HR PLANNING (HRP) AND RECRUITMENT
Organizational objectives can be achieved only through the efforts of people. Jobs within the
organization must be staffed with personnel who are qualified to perform them. Meeting these
staffing needs requires effective planning for human resources.
Once the HR planning function is fulfilled, then the staffing of the organization must be
completed through the recruitment process. Employment recruiting has acquired a new
importance for managers since both manufacturing and service organizations are finding it
increasingly difficult to find qualified applicants to fill job openings.
According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) special report on the
U.S. labor shortage, most employers have entered a period in which jobs ranging from the
unskilled to the professional and technical are harder to staff; and this condition is not likely to
abate in the near future. No longer can managers rely solely upon unsolicited applications to fill
Changing employment conditions mandate that managers consider a variety of recruitment
alternatives to attract the right employees to the organization. The process of planning for HR
needs, sources of applicants, and methods of attracting applicants will require new innovative
Human Resources Planning
Human resources planning (HRP) is the process of anticipating and making provision for the
movement of people into, within, and out of an organization. Its purpose is to deploy these
resources as effectively as possible, where and when they are needed, in order to accomplish the
Human resources planning (HRP)
The process of anticipating and making
provision for the movement of people
into, within, and out of
Other more specific purposes of HRP include anticipating labor shortages and surpluses;
providing more employment opportunities for women, minorities, and the disabled; and mapping
out employee training programs. In fact, HRP provides a launching point for most all of the
activities that are subsumed under HRM.
Importance of Human Resources Planning
Consider these facts:
The U.S. labor force will grow by only about 1 percent each year between 1986 and 2005.
Between 80 and 90 percent of the new labor force entrants will be minorities and women.
Immigrants will account for more than 23 percent of the change in the labor-force
composition over the period from 1986 to 2000.
The average age of the workforce will be 39 by the year 2000.
The five occupations expected to experience faster-than-average growth are technicians,
service workers, professionals, sales representatives, and executive and managerial
employees. These occupations require the highest education and skill levels.
Nearly one-third of the workforce is composed of part-timers, temporary workers, and the
2.5 million functionally illiterate Americans enter the workforce yearly.
These dramatic shifts in the composition of the U.S. labor force require that managers
become more involved in HRP. The employment market in non-U.S. developed countries is
equally as challenging except that the demographics are a little different. Each of these changes
affects employee recruitment while requiring additional HRP in the areas of employee selection,
training, compensation, and motivation.
Although planning has always been an essential process of management, increased emphasis
on HRP provides the foundation for establishing an effective HRM program and for coordinating
the HRM functions being performed within it. HRP becomes especially critical when organiza-
tions consider mergers, the relocation of plants, downsizing, or the closing of operating facilities.
An organization may incur several intangible costs as a result of inadequate HRP or the lack
of HRP. For example, inadequate HRP can cause vacancies to remain unfilled. The resulting loss
in efficiency can be costly, particularly when lead time is required to train replacements.
Situations also may occur in which employees are laid off in one department while
applicants are hired for similar jobs in another department. This may cause overhiring and result
in the need to lay off those employees who were recently hired. Finally, lack of HRP makes it
difficult for employees to make effective plans for career or personal development. As a result,
some of the more competent and ambitious ones may seek other employment where they feel
they will have better career opportunities.
HRP and Strategic Planning
As organizations plan for their future, HR managers must be concerned with meshing HRP with
strategic business planning. At the broadest level, strategic planning addresses the question
"What business are we in?" HRP, on the other hand, addresses the question "What skills are
needed for success in this business?"
Through strategic planning, organizations set major objectives and develop comprehensive
plans to achieve those objectives. This involves making primary resource allocation decisions,
including those pertaining to structure, key processes, and the interrelationships among human
resources. An increasingly vital element of strategic planning is determining if people are
available, internally or externally, to carry out the organization's goals.
HRP and strategic planning become effective when there is a reciprocal and interdependent
relationship between them. In this relationship, the top management team recognizes that
strategic-planning decisions affect--and are affected by--HR functions. The HR department and
its activities are then viewed as credible and important along with other management functions
such as production, marketing, service, and finance.
HR managers must not only recognize the potential contribution they can make to
organizational growth and development, they must be proactive in developing HR programs and
policies that foster the organization's strategic mission. This positive linkage occurs when the HR
manager becomes a member of the organization's management steering committee or
strategic-planning group. Once this interactive and dynamic structure exists, HR managers are
recognized as contributing strategic planners alongside other top managers.
IBM has been a forerunner in the integration of HRP and strategic planning. Within IBM's
manufacturing and product development businesses the corporation's HR department develops a
five-year HR strategic plan and a two-year tactical plan based on tentative business goals. These
goals are formulated only after IBM conducts an internal and external analysis of the company's
strengths and weaknesses. Major business decisions are not approved until the vice president of
HR concurs with the business plan.
HRP and Environmental Scanning
Environmental scanning is the systematic, regular monitoring of the major external forces
influencing the organization. In theory, HRP requires an integration of the environment with all
of the HRM functions. As the IBM example illustrates, the HRP process will be integrated with
the strategic-planning process through environmental scanning. This procedure is necessary
because any strategies developed must be consistent with those environmental trends and
contemporary issues that may have an impact on the organization. HRP, in turn, must anticipate
the possible impact of these strategies upon HRM.
Organizations can select any number of environmental factors to scan; however, the
following five are monitored most frequently:
1. Economic factors, including general and regional conditions and competition trends
2. Technological changes, including robotics and office automation
3. Political/legislative issues, including laws and administrative rulings
4. Social concerns, including child care and educational priorities
5. Demographic trends, including age, composition, and literacy of the workforce
The labor-force trends illustrate the importance of monitoring demographic changes in the
population as a part of HRP. Such changes can affect the composition and performance of an
organization's workforce. These changes are important because EEO/AA plans must take into ac-
count the demographic composition of the population in the area where the organization is
located. Furthermore, with a "maturing" American workforce, HRP must consider the many
implications of this demographic fact on recruitment and replacement policies.
