘headhunting’ or search agencies.
“The development of web-based recruitment led business organizations to use corporate internet which reduced the market for recruitment intermediaries.With the advancement in technology, companies can develop their own websites with a separate section for employment opportunities” (Wolfe & Hartley, 2005). Candidates can go to the company website, create a profile to view the job openings available and apply for specific vacancies.
Companies maintain each candidates profile, send e-mail to candidates if their profile matches any vacancy. It is the duty of the candidate to visit the corporate website regularly and update their profile information. This direct contact between the company and the candidate eliminates the need for intermediaries. Thomas & Ray (2000) explain that the need for employment agencies is reduced by establishing a database pool of potential employees, thus saving 20 to 30 percent of the hired employees’ base year salaries. Moreover, potential applicants may feel insecure to send personal information to recruitment agencies. While a few commercial sites protect applicant privacy, company databases make it a point to maintain confidentiality, and company provided privacy statements restrict resume submissions to internal use (Thomas & Ray, 2000).
While using corporate websites for recruitment purposes, companies don’t have the need to approach independent recruitment agencies and thereby reduce the involvement of intermediaries in the recruitment process.
By eliminating intermediaries, companies have the advantage of directly contacting potential employees and employees too feel confident about the information they obtain for their employment. This also acts as a cost-saving technique for companies and a security tool for potential employees as company websites are more secure. Reduction of hiring time Once when companies post a vacancy on the internet, either by using intermediaries like recruitment agencies or by using corporate websites, applications will be received as fast as possible which enables employers to process them faster. One website notes that “a job vacancy can be put on a job site in the morning, the first applications arrive by lunchtime, and a candidate interviewed by the end of the day. Of course, it isn't always like this. It isn't even often like this. But the fact that such things do happen so quickly gives an indication of just how quick recruiting online can be” (whatjobsite.com, 2010). Many researches show that recruiting online is quicker. Verhoeven & Williams (2008) identifies that the Internet has led to a quicker turn-around time of the recruitment process and is one of the most widely perceived advantages. Lorraine Crawford, head of resourcing at Lloyds TSB believes that advertising online results in a higher speed of response (Berry, 2004). Haroon & Zia-ur-Rehman (2010) also note that e-recruitment is going to replace the other traditional sources of recruitment because of low cost, time saving, quick response for both employers and job seekers.
Candidates don’t have to resumes in a piece of paper, take a note of the company’s address from newspapers, go to the post office to mail their resume’ and cover letter and wait for a week to hear back from the employer. All this can be done with the click of a button and received by the recruiters instantly. This makes the process simpler and quicker. Improved efficiency The above mentioned advantages of online recruitment like low cost, eliminating intermediaries and reduction in hiring time roves the efficiency of internet recruitment. For example, as noted in Free Press Release (2009) “Today’s global economy has demanded for more advanced technology which resulted in recruitment automation software that makes the process of recruitment easy, simple and effective for an organization”. These advancements in technology show the efficiency of internet recruitment which also eliminates the drawbacks of traditional recruiting methods. Beakware, an India based IT Company provides software solutions for clients all over the world, is an expert with HR technology and develops intelligent HR software solutions (beakware.om, 2010). Beakware explains that on the whole e-recruiting is considered to be one of the most efficient tools of human capital acquisition and management (Beakware. com, 2010). The above references mentions efficiency in time and cost. E-recruitment also improves a company’s Return on Investment. “Organizations’ strong impact on Return on Investment (ROI) and company's success in the marketplace have placed significant emphasis on effective recruitment strategies from individual, organizational and societal
The modern recruitment source is widely used since the mid -1980s and got systemized in 1990 and also that it carves a competitive advantage for the company in establishing an 'employer of choice' image, to address a niche employee zone, and passive job searchers” (Sangeetha, 2010). In addition to this, Feldman ; Klass (2002) explain that the expenditures on news paper advertisements and headhunter retainer fees have dropped 20% as internet advertising revenues increased.On these bases it is clearly understood that many companies choose internet recruitment as one of the effective recruitment strategies which will lead to increased ROI. IT also helps companies to retain employees for a longer period of time. Using IT. com's data bank, State Street was able to make a better assessment of desirable employees’ qualities, thus able to retain people longer und saving the company between $2 and $5 million with this service (Singh & Finn, 2003) Another research by Feldman & Klass (2002) argues that as job hunting is significantly related to job satisfaction, dissatisfied employees might not seek employment elsewhere because they do not have the time or resources to search for another job. Hence Internet allows individuals to gain quick and easy access to information on a wide range of job possibilities twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, thereby resolving potential conflicts between employees’ current job possibilities and the time demands associated with active job hunting (Feldman & Klass, 2002). Darlene Chapin, Recruiting director for Cheetah Technologies in Florida, claims Internet recruiting for programmers has made the process much more efficient (Bernardin, 2009).
