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Organizations spend a good deal of time and money recruiting people to work in organizations. This section is going to examine the process of recruiting new organizational members. Believe it or not, recruitment is very important for an organization because poor recruitment can be a very costly mistake. Table 10.1 "The Cost of Recruitment" shows research from a handful of studies that examine the cost for recruiting a new employee. Leigh Branham estimates that the costs associated with recruiting someone can be anything from 25 to 200 percent of the person’s annual salary.Branham, L. (2000). Keeping the people who keep you in business: 24 ways to hang on to your most valuable talent. New York, NY: AMACOM. Overall, recruiting new employees is a time consuming and expensive process. In this section, we’re going to examine the recruitment process along with various issues related to employee expectations and finding the best talent.
Table 10.1 The Cost of Recruitment
|Examined the cost of recruiting both operations and management in five-star hotels in Australia.Davidson, M. C. G., Timo, N., & Wang, Y. (2010). How much does labour turnover cost? A case study of Australian four- and five-star hotels. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22, 451–466. doi: 10.1108/09596111011042686||$9,591 for an 8 hour employee. $109,909 for a manager.|
|Examined how much it cost to recruit a new front-line desk clerk at hotels in New York City and Miami.Hinkin, T. R., & Tracey, J. B. (2000). The cost of turnover : Putting a price on the learning curve. Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 41, 14–21. doi: 10.1177/001088040004100313||$5,827—Miami|
|Examined the costs associated with recruiting a number of different occupations.Sommer, R. D. (2000). Retaining intellectual capital in the 21st century.||$109,909—Journeyman Machinist|
|$133,000 for an HR manager|
|$150,000 for an accounting professional|
|Examined the cost of recruiting public school teachers in Texas.Texas Center for Educational Research. (2000, October). The cost of teacher turnover: Report Prepared for the Texas State Board for Educator Certification. Austin, TX: Texas Center for Educational Research.||$3,000 and $4,000 per teacher|
|Examined the costs of various jobs in the state of Louisiana.Louisiana Department of State Civil Service. (2011, January 13). Report on turnover rates for non-classified employees. Retrieved from: http://senate.legis.state.la.us/streamline/Topics/2011/Act%20879%20Turnover%20Report%20AMENDED%20Jan%2013%202011.pdf||Average of $25,000 for jobs that are high stress protective services (e.g., police officers & correction staff).|
Recruitment takes a lot of economic and human resources to do effectively. Unfortunately, some organizations do not adequately think through the basic strategies for recruiting to ensure the maximum benefits of the recruitment process. Maybe an organization is more concerned with filling a position than finding the best person for the job. Other organizations end up with people who have exaggerated their qualifications in order to get the job. Some organizations try to paint an unrealistic rosy-picture of what it’s like to work there only to end up with new hires who become disgruntled once they are faced with the actual reality of the job. Whatever the reasons that exist for poor recruitment, problematic recruitment is a reality in many organizations. According James Breaugh, employee recruitment encompasses four specific actions on the part of an organization:
To help organizations think through effective employee recruitment, James Breaugh, Therese Macan, and Dana Grambow proposed a simple five-step model for understanding recruitment in modern organizations, which can be seen in Figure 10.1 "Model of Employee Recruitment".Breaugh, J. A., Macan, T. H., & Grambow, D. M. (2008). Employee recruitment: Current knowledge and directions for future research. In G. P. Hodgkinson & J. K. Ford
Figure 10.1 Model of Employee Recruitment
The first stage of recruiting new employees consists of determining the basic objectives for the new employee. Are you creating a brand new position or attempting to refill a position because of voluntary or involuntary turnover? At this stage in the recruitment process, you need to truly brainstorm everything from the type of applicant you’re looking for (e.g., educational background, job experience, skill set, etc.) to the role this person will actually play within the organization itself. The more specific you can be at this point in the recruitment process, the easier it will be to weed out eventual applicants who simply do not meet the basic objectives of the organization.
The next stage in recruitment involves thinking through the specific strategies that the organization plans to employ to recruit potential applicants. If you look in Figure 10.1 "Model of Employee Recruitment", you’ll notice that the questions asked during this phase primarily deal with determining how you will find your applicant pool and then how you will craft specific messages targeted at potential applicants that will entice them to apply. First, you need to know what type of applicant you need to target. For example, are you looking for someone who has just a high school education or are you looking for someone who has an MBA and 20 plus years of experience running nonprofit organizations? You’ll notice that this part of the recruitment strategy stems directly out of recruitment objectives.