Elements of Effective HRP
Managers follow a systematic process, or model, when undertaking HRP. The three key elements
of the process are forecasting the demand for labor, performing a supply analysis, and balancing
supply and demand considerations. Careful attention to each factor will help top managers and
supervisors to meet their staffing requirements.
HUMAN RESOURCES PLANNING MODEL
EMPLOYMENT LEADS TO SUPPLY RESULTING IN SUPPLY AND
FORECASTING ANALYSIS DEMAND
CONSIDERATIONS INTERNAL RECRUITMENT
Product/service demand Staffing tables (SHORTAGE)
Economics Markov analysis Full-time
Technology Skills inventories Part-time
Financial resources Management inventories Recalls
Absenteeism/turnover Replacement charts
Organizational growth Succession planning REDUCTIONS (SURPLUS)
Management philosophy Terminations
TECHNIQUES Demographic changes Demotions
Trend analysis Education of workforce Retirement
Managerial estimate Labor mobility
Delphi technique Governmental policies
Forecasting Demand for Employees
A key component off HRP is forecasting the number and type of people needed to meet
organizational objectives. A variety of organizational factors, including competitive strategy,
technology, structure, and productivity, can influence the demand for labor. For example, as
utilization of advanced technology is generally accompanied by less demand for low-skilled
workers and more demand for knowledge workers. External factors such as business
cycles--economic and seasonal trends--can also play a role.
Forecasting is frequently more an art than a science, providing inexact approximations rather
than absolute results. The ever-changing environment in which an organization operates
contributes to this problem. For example, estimating changes in product or service demand is a
basic forecasting concern, as is anticipating changes in national or regional economics. Also, the
forecasted staffing needs must be in line with the organization's financial resources.
There are two approaches to HR forecasting: quantitative and qualitative. When
concentrating on human resources needs, forecasting is primarily quantitative in nature, and in
large organizations is accomplished by highly trained specialists. Quantitative approaches to
forecasting can employ sophisticated analytical models, although forecasting may be as informal
as having one person who knows the organization anticipate future HR requirements.
Organizational demands will ultimately determine which technique to use. Regardless of the
method, however, forecasting should not be neglected, even in relatively small organizations.
Quantitative approaches to forecasting involve the use of statistical or mathematical techniques;
they are the approaches used by theoreticians and professional planners. One example is trend
analysis, which forecasts employment requirements based on some organizational index and is
one of the most commonly used approaches for projecting HR demand. Trend analysis is
typically done by following several steps:
A quantitative approach to forecasting
labor demand based on an organizational
index such as sales
First, select an appropriate business factor. This should be the best available predictor of
human resources needs. Frequently, sales or value added (selling price minus costs of materials
and supplies) are used as predictors in trend analysis. Second, plot an historical trend of the
business factor in relation to number of employees. The ratio of employees to the business factor
will provide a labor productivity ratio (for example, sales per employee). Third, compute the
productivity ratio for at least the past five years. Fourth, calculate human resources demand by
dividing the business factor by the productivity ratio. Finally, project human resources demand
out to the target year. This procedure is summarized in Figure 5-2 for a housing contractor.
Other, more sophisticated statistical-planning methods include modeling or
multiple-predictive techniques. Whereas trend analysis relies on a single factor (e.g., sales) to
predict employment needs, the more advanced methods combine several factors, such as interest
rates, gross national product, disposable income, and sales, to predict employment levels.
Because of the high costs of developing these forecasting methods, they are used only by large
organizations in relatively stable industries such as transportation, communications, and utilities.
In contrast to quantitative approaches, qualitative approaches to forecasting are less statistical,
attempting to reconcile the interests, abilities, and aspirations of individual employees with the
current and future staffing needs of an organization. In both large and small organizations, HR
planners may rely on experts who assist in preparing forecasts to anticipate staffing requirements.
Management forecasts are the opinions (judgments) of supervisors, department managers,
experts, or others knowledgeable about the organization’s future employment needs.
The opinions (judgments) of supervisors,
department managers, or others knowledgeable
about the organization’s future
Another forecasting method, the Delphi technique, attempts to decrease the subjectivity of
forecasts by soliciting and summarizing the judgments of a preselected group of individuals. The
final forecast thus represents a composite group judgment. The Delphi technique requires a great
deal of coordination and cooperation in order to ensure satisfactory forecasts. This method works
best in organizations where dynamic technological changes affect staffing levels.
Ideally, HRP should include the use of both quantitative and qualitative approaches which
complement each other. This provides a more complete forecast by bringing together the
contributions of both theoreticians and practitioners.
Once an organization has forecast its future requirements for employees, it must then determine
if there are sufficient numbers and types of employees available to staff anticipated openings.
Supply analysis will encompass two sources--internal and external.
Internal Labor Supply
An internal supply analysis may begin with the preparation of staffing tables. Staffing tables are a
pictorial representation of all organizational jobs, along with the numbers of employees currently
occupying those jobs and future employment requirements.
Pictorial representations of all organizational jobs,
along with the numbers of employees currently
occupying those jobs and future (monthly or
yearly) employment requirements
Another technique, called Markov analysis, shows the percentage (and actual number) of
employees who remain in each job from one year to the next, as well as the proportions of those
who are promoted, demoted, transferred, or exit the organization. Markov analysis can be used to
track the pattern of employee movements through various jobs and develop a transition matrix
for forecasting labor supply.
