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Inefficiency and Inadequacy in the Recruitment Process in New Zealand Universities: Analytical Essay

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The Universities in New Zealand have very high expectations from the potential candidates for filling up the position of academic staff. They need to have at least a Ph.D. and an excellent publication record in academic journals of good impact factor. The universities follow an outdated and archaic approach through newspaper advertisements and also, by referrals from the academic staff. The recruitment process is exceptionally slow, highly decentralized and is usually accorded to the heads of academic departments, who are not trained in the recruitment process. Such an inefficiency and inadequacy in the recruitment process leading to the selection of less desirable employees. Also, another factor that hampers the recruitment of staff at the senior academic level is low remunerations, that make it almost infeasible to fill up such vacancies. The recruitment channels currently used by New Zealand Universities are inappropriate, as more nuanced research, points to the flaws present in the different recruitment channels as elicited below:

1. College placement offices:

They have a few advantages as it makes it possible to select good quality candidates within a short period and students get hired even before the completion of their course. Moreover, students undergoing an internship may have possibilities of direct recruitment to the job positions offered by companies. It also builds company loyalty and enhances selection ratio. However, it is somewhat flawed as it makes few assumptions. It considers that Individuals have already been pre-screened by their cumulative grade scores. Although these recruits can be academically well established, they would not possess relevant experience in the field. Experienced candidates are likely to perform better than the new graduates, as the latter would require additional training and constant feedback from the higher officials which prolongs their time to full productivity which also adds up to the cost of training as a mark-up over the employee’s salary.

2. Employment agencies:

The recruitment agencies hire professionals who are experts in the recruitment process and hence they can help universities to fill up vacant positions in less time. However, such recruiting agencies don’t effectively deal with the concerns that University or the employee may have. They are usually motivated by profits and have been shown to incline towards favouritism. Recruitment agencies demand a high fee from the universities for their services offered. Also, there is less possibility of universities having control over the hiring process and direct access to the candidates. There are also wide disparities among various agencies in the screening process followed by them. Some agencies screen candidates more effectively than other agencies prior to the referral. Also, individuals may favour an agency owned by a private owner or by public depending upon their abilities, skills and work ethics.

3. Newspaper advertisements:

Most of the vacancies for the post of lecturer and senior lecturer are advertised in the University Staff bulletin and on the career website of the University. The jobs at Universities in New Zealand are also advertised online in New Zealand and Australia job sites like seek and trade me. They are also given in the print media like Daily times and newspapers. It is seen that newspaper targets mostly aged and experienced job seekers. It’s advisable to advertise through social media if the university is seeking younger professionals. Also, newspaper advertising helps Universities hire locally as it specifically focuses on specific geographical location (Breaugh, 2008). So, a University can hire a similar type of applicants. To attract a different type of applicants especially from different ethnic backgrounds, it would be advisable to give advertisements for the vacancies in different types of newspapers. Moreover, some newspapers are considered more prestigious than the others; hence it could signal that top positions are advertised only in certain papers.

4. Employee referrals:

The employee referral plays a crucial role in the recruitment process especially in the context of a University. Employee referrals help in employing better quality candidates that fit for the role and it helps in higher retention. The job applicants recruited via employee referrals are more likely to be interviewed and receive jobs (Breaugh, 2008). There has been research on the use of employee referrals as a recruitment method and it is proven that employee believes that referrals offer advantages over other methods. However, few shortcomings are associated with the recruitment process such as it might lead to charges of discrimination. Few considerations must be analyzed when hiring a job applicant based on the referral i.e. if the referrer is aware of the position that is to be filled and what has been his/her past performance and if the referrer is apprehensive about his reputation.

The recruitment process is slow as the positions for new recruitments are not advertised until the incumbent leave the position and the process takes an exceedingly long time even once they have vacated. Another problem is that the brand image of University has an impact on the recruitment outcome. A positive reputation of the company increases the number of applicants thereby enhancing the ability of the University to make finer distinctions and be more selective. Universities can use advertisements and publicity to create a positive brand image which might give it a competitive advantage as its being valuable, rare, hard to imitate. It’s important to position University as a unique place to work.

