The use of technology in personnel recruiting has increased tremendously within the last few years. In particular, the World Wide Web (www) has gained importance for human resource (HR) managers (see, for example, Puck, 2002). Different methods of ehuman resource management have been developed, among them electronic recruiting. According to Lee (2005), “e-recruiting is the second largest application in the e-commerce area” (p. 493). Anyhow, research results on electronic recruiting are relatively scarce and the existing studies are published in a number of different disciplines and publication types. Given both the relevance and the scarce results this chapter aims to review the existing studies and to summarize their findings. To do so, we explain the two major methods of electronic recruiting—internal corporate Web site recruiting and external online recruiting—and discuss their benefits and pitfalls from the perspective of employing companies. Finally, we present possible future developments in the field.
Recruiting is understood as the combination of personnel pooling and personnel selection, with the objective of obtaining (personnel pooling) and selecting (personnel selection) an adequate number of applicants with the necessary qualifications (Holtbrügge, 2007). It is open to discussion whether the definition of recruiting should include induction and other successive activities (like mentoring), or exclude the process of selection. For the purpose of this article, all induction and introductory activities have been excluded. This, however, does not imply that these post-selection activities are less important or cannot be assisted electronically.
To structure personnel pooling, four interdependent aims can be distinguished: information, acquisition, selection, and action. The objective of information is to fulfill the applicants’ information needs is argued to be the most important function in this context (Feldmann & Klaas, 2002). The strong role of the information function in personnel pooling can be supported by the inducement-contribution theory of March and Simon (1958). Following this theory, possible applicants are only willing to apply if they have an inducement for their contribution. Thus, they need to be informed about the possible inducements of the company and the possible new position before they decide to participate (e.g., to apply). The aim of acquisition is to gain and maintain the interest of possible applicants. Previous recruitment research shows, that the acquisition function has to be carefully adjusted to the target group of each job offer since demands vary strongly between different social and demographic groups (Puck, 2002). The role of the selection function is to provide assistance for self-selection of the applicants. Since each applicant causes expenses no matter if qualified or unqualified, unqualified applicants shall be forced not to apply or in other words to deselect themselves. Breaugh (1992), for example, uses the concept of signaling to explain how organizations signal to prospective employees about life in the organization. Of course the goal of such signaling is to provide a sort of realistic job and organization preview so that the prospective employees can more accurately decide whether to apply to an organization. Finally, the role of the action function is to get people to apply. Previous studies show that the modalities of application (e.g., number of requested references, period of application, application method) are critical for the success of the action function.
The process of personnel selection can be divided in pre-selection and selection processes (Buckley, Minette, Joy, & Michaels, 2004). Pre-selection processes include all processes that divide qualified and non-qualified applicants without having direct face-to-face contact. In addition, only negative selection decisions (“who will not get the job”) are made during the pre-selection process. Frequently applied techniques in the pre-selection process are, for example, the screening of application documents or biographic questionnaires. Contrary to that, the selection process includes face-to-face interaction with the applicants and the selection of the future job holders. Interviews, (psychological) tests or combinations of both (e.g., in assessment centers) are frequently applied methods in the selection process.