The issue of managing people came up for the first time in the late 18th century when the industrial revolution took place in England. Between 1950 and 1974 when Keynesian economic doctrine reached its peak, the government enforced employment laws to improve employment conditions and ensure workers rights. This supported the growth of the sector of personnel management specialists (Crouch, 1982, in: Bratton, 2007, p. 5).
Within these years until today the growth of the issue of managing people has not only expanded in it's volume (Bratton, 2007, p. 5) but in it's relevance as well (Gueutal et al., 2005, p. 1). Starting out, it held a mainly administrative role but has since evolved to an important part in the competitive success of the business (ibid.).
During the 1980s when the flexible concept of HRM (Human Resource Management) emerged, under the influence of Thatcherism and Reaganomics, it “could not help but look more desirable than personnel management” (Hope-Hailey et al., 1997, p. 5). The attractiveness of the theory of personnel management led to a growth in HRM language. It remains to be seen if there are more differences than only a bright new rhetoric.
A lot of authors emphasize the problem of identifying clear differences between personnel management and HRM. They argue that the most obvious change would be a “re-labeling process” (Legge, 1989, p. 20).
Hence, it is not surprising that it is also shared by a number of authors that there are more similarities than differences between personnel and HR management. Legge, for instance, says that there are “not a lot” differences between these two approaches, but nevertheless detects some different aspects (Legge, 1989, p. 27). These, however, are more a matter of emphasis and meaning than of substantial quality (Legge 1995, p. 74).
Legge outlines three major differences between personnel management and HRM (Legge, 1995, p.74/75). These differences lead to the conclusion that HRM is “essentially a more central strategic management task than personnel management in that it is experienced by managers, as the most valued company resource to be managed, it concerns them in the achievement of business goals and it express senior management's preferred organizational values” (ibid.).
It can be concluded that personnel management in general focuses on administrative tasks whereas HRM is perceived as a strategic partner within the companies management division.
Despite its popularity there is no universally agreed definition for HRM. Bratton's (2007) definition of HRM outlines it as a “strategic approach to managing employment relations which emphasizes that leveraging people's capabilities is critical to achieving competitive advantages, this being achieved through a distinctive set of integrated employment policies, programmes and practices.”
Thus, this leads to the perception which emphasizes that the success of a company depends on the people working for it. The employees are generating value through their knowledge and skills which needed to be managed skillfully (Bratton, 2007, p. 7).
This, however, brings us to the issue of recruitment. In order to get the best employees available to increase the value, HR managers have to fulfill the staffing in a cost efficient but increasing successful way.
In this paper the methods of recruitment through the Internet are going to be analyzed in regard to the traditional methods of recruitment. On the one hand there are the traditional recruitment methods, such as newspaper advertising, career fairs or personal contacts (Beardwell, 2007, p.202). On the other hand there is the sector of e-recruitment which lately has become immensely popular especially among larger companies (Stone et al., 2005, p. 22).
First, the problem is going to be sketched out as it is related to the temporary context. Before analyzing and discussing the problem in detail the methodological issues will be be outlined briefly. Finally, the results will be presented and evaluated in conclusion together with further perspectives.
In 2002 an iLogos survey found out that already 91% of Global 500 companies were using their corporate websites for recruiting. In 1999 there were only 60% of companies while in 1998 there were only 29% using their website for online recruiting (McManus/Ferguson, 2003, p. 176). Furthermore, it is estimated that already between 70 % and 90 % of large companies now use e- recruiting tools while some high-technology organizations already using nothing else but the Internet to recruit their staff. Also, it is estimated that in the near future more than 95% of organizations plan to implement e-recruitment systems (Stone et al., 2005, p.22 f.). “
It appears that there are obvious reasons which seem to support the use of online recruitment systems. E-recruitment enhances the effectiveness of the recruitment process. Not only can the costs be lowered and the time of the hiring cycle be reduced but the range of aspirants can also be expanded immensely. In addition, there are several more reasons (Stone et al., 2005, p. 23 f.).
