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(August 12, 2004) What is e-recruiting?

The automation of the Recruiting process began in the early 1990s with the release of Restrac's initial product. That process, which automates the administrative component of contemporary recruiting (sourcing, resume management, performance measurement, interview scheduling) is nearly complete after little more than a decade. Today, all sophisticated firms use automated sourcing and administrative systems to give their recruiters more time to focus on the harder chores of relationship development and deal closing. E-cruiting is a catchall phrase that describes the process of gradual automation. Someone is using e-cruiting if their organization has automated all or part of the process.

Like many technology introductions, this process has its twists and turns. What looked like breakthroughs (gathering resumes with spiders, posting jobs on the internet, sophisticated assessment and matching systems) have all amounted to brief competitive advantages an not a long term solution. It may be the case that Recruiting has become an automated function that nearly craves continuous improvement. While there may be a "holy grail", we haven't seen it yet. Therefore, vendors of e-recruiting systems are going to continue to introduce novelty and speed into their products while they await a compelling vision.

There is some reason to believe that the end state involves a profound transformation in recruiting: from reactive to proactive, from data management to relationship development, from meeting requirements to anticipating them. In other words, Recruiting could be entering a phase in which the principles of inventory and supply management are applied to human beings. In that scenario, recruiting becomes a life-cycle relationship between potential employer and employee. Demographics, which suggest major labor shortages in all of the industrialized countries, support the notion that recruiting must ultimately confront total quality and just in Time inventory management standards.. Currently, there is no coherent map of the process although some interesting theoretical work is being done (outside of academia, of course).

As e-recruiting matures, a surprising dynamic is becoming obvious. The elements of successful workforce management, currently the province of the Human Resources Department, are being pushed towards dramatic overhaul. In order to effectively utilize increasingly limited human resources, the entire process of enterprise design and execution is being reshaped. E-recruiting is rapidly, though painfully and erratically, becoming the foundation of workforce design and execution. At a very profound level, e-recruiting has become the foundation of the newly emerging HR paradigm that focuses on effectively utilizing the talents of all who enter the organization.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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