Webster Buchanan Research conducted a survey among 100 HR directors and managers in the UK to analyse the different approaches organisations take to recruitment and the challenges they encounter. The project assessed a broad range of issues facing mid-sized and large organisations, from the shift to web-based recruitment and their overall recruitment philosophy, to the way they report on the effectiveness and business impact of their recruitment activities.
Key findings from the survey include:
- The vast majority of respondents (85%) believe recruitment should be viewed as a sales and marketing exercise, not purely an HR administrative task, and that HR should actively seek to learn lessons from colleagues in sales and marketing to improve its effectiveness.
- While national newspaper and trade media print adverts are the most effective sources for generating high-quality applicants today, respondents expect their relative value to decline sharply in two years time as online recruitment dominates. However, there is scepticism about the effectiveness of social networks as a recruitment tool.
- The biggest challenge facing respondents is the difficulty of finding good quality candidates. Respondents see web-based recruitment as part of the solution, helping them extend the reach of their campaigns and market their organisations more creatively.
- However, the level of adoption of web-based recruitment is still relatively low. Four out of five interviewees will be using their own websites to display vacancies within the next year, but only 16% currently allow job applications to be submitted via their site. Less than one in ten is currently able to handle web applications electronically throughout the entire recruitment process.
- The market for recruitment automation is growing fast. Only 14% of respondents use software to manage their internal recruitment activities today, but almost a quarter plan to do so within the next twelve months.
- Speeding up the recruitment process was identified as the second most important benefit of purchasing recruitment software (after cutting costs). Three out of five respondents identified delays caused by line managers as a challenge, while two out of five said it was difficult to manage the recruitment cycle quickly enough to beat competitors to job offers.
- Surprisingly, however, a high proportion of respondents seem to see no link between delays within the business and the potential to ease them through HR self-service. Only a quarter of respondents either allow line managers to post jobs themselves and track the progress of applications via HR self-service today, or plan to do so within a year – and 43% have no plans at all. Yet self-service allows managers to carry out administrative tasks directly, improves their information access and gives them better visibility into the progress of applications.
- More than half of respondents said they would consider using a ‘hosted service’, where software is run by the supplier and accessed by the customer over the internet for a fee – while one third ruled it out. The volume of positive responses is significant because this approach is comparatively new in the relatively conservative HR environment. Given that recruitment can largely be run as a standalone business process, it particularly lends itself to the hosted services model. Key benefits identified by respondents include avoiding the hassle of managing their own software, reducing the cash flow impact of purchasing new software, and allowing users to access the system from anywhere over the web. Chief concerns were around privacy and data security.
- Recruitment reporting is still largely centred on HR-specific metrics such as time/days to hire, rather than business-centric measurements. Less than a quarter of respondents (23%) report on the direct cost of recruitment today, for example, and just 6% on indirect costs (e.g. in HR/line managers’ time) – although both figures will rise significantly over the next year. Likewise, there is a limited amount of reporting on the effectiveness of different sources for job applicants. However, one third of respondents report on the business impact of unfilled vacancies (e.g. the impact on productivity), with another 28% expecting to do so within twelve months.