How Technology Has Revolutionised Methods of Recruiting

Actualizado: 17 ene 2021


The purpose of this article is to analyse how information Technology and the internet have revolutionised methods of recruiting new employees from the external labour market. Social Media networks impact on these methods and how to target the right audience. Looking back in history, on the 29th October 1969, ARPAnet (later to be known as internet) became the first network online. However, it was not until 1989, by the hand of Tim Berners-Lee, who introduced the World Wide Web, the internet that we know today. (Press, 2015). In the current world, to post a vacancy, companies just need to click the mouse, using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Various different methods have been used by the employers at the pre-internet stage, such as posting in the local newspapers, which only reaches a limited amount of people, compared with the internet which is global.


Allowing qualified candidates to reach out to people, increases the chances of finding the perfect candidate. Facebook alone has 400 million users worldwide, and LinkedIn has over 60 million members (Banfield, et al., 2018). However, different platforms have different utilities (e.g. LinkedIn could be good to search for managers, but not to find waiters/waitresses. Facebook and Twitter might be better to find waiters/waitresses). Another thing to take into consideration is the kind of labour market targeted, China has over 800 million internet users and 98% from mobile phones which is almost 60 per cent of the country population (McCarthy, 2018). In China then it is vital to use E-recruitment, but there are 35 countries with less than 20 per cent user penetration, such as Ghana, Nicaragua, Salvador, etc (Smith, 2017). In these countries online recruitment will be inefficient. Therefore, depending on the geographic area in the world where the workforce is being targeted would it be beneficial to use E – recruitment. In those countries where the user penetration is low, using the traditional methods such as ads in newspapers, radio, and local magazines will be more efficient, as most of the people do not have internet access. The opposite will happen in areas such as the United States, China and Europe, where many people do have internet access.


It is estimated in The UK 70% of companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) (Rose, 2016), which not only advertises vacancies, but also considers passive candidates who are not actively looking for a job. An important advantage of this software is the fact that all the information it’s recorded on it, many platforms exist focusing on job searching. Some cover all industries (e.g. Indeed.com), others are more focused on a specific industry, (e.g. caterer, hospitality).


Hence, the traditional recruitment processes that has been developed, tailored to the new technologies, and it is called E-recruitment which means “the activity of using the internet to find new employees for companies and organizations, for example by employers advertising online and employees making job applications online” (Cambridge's dictionary, 2018). This tool offers efficiency by finding the right people for the right job by matching the job profile with the candidate CV, speed as its reduce the time of hiring the potential candidate, wide geographical coverage, and the mutual benefit between employer and the candidate and both can access more information about each other via the internet or by using social media (Banfield, et al., 2018). An investigation from Microsoft found that “59 per cent of recruiters made use of data collected from the internet to evaluate candidates, 41 per cent of the recruiters are from the UK” (Banfield, et al., 2018). Whether this can fail in many controversial situations, and being even consider immoral and in the limit of the law in terms of discrimination. People can make mistakes at the beginning of their careers, and carry them and their consequences for the rest of their lives. Companies can have the exact same problem, any mistake done to an employee will be well know rapidly on social media platforms which will affect the company’s image and the intention of job seekers applying to that company. Moral or immoral, companies must not forget the aims of recruitment. The vacant posting targeted to a group of suitable applicants, within using a fair process, making sure that all the recruitment activities contribute to the goals established by the organisation, and in an efficient and cost effective manner (Foot & Hook, 2008).


A cost effective manner based on the financial considerations of recruitment, advertising a vacancy in newspapers, professional journals, and jobcentres can create a considerable capital expenditure (Banfield, et al., 2018). The amount of information that you can deliver in an advert is limited, and job descriptions with specifications can cover a full page, this information is essential for the candidate to identify the job that matches better with him and also save a lot of time for companies, as the people applying for the job ethically, should feel identified with the job descriptions. But using social media and E-recruiting helps to reduce the cost, as the biggest expense comes when the company is creating an ATS, once it is set up, there is not a significant cost in advertising, which considerably reduces the cost per hire (CPH) (Banfield, et al., 2018).


However, if the layout and e-landscape of the website is not high quality with efficient people behind it, the branding image will be affected. Meaning, if a candidate sees a poor website they will not feel secure applying to that company. ATS requires candidates to provide some personal information, which is not going to be provided by the applicant if a website does not look safe. The quality increases the cost, as is not only about the software, it is also about the people managing the applications. Employer branding is very important in attracting high-quality candidates, and message enhancing what the organization gives to their employees will make the brand stronger (Foot & Hook, 2008).