Despite the positive effects e-recruitment methods can have some negative impacts as well. For instance, computerized recruiting tools are less flexible towards the applicants which may cause negative effects (Stone et al., 2005) . Furthermore, online recruiting may exclude members of some minority groups which do not have access to the Internet for different reasons as well as people which are not familiar with the medium or which do not want to use it due to security matters (Hogler et al., 2001; Harris et al., 2003, in: Stone et al., 2005, p. 24).
The underlying problem of this paper is a analyzis of the methods of e-recruitment in regard to traditional recruitment methods. The aim is to outline e-recruitment and to elaborate its advantages and disadvantages. It is to elaborate whether the advantages prevail the disadvantages or vice versa. Furthermore, it is to elaborate what kind of companies rather use e-recruitment, as well as, what kind of employees are rather attracted by e-recruitment . Finally, it is to discuss whether e- recruitment will outclass the traditional methods in the long term or if they will coexist.
3. Methodological Issues
The paper is a descriptive research based on both literary sources and empirical data sources.
The empirical data used for the research is for the most part provided by the open database of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The CIPD “is the professional body for those involved in the management and development of people“ (http://www.cipd.co.uk/about/). The CIPD accomplishes annual surveys concerning different scopes of HR. The research is focused and carried out in the UK. Therefore, it is necessary to point out that all mentioned empirical data is only representative for the UK. Due to the lack of other empirical data the CIPD findings are used generally and without consistently referring to their origin.
The source for the used empirical data in detail is the annual survey report on recruitment, retention and turnover. This paper refers to the issues 2005, 2006 and 2007.
The books and articles used are from different approach to the subject of HRM. Some are of a more general, comprehensive approach like Beardwell et al. or Bratton and Gold's handbook “HRM. Theory and Practice. While the latter is explicitly written for guidance of professionals appears the first one as a critical textbook for students.
Brattons “Work and Organizational Behaviour” is as well a general basic textbook which “provides an accessible but critical introduction to organizational behaviour” through outlining the latest relevant theories of the field.(Bratton, 2007, p. xxvii).
In Addition, there are further books with the approach of a handbook but less general. Gueutal et al.'s “The Brave New World of eHR” wants to be understood as “an invaluable and rich resource for managers, executives, or those involved in optimizing human resources” (Gueutal et al., 2005, p. xiii).
As well critical but less of a handbook is Legge's textbook “Human Resource Management”. It's approach is a critical, aiming on the nature of Human Resource Management in the UK. It provides a critical overview as well as an evaluation of the above mentioned and is outlining and situating the changing rhetorics and approaches of managing employee relations.
The used articles are mainly from the International Journal of Selection and Assessment. The Journal publishes articles related to all aspects of personnel selection, staffing, and assessment in organizations. Its aims are to develop new knowledge and understanding in these areas.
Andersons article on “Applicant and Recruiter Reactions to New Technologies in Selection: A Critical Review and Agenda for Future Research” presents a review of different aspects of the research on applicants and recruiters reaction to new technology in employee selection including different aspects of the use of the new technologies.
“Biodata, Personality, and Demographic Differences of Recruits from Three Sources” is the title of the essay of McManus and Ferguson. This is a comparative study on the recruitment of candidates for vacant positions in the financial sales service.
Galanaki's article called “The decision to recruit online: a descriptive study” is, as the title says a descriptive study on e-recruitment. The research aims on identifying the effects the perceived attributes of the practice have on the decision of companies to recruit online.
Finally Capellis article “Making the Most of On-Line Recruiting” out of Havard Business Review is a study giving guidelines how to improve the efficiency of online recruitment methods.
“[...] The actual channels or vehicles used to attract candidates [...] seem to influence whether the right kinds of applicants are encouraged to apply, and to persist in their application” ( Iles/Salaman, 1995, p. 211 cited in Beardwell, 2007, p. 202).