Method for tracking the pattern
of employee movements
through various jobs
In conjunction with quantitative techniques that forecast the number of employees, skill
inventories can also be prepared that list each employee's education, past work experience,
vocational interests, specific abilities and skills, compensation history, and job tenure. Of course,
confidentiality is a vital concern in setting up any such inventory. Nevertheless, well-prepared
and up-to-date skill inventories allow an organization to quickly match forthcoming job openings
with employee backgrounds. Organizations like Zenith Data Systems, Westinghouse, and the
State of Illinois use computers and special programs to perform this task. When data are gathered
on managers, these inventories are called management inventories.
Files of education, experience, interests,
skills, etc., that allow managers to
quickly match job openings with
Both skill and management inventories can be used to develop employee replacement charts,
which list current jobholders and identify possible replacements should openings occur. Listed
below is an organizational chart that shows an example of how an organization might develop a
replacement chart for the managers in one of its divisions. Note that this chart provides
information on the current job performance and promotability of possible replacements. As such,
it can be used side by side with other pieces of information for succession planning--the process
of identifying, developing, and tracking key individuals so that they may eventually assume
Listings of current jobholders and persons who
are potential replacements if an opening occurs
The process of identifying, developing, and tracking
key individuals for executive positions
AN EXECUTIVE REPLACEMENT CHART
Names provided are
J.L. Green A/2 replacement candidates
A. Promotable now
B. Needing development
ASSISTANT TO C. Not fitted to position
1. Superior performance
2. Above average performance
L.B. Martinez B/1 3. Acceptable performance
4. Poor performance
R.G. Gorton A/2
T.M. Brown B/3
DIVISION HR ACCOUNTING PLANNING TECHNICAL
MANAGER DIVISION DIVISION ADVISOR
C.K. Broderick A/1 W. Shepard C/2 B. A/1 N.T. Lyman B/3
NORTHWEST CENTRAL REGION NORTH CENTRAL EASTERN REGION
REGION MANAGER REGION MANAGER
L.C. Green A/2 J.Q. Gomez A/1 D.K. Lim B/2 O.D. Morris B/3
A.T. Tupper C/4
External Labor Supply
When an organization lacks an internal supply of employees for promotions, or when it is
staffing entry-level positions, managers must consider the external supply of labor. Many factors
influence labor supply including demographic changes in the population, national and regional
economics, education level of the workforce, demand for specific employee skills, population
mobility, and governmental policies. National and regional unemployment rates are often
considered a general barometer of labor supply.
Fortunately, labor market analysis is aided by various published documents. Unemployment
rates, labor-force projection figures, and population characteristics are reported by the U.S.
Department of Labor. Chambers of commerce and individual state development and planning
agencies also may assist with labor market analysis. The Monthly Labor Review, published by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, frequently contains articles on job-
Balancing Supply and Demand Considerations
HRP should strive for a proper balance not only between forecasting techniques and their
application, but also between the emphasis placed on demand considerations and that placed on
supply considerations. Demand considerations are based on forecasted trends in business
activity. Supply considerations involve the determination of where and how candidates with the
required qualifications are to be found to fill vacancies.
Because of the difficulty in locating applicants for the increasing number of jobs that require
advanced training, this aspect of planning is receiving more attention. Greater planning effort is
also needed in recruiting members of protected classes for managerial jobs and technical jobs
that require advanced levels of education.
In an effort to meet the demand for labor, organizations have several staffing possibilities,
including hiring full-time employees, having employees work overtime, recalling those laid off,
and using temporary employees. However, when HRP shows a surplus of jobholders,
organizations may use terminations, work sharing, layoffs, or demotions or rely on attrition (a
gradual reduction of employees through resignations, retirements, or deaths) to achieve
Over the past decade, early retirements have become a more and more common means for
organizations to reduce excess labor supply. Organizations as diverse as state colleges, health
care facilities, and travel companies encourage employees to accept early retirement by offering
"sweetened" retirement benefits.
In recent years a host of organizations have undertaken the extremely painful task of downsizing
and restructuring. Because of either economic or competitive pressures, organizations have found
themselves with too many employees or with employees that have the wrong kinds of skills. In
an effort to reconcile supply and demand considerations, companies such as Sara Lee, Digital,
and America West Airlines have eliminated literally thousands of jobs. In fact, since 1979,
Fortune 500 companies have cut nearly 5 million jobs--more than one out of four they once
These cuts are not simply restricted to hourly workers. Technical, professional, and
managerial positions are being eliminated at an unprecedented rate. Furthermore, the layoffs are
not simply a result of a stagnant economy. In many cases, downsizing is part of a longer-term
process of restructuring to take advantage of new technology, corporate partnerships, and cost
Decisions about employee layoffs are usually based on seniority and/or performance. In some
organizations, especially those with labor agreements, seniority may be the primary
consideration. In other organizations, such factors as ability and fitness may take precedence over
seniority in determining layoffs.
In the case of unionized organizations, the criteria for determining an employee's eligibility
for layoff are typically set forth in the union agreement. As a rule, seniority on the job receives
significant weight in determining which employees are laid off first. Similar provisions in the
union agreement provide for the right of employees to be recalled for jobs that they are still
qualified to perform. Organizational policy, as well as provisions in the labor agreement, should
therefore establish and define clearly the employment rights of each individual and the basis
upon which layoff selections will be made and reemployment effected.
The rights of employees during layoffs, the conditions concerning their eligibility for recall,
and their obligations in accepting recall should also be clarified. It is common for labor
agreements to preserve the reemployment rights of employees laid off for periods of up to two
years, providing that they do not refuse to return to work if recalled sooner.
