The selection procedure of HAL is arduous and outdated, specifically with regards to the initial application process which is poorly run through expensive advertising mechanisms. The initial application is done by way of an initial application form assessed by junior personnel, which may not represent the most effective means of screening initial phase applicants. Overburdened personnel and line managers have little time to prepare for the initial interview and rely on stock interview questions, which may not represent the most effective method of screening applicants. It is highly important that screening at this phase of the interview process is effective and well-managed as through these two phases, over 90% of the applicant pool is rejected. This has implications for the recruitment procedure in later phases as the applicant pool may not represent the most suitable graduates in the potential employment market. In addition to the procedure itself it is important to consider the assessment criteria very carefully as the weight given to certain kinds of criteria will directly affect the outcome of employment objectives later on.
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This first phrase of recruitment is arguably the most important as it determines the field of graduates who may potentially be employed by HAL. Many companies outsource this phase of the recruitment procedure to graduate recruitment companies as they are skilled in obtaining the correct information from the applicants to ensure optimization of the procedure. Through careful initial screening which involves an analysis of the resume of the applicant followed by a brief telephonic interview, these recruitment companies are far better equipped to conduct the initial application screening than junior personnel, in addition to having a very wide database of potential applicants and a vast reach in terms of advertising potential. The benefit of using such a recruitment company is that it would significantly lower the costs involved in the initial screening process. Studies have shown that many larger corporations, although favoring campus visits to universities to conduct the first round of the application process, felt that the number of graduates they were seeking to employ did not justify the cost involved (Keenan, 1995).
Alternatively, HAL may wish to retain control of the entire recruitment process, however if they do choose so this needs to be run more effectively. This will involve a redesign of the initial application form, as research has indicated that the methods of recruitment over the years have by and large remained the same, however the understanding of the measurement criteria is what has improved the sophistication levels of these procedures (Schmidt, 2012). In other words, companies need to know they are looking for. Studies conducted in Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) have indicated a low refusal rate and a higher retention rate (Stewart & Knowles, 2000). Perhaps then there is something to be learned about their recruitment strategies and process, as further research has shown that through assessment centre type approaches to recruitment, applicants are likely to form a negative opinion of the company if the assessment procedure is not effectively run with the correct feedback and information given to the candidates (Griffiths, 2011). There is clearly something to be learned therefore from the processes used by SME’s. In the SME research, a proposed application procedure was used that consisted of three sections. The first was assessing the company and the needs thereof, whilst the second was rating skills desired in potential candidates on a numerical scale determining importance with the final section using assessment criteria to determine if a particular candidate possessed the skills in relation to the second sections criteria. There is some debate around the importance of references at this stage of the selection process, however studies reveal that the vast majority of larger companies used these in the initial phase of recruitment to gain information about the personal qualities and honesty of the individual. Of the SME’s surveyed in the research, only about half made use of ability, literacy, personality or numeracy tests in the initial assessment. Interpersonal qualities, teamwork and leadership abilities were also considered.
The highly technical nature of the field of data-communication makes general intelligence assessment desirable and the product-moment correlation between the Raven’s Matrices and the CPAB indicate that this is a generally effective measure of assessment. Whilst research has shown that generally leadership ability is not a highly ranked skill in terms of desirability amongst the SME’s, therefore the lower product-moment correlation may not be of overt significance. However, with that being said, if this is a personal preference of the company that their graduates possess higher leadership ability, this should be represented in the product-moment correlation. The success of an applicant in these tests is a separate indicator to the application forms, references and initial screening mentioned above. With the data provided by HAL, there was a clear agreement between the outcomes of the second phase of interviews and the outcomes of the objective testing criteria.
