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Critical Analysis of Job Design, Recruitment Methods, and Selection Processes in Employee Resourcing

| March 31, 2015

With the increasingly competitive business environment, many organizations realize that the way employment resourcing is handled may significantly affect their capacity to perform optimally, compete favourably, and achieve their business objectives. It is for this reason that employee resourcing, an aspect of the broader human resource management, is concerned with not only helping the organization obtain and retain the right kind of human resources, but also employing them effectively and efficiently in order to help the organization achieve its goals. This is particularly in view of the idea that if the recruitment and selection process and other aspects of employee resourcing are not well managed, the organization may not reap the benefit of having skilled and suitable employees to help it realize its goals (Huselid, 1995).

Indeed, employee resourcing is a complex process that involves several important elements and considerations. In addition to ensuring that the job design is relevant to the needs of the organization and appealing to the interests of the candidate, the recruiting organization also needs to ensure that it adopts the appropriate recruitment and selection techniques that would help produce the right employee. At this stage, the recruiting organization also needs to ascertain the likely factors that may affect employee performance, considering that skill, qualification, or experience are not sufficient guarantees of likely performance – factors pertaining to commitment and motivation are equally important. Additionally, the regulatory environment, especially in terms of legislations that govern employment contracts, equal opportunities, and workplace fairness, health, and safety issues, also influences the employee resourcing process. The extent to which these diverse elements intermingle largely reflects the relative effectiveness or success of the employment resourcing process, and provides indications about the organization’s likelihood to achieve its goals through the performance of employees.

Job Design and its Importance in Employee Resourcing
Job design is critical in the employment process because not only does it affect the extent to which a given job would be satisfying to the employee, it defines the degree to which the organization’s productivity needs would be realized through the employee’s performance on the job. As Buchanan (1979) notes, job design has to do with specifying the contents, methods, and relationships of a given job with the aim of satisfying organizational requirements as well as the job holder’s personal and social requirements. Aspects of job design include work organization (replacing or rearranging work by e.g. division of labour, automating, or teaming); job structuring (enriching the job by granting control over work, granting responsibility for different levels or types of work); and location/scheduling (granting greater flexibility with regard to alternative scheduling, telecommuting, etc.). The importance of ensuring the right job design is that it helps the organization achieve a fine balance between its own needs and the needs of the employee, knowing that such a balance would facilitate greater cohesiveness between the efforts of all the employees in the organization – which may significantly enhance organizational performance. A number of authors have therefore argued that badly designed jobs may be responsible for more performance problems in organizations than managers and human resource professionals may realize (see for instance Campion and Thayer, 2001).

In order for job design to be relevant to employee resourcing and help organizations address their performance needs, it has been suggested that human resource professionals need to address four key questions (Kelly, 1992): (1) What are the factors that motivate individuals to work? (2) What are the most significant job characteristics? (3) How can job design alternatives be identified? (4) What changes are to be implemented in job design? In addressing these questions, it is worthwhile to understand job design from two functionalist perspectives. The first perspective defines job design in terms of “the process by which managers decide individual job tasks and authority” (see Gibson et al, 1994, p. 505); the second perspective suggests that job design should involve “applying motivational theories to the structure of work in order to improve productivity and satisfaction” (see Daft, 1994, p.530). The first perspective may help the organization identify how job design alternatives can be identified and the changes that need to be implemented in job design. On the other hand, the second perspective helps the organization to take cognizance of the motivational factors that underpin individuals’ attitudes to work, and to identify the most significant characteristics associated with the job in order to determine the kind of individuals that would fit best in such positions.

Choosing Appropriate Recruitment Methods for Effective Employee Resourcing
One of the most important decisions that organizations need to make in order to find suitable employees involves choosing the most appropriate method of recruitment to attract a pool of qualified applicants. As Hendry (1995) explains, recruitment serves the purpose of attracting suitable applicants and assessing their qualifications and background information in order to ascertain their eligibility for the vacant positions. In broad terms, recruitment may be either internal or external. Internal recruiting involves looking within the organization for qualified employees who may be promoted to higher-level positions or new openings within the firm. On the other hand, external recruiting is a more elaborate form of recruitment that involves looking outside the organization to find prospective employees to fill positions within the firm. The method used by the organization may depend on its extant recruitment policy and other contextual factors (Rynes and Barber, 1990). However, in terms of external recruitment, a variety of recruitment sources are available to the organization – including job advertisements, internet/online recruiting, job fairs and job centres, use of recruitment agencies, campus recruiting, personal recommendation/employee referral, etc.

In determining the right recruitment method to use, the organization needs to evaluate the job design as well as the kind of individuals and qualifications it requires for the vacant position. For instance, it may be appropriate to adopt the internal recruitment method in situations where the vacancy in an organization requires an individual with a proven track record of performance and commitment, and that is already very familiar with the workings, environment, and values of the organization. In this case, it may best serve the interest of the organization to identify a suitable employee within the organization that would be redeployed or promoted to occupy the vacant position. This recruitment strategy does not only help simplify the employee resourcing process and reduce costs; it also has the added advantage of motivating employees to perform better in view of the confidence reposed in them by promoting them to higher positions with greater responsibilities, and facilitating the retention of highly skilled employees (see Schwan and Soeters, 1994; Langan, 2000).

