An evaluation of E-recruitment at Marks and Spencer

Recruitment and Selection process: An evaluation of E-recruitment at Marks and Spencer


1.1 Introduction:

As opined by Arvey and Campion (2010, p290), “In order to increase the efficiency and retention of the employees, it is essential to implement an appropriate Recruitment and Selection process”. Recruitment is the procedure that the organization applies to identify the human resource requirements of the organisation and attract suitable candidates. Selection refers to the process that is involved in choosing a predefined number of candidates from a number of applicants to fill the available posts in the organization (Barber, 2009).

1.2 Background on the topic:

Employees are considered to be the face of the organisation. According to Compton and Nankervis (2011), effective recruitment and selection procedure gives the organization a unique identity in terms of competent human resource and performance. Strategic human resource management involved hiring potential individuals whose skills and competencies match with the organisational goals and objectives. The selection of the right person for the right job, at the right time and place is essential to drive organisational performance. Hiring the wrong candidates can lead to increased costs in terms of training, low employee productivity and high labour turnover. The study deals with investigating the recruitment and selection procedure followed by Marks & Spencer, U.K..

Marks & Spencer recruit internally by advertising on the notice board either in paper format or through employee account online like, organizational intranet, in his journals, references or recommendations and word of mouth. The external recruitment procedure is followed by contacting  hiring agencies for graduates, employment agencies for contemporary workers and accepting online application  in the company’s own web site.

1.3 Rationale of the study:

Organisations in the current competitive business scenario face a scarcity of talented employees whose competencies match with the organisational goals. Poor hiring and selection policies lead to low employee productivity, loss of employee morale, increasing costs and higher turnover intention (Giovanni et al. 2008). Unsuitable employees unnecessarily increase training costs, demotivate Co workers, and thereby build weak organisational culture. Davidson (2010) has stated that an effective recruitment and selection process has an objective to structure a strong manpower and efficient human resource to enhance the productivity of the firm. The traditional process like newspaper adverts are now less effective as online networking is a great resource to reach to each person for this process. A wrong way of selection process can cause the degradation of human resource that can hamper the productivity of the firm (Dessler and Williams, 2009).

The relevance of this study can be justified as it seeks  to uncover the loopholes (if exists) in the current recruitment and selection process of Marks & Spencer. Identifying such loopholes will prevent the company from hiring unsuitable candidates, thereby reducing costs and developing effective talent management.

1.4 Aims and Objectives:

The following aims and objectives can help the researcher to go through a proper way to meet the objectives.

1.4.1 Aims

The aim of this research is to investigate the recruitment and selection procedure followed by Marks & Spencer to meet its workforce requirements. The researcher also aims to critically analyse the pros and cons of its current hiring process and recommend better strategies if loopholes exist.  

1.4.2 Objectives

The objectives of the research can be explained as follows:

  1. To understand the importance of recruitment and selection process for organizational development
  2. To critically evaluate the effectiveness of current recruitment and selection strategies followed by Marks & Spencer.
  3. To identify recruitment gaps and recommend better strategies for future talent management

1.5 Research Questions:

Q1) what is the need and importance of having an effective recruitment and selection policy for modern organizations?

Q2) Is the current recruitment and selection procedure followed by Marks & Spencer appropriate enough to meet organisational goals?

Q3) Does the company follow a cost effective approach to talent management, such as E-recruitment from social media ?

Q4) What are the problems that the company’s H.R. dept face in terms of hiring competent employees ? What can be the possible solution to such recruitment issues ?

2.1 Literature Review:

The literature review is an effective assessment of the applied theoretical evidences and techniques to carry out the present research in a logical fashion (Kleiman, 2007). The researcher will try to understand the different conceptual and theoretical framework on the basis of recruitment and selection procedures. This study will critically discuss all the literature about the topic to have a clear visibility about the recruitment and selection procedure and is impacting on the organizational performance. Negative and positive approaches will be declared to make a better understanding.

