4. Recruitment – Human Resource Management: Text and Cases



Chapter Objectives

  • To develop appropriate recruitment strategies for an organization and understand the process of recruitment.
  • To understand the sources of recruitment and their advantages and disadvantages.
  • To understand employer branding and learn how to design and implement an employer brand strategy.
  • To understand metrics to measure the effectiveness of the recruitment process.

Opening Case

Orion was one of the world's top Business Intelligence (BI) product companies. Its Indian subsidiary, Orion India, was headquartered from Mumbai. The mandate for the company was the selling and implementing of Orion BI software. The Indian office started in 1995 and till the year 2000 the company was headed by an expat who was given the task of setting up operations in India. In 2001, when Subrata Das joined as the CEO of the organization it got a new impetus. The company started doing well—every few days the company notice board had a congratulatory note for the sales team for the ‘largest order for Orion India’. With the increase in sales, the company drew out ambitious growth plans.

In Orion, the annual planning was done in December for the coming year and all headcount budgets were approved from the regional office (in the case of India, the regional headquarters was Singapore). Ambitious plans to grow meant increase in sales team, pre-sales team and implementation consultants and support people. The India team was not very big and constituted of few, but, very high-quality experts of diverse kinds. The sales team was organized in industry verticals such as Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), Retail, Manufacturing and the team members were usually industry experts with good IT understanding. They were the ones who front ended sales and maintained the relationships. The preparation of the technical proposal and the technical expertise required to explain to the client was done by the pre-sales team. They were technical experts of Orion software with specific set of industries that they specialized in. The implementation consultants were the ones who would work with the client after the sale of the software to ensure its integration into the client system to the satisfaction of the client. The implementation consultants usually played the role of project managers and sourced the implementation working hands from other smaller software players. The rationale to not hire these people was to save the bother of keeping them employed with projects at all times. Now they had people working only when they had projects.

When Sukanya had joined the HR team, it had been one of the happiest days of her life. She loved the business that the company was in, she knew that the company had been on the list of Great Places to Work in America from the year the survey had started and the CEO was someone who believed in keeping HR in the inner circle. ‘For a company like this, how difficult would it be to get people?’ she had thought to herself at the time of budgeting. She was very confident of getting people on board as per the plan—till now, her small team had been able to service the requirements of the business really well. However, as the years started rolling, hiring of people started proving to be a nightmare. The more she thought about it the more perplexed she would be. Last month the pre-sales head was very upset with her and was short of calling her inefficient. He had yelled his way into HR releasing a ‘Walk-in’ advertisement in Times Ascent. He had also insisted that HR make sufficient arrangement for refreshments for the candidates who would walk in. Sukanya knew it would be of no use, but then she had no other way out. The day the walk-ins were announced, 11 people came in. None of their profiles were close to what they had asked for. In fact, two ex-army people came thinking that business intelligence was the same as military intelligence.

These days she could hardly get sleep, so one Sunday morning before anybody had got up at home—she took her mug of coffee and decided to put all the facts on paper—maybe that would help her come up with some ways to tackle the problem. The company was an international brand, but people outside of the software world still confused it with a travel services company with the same name. The Orion brand magic had not worked in India. Software experts preferred to work with a services firm which implemented all products (different companies) and did not want to build expertise on any product exclusively. Higher employability for an IT specialist meant knowing the products of many companies—not just one. It had been eight months that they had been looking for a supply chain consultant—the ones they liked were not sure about joining a software product company. Their salary was competitive with the best software companies in India. However, they could not offer very steep hikes—internal parity was important. They did not want to lose what they had, all for making it easy to get people from outside.

Placement consultants were just doing a keyword search and sending stacks of resume—shortlisting was like looking for a needle in a haystack! To say the least, they were not taking work off their table—instead adding to it! Recommendations from employees were as good as the follow-up effort of the HR team—if you pestered people they did refer, but, not many. The recruitment process had one element which was proving to be a bother. Before offering to any candidate, the HR in India had to have the terms of the offer (complete with comparative salaries internally and externally benchmarked) approved by Singapore before the offer could be made. Once the paperwork was in place, approvals from Singapore were just an e-mail away. Moreover, the offer could be made to the candidate immediately. Every offer was mapped against an approved headcount and obviously no offer against that headcount could be made to anyone else. Often candidates would accept the offer and ask for a month or a couple of months joining period and then a week prior to the joining date convey their inability to join them. Usually their organizations had succeeded in retaining them. In such cases, the recruitment process had to start afresh and that took the organization many steps back.

She looked at her list of woes waiting for some solution to emerge…


  1. Why is Orion not able to attract people in spite of being a good company and a strong brand in the BI market?

  2. What could Sukanya do to expand the pool of candidates for Orion?

Water, water everywhere, not a single drop to drink!


—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

This line is apt to describe the situation of recruiters in India. You do not understand what this means? Let us start with a couple of no brainers. First question—What does an organization need to come into being? Ideas, objectives, plans, financial resources and people resources! How does an organization get these people resources? Someone reading this book in 1992 would have said ‘Why? What is the big deal? Put an advertisement in the newspaper and take your pick.’ But then those were the days—things are no longer the same! You can still put in an advertisement and you are likely to get thousands of resumes. How many do you think would be relevant—very few! We are in the second decade of the twenty-first century and the same question is not so easy to answer. In the earlier days, the challenge used to lie in picking the right candidate—now the problem is to get a sizable pool of good candidates to choose from. And in this lies the challenge of recruitment.


Recruitment is defined as ‘those practices and activities carried out by an organization with the primary purpose of identifying and attracting potential employees’ (Barber 1998). Note that the definition insists on ‘identifying’ and ‘attracting’ candidates and not on selecting and hiring them. This is the principal difference between recruitment and selection—two very important sub-functions of human resource management. Here are a few other definitions by experts—


Recruitment is the set of those activities which an organization carries out to identify and attract potential employees.

Recruitment is the process of searching for potential employees and stimulating them to apply for the jobs.


—Edwin Flippo

Recruitment is a process to discover the sources of manpower to meet the requirements of the staffing schedule and to employ effective measures for attracting that manpower in adequate numbers to facilitate effective selection of an efficient workforce.


—Dale Yoder

In all these definitions, you have to note the fact that though hiring is the ultimate objective of the recruitment process, yet it is not a part of the recruitment process. The recruitment process is responsible for generating as many as possible qualified candidates for a position to go into the selection process. The key word here is ‘qualified’—qualification would mean only those applicants who are eligible for the position progress to the next step which is ‘Selection’.


To hire great talent, it is important to have a recruitment strategy in place. But what is recruitment strategy? When recruitment in an organization is done in a way that it is aligned with the strategic objectives of the organization it can be called strategic. According to Breaugh (1992) and Starke (2000) HR practitioners have to effectively articulate the answers to the following five questions in order to make recruitment strategic. These are:

  1. Whom to recruit?
  2. Where to recruit?
  3. What recruitment sources to use?
  4. When to recruit?
  5. What message to communicate?

4.2.1 Whom to Recruit?

The primary purpose of recruitment is to fulfil the requirement of people. This requirement may arise due to several reasons such as retirement, turnover, expansion of business and the need to upgrade the talent pool in anticipation of the future. The organization has to be clear about what positions need to be filled. Requirement of human resources (HR) is normally an output of the human resource planning activity and will denote the number of positions that need to be hired in various functions at various levels and at various locations. Along with the numbers, the recruiters should study the job descriptions too; this would help them to know the various criteria such as the qualifications set and experience of the candidates they need to keep in mind while shortlisting candidates. Do the candidates need to be from the same industry and similar related projects or someone with a general background would also be suitable? These would be some of the questions that the recruiter needs to have answers to.

4.2.2 Where to Recruit?

There are three dimensions to this question:

  1. Should the organization hire internally or externally?
  2. Should the organization hire from the industry or outside the industry?
  3. Should the candidate be from the local commuting area, same country or anywhere in the world?

The process that would be followed for an internal hire may be transfers, promotions, lateral move to advance an employee's career etc. The process for external hire will have to decide whether the focus will be on the same industry or a different industry. Hiring from the same city, country and a foreign location will also influence the recruitment strategy and process. Reliance ADA Group follows the process of internal hires—they move employees as and when the position arises to their group companies such as Reliance Capital, Reliance Mutual Fund, Reliance Power, Reliance Entertainment and other related companies of the group to get an exposure to different industries.

4.2.3 What Recruitment Sources to Use?

There are a dozen ways to source for candidates—however, all are not appropriate for all kinds of positions. Based on the position requirement, the state of the market environment, and other contingent factors the organizational needs to identify the most appropriate source(s) of recruitment. While traditional sources such as, newspapers advertisements, placement consultants, campuses of educational institutions continue to be used, many new forms of sourcing are also finding their way into the market. The Internet has also brought in a revolution with job sites, virtual job fairs, access to chat rooms and blogs and now the latest the social media. The choice of the source will be the key to having a cost-effective recruitment. Several companies such as Merck and AstraZeneca have decided to go boldly where no other pharmaceutical companies have gone before and are beginning to experiment with Twitter as a recruiting tool.

4.2.4 When to Recruit?

Recruitment usually starts when a position is rendered open. However, this is not the only way it should be. Organizations may begin recruiting in anticipation of open positions too. For example, if the organization is aware of a competitor hiring aggressively in the market, it should start recruiting in anticipation so that the organization is not hit by a sudden exodus of employees which cannot be filled quickly. Continuous search is also something that organizations can do. This is especially meaningful for an organization which has a predictable trend of attrition and also where skills are rare and difficult to find. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in 2009 announced that it had changed its hiring strategy to focus on just-in-time hiring or real-time hiring. Before this, the company used to hire engineers from campus one year in advance. However, due to the slump in the market it had to postpone the date of joining for these engineers for several months. Therefore, they changed this to hiring only three months prior to the date of joining of the engineer. The company said that it did this to optimize and increase its utilization, and also align its hiring strategy closer to the demand and supply of business.

Apart from the timing when the company starts recruitment, another important element to be taken care of in terms of time is when there are multiple requirements. Needless to say, no recruitment function has enough resources to fill every position immediately with the top-quality hire. As a result, the recruitment strategy should clearly set priorities in terms of hires. An organization might choose to put a certain unit's requirement on top priority or certain skills on top priority depending on the HR strategy of the organization.

4.2.5 What Message to Communicate?

Recruitment is a very important point of interface between the organization and its potential employee. It is important to communicate the unique value proposition of the organization during this interface. In popular management terms, this is known as ‘Employer Branding’. Employer branding manifests itself in many activities which are a part of the recruitment namely advertisement, interaction with external agencies such as executive search firms, students at campuses etc. Employer branding is not meant to show immediate results; it is a long-term strategy to attract potential employees to the organization thus aiding recruitment.


