The rising importance of e-recruitment techniques

By Priya Chetty on December 7, 2019

Scholars and practitioners have acknowledged the role of effective human resource practices in the overall success of an organization. E-recruitment is one of the key elements of human resource management practices that play a significant role in acquiring the human capital for an organization.

Understanding recruitment

Recruitment is an activity that generates a pool of applicants, who have the desire to be employed by the organization, from which those suitable can be selected.

Lewis (1985)

Nearly a decade later; Barber (1998) defined recruitment as:

Practices and activities which are aimed at identifying and attracting potential employees.

Barber (1998)

Both the definitions share similar sentiments and simply said the recruitment is a stage wherein the candidates who are interested to work in an organization apply for the job. The recruitment process helps in the generation of a precise list of which candidates who seem most suitable are selected.

However, scholars argue that this process can prove dangerous for the organization mainly because the source used by the organization to attract, select and retain employees is homogenous. The organizations are reliant on established recruitment sources that narrow their array of characteristics that are possessed by the candidates (Bretz, Ash & Dreher, 1989; Schneider, 1983; 1987).

Sources of recruitment

The effectiveness of the recruitment stage is dependent on the effectiveness of sources from which the recruitment is conducted (Rashmi, 2010). Therefore, recruitment strategies and sources should be reviewed regularly. This article discusses existing recruitment sources and emphasizes more on the e-recruitment process. The article compares and contrasts the traditional recruitment sources with E-recruitment.

The article studies the role of different recruitment sources and their advantages and disadvantages in modern times in order to determine the most effective recruitment source. There are two main traditional sources of recruitment; internal recruitment, and external recruitment.

Internal sources of recruitment

According to Reshmi (2010), internal sources are one of the “comfortable” recruitment sources for an organization wherein the existing employee with required knowledge and skills is pitched against external applicants. It is agreed that recruitment through this source proves beneficial to an organization in many different ways. As discussed in empirical studies:

  • it motivates and encourages the employees to improve their performance for better career opportunities,
  • the attrition rate is lower as the employee is already well versed with the organizational work environment,
  • adaptation to the new position is easier for employers as well as employees,
  • the recruitment and induction cost is reduced and also the organization is able to save time (Jones et al, 2000; Lockyer and Scholaris, 2004; Rashmi, 2010).

While recruiting internally, an organization can recruit not only from its current pool of employees but can also rehire former employees (Gary and Dessler, 2005). However rehiring former employees can have its pros and cons especially as the current employees may observe the pattern and think that they can leave the company and then rejoin with a better offer.

External sources of recruitment

While comparing the benefits of the external sources of recruitment it was found that while selecting external sources; the organization looks for an efficient recruitment method. Within the external sources, there are certain methods that are informal and formal and each of them has its own pros and cons. The different methods which are generally applied for the recruitment are:

  • advertising,
  • on-campus recruitment,
  • contingency recruitment,
  • employee referrals,
  • employment agencies and,
  • online search firms (Diane, 2005; Foot and Hook, 2008; Dessler, 2005).

Disadvantages of internal and external sources of recruitment

While reviewing the literature, it is observed that there are two major disadvantages of internal sources of recruitment. In the internal recruitment process, the organization has restrictive recruitment options since the employees have adjusted with the company culture they do not bring in new cultures (Stafsudd, 2003; Stone, 2006).

In comparison to internal sources, the biggest advantage of using external sources is that recruiting company has a wide range of interested candidates (Duggan & Croy, 2004). The choice of prospective candidates from the internal source is of a very small fraction. However, the quantity may not always ensure quality recruitment. This can also prove disadvantageous because it becomes time-consuming and cost-inefficient to select employees from a large pool. Therefore, there is a need for a recruitment source that can ensure both qualities as well as quantity. Another disadvantage of external sources of recruitment is that the recruitment requirement of an organization may not be interpreted well by the candidates (Dessler, 2005).

In comparison to an internal source of recruitment where the employee strives to work better in order to get promoted, the external recruitment process can result in a reduction in overall productivity among the existing employees due to lack of promotion The empirical studies in this regard have proved this possibility (Chan, 1996; Dessler, 2005; Torrington, Hall, and Taylor, 2005).

An overview of E-recruitment

A number of advancements are observed in recent times which have changed the way hiring is conducted. Organizations today are relying more and more on technology and its impact on Human Resource practices is reflected in literature (Cullen, 2001; Dessler, 2002, Dineen, Noe and Wang, 2004). The Internet has changed the recruitment process from the perspective of all stakeholders of an organization.