On the other hand, it may be counterproductive to rely on the internal recruitment method if any current employee of the organization does not possess the level of experience, qualification, and technical/professional expertise required to perform effectively in a given position. In this case, it may be more appropriate to adopt appropriate external recruitment techniques to attract a wider and more diversified pool of suitably qualified individuals from which the best persons would be selected to occupy the vacant positions and help the organization enhance its performance and achieve its goals. However, with the increasing complexity of business operations globally, and the expansion in organizations’ activities and operations, highly talented and experienced individuals have increasingly become scarce in the marketplace – leading to the notion of a ‘war for talent’ between organizations (Trank et al, 2002). The implication of this emerging reality is that organizations now need to do more to ensure that their recruitment strategies achieve the desired results of attracting the best candidates for the vacant positions.
In addition to ensuring that the appropriate recruitment methods are used, organizations also find that they need to present themselves (and the advertised jobs) in a way that is attractive and appealing to the kind of candidates they seek to attract. Accordingly, an organization that hopes to recruit the most qualified and talented individuals needs to showcase the positive characteristics of the organization and its work environment, the attractive features of the job design, the learning opportunities and employee benefits, as well as the associated factors that make the organization and/or job ideal for the candidate (Rioux and Bernthal, 2009). Similarly, highly rated individuals may also use the way that the organization handles its recruitment process as a basis for measuring or evaluating the organization; this further increases the importance of recruitment strategy and choice of recruitment technique (Bateman and Snell, 2004).

Elements of an Effective Selection Process
The employee resourcing process only begins with effective recruitment, after which the candidates that are adjudged the most qualified or suitable are selected from the pool of shortlisted applicants. In other words, selection represents the process through which the ideal candidate emerges out of several qualified applicants – not necessarily due to the candidate’s superiority over the other applicants, but often by performance that the assessors perceived as outstanding during the in the assessment routines (Macan and Dipboye, 1994). Just as it is important to use appropriate recruitment methods to attract the desired specification of applicants, it is also critical to the success of the employment process for the recruiting organization to use the right selection techniques and procedures. This not only ensures that the selected individuals are qualified and competent enough for the vacant position, but also motivated, committed, and imbued with the right kind of attitude and character that would make them perform effectively and productively in the role assigned to them.

Indeed, selection comprises elements of job specification (i.e. defining the exact position for which a vacancy exists), job description (i.e. the duties and responsibilities associated with the specified position), and person specification (i.e. clearly defined preferences about the range of competencies, personal attributes and behavioural profile required in the individual that would occupy the specified position) (Nayab, 2010). Accordingly, it is a more comprehensive process that involves more in-depth two-way communication and evaluation of the candidates in order to ensure that they are competent enough to perform well at the job and compatible enough with the culture and structure of the organization to fit in quickly and effectively.

There are several techniques that organizations can use in selecting desired candidates to fill vacant positions. In addition to interviews, which are arguably the most commonly used selection technique, other methods include assessment centres, bio-data, psychometric tests, cognitive and physical ability tests, etc. (see Smith and Robertson, 1993; HR-Guide, 2001). Although organizations may choose one selection technique or a combination of techniques depending on its employment policy or the specific contextual requirements of the job, it has been suggested that all selection methods should incorporate elements of reliability, validity, utility and legality in order to ensure the integrity of the outcome of the selection process (Schumann, 2005). There are pros and cons to every selection technique, and it is important for the organization to determine the most effective way of maximizing the advantages and mitigating the disadvantages of the chosen method in a way that makes it relevant to the needs of the organization with regard to getting the best individuals as employees.

For instance, the interview selection technique provides the opportunity to meet face to face with the candidate for the purpose of evaluation, and in order to exchange vital information that may indicate the likely future performance of the candidate (Anderson and Shackleton, 1993). In other words, the interview helps the organization to assess closely the capacity of the candidate to perform effectively and efficiently in the position for which he or she was recruited. It also provides an opportunity for the organization to describe the roles and responsibilities attached to the position, and to create a favourable view of the organization to the candidate (Harris, 1989). Although interview is a widely used selection method, its efficacy is often predicated on the accuracy of the performance forecasts that the assessors make based on observing the candidates and their responses to questions. Indeed, depending on the job requirement, and the depth of personal and technical abilities that an individual would need to perform effectively in the position, it may not be appropriate for the organization to depend solely on interviews given that predictions of future performance based on a few moments of face-to-face interaction may prove to be erroneous.
Accordingly, and to the extent possible in a specific context, the organization may find it necessary to consider other selection methods such as the assessment centre for instance. With the assessment centre technique, candidates are given the opportunity to practically demonstrate, under simulated and standardized conditions, the necessary skills and competencies that enable them to successfully perform in the position that they seek to fill in the organization (see Kimberley, 2010). Given that assessment centres simulate a real-life job situations in contexts that are similar or identical to the actual duties and responsibilities that the vacant position entails, they represent an effective means for assessors to ascertain the real capabilities of candidates, and judgments made on the basis of such assessment are more likely to be correlate to the candidate’s future performance on the job. However, irrespective of the selection technique that an organization chooses, the extent to which it is able to select suitable candidates depends on the quality of the entire selection process, and the professionalism and competence of the assessors (Searle, 2003).

