Recent Question/Assignment

Maureen Sills
E-recruitment: A comparison with traditional
recruitment and the influences of social media
A qualitative and quantitative review
Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Bachelor of Business Administration
European Management
Thesis
5 September 2014
Abstract
Author
Title
Number of Pages
Date Maureen Sills
E-recruitment: Comparison with traditional recruitment and the influences of social media
55 pages + 3 appendices
5 September 2014
Degree Bachelor of Business Administration
Degree Programme European Management
Specialisation option Human Resource Management
Instructor
Louise Stansfield, Senior Lecturer
Web 1.0 did not affect the recruitment process like social media does today. After the transitioning from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 in the last ten years, a whole new world of recruitment appeared, E-recruitment. E-recruitment is a recent phenomenon that has brought forth a challenge for recruiters and job seekers.
The purpose of this study was to explore whether the traditional recruitment process has diminished and what social media has influenced. In this paper, the author felt it appropriate to conduct a qualitative analysis along with a quantitative analysis to gain an eagle’s eye into the subject. Utilising secondary research to support and argue many points made by the empirical research, the author was able to come to a conclusion regarding the hypotheses made during researching.
The research brought to light many findings, opening further research recommendations. E-recruitment is the present and the future of recruitment, but some aspects of traditional recruiting are here to stay.
Keywords E-recruitment, recruiting, social media, recruitment process
Contents
1 Introduction ...................................................................................................... 1
1.1 Methodology .............................................................................................. 1
1.2 Structure of thesis ...................................................................................... 3
2 Literature Review .............................................................................................. 4
2.1 Human Resource Management .................................................................... 5
2.2 Staffing ...................................................................................................... 8
2.3 Recruitment and Selection ........................................................................... 8
2.4 The Recruitment Process ............................................................................. 8
2.5 Internal Recruitment ................................................................................. 11
2.6 External Recruitment ................................................................................ 11
2.7 E-recruiting .............................................................................................. 12
2.8 What is E-recruitment? .............................................................................. 12
2.9 Social media networks .............................................................................. 13
2.10 Growth of E-recruitment ............................................................................ 14
2.11 Trends of E-Recruitment ........................................................................... 17
2.11.1 Vacancy advertising ........................................................................... 17
2.11.2 Uses of social media ........................................................................... 18
2.12 Millennial Generation (or Generation Y) ...................................................... 19
2.13 Comparison of Generations........................................................................ 20
3 Research findings ............................................................................................ 23
3.1 Qualitative Research ................................................................................. 23
3.1.1 Company Profile: HERE....................................................................... 23
3.1.2 Interview structure ............................................................................. 23
3.1.3 Searching for candidates .................................................................... 24
3.1.4 Advantages and challenges ................................................................. 25
3.1.5 Shorter application cycle; same recruitment process ............................. 26
3.1.6 SM hindering the chances of hire ......................................................... 26
3.2 Quantitative Research ............................................................................... 27
3.2.1 Questionnaire Design ......................................................................... 27
3.2.2 Demographics .................................................................................... 28
3.2.3 Employment ...................................................................................... 29
3.2.4 Social media usage ............................................................................ 30
3.2.5 Twitter versus Facebook ..................................................................... 31
3.2.6 LinkedIn versus XING ......................................................................... 32
3.2.7 Traditional versus online job applying .................................................. 33
3.2.8 Job searching – preferred online channel ............................................. 34
3.2.9 Job searching – using SMN? ................................................................ 36
4 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 40
4.1 Limitations ............................................................................................... 41
4.2 Future research ........................................................................................ 42
5 References ..................................................................................................... 43
Appendices ........................................................................................................... 46
Appendix I. Interview questions ........................................................................... 46
Appendix II. Survey questionnaire ....................................................................... 47
Appendix III. The usage results of each social media network. ............................... 50
List of Figures and Tables
Figure 1. The four primary activities and their components of HRManagement .............. 7
Figure 2. The traditional recruitment process ............................................................. 9
Figure 3. The evolution of recruiting ........................................................................ 16
Figure 4. Age of Participants ................................................................................... 29
Figure 5. Different methods that were used to find a job ........................................... 30
Figure 6. Uses of different social media networks ..................................................... 31
Figure 7. Twitter and Facebook usage comparison .................................................... 32
Figure 8. Applying via Traditional versus Online comparison ...................................... 33
Figure 9. Responses to using SM to find employment................................................ 36
Figure 10. Statement comparisons about SMNs and job searching ............................. 37
Figure 11. Recruiter’s reactions to content on SMN profiles ....................................... 38
Figure 12. Statement comparisons about SMNs content and hiring ............................. 39
Table 1. Classification of social media. ..................................................................... 14
Table 2. Today’s generations and workplace characteristics ....................................... 20
Table 3. Top five worker traits for each generation ................................................... 21
Table 4. The advantages and challenges of E-recruitment ......................................... 25
Table 5. LinkedIn and XING usages ......................................................................... 33
Glossary of Terms
CHRIS – Centre of Human Resources Information Systems
E-recruitment – Electronic recruitment
Gen Y – Generation Y (those born between years 1981 to 2000)
HRM – Human Resource Management
Intranet – a private computer network usually used in companies for local communication
SM – Social media
SMN – Social media networks
USD – United States Dollars

1 Introduction
Recruitment is a rollercoaster ride that is only going to become more exciting technology and innovations arise. Starting with word of mouth, signs outside Personnel offices and newspaper ads: the human resource field has expanded to encompass new and previously unheard of techniques. The purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of how recruiting has evolved and the ramifications that E-recruitment has on the recruitment process. E-recruitment is a relatively new phenomenon, so the author will try connecting the dots of how traditional recruitment process evolved to the modern day recruitment process using social media.