2.2 Recruitment and Selection:

According to Kunerth and Mosley (2011), identifying the need for recruitment, both in terms of quality and quantity, is the core function of human resource department. Attracting the right candidates through proper sources as and when vacancies arise is the rationale being recruited. Selection refers to choosing potential candidates whose performance help to achieve organisational goals (Nankervis, 2010). The entire process involves advertisements for relevant posts, receiving applications, sorting and shortlisting applications, interviewing and testing candidates to fulfil the workforce requirements. Parry and Wilson (2009) define selection as ‘the process by which managers use specific instruments to choose suitable candidate from a pool of applicants most likely to succeed in the job(s), organizational goals and legal requirements’.

The human resource department has to comply with relevant laws relating to social discrimination, equal opportunity etc. in order to conduct ethical recruitment and selection. According to Sharma (2009), in this globalised and increasingly sophisticated market, recruitment and selection process has become an essential tool for every organization to achieve the goal with the continuation of innovation and growth in the future.

2.3 Sourcing Best Candidates:

The best candidates are selected by evaluating the capabilities of the candidates having the following important traits:

  1. Meet specification
  2. Well prepared for the interview
  3. Positive and Enthusiastic
  4. Creativity
  5. Self-confidence
  6. Full utilization of chance
  7. Not a job hopper

2.4 Recruitment and Selection procedure:

2.4.1 Identification of Vacancy:

This refers to the identification of the vacancies in the organization and determines the requirements of new human resources for those posts (White and Willard, 2009). Various departments of the organization first identify the vacancies by classifying the positions. The company had consolidated the total vacancies and then the detailed job analysis are conducted to define the selection criteria.

2.4.2 Job Analysis and Description:

All the data of the vacant posts are gathered together and analysed to identify the tasks of the job specified (Huo et al. 2008). The job description states about which activities are performed and what skills are needed to enhance the performance quality.

2.4.3 Personnel Specification:

Personnel specification is the attribute that describes the requirements that the job holders need to have been capable to perform the specified job satisfactorily (Breaugh and Stark, 2006). The most common procedure of personnel specification is competencies. Some of the important competencies are:

  1. Physical attributes: physical attributes are important and to be analysed to specify the right person for the suitable job thus helping in attracting and satisfying clients.
  2. Attainments: This is a personal attribute that assess their personal creativity and experience about the market and other task of the specified job.
  3. Interests: The personal interest helps the individuals to choose the field they want to wear in.
  4. Personal Circumstances: These competencies the capability of the person to work in different shifts, full time or part time etc.

2.4.4 Identification of Resources:

A potential resource provides a high percentage of top candidates. Here are several resources of candidates for hire.

  1. Employee reference is the most effective and liable resources for the quality candidates (Ling et al. 2008). The organizations can offer attractive incentives the existing employees to recommend appropriate candidates, treated as successful for the organization.
  2. Other sources of the candidates are recruitment firms. There are two types of firms, one is called the contingency firm that places the people and are paid only if he candidates are successfully placed. Another is retained search firms that work on recruitment on the basis of a contract with the candidates and are paid regardless of the success.
  3. The regular customers can be another resource for recruitment. Allowing them awards in terms of discounts, the organization can use the customer as the referrals by letting them know the requirements of the organization.
  4. Job fairs are economical sources of a number of potential candidates. The organization can look for the job fairs that specialize in a particular industry as well as the candidates as per the requirement of the company.
  5. Campus interview is a potential source of highly qualified professionals. This strategy helps the organizations to recruit the management trainees with creativity hat can add value to the organization.
  6. Adverts are resources for recruitment to attract a mass of candidates when there are a huge number of vacancies in the organizations.

2.4.5 Training and Development:

It is a post selection procedure, where the finally selected candidates are taught about the company, its operations and the individual tasks. This is an important stage of selection to make them appropriate and ready to handle the responsibilities [Available from:, 4th March 2013].

2.5 E–Recruitment

The organization has moved to their recruitment process through online so that it can improve the speed by which the desired candidates can be matched with the vacancies. 96% of the companies use the internet in the recruitment and selection process for new employees in the organization [Available from:, 4th March 2013]. 