Another thing which affects cost efficiency is to know the appropriate way to use Social Media for recruiting. First thing is to identify the target audience that matches the criteria of the applicant desired by the employer. Not all the platforms are being used by the same people or in the same way. Studies shows that 90 percent of the employers use, or plan to use this networks, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for recruiting (Snowdon, 2011). All is about proactivity, the traditional way of send a CV and wait for its evaluation is changing. Now the jobseeker through LinkedIn can search the employers and share with them their profile. Same employer can find skilled candidates working in the competition and offer them better conditions if they move with them. This is aggressive, positive active searching from both sites. The controversial of this reality is about ethics. People who are not actual jobseeker as they are happy with their actual jobs are being tempted by the competition to move on with them, as this is a considerable save on money in training and bring value to their organizations. Facebook is a quite different platform, as its use by virtual communities. This segmentation easy identifiable in Facebook is very useful for the employer in terms of target the right workforce. Same from the jobseeker point of view, who from its communities will find those employers that match with his profession. Everybody is now in the jobs market (Snowdon, 2011). However, Facebook main function is connect people, and even if is use now by employers and jobseekers, normally is use as an open communication channel, which bring the lack of privacy desired. The employers will might read all your activity if there is a real interest in the person. On the Pre-internet stage people use to have more private lives, now what people does in networks can be consider kind of company image. Twitter is a texting communication network, each text has a maximum of 140 characters, and also exist the tool of the hashtags, which are key words established by the sender. This key words will show the text to anybody who research those words. This is being used by recruiters to connect with a very specific target, also can open debates between people of same sector. Once is identified a person liked, there is the option of follow the person. Therefore, the cost-efficient of advertising in these platforms can be under discussion, as an ad in LinkedIn can be more expensive than in Twitter or in Facebook, however it might be more efficient in this platform than in the others, all depending of the target workforce aimed, it is all about reaching the right audience.


The recruiting process is based on the following steps, first identify requirement or talent management strategy, second attract applicants or attracting talent, select the perfect candidate and shortlisting the others, fourth apply the selection process and the last one offer (Beardwell & Claydon, 2010). The restaurant sector use this flowchart into the E-recruiting method. Pizza Express for example uses the ATS and on Boarding System (OBS). ATS is where the restaurant manager can open a vacancy, this vacancy can be segmented to a determined location, internal or external, and the most important where it will be shown, Facebook, Twitter, Linked in e.t.c (PizzaExpress, 2017). Depending on the managers choice of network it is going to be the profile of the applicants. If the manager selects all of them, trying to cover more platforms, and the position is for Assistant Manager, the amount of time needed to read all the applications will be longer, and a waste of time mostly as it is targeted to the wrong segment. Choosing Linked in and internal sites may bring the right applicants for the position. After the manager has decided on the best candidates for the position he then has the option to shortlist. Different templates with different reasons are ready to send to unsuccessful candidates and others to invite the selected candidates for an interview. The face to face interview will be the step which determines which candidate will get the job. Once this happened, the company interacts with the candidate through the OBS, where the candidate can send and fill out online all the documentation necessary for the employer including the e-contract (PizzaExpress, 2017).


As mentioned, social media can be used by the employer to investigate candidates, affecting to his criteria and final decision. This can be ethically considered as discrimination, however, following the ATS templates to prevent clear discriminations make it more difficult to prove if it is the truth (ACAS, 2018). However, a smart social media user, can paint the picture of a great professional for the vacancy, passing the first stage of the selection process over people who might be more qualified. The statistics shown that 75percent of qualified applicants are rejected by Applicant tracking systems (Konop, 2018). People whom apply to high positions, are normally higher educated and more prepare to deal with selection process. The problem comes for example in the case of restaurant such as Pizza Express, where the vacancy is for a waiter/tress, people who not always knows how to deal with these processes, or with face to face interviews, even probably being the perfect candidate for the vacancy, it is difficult for them to demonstrate it through a CV or in a face to face session. The recruiter, in this case Pizza Express’s manager might be great doing his job however is not an expert recruiter. Expert recruiters need to know the sector however, an expert should identify attitude over other qualities.


In conclusion, the way the organizations are recruiting is changing. The new technologies, social media platforms and Applicant Tracking Systems and converting recruiting into E-recruiting. However this is not applicable everywhere on the same scale, still some countries in the world do not have the same level of internet user penetration than others. This means traditional recruitment might be more efficient that e-recruitment. A whole different subject if the countries are immersed in this technology such as in China, where 60 percent of the population use mobile phones. To encourage this technology companies are buying ATS software’s (70% UK’s companies), however, studies showed that 75percent of qualified applicants are rejected by these systems.


The ATS automatically discards many CV’s which do not match with the established key words. E-recruiting is both present and future, but is still a developing science, which has been used by most employers, but not all of them use it appropriately. The advantages of this system should be put in balance with the disadvantages, such as reaching out to more candidates versus reaching the right candidates and through developing the shortcomings, will move the balance of this great tool on the positive side. Many talented people cannot access the right jobs due to not being able to deal with the key words the system uses, therefore part of it can be considered negligence of the candidate as it is its responsibility to tailor itself to the actual world and many successful candidates fail in their first year. E-recruiting is part of the internet, the international language, so to ignore it is a mistake, delegate on it that everything is a negligence. It is necessary to have an appropriate social media policy about creating the right culture and approach to the active and passive workforces. The proactivity demanded by the employers in the line, tempting workers from its competitors is not considered a bad practice but it should be less aggressive, through some regulations.


The Social Media Platforms are a great workforce market as the employers can reach many more people than through traditional ways, however to target the right audience will determine the success of the recruitment process. Different platforms are used in different ways a target different people. High skilled people can be found in LinkedIn, however, Facebook can be cheaper to use and reach specific communities. Therefore, to enforce the training of the recruiters on how to use the e-recruitment will benefit the organization by not losing talented people and employing the wrong ones. The personal lives of people are sometimes reflected on their social media, this can be analysed by companies either positively or negatively in terms of company image and also by bad practices of discrimination, and some regulations should prevent these kinds of judgement. E-recruitment is a great recruitment tool if is used in the right environment, appropriately and in good practice and ethics. Otherwise, it is a tool that undermines people skills, judges personal lives, and misses the core objective of recruiting the best candidate for the job.


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