All these researches clearly show the improved efficiency in various aspects of recruitment to employers and employees when using online recruitment services compared to traditional methods. Round the clock access In earlier days potential employees need to wait for mornings to look at the classified section of news paper to get information on job vacancies. Online Recruitment provides round the clock access to employers and employees. Employees can access to wide number of job openings and employers have the advantage of accessing to large number of applicant resumes’ anywhere and anytime. Internet recruiting also proves advantageous to recruitment consultants by giving them access to work from home. “A web-based recruitment system is making home working a reality for consultants at specialist recruitment agency. Managing director Craig Burton told Recruiter that “using eploy's recruitment software they have 24-hour access to the system from any fixed or mobile device and are distributing job alerts and CVs to potential candidates "at a moment's notice.
All information can be traced and tracked, making candidate management straightforward and responsive"” (Anonymous, 2009).Delaware department of labor explains the advantages of internet recruiting - that internet job description has immediate access, changes can be done immediately and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days per year (Delaware Job Link, 2009). In addition to these researches, some websites also support the view of round the clock access to online resumes. Rao (2009) explains that online recruitment allows applicants the luxury of accessing jobs online at their own convenience 24 hours 7 days a week. It provides the comfort of scrutinizing jobs without physically going through the 14 E-Recruitment stress of an interview (igi-global. com). Another website notes that organizations have the ability to reach a much larger target audience as there will be 24 hour global access to their vacancy information (citehr.com, 2010).
Last, but not the least, Agarwal (2004) explains that “For employers, online recruiting allows far better targeting of candidates than does advertising in general newspapers, resulting in a greater percentage of qualified applicants.In addition, because 24/7 online job hunting is private and convenient, a company's Internet presence is more likely to draw in "passive job seekers" - high-quality candidates who may be curious to know what's out there but who have not launched allout campaigns” (webpronews. com). • Convenience Internet recruitment offers convenience to both employers and employees. Prospective employees don’t need to search for jobs in classifieds section of newspapers, post them to prospective employers using snail mail. They have the convenience of sitting at home on a Sunday morning and apply for “n” number of jobs with just a click.
Employers on the other hand, need to post job vacancies either in their company website or line up with online recruitment agencies like monster. com to inform about a vacancy. Internet recruitment offers convenience in the restaurant business as well. Jackson (2010) explains that “There are many job websites which cater specifically to the restaurant industry. Employees can sign in with these websites for free and expose themselves to thousands of restaurant openings at the same time. Moreover, it saves them valuable time and the headache of applying and filling out forms at various restaurants.Job providers too do not need to advertise and go through a lot of paperwork for hiring a trained staff.
They can get associated with these websites and scan through a well structured list of 15 E-Recruitment candidates matching the skills and qualifications they are looking for. All this is accomplished in just a click” (articlebase. com). Global access One of the major disadvantages of traditional sources of recruitment is its limitation to attract applicants from different cities. If potential employees are looking for jobs only in one city, then traditional sources may be very helpful.But with Globalization and with the increase of employers seeking for multicultural talent has forced employers to use internet for recruitment purposes. The internet has been widely accessed by all potential employees universally, giving them access to a broader number of jobs.