E–recruitment has been done as the internet reaches to mass people and has helped the company in recruitment of qualified employees in the organization. This also helps in increasing the quality of services of the company. Moreover it enables the recruiters for written communications through e-mails, blogs and job portals.

The company now can recruit and select desired employees through the internet by using video conferencing, face to face communication. Moreover the company can conduct written exam online which recruiting the candidates. This has been one of the cheapest mode as it reduces time, energy and cost effective. Moreover the company and employees can focus on one particular job rather than multiple jobs.  

2.6 Social Media

Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkIn have become increasing popular in the workplace especially for recruitment and selection process. Employers use social media to source applicants, enhance its communication and build relationships with prospective employees. Many companies use Facebook to learn about job candidates and some of them use this information in the hiring process.

Social media has helped in the recruitment and selection as the company gets to know the candidate and this has helped in reduction of time spend on the interview process. Moreover in this technological world, social media has helped the company getting desired candidates with the least more of capital invested.  

3.1 Research Methodology:

The research methodology deals with the procedure through which the researcher systematically conducts the study in context of the identified research problems, aim and objectives.

The researcher will also describe the research philosophy, appropriate approach and design that best relate the research with its objectives.

3.2 Research Onion:

According to Saunders et al. (2009), research is a conceptual model of the research methodology, along with its every step to conduct the research. The respective layers of this onion help the researcher to find out the suitable path or the appropriate techniques to conduct the research.

Figure: Research Onion

(Source: Saunders Et al., 2009, p 52)

3.3 Research Philosophy:

The researcher has gone from post postivitism as it focuses on the accept that theories, background, knowledge and values of the researcher can influence what is observed in the research study. Moreover this philosophy motivated the researcher at the time of collecting various theories and relevant data’s.

3.4 Research Approach:

There are basic two approaches to conduct the research, inductive and deductive. The inductive approach follows observation, data collection, data analysis and then theory building (Johnson et al. 2007). On the other hand, the deductive approach evaluates the existing theories with the help of data analysis.

In this study the researcher has used an inductive approach as this approach moves from specific observations to broader simplification and theories. The researcher will make specific observations and measures, detect patterns and regularities, formulate the given hypotheses to explore the study and develop conclusion at the end of the study.

3.5 Research Design:

The researcher here selected the descriptive design, in order to relate the findings of the study with its objectives. It also helps he researcher to answer the research questions, relating to what, how, who, when and whom. As the description is needed to draw conclusion about the recruitment and selection process, Descriptive design is appropriate for this research.

3.6 Sampling Method:

Sampling is crucial to conduct the research especially at the time of collecting primary data through a survey method. There are basically two types of sampling, probability sampling and non-probability sampling. The researcher has considered a convenience sampling [non-probability in nature] is appropriate for the current research study. This sampling method is easier to conduct by choosing the respondents in a convenient manner. Cooper and Schindler (2010) have stated that in convenience sampling method, the sample is selected based on convenient accessibility and proximity to the researcher.

3.7 Sample Size:

Sample size refers to the number of participants the researcher has taken under consideration to gather the primary data through the questionnaire method. Therefore, the researcher aims to choose 10 respondents for this survey. The sample size will include 10 respondents of M & S [Marble arch branch] working with the HR department. The respondents will include 2 senior managers, 3 floor managers managers and the rest will be HR representatives. 

Employees are chosen for quantitative data collection and managers are selected to gather the qualitative data. It will be easier to evaluate the existing concepts with various responses to the survey questions.

3.8 Data Collection Method:

An appropriate data collection method helps the researcher to follow the right path, in order to reach to the expected results (Bernard, (2011). The researcher will develop a research questionnaire and distribute few of them and the rest will be emailed. Secondary data will come from internet, company websites, various online journals and other important articles and related books.

3.9 Data Analysis:

Appropriate utilization of analytical tools at the time of data analysis will help the researcher to draw a suitable conclusion of the research (Johnson et al. 2007). Quantitative data will be collected from the sample that will help in large data collection.


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