Recruiting as an Essential Tool of an Organization



Most UK firms do not go through such an extensive recruiting process as Toyota, but they are getting more serious about it. It may be just in time. It is estimated that since most of the baby boomers now hold jobs, the workforce will slow way down from 2.4 percent in the 1990s to 1.2 percent in the 2000s. The Bureau of Labour Statistics estimates the number of jobs will grow faster than the labor force (Bernstein, 2002). Organizations will have to appeal to different groups, notably women and minorities, who will make up two-thirds of the new workforce. Finding and keeping quality employees are the battle cry of the 1990s. The senior vice president of corporate relations at K-mart UK, says, "For UK corporations, tomorrow’ s competitive battle will be won or lost on the strength of their ability to build and retain a skilled workforce" (Gilley, 2000). Everyone is talking about the labor shortage, but it seems to be a matter not of shortage but of finding and keeping the right people. There are always people, but not necessarily ones that meet our needs. Once they are found, it is a matter of being able to keep them. One company that has a good track record on both of these accounts is a medical organization that is one of the best managed in the world: Merck &amp. Co. Arthur F. Strohmer, executive director of Staffing and Developments, emphasizes that Merck places heavy emphasis on meeting very high standards in its recruiting activities, for example, targeting certain schools as being the "best" for the disciplines it needs. Merck, like Motorola, bases much of its campus recruiting on the past performance of employees who have come from certain schools. Many organizations try to do the same thing. Either consciously or unconsciously, organizations keep returning to the same source for personnel. Whether they are truly successful or at the mercy of random selection depend on how organized they are. Many managers make choices based on assumptions rather than knowledge about which types of individuals actually do better than others. All too often the selection process is highly subjective, with applicants recognizing this and trying to play the part they need to play. Organizations need some way to recruit those who are best for their particular organization. (Walton, 1999) Two organizations that have given systematic thought to this employee selection process are Merck and Hewlett-Packard (HP). Almost everyone recognizes the importance of the initial interview. On the forefront of this movement is Merck. It developed a new Interview Skills Workshop, which has helped redefine the interview process. Art Strohmer notes, "We’re committed to getting the very best people, not only to fill the jobs that are open now but to grow with us in the future" ("Skill"). He says that to find the best candidates in disciplines they need, Merck interviewers must be able to develop better skills for identifying the best. Candidates have become increasingly sophisticated at interviewing. Some even take seminars on how to interview and how to present themselves. Merck’s workshop teaches interviewers to keep control of the interview.