Traditional recruitment sources discussed in previous sections had several disadvantages which have been acknowledged by scholars who have conducted empirical studies on the effectiveness of the e-recruitment process. It is due to the rapid inclusion of the internet and its impeccable communication capabilities that the organizations are able to upload their requirements to be accessed by a prospective candidate. It is believed that among all the recruitment sources, e-recruitment holds the future. E-recruitment is a formal way of sourcing information about jobs on an online portal (Galanki, 2002). Although, for most organizations, e-recruitment is a fairly new concept, however, the concept is nearly two decades old. Nearly, a decade ago, when the internet technologies boomed, rigorous research on the topic began to appear not until the 2000s. The e-recruitment was only restricted to IT organizations and a handful of universities.

Internet may transform the way in which corporations recruit and the way in which applicants search for jobs.

Wyld (1997)

In the contemporary world, his predictions have surely come true as more than 75% of companies (Anonymous, 2010) in developed nations have adopted e-recruitment methods. Statistics with respect to job-applicants also reflect that nearly 25% of applicants apply for jobs online (Smith et al, 2004). As per the study conducted by Lee (2005) among the Fortune 100 companies, all the companies used e-recruitment procedures to advertise their vacant positions. The three most common means by which e-recruitment is conducted are (Lee, 2005);

  1. Recruitment through the organization’s existing website.
  2. Recruitment through special e-recruitment website such as online job portals, job boards, job agencies, etc.
  3. Recruitment through E-newspapers.

Advantages of e-recruitment

From the applicant’s point of view, Feldman and Klass (2002) in their study proved that applicants accredited the internet as a useful source as they were able to apply to a wide array of organizations. E-recruitment is also less time consuming for them, as the number attributes specified during the application process like geographic location, job type, industry type, skills, remuneration offered would help the prospect to choose.

  1. In comparison to traditional recruitment sources, e-recruitment has a number of advantages and the most important advantage is that it is quick and easily accessible to job applicants (Feldman et al, 2002; Galanaki, 2002; Smith et al, 2004). This advantage helps in minimizing the time and effort put by applicants to look for jobs.
  2. Another advantage of e-recruitment is that both internal and external applicants can apply for the job simultaneously and therefore the reach of the organization enhances (Smith, 2005). With e-recruitment, employees have the flexibility of advertising to local, domestic and global applicants.
  3. Lee (2005) indicates that recruitment activities are performed co-currently on the internet as opposed to the traditional process wherein the human resource has to mine data of applicants and this prolongs the recruitment cycle.
  4. The literature has cited that e-recruitment procedures are cost-effective in comparison to traditional methods (Bussler and Davis, 2001-2001; Cober et al, 2000; Millman, 1998).
  5. E-recruitment methods help in attracting passive job seekers who can either apply to the job or may refer it to their friend or colleague (Galanaki, 2002; Gutmacher, 2000; Smith et al, 2004).

Disadvantages of e-recruitment

The main advantage of the e-recruitment process is the large volume of applicants. This has also been reported as a disadvantage in contemporary literature (Capelli, 2001; Feldman et al, 2002). This is attributed to the fact that since the geographical reach of e-recruitment sources is wide and diverse, and the cost of applying to an opening online is very low, more applicants get tempted. This makes the recruitment process exhaustive for the organization. It is also proposed that an increase in quantity does not ensure the quality which can prove burdensome for an organization (Raefeli et al, 2005).

Value addition of e-recruitment over traditional recruitment strategies

This article has identified the gaps in the traditional recruitment sources by comparing and contrasting its advantages and disadvantages over e-recruitment sources. This article was aimed at determining the effectiveness of e-recruitment strategies in comparison to traditional recruitment strategies. The source effectiveness was assessed from both organizational as well as the applicant’s point of view and the perspectives of each have been discussed by providing a holistic view of efficiency.

In comparison to traditional recruitment sources i.e. internal and external sources, the e-recruitment process is more advantageous. Accessibility of online is the primary advantage of e-recruitment. Also, the recruiters are able to target passive candidates through e-recruitment. However, along with the unique advantages of the e-recruitment process, there are certain disadvantages as well which cannot be overlooked. However, e-recruitment adds value to the overall recruitment process for an organization as opposed to traditional recruitment sources.


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