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A New Approach to Applicant Attraction and Selection
(September 3, 2008) In the real estate world, professionals always look for seven good years to be followed by seven bad years as the economy cycles. As the economy cycles, there are employment cycles as well. When the economy is booming, employers traditionally find it far more difficult to maintain an ongoing supply of qualified job candidates. On the downside of the economic cycle, there tends to be an abundance of job applicants making it more difficult to select the best candidate for a specific job.
Regardless of the stage of the economic cycle and the availability of candidates for jobs, employers need to make the best hiring decisions possible for the dollars they invest in attracting and screening job candidates. This is far more easily said than done, unless the employer is willing to take a new, objective look at how to attract and handle job candidates in general.
Historically, employers have always been inclined to pay particular attention to job candidate referrals as a source of qualified applicants. Referrals can be good, but need to be screened and qualified in the same manner as the employer would an unknown candidate. A good example is a senior corporate manager who referred his degreed and experienced son-in-law to another senior company manager who interviewed the young man, liked him and was ready to hire him on the spot. Fortunately, company policy required that each new hire pass a drug screen and background verification. In this particular case, the job candidate tested positive on a drug test and his background verification revealed a conviction for dealing drugs within the prior two-year period. This is just one of many examples of why every employer needs to establish and maintain a standardized hiring process regardless of how candidates are attracted. Additionally, both the EEOC and OFCCP recommend that employers who must comply with their regulations have a standardized hiring process that can be systematically and objectively applied to all candidates. A standardized hiring process is essential for an effective defense against a claim of discrimination in the employee selection process.
As a function in the selection process, applicant attraction today requires rethinking regardless of the economic cycle. In the past, applicant attraction was accomplished primarily by running newspaper ads. Print advertising of job openings now has been overshadowed by the major job boards like Monster, Career Builder, and HotJobs, as well as the smaller niche market job boards. Access to information has resulted in much greater applicant flow for many employers with a corresponding inability to efficiently process applicant data.
But with a standardized selection process that is effectively deployed using the web, employers can have candidates apply through their online employment center (see www.applicantmanagement.biz and click on Client EC for an example.) By deploying this technology only made available through the internet and customized software, the employer no longer needs to worry about how to qualify an abundance of job applicants. All ads, job postings and other resources can direct candidates to apply through the employer's custom employment center which will qualify and screen all candidates and record that data.
When an employer establishes a standardized employee selection process in conjunction with the deployment of a customized online employment center, all applicants are treated equally. With this approach, the employer is far more likely to make the best hiring decision for the money invested and limit the potential for any discrimination in the selection process.
Another reason for a standardized selection process featuring an online employment center is automated record keeping. Many employers struggle with maintaining records of applicant data relative to those of new hires. These records are necessary for EEOC reporting and OFCCP compliance. An online employment center can collect and retain the data on all applicants including their qualifications, recruiter notes and other pertinent data. These records can be retrieved at any time for compiling reports or to search for candidates as a new job opening becomes available. Following is a graphical representation of how the employment center works:
Summarized Data for Reports When the employer's online employment center also serves as a candidate repository, then prior candidates can easily be located and notified to apply with virtually no cost to the employer. This represents applicant flow for little additional cost. With the average posting on a major job board approaching $300.00, this cost saving feature is a tremendous value to any employer.
Many of the major job boards are providing qualifying services to help employers sort through the volumes of candidate data they receive. However, the job boards lack the degree of sophistication and capability that an employer deploying a standardized selection process with an online employment center can provide, such as:
When the economy is booming and the pool of applicants gets smaller, the employment center will have a pool of candidate information that can be readily retrieved to generate more applicant flow. It also makes good sense to have a system in effect that will allow an employer to pull out the stops and use all resources available to increase candidate flow without having to make any additional investment in manpower to handle the increased flow.
Regardless of the economic cycle and the EEOC or OFCCP regulatory requirements an employer faces, it just makes good sense for an employer to automate in a consistent manner as much of the employer's applicant and screening selection process.
Author: S. Milt Cotter, Senior Consultant - CRI
(800) 328-1940, ext. 199
CRI has more than 40 years experience helping employers get the most from their greatest asset, human capital. Additional information and reference material is available at: www.applicantmanagement.biz.
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