“I need a customer service rep—fast!” “I'm losing my public relations manager—do you know anyone who can replace her?” “The employment agency I've been using keeps sending me unqualified applicants; they just don't seem to get what I'm looking for!” “We're getting a ton of resumes in response to our ad for a warehouse supervisor, but no one is qualified!” “Our website is outdated; I'm still getting resumes for a job we filled two weeks ago!” “Our top competitor lost their best technical specialist the same time we did and they hired a dynamite replacement a week later; we still can't find anyone—what are we doing wrong?” “The labor pool keeps changing and I can't keep up. Are we in an economic upswing or downswing this week? Are we in charge or are the employees? Help!”
Can you relate to any of these comments? You're not alone if you can. These are common cries heard these days throughout business, nationwide. Filling a vacancy or a newly created position poses numerous challenges, but it all comes down to this: Where can you find qualified applicants in the least amount of time for the least amount of money? According to the Saratoga Institute, the average time to fill a requisition in 2004 was forty-eight days; the average cost per hire was $2,928. Depending on the job opening and the company's budget, that can be a long time and a lot of money.1
Some organizations ignore the multitude of recruitment options and use the same sources each time, albeit with mixed results. For example, a company that relies heavily on newspaper ads should consider the time of year (ads running just before Christmas, for instance, generally do not do well) and even the day of the week (certain jobs attract more applicants in the middle of the week than on weekends). Repeatedly using the same recruitment sources can also make you susceptible to charges of systemic discrimination—the denial of equal employment opportunity through an established business practice such as recruitment. Even though the discrimination may be inadvertent, the disparate effect it produces may develop into a prime area of vulnerability for employers. Relying on the same recruitment source each time a particular position becomes available could have an adverse impact on members of certain protected groups lacking the same access as others to that source. This, in turn, could translate into the inadvertent but no less illegal denial of equal employment opportunity.
Electronic recruitment will be reserved for separate discussion in Chapter 3.