With the advent of internet technologies, the human resource (HR) practitioners can implement the innovative methods for handling their recruiting functions. By using the World Wide Web, HR practitioners can adopt web-based recruitment procedures, referred to as e-recruitment to take the advantages of the technological innovations and enhance the effectiveness and efficacy of their recruiting practices.
The adoption of e-recruitment has its advantages and disadvantages which require serious consideration of companies deciding on this approach. This paper will provide a definition of e-recruitment and its practices, a critical analysis of the main strengths and weaknesses of web-based recruiting practices and a brief analysis of the benefits of adopting e-recruitment by modern companies.
E-recruiting, also known as web-based or online recruiting can be defined as the process of recruiting the personnel via the Internet. As cited in Millar (2010, p. 19), Lee (2005, p. 58) defined e-recruitment as practices of utilizing electronic means for filling vacancies effectively and efficiently.
According to Galanaki (2002, p. 245), the online activities in the scope of e-recruitment include adding recruiting pages to existing companies’ websites, using services of specialized recruiting websites and posting recruiting advertisements on media sites. Additionally, Galanaki (2002) defined the remote interviews and assessments using the Internet and interactive tools as practices of e-recruitment.
E-recruiting is the process of attracting and identifying the potential employees by posting advertisements on corporate, specialized recruitment or media websites or combination of these methods and options of remote interviews and assessments through interactive tools.
Taking into account the fact that human resources are one of the most important assets in a company, the ability of HR department to attract and retain capable employees can have a significant impact upon the organization success (Singh & Finn, 2003).
By using the artificial intelligence in general and e-recruitment strategies in particular, organizations can improve the HR processes by streamlining the activities, saving the costs, time, assessing more candidates and targeting specific audience (Dickson & Nusair, 2010, p. 87).
Therefore, e-recruitment allows organizations to handle their recruiting functions more efficiently and can be beneficial for overcoming the traditional challenges of processing resumes, selecting and assessing the applicants.
The opportunities to save costs are one of the most influential factors affecting the companies’ decisions to use e-recruitment. According to Leftley (2007, p. 9), the application of e-recruitment allowed Devonport Management Limited (DML) to significantly reduce the costs of their recruitment processes as compared to conventional recruitment strategies they used previously.
By automating the processes and making the approach to attracting and assessing new applicants more focused, DML improved its hiring system and reduced the expenses on recruitment procedures. The applicants were offered to fill in forms and complete tests on the corporate website which allows economizing the costs required for organizing the recruitment events and travelling across the country.
Additionally, the automated system is used for assessing the applicants and excluding those who do not meet certain strict demands at the outset (Leftley, 2007, p. 9). One more example of cutting the costs by using e-recruitment is the case study of the world-known company Nike.
According to Pillott (2005, p. 34), the savings of the company’s recruitment costs can be estimated at approximately 54% since the moment Nike launched a project ActiveRecruiter (a database of Nike applicants). The innovative hiring practices of DML and Nike clearly demonstrate that e-recruitment can be helpful for cutting the costs and improving the outcomes.
Another significant advantage of using e-recruitment is opportunities to save time and overcome the challenges of processing the resumes of applicants, in other words to make the recruitment procedures more efficient. As it can be seen from the case study of DML, an automatic system can be used for excluding the candidates not complying with the company’s requirements.
According to Tong (2009, p. 295), e-recruitment methods allow both employers and potential employees to economize their time and efforts. The interactive tools allow accessing the necessary information on the status of a certain position or application. Thus, e-recruitment allows accelerating the procedures of job seeking and assessing the applicants.
One more benefit of e-recruitment is attracting more applicants and positive branding of a company posting an advertisement. Sylva and Mol (2009, p. 321) concluded that the mainly positive reactions of applicants to web-based recruitment explain its great potential and its rapidly growing popularity.
Regardless of the fact that basic computer skills are required for using e-recruitment, most job seekers have positive reactions to the Internet recruitment. The application process is frequently the first impression produced by employer upon the potential employees. According to Leftley (2007), the e-recruitment practices of DML had a positive impact upon the job seekers’ perception of the company.
About 75% of applicants reported that they were impressed with the amount of preliminary testing at DML (Leftley, 2007). Taking three tests aimed at assessing their competencies, the applicants highly appreciated the quality of recruitment procedures because they did not fell being put through the conventional application treadmill.
Along with producing the positive impression upon the employees and drawing their attention to the companies using web-based recruitment strategies, e-recruitment allows attracting more applicants to one position, enabling the HR managers to select the most capable of them.
For example, according to Pillott (2004), by using e-recruitment strategies, Xerox receives approximately 100, 000 applications for every 2, 000 open positions. Pillott (2004) uses a metaphor of picking the cream of the crop for defining the procedures of selecting and assessing the applicants used at Xerox.
Taking into account the amount of applications received by Xerox, it can be stated that their hiring strategies allow them to select the best of the best specialists.
By implementing e-recruitment strategies, companies can target specific audience of applicants. As it was pointed out in the case study of DML (Leftley, 2007), the automated procedures allowed the company to exclude the applicants not complying with the high standards of the company at the outset.
The analysis of the applicants’ answers to the questions of the forms allowed DML to filter the resumes and select the most appropriate candidates. Additionally, posting an advertisement, the HR department provides the detailed description of the job responsibilities and opportunities.
Therefore, assessing an advertisement, job seekers can retrieve the maximum of the necessary information regarding the required competencies and experience as well as the expected salary within a few seconds. By critically evaluating their suitability to the mentioned criteria as well as the compliance of the offer with their personal expectations, applicants can make informed decisions and simplify the following hiring procedures.