This paper aims to lend support to recruiters and job seekers with the movement of recruitment trends. Interviews with two senior recruiters at HERE Deutschland GmbH and a survey completed by non-recruiters will show a primary indication of current recruitment trends. The author will attempt to evaluate the situation based on primary and secondary research.
Social media (SM) recruiting is arguably a competitive strategy that more and more companies will need to adapt in their overall business strategy and will be very important in the future. SM has already impacted and changed the nature of the traditional recruitment process. Availability to a massive pool of active and passive job seekers, recruiters can access and contact potential employees with a simple click of a button.
1.1 Methodology
During a mandatory six month internship as a Recruitment Coordinator at a German based company, HERE, the author observed that there was a trend in not receiving hardcopy applications. If one was received, it was reviewed and considered, and then the applicant was sent an E-mail asking for an application through the means of an online channel in the future.
This led to the study of literature and articles that discussed the recruitment process and the implications of social media; which will be discussed in Chapter 2 Literature Review. Many of the sources present findings that the recruitment process has shifted from the traditional recruiting to E-recruitment, removing hard-copy application. However, not all of the studies agreed.
Unable to see a conclusive pattern in the case for today, as the empirical literature was out-dated by six to seven years, the author broached the question, “What changes have occurred for traditional recruiting and how has social media influenced the process?”
Primary research and secondary research was used to support this study. A minor case study was conducted in form of semi-structured interviews with two recruiters from a large corporation to obtain the opinion of professionals in the recruitment field. Both interviews were conducted individually, taking 45 minutes each. In order to understand how a job seeker perceives the recruitment process and its trending behaviours, the author conducted a survey to analyse the different views. Various sources of secondary research were used to support or to give comparison of the findings from this research study.
To perceive and understand previous research done on the topic of trends and processes of recruitment, the three following hypotheses were created:
H1: Traditional recruitment is disappearing behind the scenes of E-recruitment
H2: Social media is shortening the application cycle
H3: Social media is hindering the applicant’s chances of hire.
As a result of the research conducted, it should be possible to understand today’s recruitment process and unwind the future recruitment trends for companies and job seekers.
1.2 Structure of thesis
The structure of this thesis follows a system of chapters. In total, there are four chapters:
1. Introduction
2. Literature Review
3. Research findings
4. Discussion
The introduction introduces the study and the purpose for the study. The literature review consists of background information about Human Resource Management and the current recruitment process situation. Chapter 3 Research findings cover the empirical discoveries that the author found during the qualitative and quantitative studies. To conclude the thesis, Chapter 4 Discussion will discuss the findings and further recommendations of the study, wrapping up with the pros and cons for future recruitment.

2 Literature Review
The amount of empirical literature for E-recruitment is limited as it is a comparatively new subject. The author needed to approach the topic in a traditional view of recruitment followed by the transformation to modern day recruitment. Many of the relevant articles were found on academic databases: Google Scholar, Springer, Emerald, EbscoHost, and ABI inform: Proquest.
The challenge was to find various sources of information for this topic. Various keywords were needed for the search. As it is a rather new and exploratory topic, the author began with the keywords, “social media”, “E-recruiting”, “E-cruiting”, “online recruiting” and “E-recruitment”. These results set a map forward for the author.