It has become customary, however, for employers to give some degree of recognition to
seniority even among employees who are not unionized. Unions generally advocate recognition
of seniority because they feel that their members should be entitled to certain rights proportionate
to the years they have invested in their jobs. Nevertheless, whenever seniority provides a basis
for determining or even influencing HR decisions, the discretion of management is reduced
One of the major disadvantages of overemphasizing seniority is that the less competent
employees receive the same rewards and security as the more competent ones. Also, the practice
of using seniority as the basis for deciding which workers to lay off may well have a disparate
impact on women and minority workers, who often have less seniority than other groups.
In cases where economic conditions have brought about layoffs, employees who were let
go while in good standing may be recalled to their jobs when the economic outlook brightens and
job openings occur. However, in many cases these new job openings require a different set of
skills than the ones they replaced. Identifying individuals for these jobs can be accomplished by
searching among previous employees or among current employees who can be transferred; but
frequently it requires searching externally in the broader labor market.
Recruiting within the Organization
Recruitment is the process of locating and encouraging potential applicants 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 them. Whether or not a particular job vacancy will be filled by someone from within the
organization or from outside will, of course, depend upon the availability of personnel, the
organization's HR policies, and the requirements of the job to be staffed.
Advantages of Recruiting from Within
Most organizations try to follow a policy of filling job vacancies above the entry-level position
through promotions and transfers. By filling vacancies in this way, an organization can capitalize
on the investment it has made in recruiting, selecting, training, and developing its current
Promotion serves to reward employees for past performance and is intended to encourage
them to continue their efforts. It also gives other employees reason to anticipate that similar
efforts by them will lead to promotion, thus improving morale within the organization.
This is particularly true for members of protected classes who have encountered difficulties
in finding employment and have often faced even greater difficulty in advancing within an
organization. Most organizations have integrated promotion policies as an essential part of their
If an organization’s promotion policy is to have maximum motivational value, employees
must be made aware of that policy. The following is an example of a policy statement that an
organization might prepare:
“Promotion from within” is generally recognized as a foundation of good
employment practice, and it is the policy of our museum to promote from within
whenever possible when filling a vacancy. The job vacancy will be posted for five
calendar days to give all qualified full- and part-time personnel an equal
opportunity to apply.
While a transfer lacks the motivational value of a promotion, it sometimes can serve to
protect employees from layoff or to broaden their job experiences. Furthermore, the transferred
employee’s familiarity with the organization and its operations can eliminate the orientation and
training costs that recruitment from the outside would entail. Most importantly, the transferee’s
performance record is likely to be a more accurate predictor of the candidate’s success than the
data gained about outside applicants.
Methods of Locating Qualified Job Candidates
The effective use of internal sources requires a system for locating qualified job candidates and
for enabling those who consider themselves qualified to apply for the opening. Qualified job
candidates within the organization can be located by computerized record systems, by job posting
and bidding, and by recalling those who have been laid off.
Computerized Record Systems
Computers have made possible the creation of data banks that contain the complete records and
qualifications of each employee within an organization. Westinghouse Electric, for example, has
developed a computer program named HuRBIE (Human Resource Basic Information
Environment) that allows managers to access information from the Personnel Records
Information Systems Management (PRISM) database. Similarly, Employment Solutions, a
subsidiary of IBM, has developed a resume-tracking system that allows managers to query an
on-line database of resumes.
Similar to the skills inventories, these information systems allow an organization to screen
its entire work force in a matter of minutes to locate suitable candidates to fill an internal
opening. These data can also be used to predict the career paths of employees and to anticipate
when and where promotion opportunities may arise. Since the value of the data depends on how
current the data are, the record system must include provisions for recording changes in
employee qualifications and job placements as they occur.
Job Posting and Bidding
Organizations may communicate information about job openings through a process referred to as
job posting and bidding. This process consists largely of posting vacancy notices on bulletin
boards and websites, but may also include use of designated posting centers, employee
publications, special “announcement handouts," direct mail, and public-address messages.
Job posting and bidding
Posting vacancy notices and maintaining
lists of employees looking for
The system of job posting and bidding can provide many benefits to an organization.
However, these benefits may not be realized unless employees believe the system is being
administered fairly. Therefore, to reap the full advantages of job posting, organizations should
follow the administrative guidelines for job posting and bidding programs presented below.
JOB POSTING PROCEDURES
1. Establish and widely distribute applicant eligibility requirements for employees wishing to use the
2. Develop job notices that are complete, including the job’s essential functions and responsibilities and
any special (unusual) tasks that must be performed.
3. List the minimum abilities, skills, experience, education, or special knowledge needed by applicants.
4. Communicate the availability of jobs to all affected employees. Use several notice methods if possible.
5. Establish posting periods and state any filing constraints if appropriate.
6. Develop an applicant-review procedure and feedback system that employees will accept.
7. Establish an appeals procedure for those employees wishing to challenge selection decisions.
Job bidding is more effective when it is part of a career development program in which
employees are made aware of opportunities available to them within the organization. For
example, HR departments may provide new employees with literature on job progression that
describes the lines of job advancement, training requirements for each job, and skills and abilities
needed as they move up the job-progression ladder.
Limitations of Recruiting from Within
Sometimes certain jobs at the middle and upper levels that require specialized training and
experience cannot be filled from within the organization and must be filled from the outside.
This is especially common in small organizations. Also, for certain openings it may be necessary
to hire individuals from the outside who have gained from another employer the knowledge and
expertise required for these jobs.
Even though HR policy encourages job openings to be filled from within the organization,
potential candidates from the outside should be considered in order to prevent the inbreeding of
ideas and attitudes. Applicants hired from the outside, particularly for certain technical and
managerial positions, can be a source of new ideas and may bring with them the latest knowledge
acquired from their previous employers.
Excessive reliance upon internal sources can create the risk of “employee cloning.”
Furthermore, it is not uncommon for firms in competitive fields such as high technology to
attempt to gain secrets from competitors by hiring away their employees.