The recruitment methods that could be adopted by the New Zealand universities alternative to the current methods in order to hire efficient and the most suitable employees are as follows:

Video Interviewing:

Video interviewing is one of the major academic recruitments, that has gained a wide reputation in recent times, where the applicants are asked to submit a recorded video answering the set of pre-determined questions. This method is more beneficial, especially in the case of overseas applicants. The advantages of this method are:

  1. Video interviewing is helpful for applicants to schedule their interview conveniently in their own time.
  2. As all the candidates are demanded to answer the same questions within the stipulated time, it will help the university to compare the answers and select the potential candidates.
  3. The HR departments also require less time for screening the candidates through videos, as it helps to determine the suitability for the post within a short while.
  4. It also improves the quality of hire as more time can be spent on well-deserving applicants.
  5. Also, the recorded videos of qualified recruits can be reviewed more than once and passed on to other departments of the university to ascertain their recruitment.

Social Media:

Social Media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. are more popular around the globe with its growing number of users each day. It opens opportunities to reach fresh and young talents also categorizing the candidates according to their demography, skills, interests, and previous work experiences. Social media recruitments are more advantageous in the following aspects:

  1. Social media are very helpful in judging and choosing the right candidates based on their personal activities, thus giving a deeper insight into the universities on their eligibility for the position applied.
  2. It can be completed in a relatively lesser time frame than the traditional recruitment methods. Also, many of the social media recruitments being cheaper or almost free of cost can result in huge savings for the university.
  3. Job postings listed in the university social media page are constantly being followed by the interested candidates, which encourage them to come forward and actively engage to chat, post comments and active conversations in a group.
  4. Social recruiting increases the online reputation of the university and thus helps in gaining strength and trust from the applicants. Brands having higher social media presence are considered more trustworthy.
  5. Most recruits found on social media will have technically sound skills, will be more productive and last longer after recruitment.

Mobile Recruitment:

The other alternative recruitment method that can be implemented by a University is Mobile recruitment, which is a method of connecting the potential candidates and the recruiters through smartphones. Smartphones are widely being used by everyone around the globe. Thus, recruiting via mobile helps the universities have easy and direct access to the candidates through mobile recruiting apps.

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As indicated by SHRM, about 66% of the organization has been taking steps to incorporate mobile recruitment. The two major advantages of mobile recruitment are:

  1. As the main means of communication here are the smartphones, which has become an essential part of our daily lives, the entire process of recruitment can be managed and controlled from anywhere and at any convenient time frames.
  2. The candidates in search of a job would be an active user of the mobile recruitment apps, thus enabling the university recruitment team to connect easily and recruit well-talented applicants.

Internal Websites:

Internal websites are yet another recruitment strategy, that is gaining popularity in many universities around the world.

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As shown in the above figure, in this method of recruitment, the universities post information about their vacancies and job descriptions in their internal websites. The candidate who is looking for the job in a particular university can enter their official website, check for the job vacancy and other related information under the careers section and then apply for their desired position. This will help their resume to be directly sent to the university HR team and increase their probability of selection than applying through other means of recruitment.

Virtual Reality Recruiting:

Virtual reality recruiting is one of the modern recruitment methods, which uses advancing VR technology to recruit the potentially right candidates. The benefits of VR recruitment method are

  1. The first and foremost benefit is the immersive experience than printed material or a video. Using VR, it can attract young and enthusiastic talents, by showing them the real-time experience of being there in the university by simulating their sensory impulses. There is no other better way to explain the university culture to the academic staffs rather than making them feel their actual presence in the place.
  2. The second benefit is the assessment of the applicants. After making them feel the experience of physically being present in the university, the candidates who enjoyed the experience are more likely to apply and can be more dedicated to work.

Internal Recruiting:

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Internal Recruiting is also one of the important methods of recruiting. Even though other methods like video interviewing, social media interview, etc. can play an important role in selecting an ideal candidate, sometimes the universities may also end up in choosing the candidate who is unsuitable for the position and the entire process has to be repeated. It may be cost-intensive and time-consuming.