Recruitment actually means translating the HR strategy and HR planning into action. The accountability of the recruitment process lies with the HR department, although many tasks are shared with the line manager (Figure 4.1).

4.3.1 Recruitment Objectives

A recruitment process can have diverse objectives—while the ultimate intent is to fill the position with the best quality hire at the least cost—there are many interim objectives in the process. Recruitment processes can have one or multiple objectives such as:

  1. Number of applicants
  2. Ratio of offers to applicants
  3. Ratio of shortlisted candidates to applicants
  4. Ratio of selected to shortlisted
  5. Diversity in the applicants/final hires
  6. Number of positions filled
  7. Recruitment cycle and time frame
  8. Quality of the position filled
  9. Psychological contract fulfilled

Figure 4.1 Recruitment model


Source: Adapted from ‘A Model of the Organizational Recruitment Process’, and Breaugh and Starke (2000).


These objectives cannot be ranked in the order of importance or quality at all. The choice of objectives is entirely dependent on the HR strategy of the organization. An organization that is struggling to attract applicants would want to track the number of applicants—on the other hand, an organization that has a large catchment pool but is still struggling with finding the right hire would want to track the ratio of shortlisted to sourced candidates.

4.3.2 Recruitment Strategy

As explained in the previous section in detail, a recruitment strategy seeks to answer the five questions: Whom to recruit? Where to recruit? What recruitment sources to use? When to recruit? What message to communicate? Answers to these questions would guide the design of the rest of the recruitment elements.

4.3.3 Recruitment Process Elements

The recruitment process consists of the following four important elements:

  1. Employer branding
  2. Recruitment planning
  3. Sourcing
  4. Screening and shortlisting

Employer Branding

Employer branding is the process of creating a desirable image in the minds of the potential employee. This image can be created by communicating a unique ‘Employee Value Proposition (EVP)’. This has to be communicated to potential employees at every stage that they interface with the organization. An organization which intends to position itself as a caring organization would send a candidate the location map and the public transport details to get to the office—an employer who cares would not make its applicants wait for a reply for days/weeks about the status of their application. This is why an employer branding strategy has to be made and the recruitment process should be a reflection of what the organization wants to be perceived as by applicants and potential employees.


Employer branding is the process of creating a desirable image in the minds of the potential employee.


Recruitment Planning

Recruitment planning consists of the following:

  • Job analysis: The result of job analysis is the preparation of a couple of documents which aid in enhancing the quality of the recruitment. These documents are the job description and the job specification. A job description is a well-articulated document that describes the duties and responsibilities of the job. A job specification is a document that specifies the minimum acceptable qualities required for a person to complete the job satisfactorily. While a job description comes in handy to explain to the candidate what the job is like, the job specification document can aid the recruiter in doing an effective search or sourcing.


    Job analysis is the systematic process of determining the knowledge, skills and abilities required for performing jobs in an organization.

  • Time lapse data: Time lapse provides the average time that elapses between the points of decision-making in the recruitment and the selection process. This helps in deciding various timelines for the recruitment process. For example, if a certain position is best sourced through a newspaper advertisement and it is known that the entire recruitment and selection cycle takes three months to close, then for any (anticipated) open position the recruitment can start three months in advance. Apart from this, the time lapse data can also be used to analyse the recruitment cycle to increase its efficiency with a better planning and a redesign of sub-processes.


    Time lapse data provides the average time that elapses between the points of decision-making in the recruitment and selection process.

  • Yield ratio: The yield percentage at any step of recruitment is the percentage of candidates available after elimination at that step. Therefore, if 5,000 candidates have applied and out of this only 1,500 fulfil the eligibility criteria then yield ratio at the first level of elimination is 30 per cent. If this figure applies to applicants for an advertisement then this percentage could be a reflection of the attractiveness of the advertisement, its reach, the pertinence of the information which was shared etc. The yield ratio can also help an organization decide as to which channels of recruitment are working better than the others.


    Yield ratio at any stage of recruitment is the percentage of candidates available after elimination at that step.


The source or the channel mix is very important. The decision where to source from will depend on a host of factors, chief among them being the yield ratio of the channel and the costs involved. Once the budget approval has happened, which will anyway take place prior to the recruitment process, it becomes clear the amount that the recruiter has in their kitty for the entire recruitment activity. Based on the figures they will look at the most effective channel of sourcing. Sourcing can be of two kinds—internal and external. Internal sourcing includes sourcing through employee referrals, internal job postings (IJPs), promotions, rehiring etc. External sourcing includes sourcing through job sites, advertisements, Internet and professional networking. Both sources of recruitment are explained in detail in the following sections.

Screening and Shortlisting

Screening refers to a quick glance at the resume to reject the ones that do not match up to the set criteria, the objective is to then shortlist the ones that are suitable for the desired position. This is an important skill that both managers and human resource managers/recruiters must have. The resume should be reviewed based on the selection criteria. Each candidate could be given a numerical rating, such as a score out of 10, in accordance with the selection criteria to allow a comparison between candidates. Nowadays, in most organizations, this is done through a recruitment software, wherein only necessary ‘search’ terms are listed in the required field. The system then throws up all the resumes which could be a potential match based on the criteria. In this manner, shortlisting of resumes is done. If the search throws up a huge number of profile then the search is refined by narrowing the criteria.

HRM in Action

Recruitment Planning at ICICI

ICICI scans more than 350,000 applicants annually. They hold monthly manpower forecasting meetings such as demand planning meetings happen in a manufacturing set up. In these monthly meetings, they decide the product mix that they require that month. Product mix would mean the mix of the different positions that they would have to hire for. Therefore, they would typically say we need X number of analysts and Y number of back office operators. This product mix is then segmented by locations. They also use yield models to arrive at the number of applicants they would need for hiring a certain number of people. This is how they do it. They take the conversion rate for different positions—as in how many applicants result in how many hires. These yield rates are arrived at looking at the historical data. They factor in any other external factors such as a new MNC opening a shop in the city to this yield ratio. To this finding, they add the number of extra positions which would lie vacant due to regular attrition. All this put together they arrive at the number of qualified applicants they would need to hire for their required product mix for the month.


Source: Adapted from Prahlad and Krishnan (2008).

4.3.4 Intervening Process Variables

In recruitment, the results of the effort depend on a number of other factors too. To understand what these other process variables could be are—let us take two of them. The quality of the recruitment is often reflective of the quality of the recruiter. It is therefore important that the recruiter has the required knowledge skill and attitude to deliver on the job. The second contingent factor could be the attractiveness of the offer that the organization can make to the candidate. A large number of applicants may be a result of this rather than a reflection of the skills of the recruiter. There can be many such intervening variables which can affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.

4.3.5 Recruitment Results

The results of the recruitment effort can be measured against the objectives that were set out at the beginning of the process. The choice of metrics for recruitment can actually drive the recruitment process. If the recruitment metrics are met and internal customers (the hiring managers) are still unhappy, it also means that the metrics getting tracked for the process are not reflective of the effectiveness of the recruitment group and need to be relooked at.

4.3.6 Benefits of a Good Recruitment Process

A good recruitment process involves having the right kind of recruitment team that can find the right channel and source mix. It also professionally organizes for interviews, conducts the same and then closes the loop by rolling out the offer letter to the candidate, which forms an integral part of the selection process.

A well-drawn-out recruitment process can help to cut cost and save time in shortlisting, interviewing and hiring candidates. It also helps in employer branding and putting forth a positive image. A carefully planned and well-designed recruitment process helps to a great extent in the long run and it speaks volumes about the company. It saves time, effort in sourcing, interviewing and in the long run training too. The candidate's experience is also very important, as the bad news or bad experience at the interview stage will travel much faster than the good news. Even if the recruitment process is outsourced, the recruiter should ensure that clear and accurate information is transferred to the candidates by the recruitment firm. Professionalism should prevail in all spheres of the recruitment process, as this speaks volumes of the company image. In fact customers, prospective candidates and current employees use this as a benchmark to assess the company. This also reflects on the employer branding philosophy the company has.


Organizations are fast realizing that they are selling jobs and not buying talent. They have also realized the importance of employer branding. As a consequence, most organizations today have an employment brand strategy in place.

Branding (as per Oxford dictionary) means to mark indelibly on one's mind. Employer brand is the image an organization has in the minds of its current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). It is a collection of ideas and beliefs that potential employees have about the organization. These ideas and beliefs influence the way they view the organization and the employment experience that the organization is offering.

An employer brand always has an ‘EVP’. There are two features of the EVP:

  1. Rational benefits: These are the benefits which appeal to the rational mind. Therefore compensation, career development and learning would be a part of the rational benefits that an employer brand offers.
  2. Emotive benefits: These are benefits which do not have a strict rationale and are more of an emotional value add. This comes forth typically when an employee says ‘I feel good about working here!’

4.4.1 Employer Brand Strategy

Any branding strategy needs to carefully decide what it wants to communicate as the EVP. For this, the employer needs to consider the economic climate, identify the industry in which the organization is competing and identify the kind of organizations that are in competition for the same pool of talent (Figure 4.2).

The next stage would involve collecting data and information on current perception from:

  1. Customers and shareholders: We have to remember that customers and shareholders have a corporate brand perception and the employer brand has to be in line with that too.
  2. Candidates and leavers: This is the group of people who have had an experience with the organization but are not a part of the system actively. These people give a valuable insight into what are the negatives with the employer brand.
  3. Third-party suppliers: The third-party suppliers will have their perceptions based on their experience with the organization.
  4. Existing employees: The existing employees would be the best source to know the strengths and the weaknesses of the brand.
  5. Potential employees: This is the pool of people that the employer would wish to hire from.

Figure 4.2 Employer brand strategy


With all the information collected, key people from Marketing and HR have to then decide on what is the EVP that the company could offer. Once this is decided upon, then all the HR activities have to be aligned to convey the brand at each touchpoint the organization has with the outside world.

4.4.2 Employer Brand Management

After an employer brand strategy is formulated and the EVP has been articulated, the job of managing the brand in the market place begins. An employer brand, similar to a corporate brand works on creating an image and then ensuring experiences to fortify that image. The four elements of brand management are as follows:

  1. Brand positioning
  2. Brand promise
  3. Delivery of the promise
  4. Building long-term value for the brand

Brand Positioning

The organization has to decide on the most effective positioning of the employer brand. Much of the employer brand is built through the efforts of the corporate marketing, but special efforts have to put in to develop the employer brand specifically.