Various sources were chosen due to their similarity to the topic. Some sources from outdated publications as far back as 2003. Text, originally written in German, was translated into English for this study’s use. German text has been chosen to support this study for the ease of access and support of this study’s purpose. The author resides in Germany at present time. One of the German texts that have been translated into
English is from a research network, Centre of Human Resources Information Systems (CHRIS), whose main focus is to track the trends of recruitment. Since 2002 and in collaboration with Monster.de, CHRIS has been publishing annual reports highlighting the common recruitment behaviour in Germany’s top 1,000 largest companies. Another German source was from a book containing a multitude of studies regarding recruiting on social media. This source was filled with detailed studies conducted by Dr. Sonja Salmen and Bernd Rath – published in 2012. Dr. Sonja Salmen is a professor for social media, relationship and strategy management for Heilbronn University since 2003. Bernd Rath is CEO of one of Germany’s regional leading companies, BERA GmbH which is a consulting company for businesses and job seekers. The studies provided background information regarding the history of E-recruitment and the various uses.
Dr. Anna Holm’s research; regarding E-recruitment, the recruitment process and candidate relationship management for Danish companies was chosen as a source; due to the relevance of the information. The Department of Business Administration, Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University in Denmark supported and financed the research. The version of the recruitment process in Holm’s research was adapted from various sources of known Human Resource Management authors as Alice Barber, Gary Dessler, Mike Millmore, Mark Saunders, and Philip Lewis and researchers, Dave
Bartram, James Breaugh and Mary Starke. Despite the vintage research from 2008 to 2010, the relevance of the recruitment process has not changed, thus making this a valid source for this thesis. This research was found in the EbscoHost database under the keywords, “E-recruitment” and “recruitment”. The latest review of Holm’s work was in 2012.
Research performed in 2007 still can have relevance to today’s behaviour in social media. Danah Boyd, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, and Nicole Ellison, Associate Professor at University of Michigan, co-wrote the research paper “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship.” It is in this research that the definition of social media is found and various history of social media used later in this thesis.
Another research paper referenced is that of marketing professors at the ESCP Europe Business School in France, Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein. They sought the challenges and the opportunities as a tool, providing a definition of the different social mediums.
Lastly, a source used for information of social media and recruiting is Jobvite. Jobvite, established in California, USA, is a recruiting platform for social recruiting, sourcing and talent acquisition solutions. The use of the studies provided by Jobvite is up-to-date but targets the American labour sector, creating a regional bias in the results. Jobvite has been publishing annual reports for six years regarding social recruiting.
The use of the countries (Germany, Denmark and the USA) in this study is nonspecific. The main reason for utilising these studies is due to the information available for the research conducted in these countries. There is a special reference to Germany as this is the residence and work related experience of the author.
2.1 Human Resource Management
Human Resource Management (HRM, or simply HR) has many meanings. In order to break down to a simple definition of HRM, we must explore how others perceive the topic of HRM. A well respected HRM author, Michael Armstrong (2006) views HRM as “a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organisation’s most valued assets – the people working there who individually and collectively contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the business”. Another view of HRM is “HRM refers to all those activities associated with the management of work and people in organisations” (Boxall & Purcell, 2011). From the information gathered from these three well known professors, the author of this thesis uses the following definition: HRM is a function in an organisation that manages the needs, the wants and the strategic methods of people working for the organisation to ensure they reach and achieve the objectives of the business (Armstrong, 2006;Boxall&Purcell, 2011).
Often, Human Resource Management is used interchangeably with -personnel management- (Armstrong, 2006). Personnel management now obsolete name for HRM, evolved with new job requirements through federal and state laws implemented in the United States of America in the 1960s (DeCenzo;Robbins;& Verhulst, 2013). When HRM was introduced in the United States through a course at Harvard Business School in 1981, the new approach changed the future of -people management- and personnel management forever (Price, 2011). Personnel management is now narrowed to people aspect only. To set a perimeter in this thesis to avoid confusion and miscommunication, the author wishes to dismiss -personnel management- from the definition of HRM (Armstrong, 2006).
HRM can be argued to be the most important role in an organisation. The activities of HRM focus on approximately four general functions as illustrated in Figure 1 on page 7 (DeCenzo;Robbins;& Verhulst, 2013).
The four primary activities consist of:
1. Staffing
2. Training and Development
3. Motivation
Figure 1. The four primary activities and their components of Human Resource Management borrowed from DeCenzo, Robbins and Verhulst (2013).
All activities of HRM need to be integrated in the companys strategic management process. Each function carries responsibility towards the organisations ultimate success. For the purpose of this thesis, the author will only explore detail of the staffing function in relevance toward this thesis.