Instead, the university can focus on Internal Recruiting which is the process of selecting a student who has completed the Ph.D. degree in the particular university with good academic records and possesses other skills required for the job. The advantages of internal recruitment are:

  1. The university, the HR department and even the particular Heads of the Department will have some background knowledge about the candidate and can also obtain the required information from their internal records.
  2. The cost of internal recruitment is less compared to other methods as it will reduce the costs of ads, background checks, and other onboard processes.
  3. It is also beneficial for the candidates, as they would already know about the culture and the workspace of the university. This could also reduce the time taken for training the selected candidates.
  4. The internal candidates are much easier to find and thus, reduces the recruitment time.

Advantages of Online Recruitment:

1) Low cost:

In online recruitment, the cost incurred for publishing the job postings in the internal websites or the social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc is comparatively lesser or almost free of cost than the publishing it in the newspapers. It also offers the great advantage of editing the posts whenever needed owning to the fluctuations during the hiring process.

2) Reduction in Time:

The other advantage of the University recruiting online is that it saves time, thereby, hastening the recruitment process. It also minimizes the paperwork and enables the storage of candidate details in the online database, which helps the university to appoint the potential candidates meeting the specified requirements. Therefore, it has been estimated that online recruitment saves almost 25 to 30% of the HR time involved in the recruitment process (Workforce, 2000a as cited in Galanaki, 2002). The process is not only favourable for the university recruiters but also to the job seekers as they can modify their resume thereby keeping it regularly updated.

3) Able to reach a wider range of applicants:

In contrast to the conventional recruitment methods, e-recruitment which facilitates the use of the internet helps the university to outstretch the potential candidates and create job openings for the people around the globe, thereby, overcoming the geographical boundaries. In turn, the candidates also respond expeditiously to the jobs posted online and utilize the job opportunities. The initial selection methods like psychometric tests can be done using video interviewing, further easing the recruitment process.

4) Instant Feedback:

The other benefit of online recruitment is that it helps in providing better and instant feedback to the candidates, which not only ameliorates the recruitment process but also the University stature among the candidates.

Disadvantages of Online Recruitment:

One of the major disadvantages of online recruitment is the surfeit of applications. As mentioned earlier, the Internet cannot be confined to a particular geographical location. Therefore, the lack of barriers helps the candidates to fill the application form, submit their CV’s from anywhere around the world (Workforce, 2000a as cited in Galanaki, 2002). This might be a serious impediment to the University, to choose the potential candidate.

Though the e-recruitment process saves the cost and time, it does not remain uncomplicated. The initial cost involved for the university to set up the database to store the candidates’ information, a dedicated computer system to handle the entire process is expensive. If the university is not equipped with the technology and software, it might turn into intricate and a time-consuming process.

In online recruitments involving selection methods through mail communication, it might become a hurdle to the candidates to express themselves personally to the recruiter. This can lead to candidates not being able to explicit some of the skills and strengths to the employer (Alves 2005; Gomes, 2011 as cited in Brandão, Silva and dos Santos, 2019).

From the employee point of view, the e-recruitment process is mostly perceived as suitable for Freshers and IT-related jobs seekers. The experienced academic professionals don’t find the internet as their first option for searching Jobs.

The other disadvantage in incorporating online recruitment process in the University is that in some situations it might be biased against an international potential candidate who doesn’t use internet or against countries like China where social media sites like Facebook has been banned.

The decentralized approach of the recruitment process has an impact on the applicant reactions. The applicant reactions are the way applicants perceive and react to the recruitment process (Ployhart, 2006). The applicants can have different perceptions of the selection process especially regarding the fairness of the process. The applicants seem to favour the process that they perceive to be consistent, reliable and valid. If applicants perceive that approach followed by Universities is non-valid or not reliable, it will influence their reactions and the outcome of the selection process. Such reactions of applicants matter to the Universities that are actively competing for talent. A biased selection procedure can lead to negative reactions from the applicant and this will lead to the recruitment of non-desirable candidates. To attract talented applicants, the University needs to consider the applicant reactions before selecting and implementing the recruitment process.