  • Marketing/advertising: The recruitment advertisements are the most powerful method of positioning a brand. Recruitment advertising can be put in newspapers, magazines (general business magazines, sector specific publications, in-flight magazines etc.). Recruitments advertisements are not the only way to market. Marketing of the employer brand can be done by sponsoring events, instituting awards, driving social campaigns and having senior executives talk to the media or to the world at large about the philosophies and values of the company. Organizations such as HCL Technologies and Google can be seen using the Internet specifically YouTube to talk about their employer brand. Institutions such as the Indian Army and the Indian Navy have taken to the electronic media to build their employer brand.
  • Internet Web site: The career Web site of the organization is again a powerful method of communicating about the brand to all stakeholders concerned. The kind or information that the organization discloses, the response that it gives to a query or a resume sent go a long way in positioning the brand.
  • Career fairs: These are events where the target audience concentration is the highest. In such a case any event, company literature, interaction experience with potential candidates can be used to position the brand.

Brand Promise

Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising. Therefore, good advertising as a part of positioning can sell the employer brand only if it lives up to its brand promise. The various touchpoints with potential employees where their perception of the employer brand can be fortified are:

  • Interview style: The way the interviewer treats the candidate conveys the culture of the organization. A company which totes an egalitarian culture at work could use a peer interview.
  • Recruitment offers: The way the offer is made to the candidate conveys important messages about the company like its management style (who make the offer—hiring manager/HR manager?) and professionalism.
  • Promises made: The recruiters and the hiring managers tend to hide facts about the company which might deter the candidate from joining. They also tend to overcommit and then can't help but under deliver after the candidate joins. What do you think that does to the employer branding?

Delivery of Promise

  • Induction experience: How a new comer is treated and handheld to become an insider in the shortest possible time is a very important step in strengthening the employer brand in the new employee's mind. Anand Mahindra meets every management trainee who joins Mahindra & Mahindra. Guess what does that do for the M&M employer brand?
  • Work environment: The work environment should be a reflection of the branding of the organization. An organization has an open office where the CEO also does not have a cabin—how do you think that affect the brand?
  • Management style: The treatment of people by the senior management, the structure of the organization, reporting relationships, the way people address each other (is it Vivek or Mr Deshpande or Sir or Deshpande sahib or Viv), all of these styles should be in consonance with brand.
  • Learning and development: The importance given to learning, the way mistakes are handled, the stress on learning in appraising your performance say something about the organization. What it says should match with what the brand promises.
  • Retention strategies: There are a myriad ways to retain an employee—how the organization does it is what matters to the brand. Getting an engineer to sign a bond is very different from giving them an opportunity to have coffee with the MD, if they give the most innovative idea for improvement. Every way has an impact and this impact should be the same which the employer brand promises.

Long-term Value

  • Ambassadors: NIIT uses Vishwanathan Anand the chess grandmaster, and Infosys has always had Narayan Murthy. An ambassador can add a lot of weight to the positioning that an organization wishes to do for its brand.
  • Alumni clubs: The ex-employees form the alumni club. These days, organizations maintain and sponsor alumni clubs to create brand value for itself in the marketplace. Coke has a very active alumni group and is often the HR team's first recourse when they are sourcing for tricky positions.
  • Referrals: Employee referrals are a great source of relevant candidates ‘Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends,’ said Walt Disney.
  • Exit interview: Consider this—When you put in your papers your manager tries to talk you out but you are not convinced and you tell them you have decided to move on. They shrug and tell you that you would regret your decision and that they would not be able to help if you rethought it later. They ask you to get the formalities done with the HR and go back to looking at their laptop. Instead of this what if they say they are sorry that could not convince you and wish you well for the future, refer you to HR for the exit formalities and ask you to call them if there is a problem? You will carry either experience with yourself for the rest of your life and mention it to countless people when the company is talked about. Think what an exit interview can do in the long term for a company!

HRM in Action

Recruitment at Yes Bank

Yes Bank was incorporated in 2003. The bank has grown rapidly since then. It wanted to be known as a knowledge-driven bank and differentiated itself in the market with its service orientation, technology and HR. Along with Hewitt, it designed and then followed a clearly defined recruitment strategy to get the best of people on board.

Employer Branding

The bank believes that its employees need to live the brand promise to convey the same to its customers. The EVP is that the bank believes’ ‘in creating and sharing value’ and that it is ‘young and a dynamic bank’ (Figures 4.3 and 4.4).


Figure 4.3 Employee value proposition


Figure 4.4 Employer branding at Yes Bank


All its HRM programmes are designed around this. One example of this is their ‘Yes Entrepreneur in Action’ initiative. This innovative initiative allows employees to take a year off to focus on an entrepreneurial project. It helps young and dynamic employees create and share value.

Sourcing: The bank concentrated largely on lateral recruitment. It used external as well as internal sources of recruitment.

Internal: The company had a well-established employee referral programme to attract talent through its employees from the industry. Apart from this, the senior management of the bank, including Rana Kapoor (the founder), involved themselves with getting the best from the industry on board. Some top-notch professionals were hired from likes of large established banks such as Citibank. In fact, the pedigree of the senior management team made the employer brand of the bank stronger.

External: For senior-level recruitments, they hired the services of Korn and Ferry International. For the other positions, they relied on consultants such as ABC Consultants and others. They outsourced 50 per cent of their recruitment efforts. This had two effects—one it helped them reduce costs drastically and the other was that as a result of the outsourcing they developed close associations with some consultancies and they started acting like the bank's extended recruitment arm resulting in further process efficiencies. Though the bank largely focused on lateral recruitments, in keeping with its brand image it hired some fresh talent from the business schools too.


Source: Adapted from Faheem (2008).


4.5.1 Internal Sources of Recruitment

These methods are an internal recruitment drive for hiring candidates. The HR systems in the organization help the company to review the prospective applicants in case of internal posting or promotions. This is a good talent management practice as it helps in locating candidates from within. Most organizations use these three methods, i.e., Internal Job Postings employee referrals, promotions and rehiring for sourcing of the relevant candidates. For obvious reasons, it is a more cost-effective option than external recruitment.


  • Employee referral programmes

  • Internal job postings

  • Promotions

  • Rehiring

  • Succession planning

Employee Referrals Programmes

This is a company's way of formally leveraging the networking abilities of its employees for developing low-cost recruitment option. Many organizations have noted that their employees can play a vital role in the hiring process. Employee referrals have been a very popular source of recruitment for the IT sector in India. The advantage lies in the fact than instead of one recruiter trying to source for a position, all the employees become recruiters. This is done by actively soliciting applications from their friends and ex-colleagues. Hence, many organizations have been strengthening such a programme and rewarding the employees accordingly. The company offers a ‘cash incentive’ for successful referrals. It could also include some prizes, for example, television set, iPod, DVD player. Normally, the reward is differential for different levels of hiring. For example, for junior, middle and senior management hires, the employees are paid in three different slabs. The reward may be paid out in cash in a deferred manner. Some organizations pay the amount to the employee in two instalments, i.e., on the completion of the first month of the referred employee and the remaining after three months or even on confirmation of the new employee. These programmes are usually very effective initially when launched, but, after a year or two, it tends to lose tempo. Hence, it has to consistently promote the same to ensure continuance as a rich source of recruitment.

Views in the News

Internal Recruitment on the Rise

Corporate India has discovered the merits of internal recruitment and is reaping its benefits in a big way. The Economic Times reported that Dabur has saved 1 crore on 75 posts that they have filled up internally, Mphasis has saved a million dollars on 1,200 internal hires last year and NetApp India has saved 2.4 crores through internal hires. Do you wonder how they calculate these numbers? This amount is calculated by the savings on:

  • Headhunter Fee: Typically this is 12.5 per cent for the junior staff, 18 per cent for the middle management staff and goes up to 25 per cent for senior management positions.
  • Employee Referral Fee: In Phillips, the fee has been hiked from 20,000 per position to 40,000 now.
  • Trainings of the new employee and intangibles such as the amount of time they would take to start performing. In Dabur, this time is taken as four months and in cost terms this would translate to four months of their salaries or one-third of their annual CTC.

Dabur has a robust internal hire policy and is extremely mindful of the recruitment costs. In the company hiring through an external agency or referral has to be justified by the hiring manager in writing. In HCL Technologies, there is a portal called ‘The Insider Edge’ which lists all the open positions with the details of the hiring manager too. Internal recruitment in SAP has resulted in 20 per cent increase in employees picking up alternate jobs and the Indian operations have filled up over 30 positions internally.

However, every coin has two sides and the flip side of the internal recruitment coin is that this limits the entry of external candidates who could bring in a fresh perspective to the organization. Hence, organizations such as IBM have a management tool called Global Opportunity Marketplace (GOM) where the profiles or resumes of all internal and external candidates are managed and the best ones are picked. Similarly, Phillips India believes that filling up internal positions is a never-ending game because one position to get filled needs another one to get vacant. They have on the other hand found employee referrals extremely useful and increased the referral fee too.


Source: Adapted from Sengupta (2011).

HRM in Action

Blue Ambassador Employee Referral Plan in IBM

The Employee Referral programme (ERP) in IBM is known as the Blue Ambassador Employee Referral Plan. It is an incentive programme based on the premise that employees know who the best fit for the organization is.

The initiative was launched in the 1990s when IBM was expanding in India. When it was decided that ERP would be integral to their recruitment strategy, they spread the awareness of the scheme and through communication methods such as town halls sought acceptance of the scheme and also sought suggestions from the employees as to how to make it better.

All the positions identified by the recruitment team are indicated on IBM's internal career portal called Global Opportunity Marketplace (GOM). The employees can refer either through the GOM or by sending referrals to specific e-mail IDs designed for business units. The employees are notified of the success of their referrals and are kept aware of the progress made on their referrals.

There are some dos and don'ts to the policy. Employees can refer only those candidates whom they know personally or professionally, and not by using any web/portal or any other sourcing channel. The director and the executives are not eligible for the incentive. The hiring managers, interviewers and direct managers are also not eligible.

The recruitment fee is paid after the employee has joined and been with the company for 90 days. From time to time, special schemes are also run to drive business imperatives such as diversity or business requirement. They might either carry more attractive prizes or double the incentive. In IBM, double incentive schemes are launched in three situations (1) when the skill to be hired is in high demand and low supply, (2) when the skill has to be hired at peak demand and (3) when there is a demand for meeting critical timelines.


Source: Adapted from Shikari (2011c).

Internal Job Postings

Famously known as IJPs, this is a procedure of informing employees all across the globe that certain job openings are vacant at a particular point in time. The vacant jobs are advertised on the company's Web site, i.e., intranet or the online company news portals. Some may send out mails to all employees, as many a time employees may not always access the intranet and hence, they could miss a good opportunity. The company's IJP normally lists the qualification, the relevant experience, the skill set location and other related data. The employees, on the other hand, apply if the advertised posting matches their interest. The employee's supervisors need to be aware that one of their team members is applying for this position. Then, the interview process takes place with the team that has put up the posting. If there are quite a few applications received, then the most suitable applicant should be considered or else such a system would lose its credibility. The others that have not been selected, i.e., peers should also feel that the chosen applicant was the ‘right applicant’. The employees must have faith in such a system, or else this loses its credibility very soon. Complaints may still occur even in a well-planned and well-designed system.


