The position of recruitment in human resource management

It is a widely held view that an organization’s human resources (HR) are its most important assets and among the resources available, may offer the only non-imitative competitive edge (Bennett 2003; Boudreau 1997; Dale and Finn 2003). Thus, an organization’s ability to attract and retain capable employees may be the single most important determinant of organizational effectiveness. The recruitment function, therefore, plays a critical role in enhancing organizational survival and success in the extremely competitive and turbulent business environment.

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This paper reviews research on recruiting in the context of HR management, e-recruitment and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) issues related to recruitment are highlighted. The paper starts with examination on effects of e-recruiting on HR function of organization and explores the pros and cons of e-recruiting. Subsequently, some issues related to EEO are discussed, namely, gender and age discrimination in recruitment process. The paper concludes by addressing some areas that could be pursuit in future studies.

The recruitment process is a strategic component of the HR function, as it closely related to selection, training and development, performance management and workplace relation. (Bernie 2001, Broderick 2002, Hinton 2003, Lengnick and Moritz 2003). There are many recruitment processes, but as HRM has been undergoing dramatic changes as a result of information technology (IT) revolution, e-recruiting is widely used for the competitive edge in recruitment process by HR manager (Patterson 2000; Theaker 2002).

E-recruitment is the “application of technologically sophisticated tools and techniques to facilitate staff recruitment” (Krawiec, Pedigo and Scott 2002:159). Back in 2000, only 68 per cent had used the internet to attract candidates, but the latest poll found that just 2 per cent of firms now ignored online recruitment (Patterson 2000; Piturro 2000, and Theaker 2002). By 2008, the Department of Labor (cited in Neil and Sherrie 2003) predicts, employers will spend 10 times as much on electronic recruiting as they do today.

Bennett (2003), Fein (1998), Neil and Sherrie (2003) clarify that internet-based recruitment can increase the size of the applicant pool, as Internet provides communication medium can crosses regional, state, international that limit to more traditional print-based recruitment methods. Moreover, e-recruitment can cut the cost of sorting and other paper work thereby reducing the time and effort involved in recruiting staff. (Bernie 2001; Hinton 2003; Wilde 2004).

Thomas and Ray (2000) also suggest employers are being more efficient in HRM practices by saving on hiring agency fees and using Internet to manage their own recruitment process. Lastly, small to medium size organizations may utilizing IT, make themselves appear more attractive to jobseekers through the use of well designed web sites (O’Leary 2002; and Piturro 2000). Some studies, such as Dale (2003), Epstein and Singh (2003), Krawiec (2002), Thomas and Ray (2000) have taken a different perspective by looking at the cons of e-recruitment.

Thomas and Ray (2000), particularly argue that Internet itself might be exclude some of people who do not use Intent regularly or do not have internet access by primarily requiring that applications be done electronically. That can create “disparate impact” which causes “certain groups to have less chance to be hired than others” (Thomas and Ray 2000:43). Dale (2003), Krawiec (2002) and Wilde (2004) argue, e-recuritment programs must be supported by increased investment in resources including staff who can service and support the web sites, technology which can be software development.

Epstein and Singh (2003) clarify that many of the claims made by proponents of e-recruitment are nai?? ve in failing to consider the challenges e-recruitment presents to recruiter along with the advantages. One challenge for recruiter is to “systematically plan and streamline the candidate identification and hiring process” (Epstein and Singh 2003:223). There are a number of other literatures that arise from growing concern of EEO issues in recruitment process. Gender discrimination, age discrimination and disability discrimination are the three main issues in EEO.

The paper gives detail on gender and age discriminations. There are two different opinions toward gender discrimination in the process of recruitment (Chang 2004; Teigen 1999). One is stereotype notion which contains “negative attitude and unequal employment opportunities of female workers” (Teigen 1999:24). The other is a different thought with positive point of view and equal employment opportunities of women labors. Chang (2004:13) points out that “the stereotyped thinking regards women as homemaker while men as income provider”.

French (2001) and Teigen (1999) illustrate women suffer gender discrimination not only in male-dominated organization but also in women-dominated groups as well as in gender-balanced company. For example, a woman could be rejected from a job vacancy in male-dominated firm by the reason of the firm’s worry of other employees and customers’ distractions for having a female in a managerial position, because they traditionally bear in mind women are not strong and tough enough to be a leader (Teigen, 1999).

In addition, French (2001) states a less qualified male candidate would be preferred rather than a well qualified woman in women-dominated organization such as banking business, because the business wants to create a gender-balanced working environment. In this case, the woman candidate is considered as a “chatty” woman instead of a qualified person (Teigen, 1999:24). Similarly, in gender-balanced company, the recruitment department pays more attention to male’s positive qualifications while neglects female’s outstanding due to the stereotypical notion (Russo and Ommeren 1998; Teigen, 1999).

French (2001) points out many Japanese firms refuse to hire female candidates and promote them into management positions due to the stereotype belief that female workers will leave the company after their marriage or pregnancy Hodgetts and Luthans (2003:49) assert Chinese women face “glass ceiling” when they apply for managerial vacancy. As a result, the stereotyped social image of Chinese women is that they are disorganized, narrow-minded and hard to work with (Hodgetts and Luthans 2003).

However, there is a different viewpoint which supports women can work as well as men and they have about the same probability of employment as men (Bennington 1997; Chang and Temple 2004; Russo and Ommeren 1998). A supporting example of this idea is cited in Chang and Temple (2004), Hodgetts and Luthans (2003), Russo and Ommeren (1998). In Netherlands, gender discrimination is forbidden by the equal opportunity act. Moreover, no gender requirement is allowed to expressed in job advertising as well as no less salary to women than to men is permitted in similar jobs (Chang and Temple 2004).

Furthermore, in the Dutch public sector, if a female candidate is as the same qualified as a male candidate for the job, the female candidate must be hired (Russo ; Ommeren 1998). Similarly, in Great Britain, an increasing number of women are recruited and promoted into management ranks by many British companies. In particular, career development programs specifically for women are introduced to ensure women’s on going employment. Some big companies even allow female managers to return to manage position at their previous level after their 5 years left for raising their children (Hodgetts & Luthans 2003).