E-Recruiting Is Driving HR Systems Integration

By Cullen, Bernie | Strategic Finance, July 2001 | Go to article overview

E-Recruiting Is Driving HR Systems Integration


Cullen, Bernie, Strategic Finance


CFOs, it may be time to upgrade so your company can find and hire the best talent.

e-recruiting is like the first in a string of firecrackers. Its explosive success is igniting a series of explosions throughout the human resources departments of best-in-class companies like Hewlett-Packard, Dell Computer, and Cisco Systems. It's telling everyone that HR is moving to a whole new level of integration in which instant access to a broad range of carefully structured information will drive faster and more accurate decision making.

At one level, the success of e-recruiting shows that the application of technology can create huge efficiencies and financial savings in HR. At a higher level, e-recruiting demonstrates the critical need for the redesign and integration of most HR systems and practices.

In terms of recruiting, the most successful companies are gaining an advantage over their competitors by creating career pages that make it easy for both job candidates and companies to size each other up and see if there's a fit. At such companies, e-recruiting isn't treated as a stand-alone HR tool but is integrated into an overall recruiting and selection strategy that includes, among other things, sophisticated behavioral and skills assessment, interviews by people trained in modern interviewing techniques, and additional means of identifying needs and sourcing candidates.

More important, companies are using e-recruiting to drive the redesign of existing HR practices and to move rapidly toward truly integrated HR systems that provide common frameworks, tools, and processes for performance management, staffing, promotion, career development, training, and other key activities. Not surprisingly, best-in-class companies are building huge competitive advantages in these areas.

LESSONS FOR INTEGRATING HR SYSTEMS

E-recruiting is a single process that's part of a larger workforce planning, recruiting, and hiring process, which, in turn, is part of a larger HR system that includes performance management, promotion, succession planning, and training. All these processes are linked by the fact that they focus on a single "object;' the employee.

Like most other HR processes, e-recruiting involves the collection, storage, and retrieval of information concerning employees (or potential employees) for purposes of making decisions or controlling actions. And because it's like many other HR processes, e-recruiting can serve as a source of lessons and insights into the greater challenge of automating and improving HR systems. Here are some of the key e-recruiting lessons:

* Improving part of a process creates demands for changes across the board.

In e-recruiting, the achievement of faster turnaround times for sourcing candidates can be completely undermined if a company lacks the resources and processes to execute other parts of the process with comparable speed. Candidates who receive instantaneous acknowledgment of their applications expect to be screened, assessed, presented with an offer, and hired at a similar pace. While most companies take weeks to move a candidate from the initial contact to the job offer, best-in-class companies are reducing the process to a few days and, in some cases, a few hours. By moving quickly, such companies remove outstanding candidates from circulation before their competitors know they're available.

What this says about HR systems in general is that new technology in one part of a system will create additional, frequently unrelated demands on other parts of the system. On PCs, faster CPUs are most useful when there are parallel improvements in disk access speeds and memory. The same is true for HR processes. For example, self-service benefit systems will create demands for the faster resolution of benefit problems without necessarily acknowledging the inherent complexity of such problems and the need for timely access to appropriate experts. …

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