Promotions help to fill the vacant slots in the organization in a short period of time. This also increases the productivity of employees and morale as they strive for their career advancement. It is always beneficial for most of the positions to hire from within, than hiring from outside.


This could be a good option, provided the employee left on a good note and their performance levels were way above average. Former employees take less time to settle in the company, as they are already aware about the company culture, structure and management style. However, when rehiring, one should take care to hire them at the correct position and also be mindful of the team members who would have worked with them earlier. In a survey conducted by Right Consultants they found that out of 1,000 companies surveyed only 10 per cent of them did not rehire. Organizations such as Ramco Systems and Schneider Electric have rehired a sizeable number of people at the middle level. Most organizations have created and are engaged in alumni networks to keep in touch with ex-employees. Many companies have created alumni groups on their company Web sites or on social networking sites such as LinkedIn and use that to keep track of the progress of individuals and keep current contact information of ex-employees and inform them about the company's progress achievements/developments. For example, Ramco's rehiring policy is integrated with its recruitment strategy. The company uses online media such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to remain connected with ex-employees.

Succession Planning

Many companies have a succession planning process in place. This becomes a good source of internal recruitment as the employee is already well versed with company management, systems, policies and processes. Organizations develop high-potential employees through such means too. It also involves assessing the candidates and selecting those that fit in the key roles.


  • Job sites
  • Recruitment advertisement



    Radio and television

    Newspaper inserts

  • Recruitment agencies, headhunters and executive search firms
  • Networking
  • Social networking
  • Job fairs
  • Former and unsolicited applicants
  • Campus recruitment
  • Internship
  • Weblogs (blogs)
  • Career Web site

4.5.2 External Sources of Recruitment

External sourcing takes place when the organization sources candidates from outside the organization. External hiring is done to get a mix of candidates with diverse backgrounds, expertise and a varied skill set. In such cases, the employers are stringent on the qualifications and the relevant experience and rarely make exceptions to hire someone who is not aptly suitable.

Job Sites

A jobsite is a Web site that deals specifically with employment or careers. Many employment Web sites are designed to allow employers to post job requirements for a position to be filled and are commonly known as job boards. Many also offer employer reviews, career and job-search advice. Through a job Web site, a prospective employee can locate and fill out a job application or submit resumes over the Internet for an advertised position. Employers can utilize such sites by searching for relevant criteria such as skills, experience, qualifications and location. The ones widely used in India are www.monsterindia.com, www.naukri.com and www.timesjobs.com.

Recruitment Advertisement

Recruitment advertisement includes all communications used by an organization to attract talent to work within it. Most organizations advertise in newspapers, relevant business magazines radio, television and job sites. A creative, well-thought-of and coloured advertisement definitely arouses the candidate's interest and curiosity in the company compared to a black and white one. The recruitment advertisement could just list the various positions and the Web site link could be given. The candidate could then browse the company site and review the company, the job description, the location and any other information that could be of interest to them. Some recruitment advertisements are quite detailed too. Most of these options are expensive and should be used when the requirements are large and justify the usage of expensive means of recruitment.

Print.   The first part in getting a favourable response is to grab the reader's attention in a print advertisement; many advertisement agencies have specialized copywriters who specialize in recruitment advisements. A catchy headline or tag line definitely wins a lot of attention, but it is the message in the body copy that encourages the reader to take the next step and decides whether to apply or not. Ideally, an advertisement should carry the following details: position, skills required, summary of the job description, educational requirements and other related aspects. Nowadays, many companies just give a link to their career Web site, where all such details are posted.

Internet.   One can advertise for a fraction of the cost that one will spend on a job site or a newspaper. Some of them could be professional networking sites, alumni groups, discussion groups and web forums.

Radio and Television.   This is an effective medium to fill multiple openings at junior levels, for example, mass hiring for a new local mall. Radio and TV campaigns are effective for a particular audience. Radio campaigns are useful when one wants to call a select group, to a job fair or a walk-in selection process. It requires constant repetition for it to be effective and is a good option for many firms. Television is yet to prove itself as an effective medium for recruitment, though some large organizations do advertise frequently more for employer branding than active recruitment.

Newspaper Inserts.   These are advertisements for jobs which are slipped inside newspapers. Inserts are a good idea for junior-level positions in a local area. While they are easy to manage and cheaper than placing advertisements in newspapers, the perception is that they cannot be taken too seriously. A take-home pizza leaflet and a job advertisement insert are not the best of combinations to appear in front of a serious job seeker. Table 4.1 summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of various media for recruitment advertisement.


Table 4.1 Advantages and disadvantages of recruitment media

Medium Advantages Disadvantages


■ Global reach

■ Many unmotivated applicants


■ Fast processing

■ Diversity problems.


■ Higher appeal to a younger audience

■ Not effective for low-skilled jobs


■ More information about job

■ Difficult to gauge the impact


■ Relatively cost-effective

■ Costs could vary dramatically


■ Can target types of viewers



■ Messages can be timely



■ Recruitment advertisements can be interactive



■ Can reach global audience


Newspapers and Magazines

■ Local audience

■ Often ignored/not seen


■ Good circulation

■ Expensive


■ Good yield ratios for low-skilled jobs

■ Long lead time for advertisement placement


■ Can select targeted audiences

■ For specialized job the cost can be high, as its needs more focus and visibility from targeted audience


■ Flexibility prevails in terms of advertisement size

■ Newspapers—shorter deadlines


■ Long life—they can be re read by the targeted audience

■ Circulation concentrated in specific areas



■ Reach a diverse audience

Direct Mail

■ Personal form of advertising.

■ Expensive (for better mailing lists)


■ Mailing list can be used for specific section of recruits

■ Very long lead time


■ Its effectiveness can be evaluated by calculating response rates

■ The cost of reaching each prospect is high

Television and Radio

■ Targeted locally

■ Very expensive


■ More attention of the audience can be drawn to capture on certain aspects of the advertisement

■ Longest lead time


■ Can attract people not seeking a job

■ Limited information regarding the jobs

Recruitment Agencies, Headhunters and Executive Search Firms

The need for talent has resulted in a whole new industry dedicated to the process of sourcing the right candidates for jobs. You will find them calling themselves placement consultants, recruitment consultants, executive search firms or some such name. They essentially specialize in understanding the people requirement from organizations and putting them in touch with people who are looking out for similar opportunities. Another term you must have often heard is that of a ‘Headhunter.’ A headhunter, is used to convey the same as a recruiter—but strictly speaking a headhunter is someone who targets their search for a certain person against a job. They are usually meant for sourcing candidates for niche positions or senior-level positions.


‘A recruiter is someone who finds people who are happy with their jobs, shows them why they are unhappy, and then makes them happy again.’



Do you agree with this? Can this be called ethical conduct?

Most organizations depend on these agencies to a small or large extent for recruitment especially for middle- and senior-level positions. This is because the executive search firms have a wide level of contacts at senior levels and they actually ‘headhunt’ specific candidates for niche and important roles in the organization. The executive search firms normally have a research team that physically hunt down senior-level candidates or have leads to someone else that might be suitable. These agencies usually have a niche area identified for themselves. They might either specialize in an industry (say Banking or BPO), level (entry level or middle management or CXO level) or in a certain geographical area etc. The agencies charge the fee to the company and this can range from one month's pay to three months depending on the level of hire. Some firms also charge a ‘search fee/retainer fee’ for senior-level hires.

Depending on the kind of hiring (volumes and levels), companies engage with firms in two ways. If the volume of hiring is low and positions are specialized then companies should seek long-term engagements with firms who can with time become an extended arm for the organization, having understood its culture and requirements. Companies which need volumes (BPO, Financial services) engage with multiple vendors to achieve their numbers to hire. It is advisable that firms have a proper process in place for approving whom to take on as a vendor and then initiate a vendor management process in place to appraise and manage the performance of vendors. The key thing to note is that having bad-quality vendors waste the time of the HR department and, therefore, clear metrics should be tracked to ensure that only the best are on board. Given below is a suggested process for the vendor empanelment (Figure 4.5).


One of the cheapest means of sourcing is exploiting your own personal and professional contacts to close vacant positions. Once you have spent a couple of years in recruitment, you build your own contacts. At times, you may also want to send your recruitment team to various seminars and workshop to source for relevant candidates. Professional networking helps you stay attuned to what is going on in your profession, the recruiter also gets the benefit of training which helps them to become more credible, knowledgeable and productive.

Social Networking

Giving advertisements in newspapers and Internet-based job boards is expensive, and it is a constant challenge to target the narrowly defined candidate types through mass advertising. In such a scenario, the social media has come as a great alternative. Facebook India has over 15 million users and LinkedIn is popular among professionals in connecting for a variety of reasons. While in the West it is an acceptable way of recruiting, the hiring function in the media is slowly warming up to using social media. Since most of the entry-level hiring is done from the campuses, volumes are not what have to be targeted through these sites. Companies, however, are using the social media to enhance their employer brand by sharing information, giving insights on what it is like to work with the company, the culture and expectations from an employee, so that they help a prospective candidate make the right choice.

Vendor Empanelment Process


Figure 4.5 Vendor empanelment process


The vendor ought to be asked for a proposal to be submitted in a specified format. The format should ask for all information based on which the organization shortlists vendors.

The set criteria for selection may include the following factors such as

  • Capability and interest area of the vendor
  • Market reference on performance
  • Regional presence/Pan Indian presence
  • Rates/fee
  • Fulfilment of all commercial requirements such as PAN number, sales tax/service tax number
  • Billing or invoicing terms

The scorecard to assess may be defined in terms of the time to source or the numbers sourced or the quality of the source—that depends on what the recruitment priority of the organization is.

Some of the advantages of using social media are that it is low cost (often no cost) and other than seeking active job aspirants, it also helps the organizations to engage with passive job seekers too. These sites provide an excellent opportunity to be a part of both general and special interest groups from within and outside of the industry for discussions on various topics. These discussion boards are a great way to engage with the target audience and position the employer brand. Apart from positioning to the world at large as a means of sourcing, it also allows you to segment and directly speak to the profile you want to attract.

However, there are some downsides too which prevent organizations from totally depending on this for its sourcing. Those professionals who choose to stay out of the social networking circuit are liable to be missed out in such recruitment drives. While these are very effective in the urban locations, for niche, mid and senior it still cannot reach people in small towns in India who do not have unlimited access to Internet. Hence, organizations such as ING Vyasa Bank depend on traditional recruitment methods in addition to using social networking for hiring. However, as time goes by, a large part of the recruitment effort would be done through this channel.