2.2 Staffing
The staffing sector begins with human resource planning. Human resource planning is to ensure the organisation has the long-term and short-term strategies in the overall organisations forecast, including the right type and amount of employees for the positions to support the success of the organisation. Planning prepares HRM with a foresight of what present and future personnel needs the organisation will have (DeCenzo;Robbins;& Verhulst, 2013).
2.3 Recruitment and Selection
Generally -Recruitment and Selection- is read as a conjoined function. As these two have different responsibilities, it is fair to give separate definitions.
Recruitment is not a simple process to put in a simple sentence. Recruitment strategies differ all over the globe, but the common elements are: attracting, finding and procuring. Recruitment is often reported in literature as the process of analysing the job requirements, pooling together a network of qualified candidates and hiring the best fit person for the role in order to gain a competitive advantage (Boxall & Purcell, 2003).
Selection is the process of choosing the best fit person for the role from the generated pool of qualified candidates (Bratton & Gold, 2007). These two processes correspond with each other; without recruitment, there is no selection.
2.4 The Recruitment Process
Recruitment essentially brings talent to the company. Recruitment can be a function of an organisation’s in-house HR or it can be subcontracted through a Recruitment Processing Outsourced (RPO) company. An RPO replaces or acts as the internal recruiting function, searching and attracting new employees for an organisation. Either way, recruitment follows a process. Lee (2005) makes note in his study about the evolution of E-recruiting that the traditional recruitment process follows a step-by-step sequential process. In Anna Holm’s (2012) research about E-recruitment and the recruitment process, she illustrated a visual summarisation (See Figure 2 on page 9) of the traditional paper-based recruitment process which was adapted from various HRM sources, including Lee’s version.
Figure 2. Anna Holm’s visual summarisation of the traditional recruitment process (2012).
Holm (2012) found that the first task of recruiting is to identify the hiring needs. The organisation relies on Human Resources plots to understand the requirement for longterm and short-term strategies. It is these strategies that will underline the path the organization will utilise. Once hiring needs are identified, the subtask of creating a job description, job specifications and identifying the appropriate pool of applicants is crucial. The one responsible for the job analysis proceeds to review the job elements and essential knowledge and skills for the position. There are many methods, for example; the individual interview and group interview methods, where an individual or group of people currently in a similar role can discuss with Human Resources the job specifications and expectations. When a role does not currently exist, the technical conference method is of value where subject matter experts who have extensive knowledge of the main job duties can give input to the Human Resources
(DeCenzo;Robbins;& Verhulst, 2013). This stage is the base of the recruitment process.
Holm’s (2012) second stage of the recruiting process is to attract potential ideal candidates by preparing the job announcement. Ideally, the recruitment source and advertisement would be chosen by the industry and position the company is requesting to reach the target audience. In order for a candidate to know about the job, the job announcement must be attractive, loud and clear.
The third task is the processing of incoming applicants. This consists of receiving, sorting, pre-screening and evaluating applicants. During this task, it is also important for the recruiter to communicate with the hiring manager of the position. The hiring manager will help the recruiter formulate the next step for the next task of the process.
Lastly, communication with the applicant is critical. There is fierce competition or “War for Talent” for the best hires and a recruiter who does not have good communication skills could lose valuable applicants. After pre-screening, the recruiter discusses the next step of the application with the manager which can result in ending the process or shortlisting the candidate for interviews.
If the candidate is to proceed with interviews, how an interview is conducted is dependent on the location of the candidate in regards to the office of employment, nationality of the candidate and the position. Sometimes, due to physical location and visa restraints, it is more beneficial to organise online meetings first. Does the candidate need to bring examples of past work, is the work easily transported or do they need to be tested of skills on the spot, what equipment is needed for the interview? The interviews need to be placed on a grid of comparison and reasoning. If there is more than one interviewer, a company has to be able to grade or score the interviews uniformly for the final decision making. The recruiter and the hiring manager should discuss in detail the next steps of the candidate’s application.
2.5 Internal Recruitment
Internal recruitment refers to promoting talent already within an organisation. Usually, internal recruitment is initiated by an employee who wants to change roles or is losing their current role and needs a new position. There are two ways of recruiting within an organisation: internal job postings via the company intranet or internal job boards, and career ladders. According to David DeCenzo et al (2013), hiring internally reduces costs and improves probability of a great selection because information on the individuals performance is readily available. A study performed by Matthew Bidwell (2011) finds that internal recruits are cost efficient as externals are paid more than internal promotions. Externals need to feel confident about accepting the job at an organisation, especially if the potential employee is making large changes in their life for the job, thus, a higher pay premium is paid (on average 17% higher than internal hires) (Bidwell, 2011). However, this thesis will focus on external recruitment and how it refers to the influences of social media in recruitment.
