Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

The Quest for the Qualified Job Surfer: It's Time the Public Sector Catches the Wave

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

The Quest for the Qualified Job Surfer: It's Time the Public Sector Catches the Wave

Article excerpt

Organizational use of Internet recruiting has dramatically increased in the last five years. However, there has been little research to guide the development of organizational employment Web pages. This paper first outlines the reasons why public sector organizations should consider focusing more energy on developing their own employment Web sites to supplement other recruiting activities. We then present a model of job surfer behavior that organizations should consider when designing their Web site and making decisions about how to promote it. Based on this model, we make several suggestions for practice.

The strain of a tight labor market has increased the importance of organizational recruitment activity. The deep pool of applicant talent that once existed has become shallow, as potential employees have ample opportunities available to them. As a result of this shortage of workers, there is a great deal of pressure on human resource departments to attract qualified applicants to their organizations. Without an adequate number of applicants, selection procedures cannot yield quality employees. In particular, public sector organizations have felt special pressure to recruit young talent.[1] To remain competitive, public sector organizations will need to use innovative recruitment tactics in the future.

Increasingly, the North American population is becoming more technologically sophisticated. Computers, more specifically the Internet, promise to provide organizations with a new medium with which to communicate their recruitment messages. Not surprisingly, technology-oriented companies have been quick to adopt online strategies to gain a competitive advantage in attracting applicants. This strategy has proved effective for these companies. Cisco Systems, for example, has received up to 500,000 hits on its job site in a one-month time span and has hired as many as 1,200 people in a three-month period.[2] The benefits of the Internet should not be restricted only to technology-oriented companies and can be achieved by public sector organizations.

Although the software available today has helped to make many corporate Web sites technologically sophisticated, little attention has focused on how potential applicants react to these Web sites and respond to the available information. The full potential of this medium cannot be realized by simply publishing recruitment-related information on the Internet. There are a number of considerations that must be made in designing an employment-related Web site and assessing its utility. Counting the number of hits to a Web site, or application submissions to an organization, tells only part of the story of the Internet as an effective recruiting tool.

This paper addresses the issues pertaining to an online recruitment strategy within the context of traditional recruitment research, in order to determine the most effective use of online recruitment for public sector organizations. First, we review several advantages to online recruiting. Next, we outline a conceptual model of effective online recruitment. Finally, using this conceptual model, we present results from a review of public sector sites and make recommendations for future design of recruitment Web sites.

Online Recruitment -- A Strategic Human Resource Solution

Traditionally, organizations have used newspaper ads, word of mouth, campus recruiting, trade organizations, and job fairs to attract applicants.[3] In the future, effective organizational recruitment will more prominently include strategic use of the Internet. The Internet has become a primary medium for people to buy and sell goods, communicate with others, and search for jobs.[4] By 2002, more than 45 percent of American households will have online access.[5] As the Internet becomes an increasingly popular medium of communication and commerce, organizations can increase their exposure to potential applicants through their use of Web sites. …

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