Recruitment Advertising: The Marketing-Human Resource Interface

By Ryan, Gerard; Gubern, Marcel et al. | International Advances in Economic Research, May 2000 | Go to article overview

Recruitment Advertising: The Marketing-Human Resource Interface


Ryan, Gerard, Gubern, Marcel, Rodriguez, Inma, International Advances in Economic Research


GERARD RYAN [*]

MARCEL GUBERN [*]

INMA RODRIGUEZ [**]

The common perception of recruitment advertising is of the "want ads" in the local or national newspapers. Despite the lack of academic interest, in some cases, recruitment advertising has adopted the color, imagination, and creativity of consumer advertising. Some recruiters have recognized the marketing benefits of job ads and the need for a corporate communications policy covering all company communications. This paper examines the limited literature on recruitment advertising. The authors compile a list of characteristics of marketing-oriented recruitment advertisements and apply these to their exploratoty analysis of the recruitment section of one popular Sunday newspaper in the United Kingdom. (JEL M31)

Introduction

There are many avenues of recruitment open to an employer who has decided that external recruitment is necessary to fill a vacant or new position. This includes the services of employment agencies, recruitment consultants, career and recruitment fairs, and university milk rounds. However, the traditional press advertisement, placed in the classified or jobs sections, is the most commonly used form of job advertising. Gonzalez et al. [1997] identify three major empirical investigations which support this view [Bureau of National Affairs, 1988; Curnow, 1989; Schreier, 1983] but add that very little investigation or analysis has been carried out to determine the effectiveness of recruitment advertising.

This paper examines the recruitment advertising placed in the popular national media, otherwise known as press advertising. These are the advertisements that employers place in newspapers to advertise employment vacancies and to attract applicants to their firms. The significance of corporate image in the design of recruitment advertising is increasing because of greater public concern and demand for social responsibility and awareness on the part of the firm or organization. Indeed, it has been suggested that the corporate image may influence the effectiveness of the advertisement in attracting suitable candidates and that, in turn, recruitment advertising may influence the firm's corporate image [Belt and Paolillo, 1982].

Previous Research

Belt and Paolillo [1982] report that literature in the field is extremely limited. The research that does exist is mostly based on basic quantitative analysis of the contents of recruitment ads in terms of the proportion of ads which include, company name, person specifications, education and experience, salary, and the like [DeWitte, 1989]. This research has mainly been undertaken in the area of human resource management (HRM), with emphasis on the human factor. Despite the importance of recruitment advertising in employee selection, surprisingly little research has examined the marketing implications of this, essentially, marketing aspect of HRM. HRM literature abounds with guidelines on how to write a good recruitment ad, but this is, at best, opinion, assumptions, and piecemeal nonempirical advice from experts [Mason and Belt 1986]. Indeed, the lack of well-defined and ongoing research means that most recruiters have no choice but to rely directly on their own experience and advice from others. As a resu lt, the development and effectiveness of recruitment advertising have been hindered [Belt and Paolillo, 1982].

Marketing is Communication

All marketing activities are designed to communicate something to someone somewhere, whether that be the company's customers, the public, competitors, employees, or potential employees. Marketing communications may take a real and direct form, such as an advertisement for a new product, or it may take an indirect form, such as the message communicated by a recruitment advertisement in the job section of a newspaper. Creating and maintaining the corporate image requires, on one hand, carefully planned and coordinated corporate communications and, on the other hand, the necessity to use all appropriate instances to communicate the organization's image and guiding principles. …

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