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Leslie Bonacum
Neil Allen

Employers Fine-tuning Recruiting Techniques In Quest For Quality Workers, Survey Says

(ATLANTA, GA., June 27,1999) – Challenged by the harsh realities that line today’s hiring horizon, human resource (HR) professionals are integrating new and more creative recruiting practices into their current search strategies, according to a new survey cosponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CCH INCORPORATED. The 1999 SHRM/CCH Recruiting Practices Survey was released at the SHRM 51st Annual Conference and Exposition, held June 27–30 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The survey results, representing 279 participants from 19 industries, provide HR professionals with valuable insight into which current recruiting sources and incentives are most effective and what companies have planned for the future, as the competition for new hires heats up.

New Sources Help Cast a Wider Net

As the economy continues to grow, the labor pool continues to shrink. With the demand for skilled knowledge workers climbing, so too are the salary demands of mostly underqualified job candidates, according to the survey findings.

"Faced with these pressures, and seeking a competitive advantage in the hiring marketplace, most HR professionals are looking for new and creative ways to cast a more effective employee search net—including use of the Internet," said SHRM CEO and President, Michael R. Losey, SPHR, CAE.

Over 70 percent of HR professionals responding to the 1999 SHRM/CCH Recruiting Practices Survey reported that they will begin adding new recruiting resources to meet the employment challenges ahead. Of the respondents, 65 percent said they expect to integrate the Internet into their recruiting strategy.

Customization the Key to Incentives

As employers integrate new technology with more traditional methods to improve their search strategies, so too are they recognizing that customized incentive programs are critical to effective recruiting practices.

According to the 1999 SHRM/CCH Recruiting Practices Survey, the 401(k) match is the most frequently used incentive for executives, managers and line workers. For executives, relocation assistance is next most frequently used incentive, followed by the year-end bonus. Educational assistance and relocation assistance, respectively, round out the top three incentives offered to managers/professionals, and for line workers educational assistance is second, followed by casual dress.

In terms of perceived effectiveness, some of the less frequently offered incentives are ranked most successful. Employment contracts were rated as the most effective recruiting tool for line workers by organizations that offered them, and, for executives, domestic partner benefits received the most effective rating, although only a small number of respondents offered those incentives to these job groups. For managers/professionals, a flexible work schedule is seen as most effective.

Over half (54%) of the organizations responding plan on adding new incentives in the next two years to attract qualified employees. Sign-on bonuses, flexible scheduling, opportunities to telecommute, and continuously improving benefit packages are among the most frequently planned new incentives.

According to the survey, HR professionals view today's candidates as more underqualified than just two years ago. They also expect higher salaries and believe they are much more likely to negotiate for a salary/benefits package. Asked to identify the top factors most valued by job candidates today, 86 percent rank compensation issues as one of the top three valued factors, followed by work/life balance (53 percent) and job growth (50 percent).

Measuring Success

While it is clear from the findings of the 1999 SHRM/CCH Recruiting Practices Survey that HR professionals are keeping current with changes in the hiring marketplace by adopting new and creative recruiting tools, the survey also found that many professionals are missing an opportunity to ensure the effectiveness of their programs and to demonstrate that success to organization leadership.

Although attracting and hiring good employees is a core HR responsibility, over half (56 percent) of the survey respondents do not conduct formal evaluations to measure the effectiveness of their recruiting methods. For organizations where formal programs are in place, the survey found that the top five measures of effectiveness being used are: time to fill a position (72 percent), retention rates (63 percent), turnover rates (63 percent), cost per hire (54 percent), and number of applicants generated (50 percent).

"The fact that most of the HR professionals surveyed do not have a system in place to measure the effectiveness of a core HR function indicates that they may be missing an important opportunity to demonstrate the value they offer as a strategic business partner to the entire organization," noted Joy Waltemath, CCH Assistant Executive Editor for Human Resources.

About the Survey

The survey was sent to 2,000 randomly selected SHRM members throughout the U.S. in December 1998 and January 1999. Survey findings, analysis and related case studies are included in the CCH Human Resources Management Ideas and Trends newsletter. To purchase an issue, please call 800-449-9525 or visit the CCH HR web site at Bona fide members of the media may be eligible for a complimentary copy, please use the press contact information at the top of this release.

CCH INCORPORATED is a leading provider of human resources law information. Founded in 1913, the company and its subsidiaries track, explain and analyze human resources, employment, business and tax law, annually producing more than 700 publications in print and electronic formats for human resources, accounting, legal, securities and health care professionals. For more information, visit CCH online at

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides education and information services, conferences and seminars, government and media representation, online services and publications to 120,000 professional and student members throughout the world. The SHRM Research Committee supports the work of the Society's Issues Management Program in identifying those areas of human resource management (HRM) requiring further research to provide answers and to forecast those areas of public policy and economic climate that will soon affect the HRM field. Visit SHRM on the World Wide Web at

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