Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Planning and Managing a Major Recruiting Project

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Planning and Managing a Major Recruiting Project

Article excerpt

Faced with the problem of conducting a national recruiting effort to fi11 a critical Pension Financial Manager position, the city's human resource managers used a project management approach to identify the critical activities in the project and monitor their completion. The use of the CPM/PERT approach permitted the project to be completed in the required time, and illustrates how the approach is easily used for other HR activities.

Planning is an important element of most aspects of human resource management. Depending on what personnel function is considered, human resource managers often have very different ideas of how to go about that planning and when it should be done. The questions and uncertainty, as well as the press of time in day-to-day activities, often lead to neglect of the planning component, and many managers find themselves reacting rather than acting. When a particular project surfaces that requires detailed analysis and planning, those factors often are overlooked and the reactive mode dominates.

Recruiting new employees to fill existing vacancies is an important function within human resource departments. Heneman et al. (1989) identified five interrelated stages in the recruitment process: planning, strategy development, searching, screening, and evaluation and control. These routine dimensions of the recruiting process are integrated into the daily routine of many HR departments and once a system is established, there appears to be little need for additional planning or analysis with regard to how the recruiting process should proceed. From time to time, however, it is necessary to recruit a person to fill a high level vacancy. This non-routine recruiting activity has all of the characteristics of an independent project and requires special attention apart from the routine recruiting activities. Within the public sector, there are usually additional legal and political factors that must be considered which are not necessarily present in private sector recruiting, particularly for high level positions. This is the type of project that requires detailed planning if the recruiting effort is to be successful and timely.

National Recruitment for the Pension Financial Manager

The need for a large Midwestern city to recruit a person to fill the position of Pension Financial Manager is one of those major projects where the routine recruiting procedures are not sufficient. The Pension Financial Manager acts as the Assistant Executive Director to the city's Employees' Retirement System, and is responsible for monitoring the investments made by eight outside consultants of $1.4 billion in pension funds. The process of recruiting was to begin in early November with a goal of having the position filled by the end of December. However, the Employees' Retirement System and Pension Board agreed that the position could realistically be filled by the first or second week in January. The HR management problem was to identify the various tasks and activities that had to be completed in order to meet the deadline and develop a plan for the recruiting project.

The recruitment process requires that a number of tasks or activities must be completed. Some activities would necessarily have to be performed sequentially while others might be completed in parallel with other activities. Projects with similar kinds of structures in production situations have been effectively analyzed using various project management tools. The most notable among these tools are the Critical Path Method (CPM) and the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT). In addition to providing decision information for the planning of the project, these techniques generate information that is valuable in managing the project. In the following sections, we describe the use of the CPM/PERT approach to develop a management plan for the Pension Financial Manager recruiting and selection project.

Project Description

Recruitment planning in the public sector differs from the private sector in that there are various bureaucracies which must be involved. …

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