Second, you need to think about the organization’s messaging strategy. The messaging strategy includes everything from crafting specific messages to determining the best possible outlets for these messages. For entry-level, minimum wage applicants, you may create simple, straightforward descriptions of the job and post them on local job websites or in the newspaper. When attempting to hire a senior-level executive, you may work with a consultant known as an external corporate recruiter during this process. An external corporate recruiterAn individual (or group of individuals) who have specific expertise in searching for and recruiting potential job applicants. is an individual (or group of individuals) who have specific expertise in searching for and recruiting potential job applicants. Because corporate recruiters have specific expertise in the recruitment process, they can help an organization in a number of specific ways. First, they can help an organization decrease the amount of time that it takes to search for and eventually hire a new employee (commonly referred to as the time to hireThe amount of time that it takes to search for and eventually hire a new employee.). External corporate recruiters often specialize in specific industries or types of positions, so they already have a network of potential applicants or know how to target potential applicants. Second, they can increase the quality and quantity of the candidate pool. Next, they can help an organization keep its recruiting costs down because of the focused nature of the job search itself. Lastly, they can ensure that all governmental regulations associated with recruitment and hiring are met. Although most human resource personnel can also accomplish this function, sometimes a second pair of eyes not related to the organization can be important to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
Once you’ve determined your objectives and your strategy, it’s time to actually let the rubber hit the road and start the recruitment of potential applicants. At this point, you’re basically involved in three specific activities. First, you’re engaged in the day-to-day process of searching for and recruiting candidates. This stage can involve everything from placing advertisements on a job website to attending career fairs at a local college or university.
Next, you need to think through all of the internal resources that will be involved in the recruitment process. Who will create job ads? How much time do you have devoted to recruitment? Who is going to oversee the entire recruitment project? Recruitment should have a central project manager who oversees the entire process. If you have too many different people attempting to run your recruitment, you will run into serious problems. As such, it’s important to have a specific individual who is ultimately in charge of the actual recruitment process to ensure all of the small steps are completed accurately and in a timely fashion.
Lastly, you’re crafting the specific messages you want potential applicants to see and/or hear. Whether you’re creating a simple call for applicants in a local newspaper or creating an online video to entice applicants, a lot of time is involved in the crafting of effective messages targeted towards applicants. These messages should be both informative (explaining the job and the types of applicants sought) and persuasive (enticing people to apply). In addition to creating the messages, you need to determine where these messages will ultimately been seen or heard by the types of applicants you desire. Although your strategy for this process was determined in the previous step, at this step in the process you need to implement and adjust your targeted message outlets as necessary.
Once you have started to receive applications for your position, it’s time to start going through the stack of potential employees. Before you actually get to the interview step, you need to systematically go through the applications and determine which ones are viable candidates and which ones simply are not. There are many people who simply apply to any and every job whether they have the background or skills necessary to complete the job. The first step in screening out individuals is to have a standard set of objectives for determining the qualifications of the applicant. By employing this objective standard, you can generally weed through a giant portion of the applicants and easily determine the ones that you may want to interview.
For low-level or entry level positions, the recruitment process is generally more straight forward and involves less expense on the part of the organization. These interviews may simply take place within the organization on the day someone fills out an application if a manager is readily available.
On the other hand, when an organization is recruiting a professional position or senior-level executive, there may be a whole interview process in place. There are a number of different types of interviews an organization can take. Some organizations employ telephone interviews first to determine which applicants should be brought to the organization for a face-to-face interview. Today it’s also common to do this first round of interviews using video conferencing software like Skype. The goal of this first set of interviews is to help the recruiters focus their recruitment efforts to a handful of potential applicants they may wish to interview on the organization’s campus. After the telephone interviews, the recruitment team may finalize their list of applicants and either bring them directly to the organization for an interview or employ an off-campus face-to-face interview.
An off-campus face-to-face interviewWhen an organization arranges to have an off-site location (typically in or near an airport) to conduct a round of interviews. (sometimes called a flyover interview) occurs when an organization arranges to have an off-site location (typically in or near an airport) to conduct a round of interviews. In essence, interviewees are flown to the airport and then taken to a conference room within the airport or nearby the airport for a face-to-face interview with the recruitment team. Once the interview is over, the applicant is put back on her or his plane and sent home. Many organizations use this strategy when recruiting senior-level executives because there is nothing quite like a face-to-face interview and these can be cheaper than an on-campus face-to-face interview.