Employers can view resumes’ of South African applicants in London and hire them for an American company. Technology has become more and more advanced providing such advantages for employers and employees who strive to reach heights. “Internet searching is much more efficient when looking for jobs region-wide, nation-wide or globally.Similarly, when individuals are willing to consider jobs in a number of functional areas and in a wide spectrum of firms differing in industry and size, Internet job hunting is likely to be perceived as a more time-efficient search strategy. Online recruiting can reach a more diverse applicant pool and, at the same time, yield a higher quality set of candidates” (Feldman ; Klass, 2002). Uzelac (2008) supports this view by explaining that “recruitment agencies are moving towards sourcing candidates through internet job boards enabling recruitment activity to occur in real time.The ability to recruit internationally has been a huge development and boon for organizations using these services (jobseekersadvice.com).
Screening large number of unqualified applicants is time consuming One of the advantages of online recruitment is receiving large number of applications giving employers the opportunity to choose from a wide range of candidates. But recruiters feel that receiving large number of applications has become a disadvantage because screening those applications is time consuming and most applications do not meet the minimum qualifications required for the job.Research carried out by the IRS Employment review found that although the online recruitment market is booming, most employers are unhappy at the amount of unsuitable applications they receive (Savvas, 2004). More than 60% of the 200 organizations told IRS that they received inappropriate responses from the adverts they placed (Savvas, 2004). IRS also found that the ease of applying for jobs online may lead to more unsuitable applications being received, which have to be screened out, cancelling out some of the savings the channel offered (Savvas, 2004).Another conducted by Verhoeven ; Williams (2008) concludes that Internet recruitment has the ability to draw applicants from a greater geographic area but that this results in a pool of applicants which has a higher level of unqualified applicants in comparison with non-electronic sources. Thomas ; Ray (2002) also note about the commercial websites generating large volumes of applicants. Some HR professionals claim that blindly searching the internet for resumes is inefficient, and anything other than company based posting is time consuming and expensive (Thomas ; Ray, 2002).Recent research conducted by Europe’s largest HR development professional body – The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) highlights that e-recruitment
17 E-Recruitment could increase the number of unsuitable applicants and act as a barrier to recruiting older workers (cipd. co. uk, 2009). Lack of access Although internet recruitment offers greater access to applicants worldwide, it limits only to people who are comfortable using technology and thereby is a hindrance for companies to reach a more diverse set of candidates.Most of the rural areas do not have access to technology limiting access to people living in such remote geographical locations. “One study citing Census Bureau data indicate that rural black households have the lowest computer ownership of any group (6. 4 percent), followed by Hipics (12 percent) and Native Americans (15. 3 percent), with rural whites (24. 6 percent) and Asians (33. 7 percent) having the highest ownership rates” (Singh ; Finn, 2003). This data is a proof that minority groups do not have access to internet.According to the Pew Internet ; American Life Project, “58% of whites have access to the Internet whereas only 43% of African Americans and 50% of Hipics have Internet access” (Bernardin, 2007).
In addition to internet recruitment lacking access to minority groups, internet recruitment also has legal implications. “In Griggs v. Duke Power Co. , (1971) the plaintiff showed that the educational requirements disqualified African-Americans at a significantly higher rate than whites, and in another lawsuit filed by employees against Walt Disney Co. in Los Angeles, it is alleged, “since the Resumix (Resume Tracking Software) is based on majority white culture, it discriminates against African-Americans seeking employment or promotions” (Singh ; Finn, 2003). However Christopher F. Ball, corporate counsel at Restrac says, “I don't think discrimination is part and parcel of using technology.
I think it's much more related to internal hiring practices. If a company 18 E-Recruitment is going to use discriminatory search methods, they're going to do it whether they're using an automated staffing technology or old paper-and-pencil filing tactics.These new recruiting technologies don't dictate or modify the way employers use criteria to search for candidates” (Click, 1997). Like Ball mentioned, discriminatory practices may be adopted by companies even by using traditional methods if they intend to do so. They don’t necessarily have to use recruiting technologies for this purpose. Based on this logic, I think discrimination using technology can be eliminated. Hence, lack of access to technology is the only disadvantage among minority groups.
