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A psychodynamic perspective of electronic selection and recruitment or does byte?

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journal contribution
posted on 05.06.2017, 04:29 by Schapper, Jan
Over recent years on-line recruiting which uses the spread and access of the World Wide Web (WWW) or Internet has become increasingly popular for recruitment agencies, job-seekers and organisations alike (e.g. Starcke, 1996; Wyld, 1998; Kay, 2000). Exponents of electronic recruiting claim it has changed the way the recruiting industry works and that it is faster, more efficient and cheaper than traditional methods (e.g. Browne, 1998; Useem, 1999; Stellar Services Home Page, 2000; Kay, 2000;, 2000). Despite the hyperbole that surrounds the unlimited and unbounded potential of the Web I will argue in this paper rather than representing a paradigmatic transformation, the practise of electronic recruitment is little more than a linguistic shift from recruitment to e-cruitment. The essence of selection and recruitment is unchanged - the requirement for an employee is identified either because of a vacancy or the creation of a new position. There is then a search for a suitable applicant; one or more persons are considered for the position, some process of evaluation is conducted and an applicant is selected followed by the notification of unsuccessful applicants. Electronic recruitment has enabled all these steps in the process to be conducted electronically, usually through the Internet. Baffled by the excitement and claims of electronic recruiters the author has attempted some analysis of I selection and recruitment from the psychodynamic perspective. Having identified significant conscious and unconscious anxieties generated by the processes of selection and recruitment, discussion is then provided on the creation of social defenses in response to these considerable anxieties. It is from this context the willingness of recruiters to utilise the new technologies can be understood. Without challenging the efficiency of o n-line recruitment, and there are some who do (Armes, 1999;HRFocus, 2000) what appears to have changed dramatically is the creation of a new dynamic between recruiter and potential recruit. It will be argued the ready acceptance of on-line recruitment is not just because of anticipated efficiencies but because the newly created dynamic made possible by the innovation of the Internet provides an extremely effective technological tool for recruiters to defend against the anxieties generated by the process of selection and recruitment.


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Working paper series (Monash University. Department of Management).

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