An on-campus face-to-face interviewWhen an organization brings the individual to the organization for an interview. occurs when an organization brings the individual to the organization for an interview. On-campus face-to-face interviews can last from a half-day interview to a multi-day interview depending on type of hire an organization is attempting. The more senior the position, the more likely the organization will involve an extended interview process in an attempt to gain a more thorough understanding of the possible fit of the applicant. These interviews can be very expensive because they involve the costs of transportation, housing, food, and entertainment during the interview.
Obviously, these are not the only types of interviews that organizations can employ, but they are different enough to demonstrate the array of possible choices an organization has for conducting an interview. As you can see from the above descriptions, the interview process can be as cheap as the time lost while a manger conducts an on-the-spot interview to one that could cost over one-hundred thousand dollars. For this reason, interviews should be conducted strategically looking for the various factors discussed in Figure 10.1 "Model of Employee Recruitment".
The final stage of recruitment examines the results of the recruitment process itself. Once an applicant has signed a contract and joined your organization, it’s always a smart idea to objectively analyze how recruitment went in an effort to improve the process for future hires. Ultimately, when evaluating the results of your recruitment, you should look at both the short-term and long-term results of recruitment. The short-term results include determining if the first four stages of recruitment were effective (objectives, strategy, activities, and interviews). The long-term results focus on whether or not a new employee meets the organization’s expectations or doesn’t meet the organization’s expectations, which could lead to either voluntary or involuntary turnover.
One of the major problems occurring post-hiring involves the expectations of the new employee. Social psychological research has demonstrated that when an individual’s expectations are not met, the individual will experience dissonance leading to a disliking of the event itself.Aronson, E., & Carlsmith, J. M. (1962). Performance expectancy as a determinant of actual performance. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 65, 178–182. Paula Popovich and John Wanous explain that dissatisfaction is likely to occur when three conditions occur:
Whether one looks at hiring an individual from the organization’s perspective or looks at the new employee’s perspective, recruitment and hiring clearly meets all three of these conditions. Figure 10.2 "Problems with Traditional Organizational Recruitment" illustrates the problems associated with traditional recruiting strategies and how they leads to problems with expectations. First, organizations historically have done their best to make their organization look very positive and downplay or simply avoid any of the downsides of a particular job. Unfortunately, these traditional organizational recruitment strategies lead to inflated expectations on the part of a new hire. When that new hire comes face-to-face with the reality of working within an organization, he or she quickly becomes disillusioned because her or his initial expectations are not being met. With unmet expectations, the new employee will eventually become dissatisfied with her or his job. With employee dissatisfaction, two possible paths emerge, neither of them beneficial for the organization. First, a dissatisfied employee may decrease her or his commitment to the organization and simply start looking for a new job (voluntary turnover). Second, a dissatisfied employee’s productivity level may drop, causing the organization to become dissatisfied with the employee, which will lead to the employee’s firing (involuntary turnover). Of course, with either voluntary or involuntary turnover, the organization will be faced with recruiting a new employee and the cycle starts again.
Figure 10.2 Problems with Traditional Organizational Recruitment
In addition to the organization misrepresenting who it is and how it functions, individual applicants can also misrepresent themselves. In Figure 10.3 "Misrepresentation of Qualifications" we see what happens when an individual applicant misrepresents her or his qualifications. In this case, the organization will be dissatisfied because the new hire cannot perform in the fashion the applicant said he or she could. As the organization’s expectations are unmet, the organization becomes dissatisfied, which will eventually lead to the individual employee’s firing (involuntary turnover).
Figure 10.3 Misrepresentation of Qualifications
A second type of misrepresentation that can occur during the application process involves an individual employee’s cultural preferences. For example, maybe an individual applicant says he or she is all about teamwork during the interview, but in reality that applicant is a loner and prefers to work on projects alone. If this applicant is hired with the expectation that he or she will work on a number of teams, there will be unmet expectations on the part of the organization if the new employee quickly shows disinterest in teamwork. Furthermore, this new employee will experience unmet needs and desires for autonomy if he or she is constantly being forced to engage in teamwork. In the case of the organization’s unmet experiences, the organization will become dissatisfied, which will eventually lead to the organization firing the new employee. On the case of the individual employee, he or she will become dissatisfied with all of the pressure for teamwork and eventually look for another job that more accurately suits her or his cultural preferences.