High Refusal and Turnover Rates
There is some indication through research that the refusal and retention rate of a company may be directly related to the assessment and recruitment procedure itself. As the initial assessments and interview processes if conducted poorly can lead to a negative opinion of the recruiting company which in turn can lead to a higher refusal rate. Whilst the initial interviews and screening process see a large number of applicants, if it impossible to tell who the final graduates will be and therefore careful consideration of giving the correct impression needs to be made. There is likelihood that if a graduate is not impressed with HAL, they will not take the position being offered. Almost 40% of applicants surveyed felt that the application and assessment procedures did not allow them to showcase their particular skills, nor did it demonstrate any relationship with the job position applied for. Limited or no feedback given during or after the assessment also contributed to the formation of this opinion. The development of a favorable opinion was also significantly affected by the participation in the process by senior levels of management (Griffiths, 2011). It is clear from the research that making a good first impression on the applicants is important in order to reduce the refusal rate. In addition to amending the initial application process, or possibly outsourcing it to a recruitment company, there needs to be a strong involvement by the company creating a link between the job applied for and the application procedure/criteria. Areas of possible improvement to this extent definitely include the second phase of the process i.e. the first interviews. More time should be put aside for the preparation and execution of these interviews to allow for maximum graduate assessment exercise. In making the first phase of assessment i.e. the initial application more thorough, the interviewers will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates beforehand and prepare accordingly to illicit the required information through preparation. It is also worth noting that this second phase of the recruitment process may also be handled by a graduate recruitment company who will then interview potential candidates on behalf of HAL to provide a shorter list of potential candidates for interview therefore resolving the time and budget concerns surrounding the recruitment process in the initial phases.
There is a clear discrepancy between the various product-measure correlation data variables and it is likely that this has something to do with the refusal rate and ultimately the turnover of the staff. Importantly, there is no clear correlation between the proficiency levels demonstrated by candidates in the objective assessment tests and the salaries offered to those candidates in their first year. Whilst the personnel director does give weight to the overall opinion of the selection panel in deciding on the salary to be offered to particular candidates, it is clear that not enough weight is given to the outcomes of these general intelligence rating tests. Although not necessarily conclusive, when working in a highly technical environment, these technical or intelligence related skills may rank more highly than interpersonal skills or leadership abilities and this should be factored in accordingly. Likewise, for candidates interviewing for a managerial position that is not heavily dependent on technical or intellectual ability, more weight should be given to the outcome of the leadership assessment, as well as interpersonal and management related skills. It is clear from the data provided that there is no such correlation as the product-measure value is unusually low between the outcome of this test and the salary offered in year A and year B.
Whilst it is fairly evident that the success or failure of the training provided to the incoming graduates may heavily depend on the recruitment process itself determining the potential caliber of successful applicants which will directly influence the outcome of these training programs. There is however another indication on the given data that may suggest a possible reason for the less than satisfactory outcome of these training courses and this is that perhaps these are not the correct training courses for the graduates to be undertaking. There is a clear correlation on the data between the psychometric tests, however this does not translate into success in the training courses. Arguably, the analytical skills required for the technicalities of data communication hardware and software are transferrable skills and this should translate well through vocational training courses. If not, there are conceivably two possible reasons why namely, the graduates employed are not being properly assessed in terms of determining their transferable skill set or the vocational training is not appropriate for the employers and employees needs. By reassessment of the kinds of training provided, it may be possible to improve the outcome of these training courses, as well as streamlining the training to cut back training expenses. There may exist alternative solutions to the current training modules.
High turnover rates with staff is a complicated issue to address, however if one assesses the data given that two thirds of the staff leaving HAL were due to dissatisfaction or better opportunities elsewhere. This is not difficult to conceive when looking to other data such as the stagnant promotion channels and salary advancement. In order to improve retention rates, HAL will need to improve their strategies for salary increase and promotion. Although promotion is difficult to predict, because often it requires staff changes, salary increase strategies can be planned well in advance and factored into the budgeting. Although there is a general policy of even distribution, to offer a higher salary to a graduate without increase potential may well dampen the motivation of those employees leading to higher turnover rates.
Complete Overhaul of the Initial Application Procedure and Criteria
Due to the concern over the budget of graduate recruitment process to the company, it may be the best option to outsource the initial phase of recruitment to a graduate recruitment company. Considering the amount of work that is necessary to determine the objectives of the company and design a recruitment strategy in accordance thereof and then later the time that will be needed to effectively assess the candidates in line with those objectives, it may be simpler and more cost effective to outsource this part of the recruitment process. Fortunately, the number of graduates required begins with a very large pool of applicants and the impersonal nature of the first phase of assessment can be conducted by a third party without experiencing any potential backlash.
