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Hiring for the 21st Century Not for Faint Of Heart

Work-force productivity is the driving force for success in the 21st century, yet many employers are not realizing the levels of productivity from the human resources function they could be.

The challenge for HR functions within organizations is to implement hiring processes that enhance the productivity of an organization’s work force. Implementing hiring processes that enhance productivity means hiring more qualified people who are a good fit for the jobs they will be performing, and who become productive more quickly and achieve higher levels of performance.

The issue today is how HR accomplishes this task in the most modern, legally compliant, objective, nondiscriminatory and cost-efficient manner possible.

Many organizations have eliminated HR departments and increased the HR functions that operating supervisors and managers must handle. More organizations are outsourcing payroll, benefits and other HR functions in cost reduction moves than ever before.

With management placing increasing pressure on HR departments through cost containment initiatives, it is imperative that those who manage the HR function in organizations understand the urgent need to adopt technology to increase the productivity of the HR function.

Whereas HR departments have traditionally screened and qualified applicants by manually reviewing applications and resumes, available software solutions can automate the application and screening process. However, many of these solutions utilize key word searches to scan resumes and applications for clues that a job seeker may be qualified.

Such key word searches often provide incomplete results, eliminating from further consideration job seekers who would otherwise be qualified applicants.

A better way to qualify applicants entails the use of pre-screen questions specifically tailored to assess a job seeker’s ability to perform the minimum job requirements. By asking specific questions related to job performance, employers are better able to determine which job seekers are truly capable of performing the job.

Such pre-screen questions can be handled automatically, just like the application and resume key word search systems, thus increasing HR productivity while doing a better job of finding qualified applicants. Further, since the pre-screen answers can be quantified, applicants can be ranked by their answers, making the most qualified applicants readily identifiable.

By implementing an application process that combines automated pre-screen questions with an online application, an employer can have a recruiting and screening process that is not only efficient, but is also standardized and nondiscriminatory, an additional comfort to upper management.

Add to the process online testing for job fit, background verification screening and affirmative action data acquisition, and the employer has a completely automated and paperless applicant recruiting, screening and data storage system.

Many users of such a process are commenting that in addition to increased efficiency, the process is yielding superior employees who turnover less and become productive faster than those hired through typical applicant screening systems. Such technology is a boon to HR managers, allowing them to assist their organizations in reaching their goals through the selection of better, more productive employees, while improving the productivity of the HR function and allowing HR to direct critical resources to other important functions needed by the organization.


Milt Cotter is an author and specialist in human resources issues.

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