2.6 External Recruitment
External recruitment finds talent outside of an organization. Traditionally, external recruitment was built around advertising: signs outside business, word of mouth, newspaper advertisements and employment agencies. Newspapers were delivered with fresh news daily to the doorsteps of readers. These advertisements have seen a decrease in usage as technology has developed and changed the procurement of news. Employment agencies have been a supporting factor of employers and workers finding each other, whether it is temporary, headhunting or consulting agencies. Job fairs have had its share in the history of recruiting, however, they are still a strong and suitable method of attracting candidates and increasing employer branding. Newer and more technical versions of job fairs are virtual job fairs, which become aimed to technological savvy candidates. Much like job fairs, recruiters create online “booths” where candidates and representatives meet and greet – these can be grouped with other companies or a single company.
As competition for candidates grow stronger and the “War for Talent” adds pressure in the employee procurement, universities and other educational institutes play a large part of the external recruitment. Since most jobs set some sort of school requirement (e.g. a high school diploma, Bachelor’s, Master’s, etc.), these institutes provide an ideal resource pool. This does not limit those who lack work experience, as it is a common behaviour to return to school for further training.
Nowadays, job boards and career websites are chosen for these advertisements, alongside the corporate websites. These are more likely to be updated before any other channel as it is closely monitored by recruiters and highly used by candidates.
2.7 E-recruiting
The digital world has brought a new dimension to the world of recruiting. The World Wide Web, or Web 1.0, shortened the search time, costs and offered a transparent method of information for candidates (Salmen, 2012). In the early 2000s, companies only had their career websites running as their main source of communication about their organisation’s news: current open vacancies, contact details and changes in the organisation. The design of Web 1.0 imposed a one-way communication style where web surfers could absorb information from the site. Those candidates that did find the vacancies on an organisation’s website and had interest sent an initial e-mail with their CV and a cover letter attached to the contact person listed on the website or still through Post. Two-way communication rarely occurred as it was an uncommon strategy in recruiting (Salmen, 2012).
The modern web innovation, like Web 2.0 (will be defined later in section 2.9), has forever changed the talent procurement process. This phenomenon is known as “Erecruitment”.
2.8 What is E-recruitment?
When broken down, the term “E-recruitment” is comprised of two parts. The “E” stands for “electronic” and “recruitment”. Often, E-recruitment is known as online recruiting, social recruiting or Internet recruiting, however, this thesis will refer to E-recruitment for simplicity. To add to the previously introduced definition of recruitment, E-recruitment can only be described as the process of any personnel advertising or attracting, selection and application processing via the Internet, for external candidates, or Intranet, for internal candidates. The findings from Holm’s (2012) thesis were that there was a difference between the paper-based and the electronic-based recruitment process. From the findings, Holm’s found that the electronic-based recruitment process began with few electronic tools for line managers to commence the recruitment process, e.g. line managers were putting their hiring needs into a Word document and sending it to the responsible recruiter. The recruiter then had to read each applicant and rate the order. In some cases, this is handled through filter programs bringing top applicants to the forefront. Holm’s (2012) study was conducted between the years 2008 to 2010 in three companies in Denmark, which could have limited the validity of the recruitment process today as electronic technology has been developed for the evolving topic of recruitment.
2.9 Social media networks
Often, social media is referred to as Web 2.0. As refreshing as this sounds, Web 2.0 is not a new technological phenomenon like social media; it is an innovation built on the concept of the internet. According to Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2010), “Web 2.0 is a term that was first used in 2004 to describe a new way in which software developers and end-users started to utilise the World Wide Web” as a platform to be under continuous modification of content and applications. Because of the usage changes, Web 2.0 has evolved into something to satisfy the needs of the user without the need of a programming background. Web 2.0 allows users to smoothly alternate from being the creator or author to being a reader.
Social media is a recent phenomenon. A definition of social media or of social media networks is provided below:
…as web-based services that allows individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).
This definition does define what social media or social media networks are, but it is limited to a particular type of social media, e.g. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn type mediums. Another definition that leads to a broader understanding of all social media is that of Kaplan and Haenlein’s (2010):
Social Media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
Kaplain and Haenlein continues by stating that though this definition gives a general idea of what social media is, it still does not define the individual classification of social media applications. In a three by two matrix, Kaplain and Haenlein (2010) were able to compare the different classifications by separating each from self-presentation and selfdisclosure versus the social presence and media richness. The individual classifications of social media were grouped together by the use or category each fall under: blogs, social networking sites, virtual social worlds, collaborative projects, content communities and virtual game worlds (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). The self-presentation and self-disclosure (SP/SD) are understandably the representation and self-impression one wishes others to perceive of them. Aligning these with the social presence and the media richness (SP/MR), which are the amount of social interactive between the audience and the author, Kaplan and Haenlein found that scaling these from low, medium to high by high and low was most fitting.
