Large and small organizations across the world face innumerable challenges in recruiting the right talent for meeting their requirements in the wake of higher attrition rates and a lack of expert talents. Therefore the organizations have to evolve suitable strategies for recruitment.
This paper describes the recruitment strategies to be adopted by HiTec International.
Speed of changes in the commercial environment has taken a rapid pace because of hyper-competitive business firms operating in several industries on a global basis. According to Taylor (2008), three developments are responsible for bringing about these changes – (i) the latest developments in information technology, (ii) the process of internationalization, and (iii) changes in government policies to promote active competition among firms. It is for the Human Resources (HR) professionals to gain a fuller understanding of the factors influencing the business environment and make suitable recommendations to the management for meeting the competition with renewed strength. In order that the organizations garner this strength, it is vitally important that they are able to attract and retain the right talents. This is more so in respect to high-tech information technology (IT) companies where the contribution by human resources is of utmost importance. The rapidly changing technology and fiercely competitive environment have placed enormous challenges that confront IT companies in the matter of recruitment and retention of superior talents. This has necessitated such companies to develop comprehensive recruitment strategies to sustain their growth and market share Organizations adopt a number of human resource development that is aimed to attract and retain human capital as well as develop it to suit the organizational needs (Armstrong, 2003, P 358). The need of the hour is to evolve and implement newer proactive recruiting strategies that are different from the active traditional strategies. Any recruitment strategy should provide for the twin objectives of (i) attracting high-caliber professionals to achieve greater results and (ii) promoting high levels of retention of high-performance individuals. According to Roberts, (2005) recruitment and selection is the foundation of all other HR activities. In this context this paper details the recruitment strategies that Hitec International can follow to effectively meeting its staff requirements.
HiTec International – a Background Note
HiTec International specializes in the provision of computer hardware and software solutions for various corporate clients employs around 30,000 people across 60 countries with an annual turnover of $ 19 billion. With the top-rate salaries and other benefits extended to the employees, the company is able to maintain the attrition at a 5% level. However, the company is facing a serious HR issue in that the company is unable to find suitably talented candidates to meet its expansion plans. Specialized staff requirements of the company and the fast-growing technology affecting the training of graduate employees before the technology become obsolete pose significant challenges to the company in the HR area. The present strategies of recruiting through advertisements in the newspapers and through headhunters have been found to be ineffective in bringing the desired results. The following sections present some of the recruitment strategies that the company can use to mitigate the issue of recruiting sufficient people with exceptional and specialized qualifications and experience.
Closing the Recruitment Gap
The new world commercial environment is characterized by continually evolving business strategies with changing customer needs in a global marketplace with thousands of potential competitors (Taylor, 2008). The strategic recruiting initiative is a key element that enables the company to remain competitive in the new world commercial environment (Harvard Business School Press, 2006). From the description of the case, it is observed that Hitec International is facing a recruitment gap for filling up vacancies of specialized personnel to meet the company’s expansion plans. Having identified the gap, the following strategies may be considered by the company for recruiting the specialized technical hands for meeting the requirements of the expansion plans of the company.
This strategy can be applied to close the gap of the inability to reach a majority of applicants especially college graduates who are younger and brilliant. It is to be noted that a large number of young brilliant graduates aspire for entry-level jobs as their first ‘career jobs’. The objective of such applicants is to establish a new carrier with a better company or to get relocated to a new area. The ‘wanted’ ads placed in newspapers cannot be considered as an effective source for locating this type of applicant. Placing vacancy announcements online would prove more effective and economical than using traditional forms of advertising. Services of specialized placement agencies such as monster.com or other agencies may be used as the possible tactics.
Another online strategy the company may consider is to have a ‘career’ page on the website of the company where the company can place information on the available job openings and invite online applications from which suitable candidates can be selected for the further hiring process. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), online recruitment has the advantages of reduced recruitment costs and broadened selection pool. It also increases the speed of recruiting and offers greater flexibility to the candidates (CIPD, 2009). There are specific opportunities associated with an online recruiting strategy such as “tailored messaging through multimedia sites, using specific web channels relevant to the candidate talent pools, using employer and employee blogs to build a personalized relationship with the talent pool” (CIPD, 2009). Thus using effective technological solutions for recruiting has great potential for speeding up the recruitment process and results in cost savings and better choice and flexibility to the recruiters.