Strategies to overcome disadvantages – Presenting e-strategies Screening applications is time consuming – Presenting Preliminary Competency Screening Many companies claim that screening large volume of applications is time consuming and costly. Progressions in Information and Technology have found new ways to deal with such problems. “Organizations might request applicants to provide online biographical information often used to predict employee performance, including educational attainment and relevant job experience. This information may be used to assess the likelihood of an applicant performing a job at a satisfactory level.For the recruitment personnel, these new procedures may save time and money” (Singh & Finn, 2003). Bernardin (2007, Pg 152) explains that the above mentioned format allows for an automatic scoring of information, known as “Artificial Intelligence” approach that allows for greater control over information gathering and storage and has the potential for better decision making. I think, instead of just obtaining biographical information, companies can prepare closed questionnaire and conduct a Preliminary Competency Screening (PCS) that measures the critical skills, abilities, knowledge and other competencies required to 9 E-Recruitment perform the job.
The employer must also set a time limit within which the candidate needs to answer those questions to prevent low-skilled candidates from deceiving. When the candidate passes this test, biographical information and resume can be obtained for further processing. The results of this interview can be made available to the candidates as soon as they finish the interview to let them know if they have the expected level of knowledge to perform the job.If they don’t pass the preliminary round, they may be encouraged to create a profile and update their resume to inform about a future vacancy that matches their profile. While this method makes the screening process quicker and eliminates unqualified applicants efficiently, it may also reduce the negative perceptions of some minority groups about employer discrimination as biographical information are obtained only after the candidate is selected.
Lack of Access – Advertising in Socializing websites One of the disadvantages of internet recruitment to minority groups is their access to internet. Many reports show an increased use of internet usage among African Americans and Hipics. In December 1998, 64% of unemployed blacks with home internet access searched for jobs on line, compared to 48% of whites in the same situation (Kuhn, 2003). This reveals the growing trend in minority workers who use the internet as a job search tool. Limited access to some minority groups has been a disadvantage but recent studies also show the yearly internet adoption rate is growing rapidly in African American and Hipic households (Bernardin, 2007, Pg 148).In 2000, of those seeking work, 40% of Hipics, 36% of Whites, and 50% of African Americans surveyed said they had used to the Internet to look for information about a job (Bernardin, 2007). 20 E-Recruitment “According to Horowitz Associates, a consumer and business-to-business market research group, about 70% of Hipic households have an Internet connection, and the Pew Research Center estimates that 56% of Hipic households are using high-speed broadband connections. Marketer also finds that Hipics are using the Internet for interactive purposes, with 46% using instant messages, 32% visiting social networking sites and 22% participating in chat rooms. The percentage of African Americans who use the Internet increased to 64% in December 2008, up from 56% in December 2007. Like Hipics, African Americans are also using the Internet to connect with others. (NAS, 2009).
E-Recruitment The growing number of job search websites for minorities is another proof showing their increased internet usage.A recent study by Wernau (2010) show that minority websites like iHipo have job listings from Fortune 500 companies because many companies believe that enhancing diversity promotes employee retention, performance and commitment. Although the success of minority websites shows a growing trend, companies must take advantage of the reason why African Americans and Hipics use internet. I think, what is lacking here is the low awareness of multi-national company listings in minority websites.
Companies must advertise in socializing websites like Facebook and twitter to inform potential recruits about their vacancy listings on minority websites like iHipo. They must encourage minority candidates to use internet to apply for jobs. This enables them to reach a large number of African Americans and Hipics. Conclusion It is obvious that technology has changed the recruitment process from the way it was two decades ago. Many companies are listing their job openings either on their own corporate websites or in third party website like Monstor. com.Fortune 500 companies are trying to list jobs on minority websites to attract diverse candidates.
Those companies that do not employ technology to assist in recruitment are at a competitive disadvantage compared to their peers (Searle, 2006). Raymond Pennie, commercial director at Kamanchi, says he used to believe that recruiters couldn't get a commercial advantage from technology but now firmly believes that you can have a "positive disadvantage" if you haven't got the right technology (Anonymous, 2010). Based on the several researches presented in this paper, it is clear that there is an increased use of internet for recruitment purposes.E recruitment has both advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages presented in several other discussions and this paper can be overcome by E-Recruitment employing e-strategies like preliminary competency screening and e-marketing strategies discussed in the previous sections. Hence, internet recruitment is an opportunity for employers and potential employees.
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