Table 1. Classification of social media by social presence/media richness and selfpresentation/self-disclosure.
Social Presence / Media Richness (SP/MR)
Low Medium High
Self-
Presentation /
Self-Disclosure
(SP/SD) High Blogs Social media networks (e.g. Facebook) Virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life)
Low Collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia) Content communities (e.g. YouTube) Virtual game worlds
(e.g. World Of
Warcraft)
Source: (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010)
2.10 Growth of E-recruitment
The use of E-recruitment grows full tilt, though the benefits for E-recruitment have not changed much over years; Carolien Handlogten (2009) listed them in a case study thesis for a Dutch airline about the implementation of E-recruitment:
- Cost savings
- Ease of use for candidates
- Larger candidate pool
- Ease of use for the organisation
- Increasing the speed to hire
- Success in finding candidates
- Keeping ahead of competitors
The positive return on investment of the benefits of E-recruitment is proved by Jobvite’s study (2013). Jobvite has been conducting annual surveys for the past six years to follow the patterns of recruitment in the United States. The results from their 2013 study found that 33% of the participants claimed the time to hire has improved, along with 43% agreed that quantity of candidates has also improved.
Since the pioneer job board, Monster.com launched in 1995, companies began to realise the magnitude of the Internet and employee procurement. The Institute of Economics of the Computer Science University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany set up a research network in 2002 in cooperation with Monster.de, the German counterpart of
Monster.com and Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg to review the trends of recruiting.
The annually published report, “Recruiting Trends” is a study that has been live since 2002 to review the recruitment trends, employer branding and the new innovative: Erecruiting. The study consists of the top 1,000 companies in Germany (Beimborn, 2014).
A team of people from the CHRIS (2012) research network assembled and analysed all the “Recruiting Trends” reports over the past ten years into one report, “Recruiting Trends: Ein Rückblick auf 10 Jahre”. The report, originally written in German, shares valuable information about how recruitment was, is and will be in the future; at least in Germany. The roles of recruiters and recruiting have altered since 1995. In Figure 3 on page 16, recruiting generalists now have moved to being recruiting specialists. A generalist is often known as a “jack of all trades, master of none” whereas a specialist is able to focus on one field and have full knowledge of that field. There are positives and negatives about these two titles. A generalist is great for hiring blanket company positions, e.g. hiring in Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and IT all together. A specialist is beneficial for when hiring in a particular area of expertise, e.g. software engineers only. In an analysed case study with Bertelsmann AG conducted by CHRIS in 2011, the representative stated that it was the “Recruiter 2.0 is the team that combines all the skills in an enterprise and can operate in the common use of the recruiting skills.” This means that in today’s recruitment, there must be diverse professionals who are skilled in one or two areas of expertise. The role the recruiter has also taken a turn over the past 19 years. What had started off as an operation administrator where recruiting was interviewing those who applied, now is a consultant who mediates the hiring manager and the potential candidate. This could mean the recruiter headhunting candidates if they find their profile attractive for the position.
According to the Recruiting Trends report (Weitzel et al, 2012), most of the 1,000 top companies in Germany responded they have presence on Facebook and have even assessed social media to add a positive effect to their recruitment.
Below, Figure 3 displays a timeline of how recruiting has developed and evolved from the traditional sense of print media like newspapers to social media on the Internet. Give or take, there was a five year interlude between each innovation. Each media had its selective audience which it reached, for example, print media only reached a certain area of their audience, whereas social media now can attract different people in different areas.
Figure 3. The evolution of the innovations in recruiting from the 1990s to today. Adapted and
translated from German source: Recruiting Trends: Ein Rückblick auf 10 Jahre (translated to “A
10 year review”) (2012).
2.11 Trends of E-Recruitment
According to Professor Doctor Sonja Salmen in her book, co-written by Bernds Rath, “Recruiting im Social Web” (2012), the recruiting process can be optimised up to 20% through social media and companies should consider this strategy, if they have not. According to PewInternet.org (2014), 74% of online adults use some form of social networking site as of January 2014. That is a 66% increase since 2005.