Campus Recruiting and Job Fairs
Beardwell & Claydon, (2007) are of the view that organizations should adopt a combination of some standard and innovative recruiting practices which take into account a job and person-oriented approach while recruiting front-line staff. Campus recruiting and job fairs provide this approach in devising the recruiting strategies for companies like HiTec International. In order to improve the overall applicant pool strategy of campus recruiting and attending job fairs may prove useful and effective. At the job fairs sponsored in association with different other recruiters, the company will be able to identify qualified professional applicants. Recruiting at college levels may also prove to be an effective strategy to attract talented professionals. It is important that along with HR executives experienced senior technical managers should also attend the job fairs which will provide the opportunity for the job seekers to ask specific questions both on the hiring process and career progression within the company.
For entry-level recruitment the company may tie-up with reputed institutions and colleges and the recruitment drive may be undertaken just at the close of the qualifying examinations. During the year the company may conduct off-campus interviews. The entry-level recruitment may consist of an aptitude test, group discussion followed by a technical interview to test the ability of the aspiring candidates.
For meeting the shortage in the number of applicants with the desired professional qualifications the strategy of university partnerships may be attempted. This strategy involves the development of networking with the local universities offering degrees in specific disciplines and with technical schools offering the desired level of education. The strategy can be implemented by collaborating with the deans and professors to identify intelligent students with high aptitude and attitudes for pursuing future careers with the company. Sponsoring stipend programs that partially cover the tuition fees and other expenses of college students desirous of pursuing their employment career with the company is also worth trying.
This strategy focuses on grooming the students in technical disciplines and transforming them into industry-ready professionals. This strategy will reduce the burden of the company in training the students within the organization as students in such programs will get some orientation on the projects of the company beforehand. This program will solve the issue of training recruited people on outdated technologies as the company at any time will have the talent available to be used in the new technology by providing a short orientation. The company can launch a portal to connect students and teachers of engineering colleges and universities with the company. The portal should contain information and courseware related to the industry in which the company is operating which can be used by the students as well as faculty for updating their knowledge. The portal may also contain online tests to enable the students to conduct self-tests to assess their capabilities (CiteHR.com, 2008).
As a further step to this strategy, the company can request for aligning the curriculum with the requirements of the industry as a whole and work with educational bodies for implementing such changes. Through the seminar, and training sessions for the faculty the organization can spell out the industry perspective and who in turn can train the students according to the industry requirements. The company on its own initiative design industry-oriented topics, and provide complete courseware to the students along with some projects to be completed by the students. The courseware may be published in the portal of the company so that all member colleges can make use of the courseware (CiteHR.com, 2008).
The company may also aim to improve the skills and teaching ability of the faculty by training the faculty in the generic courses relevant to the industry. Through this program, the company can expect a fundamental change in the learning and teaching methodology at a rapid pace which will improve the effectiveness of the courses. When the faculty are exposed to the professional approach practiced by the industry there will be a change in the attitude of the faculty. This change will enable them to impart the necessary professional training to the students.
Internships are one of the most effective recruitment strategies for improving the overall applicant pool from which the company can draw the required personnel as and when necessary to meet the expansion needs. In some cases, the candidates need to be paid internships by the company and in many other instances, interns attend jobs in the company for fulfilling the academic requirements of the respective colleges or universities to which they are affiliated. Although there may be time and efforts to be spent by the supervisors and managers in training the interns, there is the potential advantage of recruiting a known applicant who is already familiar with the routines of the company.
The internships can be offered to students from foreign universities based on the selection of suitable candidates from and out of online applications. The interns may be selected from reputed universities and business schools and offered an internship for specific periods of time. During the internship, the students may be exposed to live projects and they may also be encouraged to study a wide range of topics including equity-based compensation, the global IT industry, and other topics such as work ethics, working hours, and employee motivation where the students will have a vast scope for extending their knowledge (CiteHR.com, 2008).
As a part of the internship program, the company can conduct a seminar in which the participants may be provided enough information on the organization’s culture, working styles, and other expectations from the employees of the company. This will guide and help the students during their internship. During the tenure of the internship, the students may be assigned to frontline managers who can act as mentors to guide the students in project-related activities. The company can provide a stipend during the internship based upon the cost of living of the region in which the intern is posted to receive training. The company may also pay the airfare, offer free food and accommodation and transportation from place of residence to the workplace. This will create a positive feeling about the company in the minds of the interns who at a later stage may prove to be a valuable talent to aid the progress of the company. Sightseeing trips may be organized at the company’s expense during the weekends or other holidays falling within the internship period (CiteHR.com, 2008).