Thereafter, HAL will be given a smaller pool of candidates to assess which they can do more effectively as they will have time and budget unspent from having outsourced this initial phase. Key involvement by senior employees and an overall assessment taking into account the different requirements of the jobs specified will ensure that there is a good overall assessment of candidates.
Reassessment of Weighting of Specific Criteria in Various Employment Roles
HAL needs to determine the various important criteria for the various roles available in the company, as with different roles, there are different personal requirements and when dealing with interpersonal dependant roles such as management and a diametrically opposed technical role, one cannot weight skills of equal value to either. Therefore in more technical positions, psychometric testing and technical skills assessment will carry more weight, whereas in a management or sales position these will be of less significance, yielding to interpersonal and sales ability.
Correlation Between Skills and Reward
As a product of the reassessment of the criteria for employment roles, so surely there must be a correlation between these skills and the salary offered to the graduates. This will assist in lowering the refusal rate of the graduates offered positions as the graduates will be compensated according to individual skill and not according to an overall general criterion that may not be relevant. In addition, there must be careful considerations of budgetary requirements in so deciding, as in order to reduce turnover there must be the opportunity for salary increase.
Reassessment of Vocational Training
Whilst it is not clear what the cause of failure of the candidates in the training courses is, it is clear that there is the possibility of inappropriate training being given that is not necessarily relevant to the needs of the employees. It is necessary to determine the cause of the failure of candidates in these training courses and to develop a strategy to minimize the cost and maximize the output of these candidates. There is the possibility however that in employing a higher level of candidate made possible through reevaluation of the recruitment process that this problem may resolve itself, however this is unlikely.
- Time Frame
Time PeriodAction RequiredKey Players
5 – 10 DaysMeet with Recruitment Agency to discuss the objectives and assessment criteria for the role.·Director of Personnel HAL
- Recruitment Agency
90 DaysPhase 1: Recruitment Period – where the positions are advertised and applications are received.·Recruitment Agency
- Graduate Applicants
10 – 15 DaysAssessment Period for Phase 1 – Making a selection of 600 – 700 applicants out of the entire application bundle received.·Recruitment Agency
- HAL20 – 30 DaysPhase 3: Invitation to visit HAL offices, including a tour of the facilities, psychometric testing, skills analysis, leadership abilities and second round of interviewing·HAL
10 DaysAssessment Period for Phase 3 – weighting of various criteria by the selection panel and short listing of desirable candidates according to rating criteria·HAL Selection Panel
5 DaysPersonnel director consulting the selection panel and finance department·HAL Personnel Director
5 DaysIssuing of letters of appointment and rejection to all participants in Phase 3·HAL Personnel Director
Deadline for acceptance or decline of offer·Graduate Applicants
- Jim Stewart & Vanessa Knowles, (2000),’Graduate recruitment and selection practices in small businesses’, Career Development International, 5(1) pp. 21 – 38
- Neal Schmidt (2012) The Oxford Handbook of Personnel Assessment and Selection Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Nicola Griffiths (2011) ‘Assessment Centres for Graduate Recruitment: The Graduate Experience’ [online] [cited 25 May 2012] Accessed on http://www.berkshire.co.uk/content/berkshire/assessment-centres-for-graduate-recruitment.pdf
- Tony Keenan (1995), ‘Graduate Recruitment in Britain: A Survey of Selection Methods Used by Organization’ Journal of Organizational Behavior, 16(4)
- Teresa Dahlberg, Tiffany Barnes, Audrey Rorrer & Eve Powell, (), ‘Improving Retention and Graduate Recruitment through Immersive Research Experiences for Undergraduates’ [online] [cited 25 May 2012] Accessed on http://laurencairco.com/papers/sigcse.pdf
- High Fliers (2012) ‘The Graduate Market in 2012: Annual review of graduate vacancies & starting salaries at Britain’s leading employers’ [online] [cited 25 May 2012] Accessed on http://www.highfliers.co.uk/download/GMReport12.pdf
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