Recruiting Outside the Organization
Unless there is to be a reduction in the workforce, a replacement from outside must eventually be
found to fill a job left vacant when a jobholder moves to a new slot in the organization. Thus,
when the president or CEO of the organization retires, a chain reaction of promotions may
subsequently occur. This creates other managerial openings throughout the organization. The
question to be resolved therefore is not whether to bring people into the organization, but rather
at which level they are to be brought in.
In the past few years, organizations such as Eastman Kodak, Westinghouse, and Goodyear
have brought in outsiders to be their new CEOs. In fact, an astounding 31 percent of Fortune 500
companies who replaced their CEOs in recent years, did so by hiring executives from outside
their companies. In many of these cases, hiring someone from the outside was seen as essential
for revitalizing the organizations.
The Labor Market
The labor market, or the area from which applicants are to be recruited, will vary with the type of
job to be filled and the amount of compensation to be paid for the job. Recruitment for executive
and technical jobs requiring a high degree of knowledge and skill may be national or even
international in scope. Most colleges and universities, for example, conduct national employment
searches to fill top administrative positions.
The area from which
applicants are to be recruited
Recruitment for jobs that require relatively little skill, however, may encompass only a small
geographic area. The reluctance of people to relocate may cause them to turn down offers of
employment, thereby eliminating them from employment consideration beyond the local labor
market. However, by offering an attractive level of compensation and by helping to defray
moving costs, employers may induce some applicants to move.
The ease with which employees can commute to work will also influence the boundaries of
the labor market. Insufficient public transportation or extreme traffic congestion on the streets
and freeways can limit the distance employees are willing to travel to work, particularly to jobs
of low pay. Also, population migration from the cities to the suburbs has had its effect on labor
markets. If suitable employment can be obtained near where they live or if they can work at
home, many suburbanites are less likely to accept or remain in jobs in the central city.
Outside Sources of Recruitment
The outside sources from which employers recruit will vary with the type of job to be filled. A
computer programmer, for example, is not likely to be recruited from the same source as a
machine operator. Trade schools can provide applicants for entry-level positions, though these
recruitment sources are not as useful when highly skilled employees are needed.
The condition of the labor market may also help to determine which recruiting sources an
organization will use. During periods of high unemployment, organizations may be able to
maintain an adequate supply of qualified applicants from unsolicited resumes alone. A tight
labor market, one with low unemployment, may force the employer to advertise heavily and/or
seek assistance from local employment agencies. How successful an organization has been in
reaching its affirmative action goals may be still another factor in determining the sources from
which to recruit. Typically, an employer at any given time will find it necessary to utilize several
One of the most common methods of attracting applicants is through advertisements. While
newspapers and trade journals are the media used most often, radio, television, billboards,
posters, and electronic mail are also utilized. Advertising has the advantage of reaching a large
audience of possible applicants.
Some degree of selectivity can be achieved by using newspapers and journals directed
toward a particular group of readers. Professional journals, trade journals, and publications of
unions and various fraternal or nonprofit organizations fall into this category.
The preparation of recruiting advertisements is not only time-consuming, it also requires
creativity in developing design and message content. Well-written advertisements highlight the
major assets of the position while showing the responsiveness of the organization to the job and
career needs of the applicants. Also, there appears to be a correlation between the accuracy and
completeness of information provided in advertisements and the recruitment success of the
organization. Among the information typically included in advertisements is that the recruiting
organization is an equal opportunity employer.
Eight Points for Developing Effective Newspaper Advertisements
1. Determine the readership and geographic area served by the newspaper. Consider placing ads
in sections of the paper such as the sports, entertainment, or television section to reach
people who are currently employed and who may not be reading the classified section.
2. Use small community newspapers or weekly classified publications that reach only a specific
market segment or geographical area.
3. Develop ads that are creative and distinctive. Employ eye-catching images and borders. Use
language that is clear and creates interest in the position.
4. Consult your organization's marketing or advertising department for suggestions for copy and
graphics that will attract readers' attention.
5. Use different copy formats to reach different types of applicants.
6. To reach impulse applicants, consider using weekend telephone numbers to attract applicants
currently employed or those without prepared resumes.
7. Attach “clip-out” coupons to the ad that applicants can send in to the organization to obtain
additional information about the advertised position. The convenience of this feature might
attract potential applicants who have given only slight consideration to a job change.
8. Make sure that job specifications clearly define applicant skill, ability, and educational
Advertising can sometimes place a severe burden on an organization's employment office.
Even though the specifications for the openings are described thoroughly in the advertisement,
many applicants who know they do not meet the job requirements may still be attracted. They
may apply with the hope that the employer will not be able to find applicants who do meet the
Public Employment Agencies
Each of the fifty states maintains an employment agency that is responsible for administering its
unemployment insurance program. Many of the state agencies bear such titles as Department of
Employment or Department of Human Resources. They are subject to certain regulations and
controls administered by the U.S. Employment Services (USES).
State agencies maintain local public employment offices in most communities of any size.
Individuals who become unemployed must register at one of these offices and be available for
“suitable employment” in order to receive their weekly unemployment checks. Consequently,
public employment agencies are able to refer to employers with job openings those applicants
with the required skills who are available for employment.
USES has developed a nationwide computerized job bank that lists job openings, and state
employment offices are connected to this job bank. This can be viewed on their website. The
computerized job bank helps facilitate the movement of job applicants to different geographic
areas. Most of these offices now have a local job bank book that is published on various
websites. Employer openings are listed along with other pertinent information, such as number of
openings, pay rates, and job specifications.
The local job bank makes it possible for employment interviewers in an agency to have a list
of all job openings in the geographic area for which applicants assigned to them might qualify.
Furthermore, applicants looking for a specific job can review the information and apply directly
to the organization having the opening.
In addition to matching unemployed applicants with job openings, public employment
agencies may assist employers with employment testing, job analysis, evaluation programs, and
community wage surveys.