Word of Mouth and Employee Referrals
Word of mouth spread by the employees and their friends and relatives might constitute a good source for improving the overall applicant pool to draw the necessary talent. Since the current employees are happy about their employment with HiTec, they have become one of the best sources of recruitment. The positive remarks by employees and their acquaintances about employment with the company will attract more new aspirants to pursue their employment careers with the company. Similarly, the behavior of managers and supervisors in extending kind treatment to the employees and valuing them would also act as an advertisement for the company to be regarded as a good place to work.
As a further step, the employees may be encouraged to refer other prospective candidates for employment which will also lead to improving the pool of talent with the company. The staff may periodically be advised by the issue of circulars about the vacancies existing with the company and that the employees are welcome to refer any aspiring candidates. Offering ‘referral bonuses to employees for successful referrals (in the case of employees who are hired finally and stayed with the company for a minimum period) will encourage them to provide increased referrals (HRWorld, 2009).
However, according to Taylor, (2008), both words of mouth and employee referrals have the shortcoming of reaching only limited target candidates. Though the employer may have a good group of candidates to choose from, the group may not be an extensive one in terms of talents possessed.
CIPD suggests both internal methods such as career progression of the existing employees, succession planning, and employee referral schemes, and external methods like placing advertisements in trade journals, newspapers, commercial job boards, and organization’s websites. With the increased use of technology, the firms can build large databases of potential candidates from whom prospective employees can be drawn without advertising again. The study conducted on the Best Practices for Fortune 500 Career Website Recruiting for high tech companies like AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, Intel, and MCI Worldcom reports that best practices of online recruiting of these companies focus on three aspects; (i) attracting more applicants to the corporate career websites, (ii) convincing potential candidates about the company’s status as an employer of choice and (iiI) capturing and processing the information pertaining to the potential candidates in a streamlined way which will be beneficial to both the employees and the corporations. The study identified the corporate Web sites as an important contributor to the competitive advantage in recruiting for the corporations. The study has found that 100% of high tech companies out of the Fortune 500 companies have a careers section on their Web sites (BusinessWire, 2000).
In the context of Ireland, having identified a gap in the recruitment market with the unsatisfactory results in the agency process, the IT Resourcing Division at Ergo has set up its own resourcing division to manage its internal requirements. The HR team of Ergo utilized smart online ‘networking processes’ to find talented candidates. Now through the social networking process, Ergo is able to find candidates even for their clients (Ergo, 2009).
Conclusion and Recommendation
From the above discussion it can be observed that although there are various options available such as direct recruitment, referrals, job boards, newspaper advertising, graduate programs, online recruiting, and making use of recruitment consultancies to meet the increased need for talents, none of these would prove effective to a high tech company which has the need for specialized technicians. Each of the strategies discussed has its own merits and can be applied depending on the needs of the organization. Cost of recruiting and quality of the people recruited are the important factors in deciding on any specific strategy. In the case of high-tech companies, the recruitment agencies may be of assistance at a lower level of skill. When the question of finding people with the right technical requirements the company can rely on the online recruiting strategy using the Web site of the company may be the suitable one. Optimal Web site recruiting has the potential advantages of lower cost per hire, faster time-to-contribution, and significant increases in retention of the talents when attempted to with a systematic approach. The company may also use social networking and employee referrals as supplementary strategies for recruiting the required technical people. Through employee referral schemes the company may be able to get candidates willing to work for the company and who understand the background of the company a little.
As far as HiTec International is concerned the company has a unique need to develop people who can be readily adopted for employment without a longer time spent on training, because of the specialized technical nature of the jobs the company handles.
It is recommended that Hitec International can adopt the following recruitment strategies for fulfilling its staffing requirements.
‘University partnerships’ is the best strategy that the company can make use of by networking with few universities. The company can formulate its own curriculum and develop students to pursue their carrier with the company.
Online recruiting is another best strategy where the company can place the available vacancies on its Web site to attract more applicants.
Drawing from the best practices, the company can use the strategy of ‘internship’ where the company can adopt bright students who are about to complete the technical courses. General Electric, the company which won the ‘most admired’ company award for six years out of a consecutive ten years time has been successful in adopting this HR strategy for its success.
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