Human Resource Recruiting and Selection Using Cellphone Apps

Human Resource Recruiting and Selection Using Cellphone Apps

William Ross (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, USA), Evan Newman (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, USA) and Jeng-Chung V. Chen (National Cheng Kung University, Republic of China)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch016
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The development of Internet-enabled mobile phone applications (apps) affords new opportunities for organizations as they seek to add talent to their workforces. Employers are increasingly reliant on third-party job placement websites (e.g.,, virtual job fairs, Social Networking Websites, and even massively multiplayer online games such as Second Life to recruit job candidates. Organizations are also utilizing their own websites and apps to both attract and evaluate new applicants. Accompanying these trends is the use of Internet-based smartphone testing for evaluating job candidates, as well as the use of mobile videoconferencing to conduct interviews. This chapter describes such trends, and identifies key questions for future research.
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Human Resource (HR) management issues can present challenges to organizations. One set of challenges involves recruiting and personnel selection, because hiring competent people can significantly enhance profitability (Cascio & Boudreau, 2008). Securing appropriate human capital through new information technology may be a viable way to address these challenges (Ghauri, 2011). Over the past two decades, companies have leveraged the growth of the Internet to change the way that they recruit (e.g., Backhaus, 2004) and evaluate (e.g., Tippins, 2009) job applicants. Since the release of the first iPhone in 2007, there has been an exponential growth in the number of individuals using Internet-connected portable devices, such as iPads, Android-based devices, and cellular telephones. Today, there are over 6.8 billion mobile telephone subscriptions for over 4.5 billion customers (Global Mobile Statistics, 2013). Over 46% of the adult U.S. population owns an Internet-connected smartphone (Miller-Merrell, 2012). The purpose of this chapter is to examine how mobile computing’s growth is changing HR management in the areas of recruitment and selection.

Mobile computing differs from traditional computing in several ways. First, people can access wireless (“Wi-Fi”) or cellular networks to conduct personal business, such as shopping and banking, in a variety of locations. This is relevant for HR. For example, a dissatisfied employee on her lunch break can enter a nearby café offering Wi-Fi and, within minutes, apply for a new job. Second, mobile computing, with its small touch screens and tiny keyboards, is well served with a limited number of drop-down menus relative to traditional computing. An HR website that was designed around desktop computers may need to be redesigned for use with smartphones. Third, many firms have created applications (apps); these are simplified versions of computer software specifically (re-)designed for portable devices. Apps may be unique to companies; thus, not only do the apps facilitate mobile computing, they may also promote ‘brand loyalty.’ (Specific apps may be mentioned; this is merely for illustrative purposes and not as endorsements).

Several technological trends are converging to enhance the attractiveness of mobile computing. These include: (1) low-cost Internet-based computing platforms and storage (“cloud” computing), (2) the fact that many HR microcomputer software applications have limited lifespans and many now need to be upgraded or replaced, (3) the desire of many firms to extract information from large-scale databases (“big data” analytics), and (4) consumers seek more convenient, compelling, and easier-to-use computing interfaces (Bersin, 2013). Some users and developers find additional features attractive, including (1) the ability to “always connect” because users carry their devices with them, (2) location-based services, allowing programmers to tailor apps to the user’s geographic position, (3) convenience, allowing applicants to search for jobs from any location, and (4) the ability to customize features for different demographic groups, based on the fact that mobile devices are typically used by only one person (Jabeur, Zeadally, & Sayed, 2013; Mahatanankoon, Wen, & Lim, 2005). Consequently, 10% of U.S.-based organizations now have at least one mobile HR application (“Recruiting, payroll...” 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet Testing: Evaluating job applicants using employment tests and biographical inventories administered over the Internet. Internet testing may be either proctored or unproctored.

Interview: A method of evaluating job candidates that involves a conversation between one or more recruiters and each job candidate. During the conversation, interviewers typically ask each candidate a set of employment-related questions and answer each candidates’ questions about the job and organization.

Recruiting: The process of attracting and encouraging people to apply for a job with a company.

Application (App): Simplified versions of computer software specifically designed for smartphones and other mobile devices.

Virtual Job Fair: Recruiters interview job candidates via technology. Some use the audio- or texting- features of mobile phones; others conduct interviews by computer, using e-mail or videoconferencing via webcams.

Validity: The degree to which a selection device (e.g., a test) measures what its authors intended it to measure; in an employment context, it also refers to the degree to which the selection device predicts job performance, accurately distinguishing among people who perform well vs. poorly.

Human Resource (HR): The area of business that focuses on people management: selection, training, performance appraisal, compensation, safety, and labor & employment relations. Also, a department with an organization that administers policies and programs pertaining to people management.

Videoconference: The use of technology to allow two or more individuals or groups to interact via audio- and video- transmission.

Job Placement Websites: Websites where employers post job vacancies; individuals looking for work can apply to those jobs by completing online job application forms or submitting resumes. Individuals may also be able to post resumes for employers to search by key word. Some sites also offer career advice.

Social Network Websites: An Internet-based service (e.g., Facebook) where users create biographical self-descriptions (called profiles) and identify other users with whom they share information (e.g., text and photos), based on common interests, history, employment, or other features (e.g., geographical location).

Personnel Selection: The process of recruiting and evaluating job applicants in order to hire satisfactory employees.

Smartphone: A mobile (cellular) telephone with computing capabilities, wireless Internet access, texting capability, often using a touch screen and mobile apps.

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