Private Employment Agencies
Charging a fee enables private employment agencies to tailor their services to the specific needs
of their clients. It is common for agencies to specialize in serving a specific occupational area or
professional field. Depending upon who is receiving the most service, the fee may be paid by
either the employer or the jobseeker or both. It is not uncommon for private employment
agencies to charge an employer a 25 to 30 percent fee, based on the position's annual salary, if
they hire an applicant found by the agency.
Private employment agencies differ in the services they offer, their professionalism, and the
caliber of their counselors. If counselors are paid on a commission basis, their desire to do a
professional job may be offset by their desire to earn a commission. Thus they may encourage
jobseekers to accept jobs for which they are not suited.
Executive Search Firms
In contrast to public and private employment agencies, which help jobseekers find the right job,
executive search firms (often called "headhunters") help employers find the right person for a
job. They seek out candidates with qualifications that match the requirements of the positions
their client firm is seeking to fill. Executive search firms do not advertise in the media for job
candidates, nor do they accept a fee from the individual being placed.
The fees charged by search firms may range from 30 to 40 percent of the annual salary for
the position to be filled. For the recruitment of senior executives, this fee is paid by the client
firm whether or not the recruiting effort results in a hire.
Educational institutions typically are a source of young applicants with formal training but with
relatively little full-time work experience. High schools are usually a source of employees for
clerical and blue-collar jobs. Community colleges, with their various types of specialized
training, can provide candidates for technical jobs. These institutions can also be a source of
applicants for a variety of white-collar jobs, including those in the sales and retail fields. Some
management-trainee jobs are also staffed from this source.
For technical and managerial positions, colleges and universities are generally the primary
source. However, the suitability of college graduates for open positions often depends on their
major field of study. Organizations seeking applicants in the technical and professional areas, for
example, are currently faced with a shortage of qualified candidates. To attract graduates in areas
of low supply, managers are employing innovative recruitment techniques such as work-study
programs, internships, low-interest loans, and scholarships.
Some employers fail to take full advantage of college and university resources because of a
poor recruitment program. Consequently, their recruitment efforts fail to attract many potentially
good applicants. Another common weakness is the failure to maintain a planned and continuing
effort on a long-term basis. Furthermore, some recruiters sent to college campuses are not
sufficiently trained or prepared to talk to interested candidates about career opportunities or the
requirements of specific openings.
Attempts to visit too many campuses instead of concentrating on selected institutions and
the inability to use the campus placement office effectively are other recruiting weaknesses.
Mismanagement of applicant visits to the organization’s headquarters and the failure to follow up
on individual prospects or to obtain hiring commitments from higher management are among
other mistakes that have caused employers to lose well-qualified prospects.
The recruitment efforts of an organization can be aided by employee referrals, or
recommendations made by current employees. Managers have found that the quality of
employee-referred applicants is normally quite high, since employees are generally hesitant to
recommend individuals who might not perform well. The effectiveness of this recruitment effort
can be increased by paying commissions to employees when they make a successful “recruitment
sale.” Other recruitment incentives used by organizations include complimentary dinners,
discounts on merchandise, all-expense-paid trips, and free insurance.
Negative factors associated with employee referrals include the possibility of inbreeding and
the violation of EEO regulations. Since employees and their referrals tend to have similar
backgrounds, employers who rely heavily on employee referrals to fill job openings may
intentionally or unintentionally screen out, and thereby discriminate against, protected classes.
Furthermore, organizations may choose not to employ relatives of current employees. The
practice of hiring relatives, referred to as nepotism, can invite charges of favoritism, especially in
appointments to desirable positions.
A preference for hiring
relatives of current employees
Unsolicited Applications and Resumes
Many employers receive unsolicited applications and resumes from individuals who may or may
not be good prospects for employment. Even though the percentage of acceptable applicants from
this source may not be high, it is a source that cannot be ignored. In fact, it is often believed that
individuals who on their own initiative contact the employer will be better employees than those
recruited through college placement services or newspaper advertisements.
Good public relations dictates that any person contacting an organization for a job be
treated with courtesy and respect. If there is no possibility of employment in the organization at
present or in the future, the applicant should be tactfully and frankly informed of this fact. Telling
applicants, “Fill out an application, and we will keep it on file,” when there is no hope for their
employment is not fair to the applicant.
Many professional organizations and societies offer a placement service to members as one of
their benefits. Listings of members seeking employment may be advertised in their journals or
publicized at their national meetings. A placement center is usually established at national
meetings for the mutual benefit of employers and jobseekers.
Labor unions can be a principal source of applicants for blue-collar and some professional jobs.
Some unions, such as those in the maritime, printing, and construction industries, maintain
hiring halls that can provide a supply of applicants, particularly for short-term needs. Employers
wishing to use this recruitment source should contact the local union under consideration for
employer eligibility requirements and applicant availability.
Temporary Help Agencies
The temporary services industry is one of the fastest-growing recruitment sources. An estimated
nine out of ten U.S. companies use temporary employees, and the U.S. Department of
Commerce predicts that of all American industries, temporary services will be one of the
strongest employers through the 1990s. Organizations such as Citibank, General Mills, and Avis
use “temps” for occasional short-term assignments. Small business managers use temporary help
when they cannot justify hiring a full-time employee, such as for vacation fill-ins, during peak
work periods, and as a replacement during an employee’s pregnancy leave or sick leave.
Temporary employees, however, are being used more and more to fill positions once staffed
by permanent employees. This practice is growing because temporaries can be laid off quickly,
and with less cost, when work lessens. Some companies use a just-in-time staffing approach
where a core staff of employees is augmented by a trained and highly skilled supplementary
The use of temporaries is a viable way to maintain proper staffing levels. Also, the
employment costs of temporaries are often lower than those of permanent employees because
temps are not provided with benefits and can be dismissed without the need to file
unemployment insurance claims. Used predominantly in office clerical positions, temporaries are
becoming more and more common in legal work, engineering, computer programming, and
other jobs requiring advanced professional training.