Social media networks have already been adopted by 92% of the companies in the United States of America. 93% of those are found in LinkedIn, 66% found in Facebook and 54% found in Twitter. These companies are actively searching for young talent. Companies are finding themselves in a tougher talent competition than they have in previous years, and they are already taking actions to reduce the risks. There has been an 85% increase in recruiting activities via social media since 2007 (Salmen, 2012).
CHRIS has found that the top three external challenges for recruitment today are demographic change, lack of skilled workers and social media. These implications affect all industry: engineering, health, IT, business, etc. German companies are becoming increasingly technologically adept with talent acquisition, however, not rapid enough for today’s trends. Only two out of ten vacancies are posted on social media channels. However, there has been a 14.8% increase in a year of German companies discovering that the use of social media in recruitment to be positive, totalling to 64.8%. These companies understand the challenges of social media recruiting; one-third of Germany’s top companies responded that they have social media strategies and activities planned for the next quarter. In a report conducted by Eva Zils of SocialMedia-Recruiting.com, it was found that out of the 335 German companies who took part in a 2011 survey, 45% still had no social media recruiting budget set for 2012 (Zils, 2012). It is likely that this study included small-medium enterprises that have no intermediate competitors who are already visible in social media recruiting.
2.11.1 Vacancy advertising
In 1997 when print advertisement was the popular form of advertisement, CareerXroads found that 28.7% of their 256 survey participants attracted and hired employees from newspaper ads (Crispin & Mehler, 2010). This is without statistics of how many applicants applied through newspaper ads or how long the advertisements ran. The average cost per hire, as referred to in the report, for printing newspaper advertisements was 1,638 dollars (USD) per hire (as an average of all hires). Then, the average Internet cost-per-hire was 678 dollars (USD). In 2007, the same study was presented by CareerXroads to 41 participants whom claimed only 4.6% of their hire was through printed newspaper ads. There was an even bigger decrease in 2009 with only 2.5% sources of hire (Crispin & Mehler, 2010). Zils (2012) found that 45% of the German companies in her study still preferred to contact candidates through newspaper ads. In the US, print classified help-wanted advertisements dropped 80% between the years 2008 and 2009. That is large shift of expenses of about 50 billion US dollars for US employers. However, these statistics could differ for different areas of profession. In a study presented for clinical trial recruitment in South Africa, it was deemed that print advertising, despite the expenses to be a highly effective recruitment method compared to other recruitment methods (Burgess & Sulzer, 2010). Though, this could be the effect that less than 50% of the population in South Africa has access to the internet (Miniwatts Marketing Group, 2014).
2.11.2 Uses of social media
Social media has its different applications for companies. A third of respondents to CHRIS’s Recruiting Trends 2014 survey said that Facebook is where they choose to discuss and communicate with potential employees and 19.1% said they use XING for job postings. It is important to mention that 63.6% of the respondents felt a profile of some career network, like LinkedIn or XING, would be important to candidate’s profiles in the future (CHRIS, 2014).
Still, majority of the German companies (56.3%) prefer candidates to apply for jobs through application forms, followed by 35.9% stating they prefer E-mail application. A surprising 1.9% of the respondents still expressed a preference for paper-based applications. The author assumes that due to the traditional values in German culture the use of traditional means is still prominent. The rest of the respondents did not have a preference for the application process.
Variable social media use can support companies immensely, if properly utilised. For example, in an organisation of 100 employees who all have approximately 150 contacts on social media that organisation can potentially reach approximately 15,000 initial contacts. Ultimately, the spread reaches 2.25 million secondary contacts (Salmen, 2012). Because of the reach, employees can support the company indirectly by sharing or expressing opinions or upcoming events.
2.12 Millennial Generation (or Generation Y)
The workforce today is composed of four generations: the Veterans, the Baby Boomers,
Generation X and now, the Millennial Generation, commonly known as Generation Y (Gen Y). The latest generation, “Generation Z” has yet to enter the workforce. Depending on the source, the timeframe for each generation gap can vary. The author has viewed various sources and has determined that the generations are as follows (McCrindle Research, 2012) & (Hammill, 2005):
- The Veterans, also known as the “Silents” cover the years 1922 to 1945
- Baby Boomers are those whom are born between the years, 1946 to 1964.
- Generation X portrays the age group between the years, 1965 to 1980.
- Generation Y, the youngest working class in today’s workforce, 1981 to 2000.
- Generation Z, the latest generation who will not be discussed in this paper for they have no presence in the current workforce, from 2001 to present.
It is beneficial to review the generations as each generation has added to the development of HRM.

