Executive Summary:Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment is resurfacing on the HR agenda, although organizations are being more strategic about the most effective use of limited dollars. The use of splashy display print advertisements has diminished as firms seek a better candidate fit through online means, targeted recruiting and in-house sources.
Recruitment is resurfacing on the HR agenda, although organizations are being more strategic about the most effective use of limited dollars. The use of splashy display print advertisements has diminished as firms seek a better candidate fit through online means, targeted recruiting and in-house sources.

"Today, we see a job market that is on the cusp of a steady, but slow, recovery," said Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster, the online job board. Manpower's net employment outlook for the fourth quarter of 2004 was 21% in the U.S., showing positive numbers in seven of 10 industrial sectors. The outlook was especially bright for the manufacturing and wholesale/retail trade sectors, according to Manpower's survey of 16,000 employers. What's more, nearly four-fifths of respondents to the 2004 Turnover Survey by Compensation Resource Inc. said their turnover rates had increased or stayed the same, suggesting employers will need to replace more employees as well as hire for newly created jobs.

Online recruitment has become de rigueur, and both companies and candidates applaud its ease of application. In fact, according to the 2003 Source of Hires study by CareerXroads, the largest proportion of full-time new hires in the U.S. that year came from various Internet sources (31.8%), including corporate Web sites. But neither party is without its complaints. Organizations complain of résumé overload, or being "spammed" by inappropriate job-seekers. Candidates feel their credentials enter a netherworld where human responses or even acknowledgments are few and far between.

Despite the prevalence of technology, most job-seekers still use direct employer contact to conduct their job searches, a method that is more prevalent among men than women, and among Blacks, Asians and Hispanics than Whites, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some companies, like Shell, are discovering that a targeted college recruitment program is a successful strategy for finding candidates with the right combination of skills and culture fit. Others, like Metavante, with its online Web tour, allow the corporate Web site to play a primary role in recruitment. And some organizations look inward when seeking talent - to strategic development of current staff, employee referrals and alumni networks.

Meanwhile, globalization is forcing HR professionals to hone their skills in new territory. The worldwide sourcing of applicants presents the challenges of increased screening processes, long-distance interviews and assessments, and globally dispersed selection teams.

Although fewer financial incentives are offered to candidates in these tight economic times and benefit offerings have not changed significantly, companies recognize that it takes a different mix of offerings to recruit workers than it does to retain them. Still, the top three elements that attract employees are familiar ones: competitive healthcare benefits, competitive base pay and work/life balance, according to Towers Perrin research.

It seems that most hiring is done "just-in-time," according to a New York Times Job Market survey, with only 26% of firms saying they have workforce planning strategies in place. But that may change. Management Recruiters International sees more firms outsourcing their staffing functions in the future. An increase in "partnership recruiting" may allow companies to move the recruiting arm of their talent management strategy to the next level. This could enable firms to shift measurement processes from common staffing metrics like cost per hire to more meaningful performance-based measures of effectiveness.

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The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp, inc.) improves corporate productivity through a combination of research, community, tools and technology focused on the management of human capital. With more than 100 leading organizations as members, including many of the best-known companies in the world, i4cp draws upon one of the industry’s largest and most-experienced research teams and Executives-in-Residence to produce more than 10,000 pages annually of rapid, reliable and respected research and analysis surrounding all facets of the management of people in organizations. Additionally, i4cp identifies and analyzes the upcoming major issues and future trends that are expected to influence workforce productivity and provides member clients with tools and technology to execute leading-edge strategies and "next" practices on these issues and trends. i4cp is a for-profit company with offices in St. Petersburg, Florida.
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