National Staff Network, Staff Services, Inc., and Action Staffing are three of a growing number
of employee-leasing firms. Employee leasing, also called “contract staffing” or “staff leasing,”
became popular after 1982 with passage of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act. Unlike
temporary help agencies, which supply workers only for limited periods, employee-leasing
companies place their employees with subscribers on a permanent basis.
In its most common form, employee leasing is a process whereby an employer terminates a
number of employees who are then hired by a third party—the employee-leasing
company—which then leases the employees back to the original organization. However, leasing
companies also hire workers on a continual basis and then lease them to requesting
organizations. The leasing company performs all the HR duties of an employer--hiring, payroll,
performance appraisal, benefits administration, and other day-to-day HR activities—and in
return is paid a placement fee of normally 5 to 10 percent of payroll cost. Some leasing
companies charge payroll cost plus a fixed fee per employee.
Process of dismissing employees who are then
hired by a leasing company (that handles all
HR-related activities) and then contracting with
that company to lease back the employees
Improving the Effectiveness of External Recruitment
With all of the uncertainties inherent in external recruiting, it is sometimes difficult to determine
whether or not an organization's efforts to locate promising talent are effective and/or
cost-efficient. However, there are several things the HR department can do to maximize the
probability of success. These include calculating yield ratios on recruiting sources, training
organizational recruiters, and conducting realistic job previews.
Yield ratios help indicate which recruitment sources are most effective at producing qualified job
candidates. Quite simply, a yield ratio is the percentage of applicants from a particular source that
make it to the next stage in the selection process. For example, if 100 resumes were obtained
from an employment agency, and 17 of these applicants were invited for an on-site interview, the
yield ratio for that agency would be 17 percent (17/100).
The percentage of applicants from a recruitment source
that made it to the next phase of the selection process
This yield ratio could then be recalculated for each subsequent stage in the selection process
(e.g., after the interview and again after the final offer), which would result in a cumulative yield
ratio. By calculating and comparing yield ratios for each recruitment source, it is possible not
only to find out which sources produce qualified applicants, but which sources are the most
Who performs the recruitment function depends mainly on the size of the organization. For large
employers, professional HR recruiters are hired and trained to find new employees. In smaller
organizations, recruitment may be done by a HR generalist; or if the organization has no HR
position, recruitment may be carried out by managers and/or supervisors. At some companies,
members of work teams take part in the selection of new team members.
Regardless of who does the recruiting, it is imperative that these individuals have a good
understanding of the knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences, and other characteristics required
for the job. All too often, a new person in the HR department or a line manager may be given a
recruitment assignment, even before they have been given interview training, before they fully
understand the job, or before they fully comprehend the values and goals of the organization.
It is important to remember that recruiters have an influence on applicants' job decisions.
Recruiters are often a main reason why applicants select one organization over another. One
study showed that recruiters may have significant impacts on perceived job attractiveness, regard
for job and company, and intention to accept a job. Therefore choosing personable, enthusiastic,
competent recruiters has an impact on the success of an organization's recruitment program.
Realistic Job Previews
Another way organizations may be able to increase the effectiveness of their recruitment efforts
is to provide job applicants with a realistic job preview (RJP). An RJP informs applicants about
all aspects of the job, including both its desirable and undesirable facets. In contrast, a typical job
preview only presents the job in positive terms.
Realistic job preview (RJP)
Informing applicants about all aspects
of the job, including both its desirable
and undesirable facets
The RJP may also include a tour of the working area, combined with a discussion of any
negative health or safety considerations. Proponents of the RJP believe that applicants who are
given realistic information regarding a position are more likely to remain on the job and be
successful, because there will be fewer unpleasant surprises. RJP will produce these positive
Improved employee job satisfaction
Reduced voluntary turnover
Enhanced communication through honesty and openness
Realistic job expectations
Like other HR techniques, however, RJPs must be tailored to the needs of the organization
and should include a balanced presentation of positive and negative job information.
Recruitment of Protected Classes
In meeting their legal obligation to provide equal employment opportunity, employers often
develop a formal EEO/AA program. An essential part of any EEO/AA policy must be an
affirmative effort to recruit members of protected classes.
Recruitment of Women
Women constitute the largest numbers among the protected classes in the USA. In 1993, they
accounted for 45 percent of all workers and 60 percent of the total labor-force growth. Women
will be the major source of new entrants into the U.S. labor force over the next thirteen years.
They will make up 62 percent of the net labor-force growth, or 15 million workers, by the year
Contrary to a once-common belief, most women do not go to work merely to “get out of the
house” or to fulfill psychological needs. It is essential for employers to recognize that a majority
of women, like men, work because of economic necessity. In recent years, over 60 percent of all
women in the workforce have been responsible for supporting themselves, and three out of five
of them are heads of households.
A major employment obstacle for women is the stereotyped thinking that persists within our
society. Females are still viewed as possessing fewer characteristics of the “ideal” manager
profile. Another barrier has been that women in the past were not as likely as men to have
professional training and preparation for entrance or advancement into management positions.
This situation is changing, however, with a significant increase in the enrollment of women in
programs leading to degrees in management.
Entrance of Men into Traditional Jobs for Women
EEO/AA requirements have also led to the recruitment of men for jobs traditionally held by
women. More and more men are working as secretaries, phone operators, flight attendants, and
nurses. While the entrance of males into jobs once exclusively held by women will deprive
women of employment opportunities, in the long run both groups will benefit.
