Enter ‘e-cruiting’

Monday, 4 March 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Hiring people is one of the most needed practices in organisations. There is a wave of using electronic methods of getting in the suitable candidates. To what extent have we gone in that direction in Sri Lanka? Is it applicable to Sri Lankan organisations? Today’s column will shed light on this.



E-cruiting is the term used for electronic recruitment. It is the process of recruiting people using electronic resources. The World Wide Web is the most dominant channel. With e-cruiting we get e-methods and e-candidates. That is essentially the terminology.

Organisations have moved much of their recruitment process online so as to improve the speed by which candidates can be matched with live vacancies. Using database technologies, and online job advertising boards and search engines, employers can now fill posts in a fraction of the time previously possible. Hence, speed appears as one key factor.

Intense use of internet

Undoubtedly, the internet has encroached every nook and corner of the globe. It has also become the major source of potential job candidates. The well-known term used is online recruitment.

According to Forrester Research Institute, 96% of all companies in the USA use the internet for their recruitment needs. According to them, 30% of new hires are from the internet. A recent survey conducted by Employment Management Association, USA, the cost-per-hire of print Ads was estimated at $3295 and Online Ads, a mere $ 377. There are over 16 million resumes floating online.

In addition to posting job openings on the company Web site, many organisations use recruiting sites such as Monster.com, Jobster and JobThread. In Sri Lanka, Topjobs, and several other websites are quite popular.

However, you get good resumes as well as not so good ones. Filtering process has to be carefully designed to ensure efficient way of narrowing down the choice. E-cruiting, or recruiting job applicants online, offers access to a wider pool of applicants.

Strategic significance

“My company’s assets walk out of the door every evening,” said Narayan Murthy, the founder of Infosys. With such a great emphasis on human capital, it is critical for every organisation to resort to means that offer quality recruitment solutions at competitive costs. This is where the realm of e-cruiting starts.

Conventional recruitment has always been a time consuming and paper intensive process. They also tend to stress out your monitory resources. Online recruitment agencies are looking to remove the headaches associated with finding the right person or job. Appealing to both active and passive job seekers, recruitment web sites save companies and job hunters both time and money. Online recruitment is not just restricted to specific web sites either; many major companies are using some form of e- Recruitment, enabling candidates to e-mail their CVs to the human resources department.

E-cruiting is increasingly becoming a part of corporate strategy with increasing numbers of companies setting aside budgets for online recruitment. Using the power of internet to achieve the HR goals not only increases the productivity but also saves time and money in giving a competitive advantage.

Pluses of e-cruiting

Posting jobs online can cost less than half as much as Sunday newspaper postings and far less than employment agency fees. Online ads can be longer, more descriptive, written any time of the day or night, and posted almost immediately. For employers, online recruiting allows far better targeting of candidates than does advertising in general newspapers, resulting in a greater percentage of qualified applicants.

One of the main advantages of electronic recruiting methods is the accessibility. Anyone from anywhere can apply for an advertised job. It does not matter if the applicant is located in Timbuktu and the employer is in Kandy. Gone are the days when you had to send your CV to an advertiser and had to wait for the reply for days or even weeks.

The fact that technology is an invaluable tool for most HRM processes to execute its tasks in an organisation. It not only streamlines the processing of employee data, but it is also useful in the recruiting process. It is also very effective and quick, therefore it is in vogue in all countries and by more and more recruiters. Even those who do not possess their own personal computers are able to utilise this means for a job search by using cyber-cafes.

The recruitment system can be integrated with other computerised HR functions such as payroll and databases (via human resource information systems (HRIS).

As everyday online job hunting is private and convenient, your 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 all-out campaigns.

As online recruitment sites continue to multiply in numbers these ‘value-added’ services may well prove crucial to their long time survival. Although e-Recruitment addresses the initial phase of job hunting and applications the challenge is to go beyond the virtual value, and prove the value of the initial contact.

e-cruiting for ICT

Logically and rationally, these two go hand-in-hand. E-cruiting for Information Communication Technology (ICT) organisations has an additional facet. That is the use of software solutions for effective and efficient recruitment.

Recruiters in an ICT company, use software solutions for not only searching the best skilled candidates but in the hiring process also. This might be different from other traditional ones in methods of selection and training. Since the demand is huge, recruiters in these companies always keep looking for solutions, which can save them time and effort; while at the same time provide them with the best talent.

Among the common resources used by the ICT organisations for e-cruiting, the following feature prominently.

Resume Scanners: Extensively used by the recruiters down the board. By pre defining the requirements, the scanner can filter out those resumes, which do not meet the criteria.

Job Sites: These are a good source for getting quality database of skilled candidates.

Consultants: They provide the professionals to the organisations based on the skills and the experience desired by the company. Recruitment consultants have also recognised the benefits of online recruitment, but maintain their core strength as a consultancy firm. Although consultants intend to extend its web services, online recruitment offers the company an additional way to find the raw material [people]. But the real value to both employer and job seeker is the additional procedures it offers.

Assessing skills online

Screening of ICT professionals online is a regular feature of e-cruiting. These Online Skill Assessment Solutions reduce time and effort in calling the right professional for a physical interview.

These Online solutions also help in initial screening of the IT professionals by way of efficient and effective delivery of the technical and aptitude tests. Now, recruitment websites are also adding tools for selecting and assessing candidates and automating the processes that in the past monopolised HR time.

One of the first processes the internet has automated is application sifting. Ironically, the burden of sifting has been compounded by the web itself. There are millions of CVs and resumes available via the web, far more than any potential employer ever had access to before, or could possibly digest using traditional processes. Increasingly, sites are providing online testing services to allow employers to get an idea of a candidate’s technical skills. Most practitioners think that, far from replacing face-to-face interviews, online technical tests will complement them - the results can be used to generate a list of questions for the live interview, for example.

Moving further, the prominent features of a well-designed e-cruiting system may offer the ICT companies the following:

Online test delivery with minimal manual effort.

High quality assessment content for various IT technologies.

Time simulated testing environment.

Comprehensive organisation wide reports.

Deliver questions in different order to each candidate by creating randomised tests.

Option to conduct on-premise tests in the controlled environment and off-premise tests over the internet for remotely located candidates.

Relevance to Sri Lanka

With the rapid economic expansion, we are experiencing an acute need for “right talent”. I clearly see the difference between the “raw talent” and the “required talent”. E-cruiting is one clear way of improving the quality and speed of recruitment.

It is not a case of hiring the best among those knocking at your door; rather it’s a quest to enrol the right candidate, transcending all barriers with the help of latest technology. This makes the life of HR professionals challenging. As Dave Ulrich often highlighted, HR professionals have to be tech-savvy. This helps them to reap the best use of the e-cruiting. Whether the level of required awareness and expertise is present among them is a question mark.

The other key issue I see is the lack of integrated effort among the HR professionals and other functional managers. Exact identification of the job requirements, clear description of the job, and proper documentation of the job profile are absolute pre-requisites before moving into e-cruiting. To what extent, we are consistent on this front is worth exploring.

In essence, having the tools is one thing. Using them appropriately for an organisation’s advantage in a strategic manner is another. We need to significantly improve on the latter.

Way forward

E-cruiting has its promises and pitfalls. Hi-tech cannot fully replace the “hi-touch” dimension of hiring. The relevance of having a physical interview will continue to remain high with possible substitution of web-based solutions when required. With proper awareness on the appropriateness, e-cruiting can shape the hiring of local, regional and global talent in the time to come.

(Dr. Ajantha Dharmasiri works at the Postgraduate Institute of Management. He can be reached on [email protected] or www.ajanthadharmasiri.info.)

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