On the other hand, by using specialized search engines of the commercial recruitment sites, the employers can access the target audience, excluding the job-seekers not meeting their standards. Another approach used in e-recruitment for targeting a specific audience is creating the corporate databases of potential applicants. For example, Pillott (2005) noted that about 8,500 CVs are currently held in the corporate database of Nike.
Every six months, the applicants are offered to update their applications if they are relevant. Therefore, the variety of e-recruitment strategies can be used for targeting a specific audience of job seekers and enhancing the effectiveness of the hiring processes.
There is evidence that e-recruitment can be beneficial for not only attracting the most capable employees to organization, but also retaining them by ensuring the necessary training and promotion.
According to Beulen (2009), e-recruitment strategies can be effective for retaining the most capable personnel in the company and reducing the risks of turnover.
The selection and hiring policies adopted by a company can be helpful for ensuring the match between specific positions and employees’ knowledge, experience and aspirations. In general, the effective hiring process can reduce the risks of future turnover. On the other hand, e-recruitment procedures focusing on training of the staff can be an important determinant of the staff retention and enhanced effectiveness of organization.
Despite all its advantages and potential for handling the recruiting function in the company, the adoption of e-recruitment requires consideration of certain risks attributed to using the web-based hiring procedures. Tong (2009, p. 295) noted that the Internet technologies cannot provide the necessary levels of security for the employers and employees.
The perceived privacy risks can influence the decisions of both employers and job seekers. Therefore, deciding to adopt e-recruitment strategies, employers and job seekers need to give serious consideration to the privacy concerns and the risks of the information leaks they undergo when filling in the online forms and inserting their personal data into the web-based programs.
However, taking into account the rapidly growing popularity of e-recruitment strategies, it can be stated that weighing all pros and cons of using web-based recruitment, job seekers and recruiters consider the privacy risks and concerns as acceptable. According to Tong (2009, p. 295), privacy concerns deserve appropriate attention because considerable amounts of information flow through electronic channels.
Some of the specialized recruiting websites allow the applicants to bar their applications from the companies they are currently employed at. Therefore, website privacy protection is an important issue which should be taken into account when considering the adoption of e-recruitment.
Another disadvantage which is attributed to e-recruitment is the possibility of discrimination of passive job seekers which can appear to be more capable and employable than the active ones. According to Tong (2009, p. 184), e-recruitment can be criticized for collecting the applications of active job seekers and discriminating against the passive applicants.
Some of the passive applicants can be currently employed, while others may lack access to the internet technologies (Tong, 2009, p. 283). Therefore, e-recruitment can be discriminative against the representatives of the older generation who may lack the necessary computer skills as well as those who have negative perceptions of e-recruitment because of the privacy concerns.
Additionally, the hiring strategies used for selecting the most capable employees can be discriminative against those individuals who do not meet the high standards of the company due to certain objective or subjective reasons.
For instance, an automated filter used by DML for excluding the job seekers which was discussed previously can be viewed as an example of discrimination against those applicants who do not comply with certain criteria, ranging from their competencies to their professional experiences.
Ion the one hand, the automated program allows the company to reduce the costs and enhance the efficacy of the selection and assessment procedures. On the other hand, this strategy deprives some of the potential employees of opportunities to receive the necessary training and working experience.
For this reason, the issues of non-discrimination of graduates and young specialists should be taken into consideration when developing the e-recruitment strategies.
Along with the discrimination against the groups of passive job seekers, the issues of equity and fairness of the hiring process need to be taken into account by e-recruiters. To balance the goals of selecting the most capable human resources and maintaining fairness of the recruitment process can be a challenge.
However, the companies deciding on e-recruitment need to comply with the current jurisdiction and take measures for protecting the vulnerable groups from the possible discriminatory practices. Therefore, e-recruiters need to take into account the principles of maintaining a representative workforce and avoid the stereotyped and discriminative practices (Galanaki, 2002).
Along with adopting the non-discriminatory practices, HR managers should educate the employees on the importance of employment equity and diversity. Therefore, developing the recruiting strategies, employers should include the objectives of ensuring the workplace diversity into their corporate plans.
After gathering the necessary information on the demographics parameters and updating the corporate hiring goals, the e-recruiters should review their selection and assessment procedures to ensure non-discrimination against he current employees and applicants.
Regardless of its particular weaknesses which were mentioned above, the application of e-recruitment can be beneficial for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes within the organization. By adopting e-recruitment, a company can reduce the costs and time required for the procedures of attracting, selecting and assessing the applicants.
As it can be seen from case studies of Nike and Xerox (Pillott, 2005; Pillott, 2004), e-recruitment strategies can be advantageous for attracting and hiring more capable employees. Moreover, the web-based strategies can be beneficial for attracting wider groups of job seekers and targeting specific audience.
Going even further, e-recruitment which ensures the improved match between certain jobs and applicants’ competencies and aspirations can be helpful for reducing the turnover rates and retaining the personnel.
By imposing measures to improve the website security protection and ensure the equity and diversity of their recruiting strategies, companies can overcome the main challenges attributed to adoption of e-recruitment and realize the full potential of this approach.
In general, it can be concluded that regardless of its rapidly growing popularity, adoption of e-recruitment offers a number of opportunities and challenges for HR practitioners. On the one hand, companies can use the web-based recruitment practices to economize the costs and time, attract more applicants, target specific audiences and improve the selection and assessment procedures.
On the other hand, e-recruitment practices can be viewed as discriminative against the passive job seekers as well as those who care for the privacy concerns. By imposing measures for minimizing the privacy risks and ensuring the diversity and representativeness of the workforce, companies can minimize the risks of adopting e-recruitment and enhance the effectiveness of the web-based recruiting strategies.
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