Key Issues that Influence Employee Performance
The ultimate goal of employee resourcing is to ensure that the organization employs the right candidates who would perform optimally towards enhancing organizational operations and achieving organizational goals. In this regard, it has been severally noted that although expertise, qualification, and experience critical to the ability of employees to perform well in their positions, they are not in themselves sufficient. Elements such as motivation, commitment, job satisfaction, organizational culture person-job fit, and person-organization fit have also been acknowledged as very crucial to employee performance (Sekiguchi, 2004). For instance, an individual may possess abundant talent and expertise that makes the organization to select him as the most qualified from the pool of applicants, and assign him to an important position within the organization with reasonable expectations of high performance. However, if such an individual is dissatisfied with the organizational environment, the working conditions, career development opportunities, workplace relations, welfare and compensation package or indeed the job design, he may lose motivation and commitment – which may significantly diminish his performance and productivity (see for instance Locke and Latham, 1990; Posner, 1992; Sheridan, 1992).

Similarly, employee performance may depend greatly on the extent and quality of training and support provided by the organization (Russell et al, 1985). In this regard, the degree of impact that training and support has on employee performance may vary substantially depending on the category of individuals being hired. While experienced individuals’ may only require organizational level support and periodic refresher training programs, entry-level employees are require considerable training and consistent retraining in order to enhance and consolidate their productivity level (Rynes et al, 1997). As such, the quality of organizational training and support may also be a significant issue that affects employee performance

Implications of Legislation on the Employment Process
The considerable changes in employee resourcing and employment relations in general are arguably attributable to significant developments in the legislations and regulatory framework that governs employment. Extant legislations now thoroughly address workplace issues ranging from employment contracts to equal opportunities, flexible working, and worker safety. Indeed, the post-1997 employment relations legislation (instituted by the Labour Government) in the UK established a comprehensive framework of minimum employment standards that addressed key issues relating to working time, national minimum wage, unfair dismissal and workplace procedures, inequality and discrimination in the workplace(Dickens and Hall, 2005). Apart from this holistic legal framework, several other extant legislations address specific issues related to employment relations. For instance, in terms of equal opportunities, the Equal Pay Act 1970 (Amended 1983) addresses the issue of the right to earn the same contractual pay and benefits as persons of the opposite sex that are in the same employment. Similarly, the Employment Equality Regulations 2003, Disability Discrimination Act 2005, and Race Regulations 2003 are extant legislations that seek to address discrimination based on gender, belief, disability, race, or ethnicity. These legislations have had tremendous implications for employment relations as they have empowered a diverse range of employees to expect equality and fair treatment in the workplace (GOS, 2007).

Similarly, the content and character of employment contracts have evolved considerably over the years in response to the provisions set down by employment legislations – particularly post-1997. There is now a greater sense of mutuality and reciprocity in the formation of contracts between employers and employees. While employers now increasingly concede more rights to employees (such as, for instance, increased maternity leave or flexible working), it is also made clear to employees that they have an obligation to obey lawful instructions and demonstrate commitment to their jobs and to their employers (Deakin, 2001). The procedures for seeking redress by parties to the employment contract are now much clearer and enforceable, while the broader legal framework now incorporate a range of issues that help in addressing conflicts that may arise in employment relations.

It is clear that employee resourcing is influenced by a combination of diverse factors, all of which collectively determine the degree to which the employment process achieves its main objective of facilitating organizational performance. In addition to ensuring an effective and attractive job design, organizations find that they need to adopt the appropriate recruitment method in order to attract the right kind of candidates for selection. Given that highly skilled and qualified individuals are increasingly scarce in the labour market, it is now imperative for organizations seeking to attract this category of individuals to evince a positive image of an attractive organization that is the ideal place to work. Furthermore, organizations also realize that notwithstanding the skills and expertise that candidates may possess, they also need to be suitably motivated, committed, and compatible with the job structure and organizational culture and environment in order to perform effectively. These disparate elements indicate that employee resourcing requires a broad range of success factors in order for it to be effective on an on-going basis. Additionally, the modern legal framework governing employment issues, which has reshaped the character of workplace relations and introduced new standards, also imposes the need for employers and employees to find a suitable balance between their respective interests for their mutual objective of achieving or sustaining performance at the individual and organizational levels.

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