Figure 10.4 Misrepresentation of Cultural Preferences
Although organizations can never completely prevent applicant misrepresentations, they can build in processes to prevent the outcomes associated with traditional recruitment processes. The basic premise of the realistic job preview is that new employees often have inaccurate perceptions about the positions for which they are applying. These expectations, as discussed above, lead to dissatisfaction on either the employee’s part or the organization’s part. To alleviate these inflated expectations, “it has been suggested that an employer should provide recruits with candid information concerning a job opening (i.e., information about both positive and negative job and organizational attributes).”Breaugh, J. A. (2008). Employee recruitment, Current knowledge and important areas for future research. Human Resource Management Review, 18, 103–118. doi: 10.1016/j.hrmr:2008.07.003, pg. 106. Figure 10.5 "Realistic Job Preview Theory" illustrates why realistic job previews are effective. First, when a realistic job preview is given to applicants, the applicant will have more realistic expectations when he or she decides to accept a job offer. As that new employee enters into the organization, he or she will have more realistic expectations about the organizational culture and the day-to-day work that is expected. When an individual has realistic expectations, it’s much easier for these expectations to be met, which will lead to increased employee satisfaction and motivation. With increased employee satisfaction and motivation, your new employee will demonstrate greater organizational commitment and overall productivity. Ultimately, the goal of this process is to ensure that a new hire is less likely to be fired or quit.
To help us further understand the nature of realistic job previews, we are going to focus on three important aspects of this process. First, we will examine the theoretical basis for why realistic job previews work. Second, we’ll examine the importance of communication in the process of realistic job previews. Lastly, we’ll examine the research related to the outcomes of realistic job previews and their overall effectiveness.
Figure 10.5 Realistic Job Preview Theory
By this point, you may be wondering why realistic job previews (RJPs) are an effective tool when hiring new employees. Research has indicated two theoretical possibilities for why RJPs work.
The first theory explaining the effectiveness of realistic job previews is called the self-selection theory. In essence, self-selection theory argues that when applicants are faced with a realistic portrayal of an organization and what it would be like to work within an organization, the employee will have a more accurate understanding and more realistic expectations.Wanous, J. P. (1980). Organizational entry: Recruitment, selection, and As such, when an applicant decides to accept a job offer, he or she is knowingly opting to work within that organization (flaws included). In essence, people who feel that there is a good person-organization fit will self-select into the organization. Conversely, individuals who do not see the organization as a good person-organization fit will knowingly self-select out of working within that organization. Basically, self-selection theory posits that the more information someone has, the more accurately he or she can decide if an individual organization is somewhere he or she wants to work.
The second major theoretical position researchers have posed for the effectiveness of RJPs is called inoculation theory. William J. McGuire originally created inoculation theory to explain how attitudes and beliefs are altered during persuasion attempts.McGuire, W. J. (1961). The effectiveness of supportive and refutational defenses in immunizing defenses. Sociometry, 24, 184–197. In the world of medicine, we often inoculate people using weakened strains of a virus and injecting them into an individual (called a vaccine). The weakened virus ultimately helps a host build up immunity to the virus itself. In the world of new employee hiring, the RJP functions as a vaccine, which ultimately prepares a new hire for the realities of working within the organization and her or his job duties. In essence, by presenting an RJP, an employer can help prepare a new hire in incremental steps for the day-to-day life the new hire is going to experience within the organization, so by the time the new hire starts the job, he or she has already built up “immunity.”
The realistic job preview (RJP) process is inherently a communicative one. One of the most important questions that should be asked is how will the message be presented. This message strategizing includes when the message will be presented, who will present the message, and the medium utilized. There are a number of different options that could be utilized: brochures, audio visual, human resource personnel, future coworkers, and virtual reality.
The first option involves using a brochure or new employee manual that realistically describes what it is like working for the organization. This brochure/manual should include details in a balanced fashion to ensure that the new employee is getting an accurate picture of what life would be like working within the organization. Unfortunately, brochures tend to be detached and simply are often either not read thoroughly or not read at all.
The second option that many organizations utilize for delivering an RJP is some form of audiovisual RJP. The most common audiovisual RJP is the video. Table 10.2 "Realistic Job Preview Videos" contains a list of just a handful of video RJPs that are available on the internet.
