Bangalore, India —
It’s busy season once again for hiring. As the economy logs higher growth rates, manufacturing rebounds, information technology emerges from the chilly winter of despair, companies are looking to hire the right talent at the right time and at the right price. And this could be a mind-boggling task!
For one, in the new global economy, labour and people are the fastest-growing expense and talent, in cold economic terms, is inventory. Besides, human resource managers today must anticipate a company’s staff requirement much before they arise while allocating the best people to do their best work. They must be able reach deep within the company to dig out unsung heroes while at the same time recruit talent from outside. They must provide training tailored to individual goals while at the same time reward employees for hard-to-measure contributions such as coaching.
All this requires a new, systematic and continuous approach to hiring and retaining talent so that it frees the HR managers of routine, administrative chores and enables them to focus and contribute more strategically to a company’s goals. Here comes in E-hiring or E-recruitment as a modern tool to provide a systematic, continuous and organised approach to talent search, allocation and management.
E-hiring is about technology and all it’s attendant benefits. As computers proliferate, costs of telecom goes down and the internet becomes ubiquitous, more and more companies are looking to use their existing electronic infrastructure to achieve cost-effective and quicker methods of getting and managing human resource. Hence, E-hiring is catching up as a faster and cheaper alternative to the traditional headhunting way to recruitment. According to the Employment Management Association Cost Per Hire and Staffing Metrics Survey, the average cost per hire from the internet is 10 per cent of the cost from print advertising. According to experts, this is reason enough for a recruiter to shift to hiring on the net. A Forrester Research estimates that HR professionals will increase their online recruitment spending more than 50 per cent by 2004.
Another major advantage of E-recruiting vis-a-vis traditional methods is that it enhances the access and reach of both employers and employees to the marketplace. Job information flows in a way that traditional tools cannot compete with in terms of volume and speed. Also it breaks the boundaries of geography and time.
But the more dramatic changes and benefits of E-recruiting are the ways in which it communication, work flow and information exchange within the organisation itself, very often transforming the whole work culture and process of decision-making in the company itself.
Consider how the process of E-recruitment takes place and how software provides a valuable tool to tackle not just hiring of people but allocating them according to their skill levels in a way that optimises not just the recruitment strategy but productivity of the organisation.
In a typical e-hiring situation, when a position falls vacant and is advertised, hundreds of applications pour in and the software automatically filters the rejects while creating master records for new, old employees or those within the organisation. During the screening, the software compare profiles of the applicants with those required and the interview process is initiated automatically with the selected candidate being offered a contract and the remaining rejected or transferred to the database for future use. Such a database is fully integrated into other human resource applications and thus becomes a value-added tool for long-term planning and management.
E-recruiting is, therefore, gives excellent flexibility in redefining workforce requirements seamlessly. It helps an organisation to define process and policies, centralise the management control of the hiring system and also gives excellent measuring tools and management information systems for the company to know exactly the quantum of money spent and also the time involved.
The most crucial issue in today’s workplace of acquiring and managing talent is also tacked by E-hiring software as it initiates and maintains relationships with the applicant even after the hiring process is over for the season. Thereby it keeps the option open for an eligible good resource even after the position gets filled up, maintaining and building a lasting relationship. E-recruiting software therefore could be a brand-building tool for big corporates.
Besides, resource management is not just about external applicants. Most e- recruiting software provides a full, service environment for internal vacancies. Employees thus become proactive in their personal development and employee churn is significantly reduced.
E-recruitment also provides a database for workforce planning, forecasting, training and staffing in an environment where work itself is being more complex and dynamic and the concept of life-long hiring is redundant.
Take the example of an IT-consulting where teams work on projects to disband when it is completed to go on to a different project. In this case, E-recruiting can not only meet current demand but also by sifting through a database of applicants’ skill sets meet the future demand for emerging projects. The software integrated with other human resource applications could cut projection completion times dramatically and also overall resource requirements by as much as 25 to 30 per cent, according to a McKinsey study.
Similarly, in case of a retail chain, E-hiring software could improve the recruitment and integration of newly hired employees by developing profiles based on their background and resource source. Such profiles could help the retail chain to predict turnover rates and devise customized training programmes to reduce them.
E-hiring is, therefore, not just about hiring people but creating a base that is well-integrated into the other human resources management imperatives. It is still in an embryonic-growth period in terms of life cycle, but the infrastructure for its growth is already been created and environment is ripe. More and more companies in the future will take to e-recruiting and other software tools not just for cost and time efficiencies but because modern workplaces demand better management of a well-distributed and fluctuating workforce.