Organizations can measure the effectiveness of social networking as a source of recruitment by measuring the applicant inflow, the conversion ratio, how long the applicants have been engaged with the company; offer acceptance, cost of acquisition/hire and early attrition/on-boarding.


Organizations will continue to use the social networking space as a canvas for branding and positioning their EVPs. If an organization has a non-poaching agreement with a competitor, and the recruiter can see exciting profiles, which are readily available—should they contact the candidate directly or do they forward it to a consultant, or do they use an intermediary or be safe and post an advertisement. What would you do if you were the recruiter? Is this is question for ethics?

HRM in Action

Recruitment using Social Media at Convergys

At Convergys, recruiters perform more than 30 per cent of their sourcing activities through social networking sites. The company even has a team of social media recruiting specialists. The organization has made social media recruiting an integral part of their talent branding and recruiting strategy for the next three years. They intend to leverage the social media to position the brand in the talent market, create a connection with the potential hires through early engagement and act as an influence on the important career decisions job seekers will make. The corporate Facebook page of the organization gives all the information to the visitor to form a well-rounded opinion about the organization. It shares major announcements and significant news coverage about Convergys too. The company's Twitter feeds are almost exclusively focused on recruitments.


Source: Adapted from Shikari (2011b).

Job Fairs

Job fairs are held frequently all across India and they are organized industry wise to attract freshers and junior-level talent from various streams. They are organized by a group of employers. The prospective candidates drop in their candidature in a drop box, at times interviews are conducted on the spot and many a times spot offers are also given. The company representatives are also present to answer various queries that the candidates might have. It is relatively a cheaper source of recruitment, if candidates are hired.

There are also ‘virtual job fairs’ which are a rage abroad, but they have not really caught on to a great extent in India. It is an online recruitment method and is engaged by a group of employers or a single employer to attract a host of candidates. Such an event allows prospective candidates to visit virtual employment booths and submit their applications online for a specific time period as listed by the organization.

Former and Unsolicited Applicants

Those candidates who had applied and were not hired at that point in time, for whatever reason, can be contacted again. They could seem interested in the position at a later date. Such organizations normally have an updated HR system that has already fed in the interview related data; therefore, when the recruiter has to call the candidate at a later date, they are already aware of what has transpired during the recruitment process. Almost in all recruitment advertisements any company would receive tons of unsolicited applications, which may be irrelevant to the advertised position and that point in time. The recruiters may now browse through the unsolicited applications and sieve out the relevant applicants for the positions that need to be filled.

Campus Recruitment

Campus hires are a major source of recruitment for any organization. The concerned company visits the campus based on its requirement. Organizations find potential technical and management professionals at such places. On-campus recruitment is beneficial to both employers and the campus. Hence, the employer should maintain good and long-standing relations with the campus. They could recruit freshers or laterals too. In most companies, the entry levels are hired through campuses. Very few companies do a ‘programme evaluation’, to review and see how long the students stay with the company vis-á-vis each campus they come from or the numbers hired, accepted offers vis-á-vis the numbers that have finally joined. Job descriptions should be mailed to the campus in advance, so the students are well aware if that is the kind of job they really want to get into. Many a times organizations visit campuses to scout for talent and do not have any specific job description, as most of them hire in masses and then later on decide ‘which function’ and ‘what role’ is to be given. Little attention is also paid to the cost and time that is involved, at times the cost maybe negligible, if one has to hire from the same location, but if the company has to go overseas to hire then the cost could spiral upwards.

Campus hiring has two main goals. One is to determine if a candidate is worthy to be considered for a role in the organization. The other aim is to attract good candidates. The recruitment teams select the campuses carefully, keeping in mind the university's reputation, standing in terms of ranking, the selection criteria to such universities or schools and also the performance of past hires. Most high-end companies prefer to visit the campus on day zero or day one of campus placements, as the high-potential candidates normally get placed during these days. Some organizations prefer to call the candidates to their offices and also plan an on-site visit of the premises, this is basically done so that the students can get a firsthand experience of what their place will look like. The alumni network of the University also helps in campus recruitments.

Trail Blazers

Use of Business Games for Recruitment

Many organizations have started using business games for the purpose of hiring as well as leadership training. Take the example of the game ‘America's army’. The game's official webpage contains links to the ‘Go Army’ recruitment Web site. Guiding American players to the Web site is a major goal of the game and it was confirmed that 28 per cent of all visitors of America's army's webpage click through to this recruitment.

One of the top law firms in the Netherlands, Houthoff Buruma continuously competes to attract the most talented law graduates—it co-created a groundbreaking recruitment tool which is a game that has students engage with a realistic legal case, while the company can observe their pursuits.

L'Oréal has been using a business game ‘Brandmasters’ since 1993 in which 43,000 students have participated till now. The 2011 business challenge is to be creative and attract men to salons: imagine a new service experience and its associated range of products…for L'Oréal professionnel!

Apart from this L'Oréal also uses business games to hire interns and students for employment. The game is called ‘Reveal’. People from all around the world could register for this game. Reveal is a business game which simulates the business environment and realities of the L'Oréal business. The participants have to follow a scenario which develops as a function of the decisions made and the answers given. The objective is to obtain the highest score when the competition finishes. The analysis of the results is made in real time and is recorded in order for the participants to be able to manage their time in the competition. Apart from this, scoring happens on managerial ability and functional skill and capability. There are six winners announced for the competition (one overall winner of the game and the others are winners in each capability area) who are then called to Paris and in a separate process interviewed and given positions of either interns or full-time employees.

The game serves multiple purposes for the company. It creates an opportunity for the organization to engage with thousands and thousands of potential customers and employees and thus establish and build the L'Oréal employer brand. With this in fact the whole world becomes a talent pool.



In an internship, a student works for a set period (usually 12 weeks during summers). The purpose of an internship is to help a student gain experience working for a professional organization. There is no obligation for the company to hire the candidate. The organization also pays the candidate a ‘stipend’ for the stipulated tenure. Nevertheless, the company gets a feel of the work done by the student and can make a decision to hire once they complete the course. Such an offer made to a candidate based on their performance in their internship is known as pre-placement offer, popularly known as PPO. Then a permanent position can be offered to the candidate. This is used as a talent pipeline too. During the temporary assignment the students contribute to a particular activity that suits their area of interest and the organization's too. The concerned guide, with whom they have been attached too, will give a report on the student's performance at the end of the internship. The students also can decide whether this is the kind of company they want to associate themselves with.

Weblogs (Blogs)

Blogging is becoming increasingly popular as even non-technical Internet users have become comfortable sharing their thoughts and lives online. The top three blogging platforms in the world are Google's Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr. All of these platforms share one thing in common, each encourages users to complete a profile section with a location field. That is all a recruiter needs to search and source professionals online. The other great thing about blogs is that you do not even have to guess someone's e-mail address; the act of commenting on a person's blog will automatically generate an e-mail to notify the blog author of your comment. For all these reasons blogging is emerging to be a strong source for recruiting.

Career Web Site

Career Web sites are the most precious recruiting asset that an organization has and it should leverage it accordingly. Career pages are among the most visited pages on a corporate Web site. Visitors to these pages arrive due to interest in the company or via job advertising, Internet searches, word of mouth, referrals, recruiters and any other recruiting channels. Some arrive with a purposeful goal (applying for a new job), while others are just window-shopping for a better opportunity. The career Web site should be such that it converts this traffic from mere visitors to applicants and that is the ultimate goal which should be borne in mind while designing it.



Listed below are the key components of a good career Web site:

  • Strong employer branding: The employer brand should be positioned in a way that it delivers the message, is credible, connects at an emotional level with the visitor and motivates them to apply. The Web site should be simple to navigate and have information to reinforce the employer value proposition.
  • Positioning the organization as a great place to work: Everyone is keen to know what it would be to work with the organization. The Web site should help the candidate visualize working for the organization. It can do this with the help of photographs, videos of a walk around the office and employee interviews. It should share its story, the vision, mission and the reasons why it is a great place to work. For example, IBM talks about various initiatives as to what makes them a great place to work. All these aspects are featured on their career Web site they talk about their careers, value systems, corporate social responsibility initiatives, employee success stories, the various awards and rankings they have achieved over the years and IBM @ 100, i.e., their 100 glorious years.
  • Share Information on who work in the organization: New employees want to feel comfortable that they would have colleagues whom they would like to trust and like to work with. The Web site should have employee testimonials, interviews with employees, photo galleries to present a visual image of who are the people who make the organization. Some companies also have provisions on their Web site to interact with their employees. For example, the careers page of Dhanlaxmi Bank has a visual image of a couple of their employees with their images and interviews with some of their key leaders too.
  • Use the job description as a marketing tool: Instead of writing either a short and dry or a long and exhaustive job description, designers should extend the copywriting tone to suit the job descriptions in a way that they excite the visitor to feel energized and apply. The tone should be conversational and the information should be optimum for the candidate to feel interested.
  • Make it easy to apply: The last thing an applicant wants to do is go through a tedious, multi-step process in order to apply for an exciting job. The most qualified and in-demand people will be the least motivated to jump through hoops on the Web site, especially if they are already employed. Application should be made easy with the least number of fields to be filled in for a healthy flow of applications from the Web site. The company Directi deals with innovative mass-market Web Products, it gives you inputs on what the job is like, ones responsibilities, the kind of candidates who should apply for the various roles, also the benefits and perks they offer. They have a very simple application form, which takes less than a minute to fill in and one can attach the CV along with a cover letter and send it across to the company.

Some other best practices which other good career Web sites follow are as follows:

  1. Featuring a blog and links to corporate social media accounts on the career site to give visitors a way to stay in touch and find out the latest news about the company.
  2. Inserting insider widgets to see who from their (visitor's) network is already employed with the company.
  3. Offering tips on how to dress up, how to reach the venue and what to expect as a selection process.
  4. If there is a difficult position to fill, then marketing it and also attracting more potential candidate traffic to it through blogs, case studies etc. are also features of a good career web site.

4.5.3 Innovative Recruitment Sources

Innovative recruitment sources are less conventional than the internal and external recruitment sources. Some of these may appeal to only a certain segment of society. These could be used when the others do not yield sufficient results.


  • Train, bus, taxi and airplane banners
  • Banners and signages
  • Company-sponsored events and competitions
  • Kiosks

Train, Bus, Taxi and Airplane Banners

These are some of the innovative sources that organizations could go in for. They are obviously expensive, though eye catching. They attract great attention from all strata of the society.

Banners and Signages

These are cost-effective methods, as one could just hang out a banner outside one's office, showrooms, buildings, coffee shops etc. Such banners are basically meant to target junior-level folks and retail showroom staff and feet on street employees. The advertisement can be just an attractive coloured computer print or a banner done by some local vendor. The investment is minimal and the payoff could be substantial. On the downside, prospective candidates could also view this negatively and may not take it seriously too.

