Job Applicants' Perceptions of Resumes versus Employment Application Forms in the Recruitment Process in a Public Organization

By Udechukwu, Ikwukananne; Manyak, Terrell | Public Personnel Management, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

Job Applicants' Perceptions of Resumes versus Employment Application Forms in the Recruitment Process in a Public Organization


Udechukwu, Ikwukananne, Manyak, Terrell, Public Personnel Management


Bohlander & Snell (1) defined recruitment as, "The process of locating potential applicants who might join an organization and encouraging them to apply for existing or anticipated job openings. During this process, efforts are made to inform the applicants fully about the qualifications required to perform the job and the career opportunities the organization can offer its employees." Similarly, Gatewood & Field (2) described recruitment as a process of attracting groups of individuals into an organization. They further added that recruitment has three major purposes: 1) increase the pool of applicants with minimum cost, 2) meet the organization's legal and social obligations concerned with the demographic make-up of its workers, 3) and assist with increasing the success rate of the selection process through the elimination of poorly qualified applicants with inadequate skills. (3)

In either case both descriptions see recruitment as a process. This process implies a series of steps, one of which includes the receipt and acceptance of resumes and/or employment application forms submitted by job applicants. This step in the recruitment process, and the consequent perceptions of job applicants after applying for jobs in organizations, appears to be nonexistent in the human resource management literature or research. This research effort attempts to take an initial step in filling that void.

Wang & Kleiner (4) noted seven deadly mistakes that employers most frequently make in the recruiting process: (1) hiring too quickly, (2) hiring by gut feelings, (3) hiring because of impeccable references, (4) hiring because former employers had no criticism, (5) hiring because the applicant aced the interview, (6) hiring because of an impressive resume, and (7) hiring because they come highly recommended. This list should have included the failure of organizations to require job applicants to submit both a resume and employment application form. Both documents provide potentially important bio-data on knowledge, skills and abilities. They are also important, especially for employment application forms, as a matter of legal concern in the recruitment process. (5) As Palazzo & Kleiner (6) urged potential employers, "Require that applicants fill out a job application completely, and if appropriate, provide you with a resume."

The submission of resumes and employment application forms by job applicants is the first visible step in the recruitment process when considering the recruitment process from the job applicant's perspective. For most public organizations, however, the recruiting process begins well before the submission of any resume or application form. The initial recruiting step would typically involve a job analysis of the new or existing position. (7) Another preliminary step is communicating information about the job opening through a process called job posting. (8) Job applicants respond to the job posting by submitting resumes and/or employment application forms.

Gatewood & Field (9) noted that job posting can take two different approaches that serve to mediate the effect of the job posting message on applicants. The first approach is displaying general descriptions of the organization and the posted job with the intent of attracting a large pool of applicants that are ultimately whittled down through additional selection processes. The second approach, they note, is increasing the specificity of the information related to the job qualifications, job responsibilities, job description, and so on, with the intent of attracting upfront a higher percentage of appropriately qualified candidates.

Irrespective of the approach adopted, job applicants are ultimately confronted with the reality of submitting resumes and/or employment application forms in response to the job posting. Again, research detailing perceptions of job applicants' reactions to the use of resumes and/or employment application forms in response to job postings appear to be nonexistent in human resource management literature. …

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Job Applicants' Perceptions of Resumes versus Employment Application Forms in the Recruitment Process in a Public Organization
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