Table 10.2 Realistic Job Preview Videos
|Bank of America||http://careers.bankofamerica.com/rjp/|
|Federal Air Marshalls||http://www.realisticjobpreview.net/fams/|
|Transportation Security Administration (TSA)||http://www.realisticjobpreview.net/tsa_final.htm|
|Child Protective Services (CPS, State of AZ)||https://www.azdes.gov/main.aspx?menu=154&id=4297|
|Sears Sales Consultant||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFUxEkX0hHE|
|Treatment Plant Equipment Operators||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoPeWWmZoCA|
|OwensCorning Home Experts||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp4dZj0ZOF8|
When you look at the various RJPs presented in Table 10.2 "Realistic Job Preview Videos", you’ll see a wide range of different types of jobs and different ways to present the information. Some videos have high production values and look like mini-movies (the TSA videos) and make the work look exciting while others include simple interviews with an employee who works for the organization in a specific position (Pharmacy Technician/Customer Service). Early research examining brochures and videos really didn’t find any differences between the two mediums and their actual effectiveness. Admittedly, most of the research on audiovisual techniques and RJPs occurred back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The third option listed above involves using the hiring personnel to describe the organization and the position. Although the hiring personnel may be great for describing the organization, he or she may not have the most accurate or up-to-date knowledge of what work life is like in every department. Research conducted by Alan Saks and Steven Cronshaw found that an RJP presented orally by an interviewer was better than a written RJP when predicting an individual’s attitude about the job and accepting a job offer. Furthermore, individuals who received the oral RJP found the organization to be more honest as a whole.Saks, A. M., & Cronshaw, S. F. (1990). A process investigation of realistic job previews: Mediating variables and channels of communication. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11, 2210236.
Fourth, an organization could utilize an informal meeting with a current employee who works within the division the new hire will work in. No one really has a clearer perception of work life than someone actually involved in the same type of work the applicant will be required to do. Research conducted by Stephen Colarelli investigated using an incumbent bank teller to deliver an RJP during the hiring process as compared to a written RJP or no RJP at all. The research found that individuals who received the RJP from an incumbent bank teller were less likely to have quit the job after 2 or 3 months. In fact, Colarelli’s research found no difference in turnover rates between those who received the brochure and those who didn’t receive an RJP at all.
Lastly, many organizations actually utilize some form of virtual reality simulation for delivering RJPs. In essence, the virtual reality simulation is designed to present job applicants with scenarios that would resemble the actual working conditions the potential employees would face in a day-to-day working environment. These types of simulations may be great for jobs that are highly routinized (employees do the same thing day-in and day-out), but not so great for jobs that are more chaotic. These interactive simulations can not only provide the applicant with an RJP, but the simulations can be created in a fashion that demonstrates to the organization whether or not the applicant would be a good fit as well. Although applicants indicate that they appreciate the interactive quality of the simulations when determining whether to work somewhere,Murphy, J. P. (2012, April 13). Show, don’t tell—Job tryouts go virtual [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.shakercg.com/blog/tag/realistic-job-preview/ there really is no outcome data on the actual effectiveness of this new method.
Ultimately, the big question for most organizations relates to the effectiveness of realistic job previews in the prevention of voluntary and involuntary turnover. A number of research studies have attempted to determine whether a realistic job preview works in the manner discussed in Figure 10.5 "Realistic Job Preview Theory". In a study conducted by Jean Phillips that compiled the research results from 40 different studies examining realistic job previews, she found that RJPs did lead to lower initial expectations and lower levels of both voluntary and involuntary turnover.Phillips, J. M. (1998). Effects of realistic job previews on multiple organizational outcomes: A meta-analysis. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 673–690. However, the statistical relationships between RJPs and the outcome variables wasn’t exactly overwhelmingly strong. For this reason, David Earnest, David Allen, and Ronald Landis have cautioned that while RJPs are definitely effective, the actual return on their investment for an organization may not be high enough to warrant their utilization within a modern organization.Earnest, D. R., Allen, D. G., & Landis, R. S. (2011). Mechanisms linking realistic job previews with turnover: A meta-analytic path analysis. Personnel Psychology, 64, 865–896. In their study of 52 different research studies examining realistic job previews, the researchers found that an RJP increased new employee perceptions of organizational honesty, which in-turn actually impacted voluntary turnover. In essence, the researchers argued that an “RJP signals something about unobservable organizational characteristics such as organizational honesty, organizational support, and care for employees.”Earnest, D. R., Allen, D. G., & Landis, R. S. (2011). Mechanisms linking realistic job previews with turnover: A meta-analytic path analysis. Personnel Psychology, 64, 865–896; pg. 888. Although the overall outcomes for RJPs may not be the greatest organizational investment, they do help to moderately decrease both voluntary and involuntary turnover, so investing moderate amounts of organizational resources may still be worth the investment.