2.13 Comparison of Generations
In Table 2 below, from Greg Hammill (2005), demonstrates a comparison of the four generations and their workplace characteristics. The credibility of the information is still valuable despite the nine year old source. The generations before Generation Y could not have changed since this report was created and Gen Yers continue to use E-mail and voice mail communications. However, the author felt the need to include “instant message” in the Gen Yer’s communication as Skype and intra-messaging platforms (e.g., Lync) are popular forms of communication.
Table 2. A comparison between four of today’s generations and workplace characteristics.
The Veterans (1922-1945) Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) Generation X (1965 – 1980) Generation Y (1981 – 2000)
Work is … - An obligation - An exciting adventure - A difficult challenge
- A contract - A means to an end
- Fulfilment
Communication Media - Rotary phones
- One-on-one
- Write a memo - Touch-tone phones
- Call me anytime - Cell phones
- Call me only at work - Internet
- Picture phones
- E-mail
Leadership Style - Directive
- Command-
and-control - Consensual
- Collegial - Everyone is the same
- Challenge others
- Ask why - *N/A
Interactive Style - Individual - Team player
- Loves to have meetings - Entrepreneur - Participative
Communications - Formal Memo - In Person - Direct - Immediate - E-mail
- Voice mail - **Instant Message
* Not enough evidence for this characteristic to be determined.
** Not the opinion of Greg Hammill but of the author
Source: (Hammill, 2005)
Each generation has had its challenges in work and lifestyles. The challenges set current stances of beliefs, laws, and state-of-the-art technologies for the times. Employment to the Gen Y is a means to an end, whereas previous generations reviewed work more as an ambitious challenge or adventure. However, the common stereotype that Gen Yers are not as committed to their work as their predecessors has been found untrue in the NextGen research study conducted by PwC (2013). They are just as devoted to their work as their predecessors. Generation Y has become the focus point generation in today’s recruitment trends as Palfrey and Gasser (2008) have defined this generation as the digital natives. The means of communication is through E-mail, Internet, picture phones and voice mail is familiar having grown up in the digital world. The fallacy is that because social media is faceless Gen Yers do not value face-to-face, in the same manner. The research conducted by PwC (2013) has found that “[Gen Yers] have a natural aptitude for electronic forms of communication, email and social media platforms” but these “are not always their communication vehicles of choice, especially when it comes to discussions with their managers about their careers.” As shown Table 2, the leadership style of Gen Y cannot be analysed because there has not been enough working years to investigate the style.
Table 3 is adapted from a survey report of Generational Differences conducted by Society for Human Resource Management (2004). This illustrates the average responses from Human Resource professionals for each generation’s top five worker traits. The participants were asked to rank a list of 19 worker traits in order, and these were the outcome.
Table 3. Top five worker traits for each generation from a survey conducted by SHRM Research.
The Veterans (1922-1945) Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) Generation X
(1965 – 1980) Generation Y
(1981 – 2000)
- Long-term organisation plan
- Respectful of organisational hierarchy
- Likes structure
- Accepting of authority figures in
the workplace
- Gives maximum effort - Give maximum effort
- Accepting of authority figures in the workplace
- Results driven
- Long-term organisation plan
- Retains what they learn
- Technologically savvy
- Likes informality
- Learns quickly
- Seeks work-life balance
- Embraces diversity - Technologically savvy
- Likes informality
- Embraces diversity
- Learns quickly
- Needs supervision
Source: Generational Difference report by Society for Human Resource Management (2004), pg.
11.
Like previously mentioned, the generations have grown up in different eras. Technologies, societies, and the way of life have altered or been modified as years continue to go by. The traditional traits of a workplace have changed. Long-term career plans have shortened and lessened, not only because Gen Y has become more informal in the workplace, but because the heightened competition and the risen expectations of today’s society in the workplace. Though PwC has found that there have been similarities between today’s generation and previous generations’ reasons for staying or leaving companies, there are differences. There is a greater expectation of support, flexibility and appreciation from the Gen Yers. These contribute to the satisfaction Gen Yers have in their firms. Previous generations place pay and development opportunities higher than the Gen Yers’. The sense that Gen Yers need supervision at the workplace hints that they seek a need for separation of life and work life. PwC supports this reasoning in their NextGen research and says that Gen Yers are unwilling to make work an exclusive priority (PwC, 2013).
This is relevant for the recruitment process as it is necessary to understand how and what the Generation Y will expect for the future job offers. In the next few years, there will no longer be any signs of the Veterans in the workforce and there will be an increasing amount of Baby Boomers reaching their retirement. According to Jobvite’s survey (2013), 35% of Generation Y is optimistic about finding a job in 2014, whereas only 11% of Baby Boomers were optimistic about finding a job.