The willingness of men and women to assert themselves in jobs traditionally held by one sex
will help make employment conditions better and more equal for both sexes. Higher wages,
better working conditions, and greater job status for both men and women could be the result.
Recruitment of Minorities
Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many members of minority groups have been
able to realize a substantial improvement in their social and economic well-being. Increasing
numbers of African Americans and Hispanics are now in the upper income-tax brackets by virtue
of their entrance into professional, engineering, and managerial positions. However, the
proportion of minorities in these areas is still substantially below their proportions in the total
population. Unemployment among minorities, particularly the youth, continues to be at a
critically high level. Undoubtedly, these rates are considerably higher during periods of economic
downturn when employment opportunities become harder to find.
For many minorities who live predominantly in the inner cities, employment opportunities
still remain exceedingly limited because of educational and societal disadvantages. Also, because
their social environment can sometimes lie apart from the mainstream, traditional recruitment
methods may prove ineffective in reaching them. Community action agencies, civil rights
organizations, and church groups within the communities can provide a means for recruiters to
reach inner-city residents. Special media advertising targeted to this group also may prove
Unless minorities can be retained within an organization, EEO/AA programs are likely to
prove ineffective. If minority employees are to be retained, they, like any employee, must be
made to feel welcome in their jobs, as well as to feel that their efforts contribute to the success of
Recruitment of the Disabled
Throughout the past decade, only about 10 percent of severely disabled adults of working age
have been employed in the U.S. labor force. However, fully two-thirds of disabled adults without
jobs say they want to work. These individuals have often been rejected for employment because
of the mistaken belief that there were no jobs within an organization that they might be able to
Fears that the disabled might have more accidents or that they might aggravate existing
disabilities have also deterred their employment. The lack of special facilities for physically
impaired persons, particularly those in wheelchairs, has been a further employment restriction.
However, physica1 obstructions are being eliminated as employers are making federally
legislated improvements to accommodate disabled workers.
Efforts to eliminate discrimination in hiring, promotion, and compensation of people with
disabilities are expected to increase dramatically as organizations come into compliance with the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Thanks to federal regulations, many organizations are
beginning to recognize that physical disabilities may constitute limitations only with respect to
certain job requirements. An employee in a wheelchair who might not be able to perform duties
that involve certain physical activities may be quite capable of working at a bench or a desk.
Advantages of Employing Disabled Persons
The most frequently cited advantages of employing disabled persons include their dependability,
superior attendance, loyalty, and low turnover. Employers often find disabled workers to be more
intelligent, better motivated, and better qualified than their nondisabled counterparts. However,
the superior performance attributed to disabled workers could also be the result of hidden biases
toward them. These biases may cause employers to require that the disabled be overqualified for
an entry-level job and to avoid promoting them above it.
The Less-Publicized Disabilities
In addition to the widely recognized forms of disability, there are others that can limit hiring and
advancement opportunities. One such disability is unattractiveness, against which employers can
be biased even if unconsciously. Unattractive individuals are said to be those whose facial
features are considered unpleasant but who do not possess physical disfiguration that would put
them in the physically disabled category. Another less-publicized disability in gaining and retain-
ing employment is obesity. In extreme cases, courts have held obesity to be a legitimate physical
Finally, there is the disability of illiteracy. It is estimated that between 20 million and 80
million Americans are functionally illiterate. These individuals lack the reading and writing
abilities needed to handle the minimal demands of daily living or job performance. Further, there
may be as many as 45 million more adults who are only marginally literate.
Recruitment of Older Persons
There is a definite trend by organizations toward hiring older persons. The move has come as a
result of changing workforce demographics and a change in the attitudes of employers and
employees. Organizations realize that older workers have proven employment experience, have
job “savvy,” and are reliable employees. Older individuals are an excellent recruitment source to
staff part-time and full-time positions that are hard to fill.
As organizations plan for their future, top management and strategic planners must recognize that
strategic-planning decisions affect--and are affected by--HR functions. On the one hand, HRP
plays a reactive role in making certain the right number and type of employees are available to
implement a chosen business plan. On the other hand, HRP can proactively identify, and initiate
programs needed to develop organizational capabilities upon which future strategies can be built.
HRP is a systematic process that involves forecasting demand for labor, performing supply
analysis, and balancing supply and demand considerations. Forecasting demand requires using
either quantitative or qualitative methods to identify the number and type of people needed to
meet organizational objectives.
Supply analysis involves determining if there are sufficient employees available within the
organization to meet demand and also determining whether potential employees are available on
the job market. Reconciling supply and demand requires a host of activities, including internal
and external recruitment.
Employers usually find it advantageous to fill by means of internal promotion and transfer as
many openings as possible above the entry level. By recruiting from within, an organization can
capitalize on previous investments made in recruiting, selecting, training, and developing its
Further, internal promotions can reward employees for past performance and send a signal to
other employees that their future efforts will pay off. However, potential candidates from the
outside should occasionally be considered in order to prevent the inbreeding of ideas and
Filling jobs above the entry level often requires managers to rely upon outside sources.
These outside sources are also utilized to fill jobs with special qualifications, to avoid excessive
inbreeding, and to acquire new ideas and technology. Which outside sources and methods are
used in recruiting will depend on the recruitment goals of the organization, the conditions of the
labor market, and the specifications of the jobs to be filled.
The legal requirements governing EEO make it mandatory that employers exert a positive
effort to recruit and promote members of protected classes so that their representation at all levels
within the organization will approximate their proportionate numbers in the labor market. These
efforts include recruiting not only those members who are qualified, but also those who can be
made qualified with reasonable training and assistance.
Employee leasing Realistic job preview (RJP)
Human resources planning (HRP) Replacement charts
Job posting and bidding Skill inventories
Labor market Staffing tables
Management forecasts Succession planning
Markov analysis Trend analysis
Nepotism Yield ratio