Company-sponsored Events and Competitions

This is a good way to advertise during some social event, it has a widespread reach to all employees, at times during such events guests, customers, clients; vendors etc. could be also invited. So this could be a good hunting ground too. One could always keep a bowl of visiting cards at the registration desk, later on the recruitment team could call on these professionals as and when the positions arise in the company. Competitions also garner a huge response during such a drive. Contestants learn new skills or upgrade their existing skills and knowledge, they learn to perform specific tasks, and they are also evaluated on skills such as decision-making, promptness, problem-solving skills, ability to interact with others, negotiation and communication skills.


They are seen everywhere nowadays, especially at shopping malls and airports. They are cost-effective and a simple way to attract the responses. These businesses view all customers as potential employees, so they want to make it easy as possible for them. Kiosks are also linked to the Internet. At times, one could also have a company representative at the store to explain prospective candidates the job and other related aspects. Quality of candidates, could pose a problem, if the recruitment is done in haste. Background checking is a must in such cases.


All profiles which are received as a result of sourcing are to undergo the following stages before actual recruitment is declared over. These two steps ensure that the recruiting department shortlists only qualified applicants for the position.

4.6.1 Screening

The meaning of screening is the investigation of a great number of something (for instance, people) looking for those with a particular feature. In this stage the recruitment team, pre-screens the resumes of all candidates found in the active database for the concerned department or function. Thereafter the CVs found in the active database are actually screened in line with the job description as drawn out by the concerned division/team. However, the guiding principle is that not one good candidate should slip out ; therefore, screening should use only facts and not opinion.


Screening is the investigation of a great number of something (for instance, people) looking for those with a particular feature.

4.6.2 Shortlisting

Shortlisting is a positive step—this means that those candidates whose potentials matches the job descriptions are shortlisted for interviews and tests.


Shortlisting means choosing candidates who are most likely to get selected.


4.7.1 Flexi Hours and Job Sharing

If the company is flexible to hire retired employees, homemakers for a few hours, encourage flexi hours and job sharing, it could probably tap a whole new market altogether. Flexible work schedules are one of the most effective alternative recruitment ideas in recent times and the trend is likely to continue. Flexi work is an approach that steps away from the traditional ‘9–5’ kind of concept in recognition of the increase in complexity of job demands. This has given rise to the concept of job sharing too. Job sharing is a kind of system, where employees assume a joint responsibility for the completion of work done, which is actually supposed to be allotted to one full-time employee; the employees could also work in two or three shifts to complete the job at hand. Though job sharing is not common in India, in comparison to flexi hours, it can, nevertheless open up a totally new and untapped market. If the company is having difficulty in filling certain positions at the junior level or in case at certain junior levels there is a high turnover, job sharing could be a good bet, in such a scenario.


  • Flexi hours and job sharing
  • Relaxing minimum qualifications

4.7.2 Relaxing Minimum Qualifications

When there is a shortage of talent, one method to widen the catchment pool of people is to lower the requirement of minimum qualifications. A lowering of the minimum qualification also does not mean that the quality of hire comes down. The entire candidate pool has to be trained for the quality of the hiring to be maintained. There are two cases in point to illustrate this.

A few years ago, Sri Lankan Airlines was struggling to hire quality cabin crew. Many people responded to the recruitment advertisement, but very few could be hired because very few had the skills. Then they decided to send out intimations to those rejected in the interviews offering them a course to build skills (for a fee) and then reappear in the selection test. The result was that those who were serious about joining the airline invested money into the course, got trained, went through the selection process again and then got hired for Sri Lankan Airlines. The airline later found that those who were hired after this short programme proved to be better at their jobs as cabin crew. Therefore, by minimizing their minimum qualification, they were able to expand their talent pool and also improve on their quality of recruitment.

The second case in point is that of India's premier IT player Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). When TCS saw that it could not fill in the requirement of software engineering talent from the engineering schools it decided to lower the minimum qualification requirement from that of a graduation in engineering to a graduation in science. This has given them a new talent pool to tap. TCS hires science graduates and then takes them through the TCS talent transformation programme to train them into global software professionals.


According to Employee Policy Foundation, it has been estimated that replacing a full-time private sector employee costs at least 25 per cent of the annual employee's total compensation and it could go up to 150 per cent depending on the nature of the position being filled and the supply of talent. For these reasons, every company should consider various alternatives to regular and permanent hiring.


  • Subcontracting/outsourcing
  • Temporary staff hiring
  • Consultant/advisor hiring
  • Homemakers
  • Military personnel
  • Retired professionals

4.8.1 Subcontracting/Outsourcing

Work can be subcontracted to a vendor. Outsourcing has gained tremendous importance in the last few years in most countries. In certain countries where labour is expensive, they outsource work to countries where labour is cheap, thereby reducing cost. Outsourcing can not only reduce cost but very often also relieve HR of the bother of permanently looking for people. For example, Marriott Hotels, Ahmedabad, was having problems with getting kitchen stewards and keeping them after they were trained. They tied up with a specialized agency and outsourced the entire contract. Now the onus of keeping trained kitchen stewards is the responsibility of the vendor.

4.8.2 Temporary Staff Hiring

Temporary (Temp) staffing started in United States seven decades back, then got introduced in the Netherlands, Spain and finally it has come to India and it is here to stay. The earlier philosophy of ‘job for life’ is giving way to ‘continuous life-time learning’. The trend in India can be gauged from the fact that LG India added 2,000 people to its workforce many of whom are temps in sales at stores, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain. It also funds some of its temp staff's higher education too. Temping is of relevance to Indian companies because it offers strategic flexibility in controlling fixed costs and capital expenditure, opportunity to try out people before hiring them and handle fluctuations in manpower requirement. Since the agency which provides temp staff manages the HR administration and regulatory compliances for the temp employee, it takes an operational load off the hiring organization. The manufacturing, IT and the hospitality industry have seen an increasing trend of temporary staff. Kelly HR Services, Mafoi and Manpower are some organizations which provide temp staff to companies.

4.8.3 Consultant/Advisor Hiring

Many a times you may find very senior professionals not willing to work on a full-time basis. Some of them would have taken a break from their regular career to try out an alternative career. Such professionals would not mind part-time working for few hours of work a week, as this helps them to keep themselves abreast in their field too, at the same time they could pursue their alternate career.

4.8.4 Homemakers

Many of the educated housewives would not mind working when their children are away at school. The Tata Second Careers that was launched recently, created a huge wave in the job market. Business process outsourcing (BPO) and call centres also hire such employees on a part-time basis.

4.8.5 Military Personnel

Some of the military personnel make very good administrative managers and can look after the security arrangements of the company. Few of them do give up their roles as military officers and join public and private sectors.

4.8.6 Retired Professionals

Such professionals can be hired on part time or on consultancy basis for a few years. The expectations of such professionals from the company may not be too high. They normally work regular hours or for a few hours every day.


4.9.1 E-recruitment

E-recruiting, also known as web-based recruiting, is the term that describes a method of recruiting employees, using web-based resources, such as the company's career Web site or its corporate intranet. It has been estimated by Peter Cappelli (2001) that it costs only about1/20th as much to hire someone online, if that is the only method used, as it does to hire the same person through traditional methods.


E-recruitment is the term that describes a method of recruiting employees, using web-based resources, such as the company's career Web site or its corporate intranet.

Technology can be used to:

  • Advertise jobs online: Advertisements of jobs could be done on the career Web site, job sites such as monster, discussion boards, social networking sites and a host of other electronic addresses.
  • Track and process applications: Screening of resumes for qualified applicants and then tracking the status of the applicant in the entire recruitment and selection process.
  • Selecting using online testing etc.

Advantages of E-recruitment

Some of the key benefits to the HR department are as follows:

  • Reduction in cost: E-recruitment has lowered the cost of advertising and also the process of recruitment in a big way.
  • Global reach: E-recruitment makes it possible for the organization to reach out to a global audience without any increase in cost or effort.
  • Enhanced productivity: The recruiter can get most of the data and paper-driven work by the system. Examples of these are screening large number of applicants, entering the data of candidates in a system, maintaining bulky files and folders, diaries of appointments and addresses. When such mundane work is done by the system, the productivity of the recruiter goes up. This also helps to create a more strategic HR department. The HR department has more time left to devote to work on the recruitment strategy to enhance the department's effectiveness rather than be caught up in increasing the efficiency of the process.
  • Enhanced administrative efficiency: It makes the recruitment system responsive and efficient with its ability to handle and process large number of applicants in a very short time.
  • Allows intelligent decision-making through analytics: The availability of data in a structured format that allows it to be subjected to slicing and dicing to draw conclusions. For example, the recruitment data can be analysed to come to a conclusion as to what kind of a combination of education, experience, age and gender have more likelihood to be selected. This data can then be fed back into the system for screening so that the yield ratio goes up.


  • Reduction in cost
  • Global reach
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Enhanced administrative efficiency
  • Intelligent decision-making through analytics


Apart from these features, it builds a large data bank for companies which could be used for requirements later. It reduces the cost.

Areas of Concern

E-recruitment has its areas of concern too:

  • Increasing number of applicants: Though this may sound something like good news but the number of candidates applying using web-based tools is overwhelming. The sad part is that most of them are sent mindlessly without paying any heed to the requirements of the position. This is especially true for organizations which have a very high brand value. Sifting through these profiles is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
  • Relevance of shortlisting criteria: The quality of the screening and shortlisting is a function of the quality of the criteria put to either eliminate or shortlist. If this criteria is in a black box and does not change with the requirement of positions with time then obviously results would be faulty.
  • Confidentiality and data protection: With the advent of online systems, details of people are floating unchecked on the Web. This will soon result in a lot of issues which are already rife in the western markets. It will be increasingly difficult to keep the data confidential and if there are regulations for these which come up in the future they would be restrictive to the E-recruitment process.
  • Increasing number of applicants
  • Relevance of short listing criteria
  • Confidentiality and data protection

HRM in Action

How Does Typical Recruitment Software work?

The recruitment software normally follows a typical process. The job description is prepared by the recruitment team and is then converted to a job posting and uploaded on the career page/discussion board/social networking site or a job site. The career page of the organization is linked to the organization's recruitment module. The candidates review the posting, check the job description, if it interests them, then they will apply. The application would take them to the career Web site of the company. The company's Web site either has a pre-designed application form which the candidates need to fill or it asks for basic details and allows the candidates to upload their resume.