The characteristics of the recruiter influence recruitment outcomes. When the recruiters don’t have the essential training in the recruitment or selection process, such a process adversely impact the perception of the University or its brand image. The outcome of such a flawed decentralized recruitment process is the high turnover of the candidates and the loss of potentially desirable candidates (Ployhart, 2006).

To make the recruitment process more efficient, the academics and head of the department must be given training in the recruitment process. The head of departments needs formal training in supervision, administration and in the recruitment process so that they become adept in hiring desirable staff members. But such training will require extra resources and funds that may not be viable for Universities that are already under financial distress.

Another plausible option could be to involve only Human resources officials in the recruitment process i.e. to centralize the entire selection process of academics in a University. The Human resources role at universities needs to undergo a paradigm shift. The role at present is transactional where HR performs tasks like collecting resumes, scheduling interviews and providing orientation sessions for new employees. There must be a new role of a strategic partner involved in the recruitment of faculty by developing compensation strategies, performance management and leadership development. HR must be given the opportunity to gain a broad level of functional skills and institutional knowledge by working with different departments.

The recruitment agencies like Fisher leadership can be employed for the hiring process as such organizations possess the skills and experience to choose the right candidates for the job.

Employer Branding is a process of constructing and cultivating the University’s Brand. The recruitment outcomes depend upon the employer’s brand. The applicants are bound to choose the firm with a better reputation as it signals better job attributes (Cable and Turban, 2003 as cited in Edwards, 2010). Positive employer Branding for University will help them to attract new academic staffs and retain the existing ones. Employer Branding makes the University stand out among the other universities both in New Zealand and in the global talent market. (Edwards, 2010).

There are many ways in which Paul and his team can enhance UC’s employer brand as per employer branding research (Edward, 2010) as elicited below: –

  1. The company’s reputation has an impact upon the interest of applicants in the University as the choice for work. The reputation of a University depends upon factors like profitability, corporate social responsibility and on its ethnical diversity. The academic performance of students and their achievements in extra-curricular activities is also an indicator of the reputation of a University. The advertising campaigns, online advertisements and word of mouth advertising can be used to enhance the brand image of the University by making people widely acknowledge its reputation.
  2. Employee branding considers current and potential employees as branding targets. This technique can be incorporated in the University to retain the most efficient and experienced academic staffs and also, to attract the new academic staffs by providing them with good salary packages and additional bonuses. As mentioned earlier, it’s observed that New Zealand universities are paying comparatively lesser salaries for the academic staffs in comparison to countries like US, UK or European countries. By paying them higher salaries depending on their skills and creating an amazing workspace for the current academic staffs, it will help them to create value and attract more quality academic staffs which in turn helps in building the reputation of the University.
  3. The branded image of the University of Canterbury also depends upon the psychological contract content that ranges from transactional, relational to ideological. A psychological contract refers to the individual’s belief regarding the terms and conditions of a reciprocal exchange between the employee and the University. Employees have certain anticipations regarding employment offering and it is up to the University to satisfy those expectations. Similarly, University has a certain set of expectations from the employees that form its employment experience. Good experience at both the ends can enhance the University’s brand image.
  4. The brand of the University of Canterbury also depends upon the organizational identity that shows that University possess certain distinctive characteristics. High level of organizational identity depends upon the ability of the organization to engage in open communication, be supportive and fair to its employees. The organization has the potential to become part of an employee’s identity and in this way, employees can relate themselves to the organization in a better way which in turn enhances its brand image.
  5. The brand image also relies on symbolic and instrumental personality characteristics. Instrumental attributes refer to the characteristics of an organization such as location, size, and stability of an organization. The instrumental characteristics refer to the physical and tangible attributes having a strong transactional element like the money benefits and financial incentives such as increment in the wages. It includes a physical package and additional bonus. The symbolic attributes are linked with the relational aspect and signify high value-based employer brand. A university can strengthen both its symbolic and instrumental personality attributes to eventually strengthen its brand value in the eyes of the public. The symbolic attributes provide differentiation among competitors as such characteristics are the source of competitive advantage and they are valuable, rare and hard to imitate (VRIO).

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Inefficiency and Inadequacy in the Recruitment Process in New Zealand Universities: Analytical Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from
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