Using technology for global recruitment: why HR/OB scholars need US knowledge?

Elfi Furtmueller

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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This dissertation contributes to the Electronic Human Resource Management (e-HRM) literature and specifically aims to enhance our understanding on how to design and innovate e-Recruiting technologies. Despite many organizations that proudly advertise their success with e-Recruiting services, it cannot be denied that many of these organizations – after years of experimenting with it – have already abandoned e-Recruiting, retreating to timeworn routine recruiting techniques such as newspaper ads, career fairs and employee referrals. This dissertation has revealed that e-Recruiting systems frequently suffer from sustainability issues, involving ineffective resume storage, problematic sorting of large volumes of digital applications and communication problems with HR/OB and IS scholars and practitioners. Bringing the virtues of the best explanatory theories of human resource management/organizational behaviour and information systems together is challenging, mirroring the real life difficulty of persuading traditional personnel departments of the genuine working value of computerized information systems. It cannot be stressed enough how deep-seated is the loyalty to older timeworn normal means of recruitment – where face-to-face contact and recruiters’ individual evaluation of applicants’ skills (e.g. pre-screening, selection interviews, assessment centers) were long seen as an integral part of a recruiter’s job. Recruiters are of course still important in the overall recruitment process because they perform a fundamental role in articulating information about the job and the hiring organization .That being said, e-Recruitment should help recruiters to take the matching of employees and employers to the next level. For example, organizations that use corporate career sections can provide applicants with patently superior information about the organization, its culture, the job and career perspectives. When investments in technology are made naively – without a corresponding evolution in the organizational skills and routines, the result might be a significant productivity loss. The potential value of IT is subject to being overcompensated by negative influences due to a profound mismatch of long-standing organizational practices and the IT structure implemented. Overcoming barriers to IT adoption in recruiting thus requires a deeper understanding of the requirements of e-Recruiting systems. The dissertation has shown that poorly designed and ineffective recruiting services discourage job applicants from submitting and updating profiles. Recruiters, in the business of screening job applicants, are increasingly dependent on information systems especially digital resume databases. They were found to be frustrated about wasting their time on digital applicants in outdated resume profile databases Consequently, this thesis took a service engineering approach by studying the diverse needs of end-users of such systems (applicants, recruiters, employee branding professionals), system designers, developers and managers of e-Recruiting systems, in order to innovate and make e-Recruiting services more dynamic and thus sustainable. The theoretical implications of this dissertation are to bring together the concepts of e-Recruiting services architecture and the options that are inherent in the dynamic design and operation of market structures, processes and workflows for strategic human resources sourcing. Electronic staffing activities need to be integrated seamlessly along the entire recruiting process in order to take full advantage of emerging technologies. Importantly, effective e-Recruiting services require not only useful information sections on careers and continuing education, but can also encourage social exchanges of their users if they perceive that doing so might contribute to advancing their careers. The future is likely to belong to those career services who rethink the elusive nature of loyalty in hyperspace, and best understand their users’ shared social identity. Once they grasp this they should strive to provide semantic technologies that genuinely enhance users’ online experiences in terms of social exchange, self-esteem, privacy, sense of control and playfulness. This book is useful for organizations to more effectively coordinate recruiting processes; internationally-oriented strategists who need to optimize global recruiting services; designers and developers of service-oriented staffing systems; and academics engaged in strategic e-HRM type research. We also offer some cross-cultural insights for managing e-Recruiting development projects based on our empirical investigations in Austria, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Wilderom, Celeste P.M., Supervisor
Award date22 Jun 2012
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3384-3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2012


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