The recruiter has access to all the applicants against an open position. There are screening softwares, available in the market which screen the profiles on the basis of preset parameters by the recruiter. For example, a recruiter might not want anyone who is an undergraduate or has a problem with mobility (is not willing to relocate from home town). The screening software checks for these and gives a list of qualified applicants (Remember software cannot think by itself—it has to be made to think!!). The system would then generate an e-mail to the disqualified applicant with the appropriate letter of regret. The net results are then reviewed with the help of ‘search terms’. Based on keyword search, a list of candidates is then thrown up by the software. The recruiters/hiring managers then get to review the candidates and it is here that the shortlisting process commences. The organization's selection process is then followed as per the specified process. The recruiter with the help of an Applicant Tracking System can also keep tab on the status of an applicant's candidature. The software will also be able to identify if a candidate had applied earlier to the organization and what was the experience with the applicant.


PepsiCo India

PepsiCo India and Employment for Disabled People: The country's largest selling food and beverage company PepsiCo India has been awarded the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP)-Shell Helen Keller Awards 2007 for its outstanding contribution in employing people with disability and varied background. Instituted by NCPEDP with the support of Shell India in 1999, the aim of the Helen Keller Awards was to stimulate the employment of disabled persons in the private as well as public sector. PepsiCo India under its ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ initiative have selected, on-boarded and deployed a total of 57 differently abled individuals along with 67 disadvantaged women in their West Market Unit.


4.9.2 Recruiting for Diversity

Most recruiters recruit a diverse workforce to create heterogeneity in the organization. This reflects the company's overall commitment to creating a diverse workforce. Women, single parents, older workers, disabled employees and minorities are included. Most organizations use the tag line in their recruitment advertisements. ‘We are an equal opportunity employer’. Nowhere should the company in any of its recruitment advertising endeavour should indicate any kind of preference for any race, gender and age.

In India, a certain percentage of jobs are reserved in the government and public sector for the economically and socially lesser fortunate sections of society. The percentages are fixed as 15, 7.5 and 27 per cent for scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) and other backward castes (OBC), respectively. The list of communities to be included in the groups is listed by the government.

4.9.3 Recruiting Expatriates

Expatriates are persons who leave their home country and live in a foreign country to work on some assignment for pre-determined duration.

The recruitment procedures for hiring expatriates vary across different organizations. Expatriates are either hired due to unavailability of skills or as a part of a talent development initiative of a multinational corporation. The recruitment process is quite different for the hiring of expatriates as compared to regular employees. It involves greater time, effort, money and other indirect costs. The recruiters who hire expats should be carefully trained in hiring such talented professionals. The recruiter should ensure that the recruited expat should be able to adapt to the culture, familiar with the language, past international work experience, flexible, family situation etc.


In the HR budget of an organization, recruitment has a large share. Apart from this, recruitment affects the performance of the organization. For these reasons, it is extremely important that recruitment should be done effectively in an organization.

4.10.1 Recruitment Budget

Recruitment budgets are a large part of the total HR budget and have to be, therefore, dealt with seriously. Besides this to plan the recruitment, the recruiter needs to know how much of spend is allowed. Depending on the spend would the sources of recruitment be chosen (Figure 4.6).

Mike Sweeny of T. Williams Consulting, Inc. shares a three-step recruiting cost ratio formula to help organizations determine their recruitment budgets. Here a pertinent point to note is that the recruitment budgets are not looked as separate from the selection budget. Expenses on both the recruitment and the selection are bundled together to create the ‘Recruitment Budget’. The process begins with determining the total recruiting costs. This is accomplished by adding four cost areas:

  1. Fixed overhead recruiting expenses: These are those expenses which are bound to be incurred irrespective of the level and volume of the recruitment. Subscription fee Web sites to source people and salary of the recruiters would be a part of this.
  2. Recruitment expenses attached to specific resources: These are those expenses which are incurred for sourcing people. The important thing to note is that spending in this section is usually a function of the number of people hired. Exceptions are the fee for the use of psychometric tool for candidates all of whom are not hired! Referral fee to employees, fee to recruitment consultant and advertising expense are a part of this section.
  3. Signing bonuses: There are many expenses incurred to get the candidate on board. These would include expenses on buying out the notice period of the employee or signing bonuses to be paid to the employee to make the offer attractive.
  4. Expenses associated with travel and relocation: Travel also consumes a significant part of the recruitment budget. Travel would include travel of candidates and interviewers for interviews and relocation expenses for a hired candidate.

Figure 4.6 Components of recruitment budget


4.10.2 Return on Investment on Recruitment: Measuring Effectiveness of Recruitment

The recruitment involves a huge amount of investment. Any company making such investments will obviously contemplate on the return on the investment and the payback period of such an investment. Huge amounts of money and a great amount of time are spent on any recruitment process. Moreover, it is difficult to review the success of such a process. Most do not bother to review this process and do not even know how to calculate the return on investment (ROI) on the recruitment process. Some companies do not even have the metrics in place for such an activity. The recruitment function does not even keep an account of the various costs incurred on the same.

If one wants to measure, the first question which one would want an answer to—how does one know which recruitment method to use and which one is more effective than the other? There have been many studies that have been done to compare different methods used for recruitment. Some measures of checking effective recruitment that have been used are number of sourced applicants, ratio of offers to applicants, ratio of shortlisted candidates to applicants, ratio of selected to shortlisted, diversity in the applicants/final hires, number of positions filled, recruitment cycle and time frame, quality of the position filled etc. Hence, an organization's recruitment team will normally have their own list of criteria which helps them to decide which methods are best suited for which positions and for which levels. TCS measures the cost of recruitment from different college campuses as well as from other sources too. It calculates the yield of candidates that it can hire, the rate at which these individuals progress and their retention rate. Based on this analysis, it has placed colleges in different categories. In fact at some schools, it gave blanket offers to every individual in the graduating class.

Unfortunately, there is a huge gap between research and what the actual scene at the organizational level is. Most companies do not even have standard measurement criteria for evaluating their recruitment activities and recruitment sources. In most organizations informal methods such as employee referrals and walk-ins have led to longer tenure compared to that of advertisement. The characteristics of the recruiter sometimes also plays an important role in junior-level hiring—if they are well groomed and have good interpersonal relations and superior negotiation skills and strong knowledge of the company's business and products, they are able to brief the candidate convincingly on their job content and role and clarify the candidates doubts they have a better chance of success as a recruiter.

The Recruiting Yield Pyramid

Recruiters use a recruiting yield pyramid to compute the number of applicants they ought to generate to be able to hire as many as they need. Normally, a company works backwards, they first find out the total number of sanctioned positions as per the human resource planning activity. For example, if the approved numbers are 75 for hiring of sales executives, the organization will check the past records for hiring. The ratio of offers made to actual new hires is 2:1. The ratio of candidates interviewed to offers made is 3:2. The ratio of candidates that have been called for an interview to the candidates who have actually appeared for an interview is 4:3. The candidates who have come in from recruiting sources is 6:1. Hence, the recruiting yield pyramid as shown in Figure 4.7 shows that 1800 applicants have to be sourced to hire 75 sales executives.


Figure 4.7 Recruitment yield pyramid

4.10.3 Yield Effective Results with Less Turnaround Time

At times, openings can occur suddenly when an employee suddenly decides to leave with hardly or less notice and with little or no proper handing over of work assignments. In this case, one good way to garner CVs is to review the unsolicited CVs that have been received in the past in response to prior advertisements, i.e., which have been now stored in a ‘databank’. Another alternative is to release an internal job posting (IJP) to source someone within the organization. In fact, the latest in corporate India is the phenomenon of internal headhunting where large groups such as the Aditya Birla Group and Essar Group are encouraging to headhunt high performers into more-paying and challenging jobs from one part of the organization to the other.

Proactive Recruitment

For certain positions or key roles it is good to recruit in a proactive manner, i.e., you source for CVs even before you know the vacancy or position is going to arise. During certain recruitment review meetings with the senior management, you could get a slight whiff of the future plans of the organization or certain products or business that the company wants to get into. This is also very useful during resignations, proactive recruiters start looking for a replacement as soon as they learn of an opening. Therefore, if the recruitment team proactively sources CVs and once the human resource planning approval is obtained, the interview process etc. can commence. On the other side is reactive recruitment, where you wait for applicants to apply and hope that you will close on a good quality candidate soon. Therefore, it is better to be proactive, as you can avoid a lengthy gap between the time an employee vacates a position and new candidate is hired.

Global Perspective

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

Traditional organizational structures have now given way to network structures. Organizations now exist as loosely held groups and lines of authority have got marred. Organizations are carving new structures to stick to what they do best and leave the rest to those who do those the best. Recruitment which used to be a core activity of the HR organizations is now increasingly getting outsourced. Earlier the accountability as well as the process lay with HR. That trend is now getting changed to HR still holding accountability but not the process. Here comes in the role of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)!

RPO is a form of BPO where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an external service provider. An RPO provider can provide its own or may assume the company's staff, technology, methodologies and reporting. In all cases, RPO differs greatly from providers such as staffing companies and contingent/retained search providers where it assumes ownership of the design and management of the recruitment process and the responsibility of results. As the market continues to grow, self-professed RPO providers are on the rise too. Now RPO services include sourcing; screening; testing; interviewing; background checks and drug testing; hiring; coordinating the offer letter; on-boarding; maintaining applicant tracking logs, requisition and candidate files; reporting and training. Full-service RPO runs the gamut—from finding the candidate to hiring a new employee and almost everything in between. With the help of technology now the RPO service provider need not be at the same location where the recruited employee would work.

These days there are many Indian companies who are sourcing for their American clients from all over the world.

In a bid to cut costs, corporate giants based in the United States and the UK are looking to leverage RPO services from emerging market locations such as India. The RPO industry is therefore growing steadily as well as maturing. Though RPO service providers keep harping about the advantage of using RPOs for their efficiency and costs, there are issues of branding and employee engagement which cannot be driven and worked upon with an outside agency. In spite of these limitations, the enhancement of process efficiencies is enough reason for RPOs to be around for a long time.

Application Case

E-recruitment System

Brief Overview

Late one evening the President-HR requested for an urgent meeting to discuss the reasons for ‘HR data anomalies’, it was observed that the HR data reports obtained by various HR managers were never in sync. For example, the wage bill had some differences, the employee strength varied, the function and department numbers were never in sync. The senior members of the HR fraternity used to debate this for hours and finally after a series of brainstorming sessions a decision was taken to evaluate various HR softwares. The team then decided to work on the scope of the project and a phase-wise implementation for the same. Vendors were evaluated keeping in mind the scalability, scope of the work involved and finally after weeks of much debate and discussion the SAP HR was opted for.

