Recruiting online

IE Focus

15 July 2003

Massive recruitment problems? Too many resumes? Try these new electronic methods.

You can save time and money with online tools that allow human resources directors to select hires more easily. And all before the interview stage, without any live, human exchange at all.

One big pharmaceutical lab recently needed to find 1,000 visiting doctors, 100 managers and 17 directors in the U.S. It used a new system, which lets candidates answer multiple-choice questions in two tests online, before filing their resumes.

The first test measures the differences between the candidate and the company culture, while the second looks at experience and technical competencies, and gauges behavior expected in the workplace.

Using these preliminary and anonymous exams, the recruiting company was able to weed out most of the 31,000 potentials. Those rejected received an online message explaining what was missing in their technical backgrounds or what culturally did not seem to fit. Short-listed candidates were interviewed by telephone. Only executives passing this final hurdle were allowed to send a resume, and were subsequently interviewed in person.

The company estimated this operation saved € 3 million. What’s more, it saved time – the firm had only 120 days to find the necessary personnel. The preliminary tests lasted roughly a quarter-hour each.

Many such tools are available. They exist for smaller firms, too – you needn’t be searching to fill thousands of posts.

Putting these electronic devices in place however, calls for Internet power that is up to speed, along with some organization and training. One company reports that if it conducts fewer interviews thanks to these online aids, its operational managers need extra coaching in how to lead those interviews, based on what has come out of the preliminary tests.

Training catalogues are also going online. This lets training companies announce, for example, last-minute discounts on courses not yet filled. It also means less red tape for HR managers. People responsible for choosing training programs can receive catalogues by regular mail, decide with their teams which programs are right for their people, then order online. Thales and Electricte de France are two firms which have gone online with lifelong learning programs.

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