Company Brief

BAT Telecom was a start up venture of around one and a half year, when the HR system was in its incubation stage. The employee strength at that juncture was around 1,500. Expansion plans envisaged for the next three years required the employee strength of 15,000. They had seven offices at the major metros, with a futuristic plan of rolling out a PAN India network. Initially, around 500 employees were recruited every quarter. The number of divisions were close to ten—wireline, data centre, wireless, broadband, national long distance, business support systems, decision support systems (development and operations) and support functions with the manpower strength per division of around 40–50 employees each and support functions being much larger.

BAT India: A Dream Comes True

It was a dream of a visionary for a common man to have access to affordable means of information and communication which can be made available to people at an affordable cost. Listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), it is one of India's leading integrated telecommunication company. One of the largest broadband providers, it serves mobile, Internet and landline businesses too. It encompasses a complete range of telecom services covering mobile and fixed line telephony. It includes broadband, national and international long-distance services and data services along with an exhaustive range of value-added services and applications. It was basically a one stop shop for a host of bundled offerings.

It has a reliable, high-capacity, integrated (both wireless and wireline) and convergent (voice, data and video) network. It is capable of delivering a range of services spanning the entire infocomm (information and communication) value chain, including infrastructure and services—for enterprises as well as individuals, applications and consulting. It has revolutionized the way India communicates and networks, truly bringing about a new way of life.

Recruiters’ Nightmare

The company was recognized globally for its dynamic and quick project planning skills. But it knew something had to be done about its recruitment process when it began to lose track of its CVs and called on the same candidates who came for an interview the previous week. Sometimes one business group hired the candidate and another would still call them for an interview or worse still the candidate joined one business group and another business group happened to call on the candidate for an interview.

The recruitment team was huge and the bigger the teams the larger the chaos and confusion. Hence, the company needed a new recruitment system to cope with the large numbers of CVs floating in and across various businesses in the company. The recruitment database was maintained in MS-Excel files by different businesses and there was no coordination between them. They used to receive an average of 5,000 CVs per month via e-mail, hard copies sent by candidates and also by recruitment firms, for an average of 1,000–1,200 positions at any given time. These volumes used to place considerable pressure on the recruitment teams to reduce the administration and lead-time in the recruiting process.

As time went by, the number of CVs flowing in the company was humungous and the recruiters were finding it increasingly hard to cope with the mails and hard copies losing track of where CVs were in each businesses. There were some real huge mistakes that kept on repeatedly happening. Interviewed candidates, CVs once filed were a recruiter's nightmare, as they simply could not be traced. At times, there used to be a couple of recruiters hunting high and low at least for a couple of hours, for a requested CV. Recruitment consultants would have their fair share of battles with the recruiters too.

Streamlining Chaos in Recruitment with E-recruitment

The company had to standardize its recruitment process in an attempt to reduce its duplication effort, hence, it was decided to use an ‘e-recruitment’ system to tide over its current problems. The cost per hire definitely had to be decreased and the quality of the talent that were to be hired into the business had to be enhanced. A combination of these elements, coupled with improved effectiveness, would help to promote a positive company image in the industry. The e-recruitment system helped in quicker response times to applicants, together with consistency in handling the administration associated with each appointment, would lead to improved recruitment efficiency. Another problem that could arise would be the attrition of the HR employees, i.e., recruitment staff. Since most of this happened during the first year of the recruiter joining, most would aspire to stay for at least 18–24 months, if this chaos existed for a long time, the attrition of recruiters could have risen too.


Source: Adapted from Pande (2011).


  1. What issues did the recruiters face prior to the implementation and how did they tide over the old system?

  2. What are the key messages for recruiters?


  • Recruitment is a set of practices and activities carried out by an organization with the primary purpose of identifying and attracting potential employees.
  • Recruitment strategy is made by answering the question—who should be recruited from where, when, using which resources and communicating what messages.
  • Recruitment objectives can be many—number of applicants, ratio of offers to applicants, ratio of shortlisted to applicants, ratio of selected to shortlisted candidates and so forth.
  • Employer branding is the process of creating a desirable image in the minds of the potential employee. It means deciding on the brand positioning and then designing processes and practices to deliver the promise of the brand.
  • Recruitment can have external as well as internal sources. Internal sources of recruitment include employee referral programmes, IJPs, promotions, rehiring and succession planning. The external sources of recruitment are job sites, recruitment advertisement in print, on radio and television and on the Internet, recruitment agencies, headhunters and executive search firms, networking, social networking, job fairs, former and unsolicited applicants, campus recruitment, internship, weblogs and career Web site.
  • The shortage of manpower is leading organizations to widening the candidate pool through flexi hours and job sharing and also relaxing minimum qualifications and also looking alternatives to recruitment. Popular alternatives to recruitment are subcontracting, outsourcing and temporary staff hiring.
  • E-recruiting, also known as web-based recruiting, is the term that describes a method of recruiting employees, using web-based resources, such as the company's career Web site or its corporate intranet. E-recruitment helps in reducing costs, enhancing global reach, productivity and administrative efficiency and allowing intelligent decision-making through analytics.

Drill Down

  1. Successful Talent Strategies: Achieving Superior Business Results Through Market-Focused Staffing by David Sears Like product and service markets, employment markets go up and down, but they never stand still. For any staffing strategy to be effective, it must be responsive to changes both within and outside the organization. Consequently, such initiatives must be designed with the same forethought, care, and commitment that go into other business strategies.
  2. The Complete IT Recruitment Survival Guide: An Instruction Manual for IT Recruitment Consultants by Ayub Shaikh. This book explains the IT industry in a way it needs to be understood by a recruiter. It is divided in three sections, IT Fundamentals—Understanding the Basic IT principles, The History of IT and Recruiting IT Roles.
  3. Employment jobsites such as http://www.monsterindia.com/, http://www.timesjobs.com/, http://www.naukri.com/ will give you an idea about how you can leverage jobsites for your recruitment.
  4. http://remmyawards.com/media.html—The REMMY (Recruitment Marketing) awards, was instituted by The Times Group which honour recruitment advertising in the print media.

Field Guide

1. Sample Format: Manpower Consultancy Agreement

This is an agreement entered on this day < >, between < > located at < > (full address), towards recruitment for < >.< >shall provide recruitment services in response to requests received from authorized representative(s) of < > subject to the following terms and conditions:

  1. < > shall provide the details of the skill requirements mentioning:

    1. The location of the assignment.
    2. Skill details categorized by mandatory and preferred skills along with years of relevant experience required
    3. The position details in terms of role, designation and level for which recruitment is planned
  2. < > shall provide resumes of those candidates to < > who have confirmed their interest and availability for a career with < > immediately upon receipt of the requirement from < >. These CVs shall also conform to the skill requirements detailed in clause 1 above.

  3. < > shall coordinate with the shortlisted candidates to present them for interviews as applicable.

  4. < > shall not pay any expenses such as telephone call charges, correspondence and travel expense etc. incurred by < > towards sourcing/identification/headhunting of candidates.

  5. < > shall confirm selected/kept pending status of candidates to < >.

  6. < > shall coordinate with the selected candidates and confirm their decision and tentative joining date to < >.

  7. < > shall not refer any candidate who is currently associated with any of the business associates of < > at any of the locations. < > shall also not refer any of the < > current employees to any of its other business clients for the purpose of recruitment.

  8. < > shall provide < > with a copy of the compensation/salary details (soft copy acceptable) offered to the selected candidates.

  9. < > shall raise an invoice as a referral fee as soon as candidate joins < >, as per the following terms

    For executive-level positions—< % > of the CTC

    For managerial level—< % > of the CTC

    For VP level—< % > of the CTC

    This would be exclusive of service tax.

  10. The aforesaid referral fee(s) shall be paid within 30 days of the joining date of the candidate. The cheque/DD to be drawn in favour of < > payable at < >.

    In case candidate referred by < > leaves within three months of joining < >, a replacement for the same position and role shall be provided at no extra cost to < >. If < > is unable to replace such candidates then the consultancy fee would be adjusted with the forthcoming invoice accordingly.

  11. < > may directly contact any of the candidates referred by < > with prior intimation to < >. This is applicable also to those candidates who have been found unsuitable initially by < >.

  12. In case either of the parties wishes to terminate this agreement, the same shall be done in writing with 15 days notice to the other party.

  13. < > reserves the right to change/modify any of the clauses mentioned in this agreement.

  14. This agreement shall cease to exist on <<Date>>. A fresh agreement needs to be executed upon expiry of this agreement as deemed fit by both the parties.

    We agree to the above terms of the agreement:









    Company Seal:

2. Sample Candidate Referral Scheme


To encourage employees to refer individuals and build human capital in the company


All employees are covered under this policy, except:

  1. Members of the management team

  2. Individuals in the HR function

  3. Any Individual who is involved in the recruitment and selection process of the candidate or will be the reporting manager


It is imperative that the employee who refers a candidate to the company sends a copy of the candidate's resume to the HR function.

An individual is entitled to the candidate referral incentive only after the person referred by them has served for one month with the organization.


All references must bear the name and employee number of the employee. These details must be recorded in the interview assessment form.

Depending on the profile and seniority of candidates selected as regular employees, the candidate referral incentive would differ. The amounts applicable are:

Candidate Selected @ Level Referral Incentive ()



Senior Lead


Team Lead


Principal Lead


Accounts will release the candidate referral incentive based on information provided by the HR.

Review Questions

  1. Explain the various elements of a recruitment strategy.
  2. Explain the recruitment process.
  3. What is employer branding? How is an employer branding strategy drawn? How is employer brand management done?
  4. What are internal and external sources of recruitment?
  5. How can organizations deal with the shortage of manpower?
  6. How can recruitment be made more effective?
  7. Why are metrics important? How can you measure the effectiveness of your recruitment process?


  1. Group exercise: The class has to be divided into groups of four students each and given ‘recruitment advertisements’ to be designed on their laptops. The following four types of advertisement have to be given to students—public sector, private sector, classified and walk-in advertisements and overseas recruitment advertisements.
  2. Group exercise:  The class has to be divided into pairs and each pair to be given a different job description with reference to the students of area of specialization. This should aim to focus on different industries.
  3. Self-assessment exercise: Students should be requested to attend job fairs and submit a two-page report on the same.
  4. Group exercise: Role play—two students have to do a role play as recruitment consultant and head of human resources.
  5. Individual exercise: Design a recruitment brief which includes innovative ways of recruitment.
  6. Group exercise: Take a copy of The Times of India—Ascent. Choose the best five advertisements according to your group. Then identify what is the EVP that the advertisement is communicating. Then discuss what the rational and emotive benefits are. Present your findings to the class.
  7. Group exercise: Survey/studies on employer branding: Find out recent surveys/studies on employer branding and discuss with two HR professionals on the initiatives their company does for employer branding.
  8. Group exercise: Presentation activity: Design a questionnaire on the recruitment initiatives at different levels in a company. Find out the sources and channels of recruitment they use. Make a group presentation on the findings.



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